There has been quite a few interesting and exciting exhibitions taking place recently and Sarah and us at Team Hurley were lucky enough to attend the Top Drawer 2016 Autumn/Winter show and exhibit at the Brand Licensing Show Europe 2016. So we thought we would tell you all about it and let you know what we thought about the shows this year.
Top Drawer A/W 2016
Now this was my first time at a trade show, and honestly I had no idea what to expect. Sarah and I had discussed the show before attending and even though she had explained it very clearly, I guess you don’t really know what you’re in for until you actually go. The event this year was held at London’s Olympia in Kensington, and funnily enough it was also my first visit to the Olympia too. When I first arrived I felt a real buzz in the air with all the stands fabulously decorated and ready to lure all us visitors in. When I first arrived it was so easy for me to get distracted by everything and have my head constantly turning to browse at each display. But once me and Sarah had agreed upon a methodical approach of going up each aisle individually in an organised manner, I felt much more focused and able to take in each and every stand.
It was extremely interesting to attend the event and to see all of the different and wonderful products out there. I was also fortunate enough to attend some seminars, one in particular about using Social Media was very beneficial for me and I felt as though I did learn an awful lot!
As a first time visitor here are a couple of tips for all of you who are considering attending this event in the future or one like this.
- Firstly plan a strategic approach of how you are going to walk around the exhibit. Make sure you plan first to ensure that you don’t miss out on any hidden gems!
- Try and attend as many seminars as you can, that you believe would be beneficial to you. You may think you know it all about Social Media or running an online business etc., but sure enough there may be something new learn.
- If you can attend a seminar – TAKE NOTES! You may think you will remember in the morning, but the mind doesn’t always work that way.
Brand Licensing Show Europe 2016
Exhibiting at the Brand Licensing Show was also a first for me, and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it! This years Brand Licensing Show was also held at London’s Olympia Kensington.
As soon as I entered the Olympia I was overwhelmed by the rush of colours. I thought at Top Drawer it was hard to know where to look but the Brand Licensing Show was on a whole other level! There were bright pinks, yellows, red, blues every colour you could think of. Not to mention the huge Pikachu and Powerpuff Girls floating above my head. Our Sarah Hurley Ltd. stand was placed on the first floor, so I happily made my way up the multi-coloured Crayola stairs, still in awe of the fantastic displays.
As I arrived to our stand on that first day it felt so great to see Sarah and Team Hurley’s stand design finally come to life. There was our charming cardboard cut out of Angelica Strange, our washing line of fabulous characters, and an incredibly large Sarah Hurley logo. I was excited but also very nervous as I felt as though I wasn’t 100% ready to speak with people about Licensing just yet. Sarah gave me some great advice prior to the show though, she simply said ‘Listen to what people have to say, ask questions and then tell them what we do and what we could do for them.’ Although it sounded easy enough I was still pretty nervous. However after my first encounter with a visitor on our stand I felt at ease and had gained a huge amount of confidence after that. As the 3 days went on I interacted with a variety of different people and felt extremely comfortable. I was also lucky enough to attend a seminar all about Licensing which I found so helpful and I finally felt as though I knew the basics of Licensing and how it works.
All in all I thoroughly enjoyed my time at this years show and found it really interesting, exciting and even educational!
As a first time visitor here are a couple of tips for all of you who are considering attending / exhibiting at this event in the future or one like this.
- Firstly same approach as before – Don’t be blinded by all the amazing displays and bright colours, if you’re going to take a walk around the show have a plan or you’ll miss some fantastic stands.
- Always bring business cards!
- A smile goes a long way. Even if people aren’t stopping at your stand be welcoming and friendly and flash a brief smile.
Top Drawer A/W 2016
This was the first year we hadn’t exhibited at Top Drawer for a while, it made such a lovely change to walk around and get to speak to everyone, attend seminars and see it all new again through Chloe, very inspiring! This show is all about getting trade or wholesale customers, it’s a great place to be to meet those big store buyers (disclaimer – the only reason we didn’t exhibit this year is because we couldn’t accommodate any more wholesale customers this year, I would do it again in future if / when this changes)
Brand Licensing Show Europe 2016
I L-O-V-E this show – its one of my yearly highlights and I was so pleased to be exhibiting again this year after a great show last year. After exhibiting at both of these shows over the last 2-3 years I thought some tips for new exhibitors might be quite useful, so if you’re new to to these or thinking of exhibiting, here are my top tips as a (somewhat!) seasoned exhibitor:
- Visit the show first – absolutely essential!! You have to know what to expect, what the set up is and where you think you fit. Turning up without doing this could be an expensive mistake – I’m so glad I visited for 2 years before taking the plunge, I felt really ready when we got there to exhibit the first year and made sure I got my moneys worth!
- Plan your stand – Make sure you know what’s in every square inch, make sure it’s eye catching and will stop your ideal client in their tracks. We do mock ups of both the floor and wall space to ensure it all looks how it should (and we still tweak it during set up!)
- Budget carefully – The stand cost is not the only thing to factor in, you’ll need to look at cladding / wall covering, furniture, lighting, electric, marketing materials, staff, taxis, travel etc… I factor in about another stand cost for the extras (e.g. if the stand is £5k, budget another £4-5k for the extras)
- Smile! – I’m stealing Chloe’s tip here but it’s SO important, the amount of times i’ve seen people reading the newspaper on their stand, looking bored or even, at this years Top Drawer, Chloe and I stood on a stand for ages being ignored while the exhibitors chatted amongst themselves – you can talk to each other back at the office when it’s not costing you money! Look up, catch peoples eye and smile.
- Speak to EVERYONE – don’t look at everyone as a prospect / sale, get to know people, chat and make connections, even with the exhibitors around you – you never know when you might work together or need that person. Two examples here, I met someone at a show two years ago, we chatted, we have a quick catch up each year, we didn’t ‘need’ each other back then, we were both just being polite. This year we’re working together on a MASSIVE project (I can’t even explain to you how big and exciting yet!!) if I hadn’t of been friendly those years ago, that wouldn’t have happened. Secondly, we were exhibiting near someone this year whose work both Chloe and I had admired for a long time. We were excited to speak to them and maybe look at bringing them in on a big project we’re working on. They were so completely rude and horrible that not only will we not work with them but we won’t be buying any more of their products either, they just lost two customers!
Bonus Tip – Rent a chair, for the love of every nerve in your feet, rent a chair!! We didn’t do this the first year, we thought we’d be super alert and on our feet ready for everyone – wrong! (cue Lisa saving us with a late night dash to Argos to buy camping stools on day one after the show!! lol) It’s ridiculously exhausting doing a trade show, factor in 8-10 hours on your feet and it’s ridiculous, grab a little sit down in the quiet moments!
Thank you for reading today. If you have any thoughts, comments or top tips you would like to share with us, drop us a comment below or get in touch with us via social media.
Sarah & Team Hurley