Originally posted on Makers Row
MAGIC is the world’s largest fashion marketplace, comprised of ten unique communities showcasing the latest in apparel, footwear, accessories, and manufacturing. Did you show at SOURCING, PROJECT, ENK or any others? You may have found the show to be exhausting, but your work is far from over! Whether you exhibited your brand or just walked the show, check out what your next steps should be.
The checklist for those who showed
From all the parties you attended, to the business cards you collected, and new buyer contacts you gained, it’s time to review and organize. For this exercise you will want to make 3 piles: Buyers, Community (other brands), Industry Experts.
The Buyer List
Have buyer interest? Need to get orders in to make your production minimums?
- Send out a brief personalized email to all of your new buyer contacts. This is your chance to remind buyers about your brand (attach a lookbook)
- Add your cutoff date to make your orders and exclusive offers
- Don’t hear back in 2 weeks? Call.
No buyer interest yet? If you showed at the trade shows and didn’t get promising leads, here’s what you should do next:
- Send out an email to the list of buyers that you announced your booth to. (In preparation for trade shows, you need to let buyers know that you’re showing–hopefully you did this already.)
- In the email, mention how unfortunate it was that you didn’t get a chance to connect and how you’d like to send samples of the recent collection or meet in person if you’re both in the same geographic area. Also, attach a lookbook.
- Exhausted that list? Its time to move to your sales strategy document and contact the potential retailers that you haven’t yet targeted. Having shown at a tradeshow is a great segue to get their attention. Include a couple images of your collection and of your booth at the show. If they attended, maybe this will jog their memory. Don’t forget to attach a lookbook.
The Community List
Often times after the show, we get so focused on securing sales leads that we forget to follow up with the potential collaborators we met. Here’s why this group is an important resource:
- When you’re gearing up to do multi-brand pop-up shop, this group will be your first lead.
- When going into business with a store, verify their reputation by doing areference check with brands from your community who may also be selling to that particular retailer.
- When you are interested in exploring other manufacturers or sourcing from different outlets, your community will be there to support you.
- When you’re facing some challenges with retail buyers, members of your community will be able to provide insight from their own experiences.
You’re probably well aware of this group. They’re are the ones who spoke on panels, surveyed the collections, questioned the designers, and stood behind the scenes assessing the market.
Experts at MAGIC come with experience in varied fields: social media, sourcing, production, sales, marketing, branding, trend forecasting, web, and more. These are the business cards that you want to keep when ready to act upon or even share with your community. Building your Rolodex of an ad-hoc team of experts can be very useful- so file these cards away until you need them.
Share images of your booth and people engaging with your product on social media. Its a great way to build your brand and show that people are interested in what you have to offer.
A Checklist for those who walked the shows
Perhaps you are considering showing in the future and wanted to see what it was all about. Bravo to you for taking the time to walk the floor and see what was out there.
Review Your Notes
Observing a trade show is still a hefty responsibility. Did you see what your competitors were showing? Did you make note of their assortment for the season? Write down the trends? Take time to review all of your notes.
Review Business Cards
Hopefully you scored business cards from other brands in your potential community and made connections. Follow up and cultivate those relationships. Snagged a couple cards from buyers in the industry? Awesome. Follow up with a feedback email saying that you’d love to hear their thoughts on your collection and continue the conversation further.
There is a lot to learn from others. Pay close attention to what you would do the same or differently when your brand shows. Spending money and time on a trade show requires evaluating what your potential ROI’s will be. Not all first time brands walk away from the show with orders. So how will you do it differently? How will you evaluate your performance? Your ROI will be a combination of connections, sales orders and brand exposure. Each as important as the next.
If you showed or just walked the trade show, there’s a lot to take action on. Don’t waste the time, energy, and money you invested in growing your brand. Do a complete evaluation of the event: what would you have done differently? Did you actively pursue everyone you wanted? Make sure you have your own list of do’s and don’ts for next time.