When you are in retail, it is inevitable that you will need to find new wholesale sources. One of the best places to find a lot of new sources at one time is to go to an open to wholesale only tradeshow. There are several really good quality tradeshows, and you can google to find different shows you may be interested in.
One of the first things to think about when planning to go to a show is figuring out what show will fit your needs. Should you go to a big show, or a smaller, regional one? Figuring out what suits your individual needs is important. The bigger shows are great, you can find a lot of good quality vendors at them. They are usually longer in length. They can run from days, to weeks. You can also go to smaller regional shows that may be closer to home. They are usually held over a weekend. There are also shows that can be even more localized and be held in hotels, or just be groups of vendors that come together in one place for you to shop. You can also find really good vendors at these shows. In fact, sometimes you can find what turn out to be your best vendors at the smaller shows.
The second thing to think about when thinking of going to a wholesale trade show is the expense to go to a show. It is important to weigh out the costs of going to the show versus the vendors you may find. You have the expenses of flying into the show, hotel, food, and the other things we don’t think about like cabs, and tips. It may be worth all of that if you find a good quality vendor, that has products of interest to you that you can sell at good prices. However, there is no guarantee and you may spend a lot of money and leave disappointed. The smaller shows may be better because they are usually less expensive to attend. They may be closer to home, you may not have the expense of airfare, or hotels which make them more attractive. If you attend a smaller show, you may be able to make a one day commute, as opposed to having to stay over night. You need to weigh it all out when making a decision.
Next you need to make sure you have the proper credentials to attend the show. The last thing you want to do is spend the money to get to the show, and then find out you can’t go in because you forgot your state tax license. I recommend reviewing the requirement list before you go, and preregister if you can. The requirements are pretty simple. You usually need a business card, a company check, a sales tax license, and maybe some proof that you own a business and aren’t just trying to shop for your new home!
Look at the vendor list of the show you are thinking of attending. I do this so that I can look up the ones that look interesting, and check their websites to see if they sell items I like to buy. This helps me to write a list of the vendors I am particularly interested in visiting, so that I make sure I don’t miss anything. If you are limited in time, you can easily visit all the booths on your list, and get out of the show quicker. I find that once I get to the show, I get so excited I forget what I was going to look at so my list helps to keep me on track. I also keep a list running all year round of things I may be interested in sourcing, and I take that list to the show as well.
It is also so important to be comfortably dressed at the shows. You will be walking miles! You need to wear comfy clothes, and especially wear comfortable shoes. Don’t carry a heavy purse. A cross body is great, so that you can shop hands free. You will be picking up lots of literature, price lists, and line sheets. You will have enough to carry believe me. I have seen shows that allow you to bring the rolling bags, but a lot of the shows aren’t allowing them anymore.
Retail wholesale trade shows are a great way to find new wholesale sources! Embrace my tips, and give it a go! You are ready.