“For every minute spent in organising, an hour is earned.”
- Benjamin Franklin
I kicked off this year by showing my work at Top Drawer London in Olympia. It took 7 hours to set up, 3 days standing all day and 1 hour to pack down with a 5 hour journey back to Cardiff to top it all off! Amazing, exhausting but completely worth it, as I had some really exciting and positive conversations with potential new clients.
This was my second year at Top Drawer, and it definitely felt smoother this time. I knew what to expect.
Have you ever had a stand at a show before? Maybe this year is your first year and you don’t know what to expect? I wanted to share my top tips for preparing for the Top Drawer London trade show, so you can arrive calm, collected and ready to meet your community.
Know your timings
Plan, plan, plan! Don’t leave it to the last minute. Think about everything before you go, to make sure it runs smoothly. Map out the set up and timings before you get there.
If you’re doing the show by yourself, make sure you bring your lunch and some water with you, because breaks are hard to come by!
Don’t be shy!
Be prepared to get out of your comfort zone. Make the most of every minute of your time, and every potential customer or client who comes to your stand. If you sit there on your phone, or even if you are absorbed in making your actual product while someone is in your booth, you will miss out on potential sales and interest. Be brave, be bold and be friendly.
Search Instagram for inspo
Search through relevant hashtags and accounts. Start with the account and hashtags of the show - for Top Drawer these were @topdrawerlondon and #topdrawer and #topdrawerlondon
Study images that have been posted by vendors in previous years. This will give you a good idea of how others have used the space in different sized stands. You’ll get an idea of how other traders have added colour through paint or wallpaper, and how they’ve fixed things like shelving or hooks to the walls of the stands. It’ll spark thoughts of additional furniture, storage, seating and display ideas.
Read the essential information
Shows like Top Drawer send out pre-show information and guidelines, as well as posting on their social accounts and website. Read it all! Study their blog for further info, and don’t be afraid to get in touch with them and ask!
Shout it from the rooftops
Don’t actually do this. Seriously though, tell people you’re going to be there! Contact your ideal customers and clients, stockists and influencers. Let them know when you’re going to be at the show and try to arrange a time for them to come and see you and your products. Promote where you’re going to be on your own social media accounts, and share posts from the show organisers (this means they’re more likely to re-share your posts and therefore raise awareness of your brand).
Don’t forget to add your stand number and some simple directions on how to find you e.g. in the craft section, next to the food court.
So there you have it, 6 simple and useful tips on how to prepare and get the most out of displaying your brand at a trade show.
As I said, I had some great conversations about potential commissions at Top Drawer this year and met some truly inspirational people. A massive highlight of my year last year, and a direct result of me having a stand at Top Drawer, was the commission by the team at Tower Bridge to create a new drawing of the main bridge, as well as several smaller drawings of some of the finer architectural drawings.
You can read more about this commission and my collaboration with Tower Bridge here.
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I’m an artist who creates beautiful memory boxes and intricate ink drawings to help you connect with the people and places you love.