I am often emailed with specific business questions, and although I would love to answer them all, I sometimes fall a little behind. In attempt to help anyone and everyone finding this type of info helpful, I am going to try to give you my 2 cents here:
For national trade shows...
I am truly not the expert on this one. The only trade show that I have personally attended was KIDShow Las Vegas when I first launched the company in 2007. Ever since, I have been torn on the decision to attend these events. The cost is extremely high when factoring in travel and all of the additional costs on top of the booth. Although, with that said, it is all about ROI. If you write enough sales to cover your cost, it is a no-brainer, especially with re-orders down the road. If you don't write enough sales to cover the cost, is the exposure worth it? The trouble is you never know how much you're gonna write until the money has been spent and the show is over.
Another interesting piece of this puzzle for us is that we have been extremely blessed by the fact that 95% of our wholesale customers have come to us. In the past 3 years, we really haven't participated in trade shows or trade advertising. Fortunately, we have incredibly supportive fans who often recommend our products to their favorite stores. We also have two super sweet sales reps at their local markets who have introduced their clients to our brand. As our business grows, we continue to expand and explore other opportunities, but so far this is where we stand with trade shows.
Here is a list of the children's trade shows that I seem to hear about most often over the years (just in case it is helpful):
KIDShow Las Vegas
ABC Kids Expo
Bubble New York
ENK Childrens Club
Other events (specifically the Boom Boom Room):
Ok, I get this question often, and I totally understand why, but it is a tough one to answer. Here's why...I truly believe that most events are what you make of them and 90% of the time, they are a lot of expense for an ROI that rarely justifies it. For me personally, I am glad that we did the Boom Boom Room and am grateful that Jayneoni extended the invite. With that said, I feel like, over the years, it seems as though almost all children's product companies have received the same invite, and the reviews are quite mixed. For me, it is all about expectations. If you expect to walk into some event, to be surrounded by glamorous celebrities and for your line to become a Hollywood hit overnight, then this is not the place for you. If you are going into this as a possible press opportunity and fun experience, then I think it could be worth the cost. For me, I'm glad we went when we did, but don't have plans to return in the near future.
I find that so much in this business is hit or miss, trial and error. You truly have to find what works for you. I would say that most of our business friends do participate in these trade shows and some attend the Boom Boom event year after year. I find that I often stray from the norm in the business and do what works for us. With that said, this may not necessarily be what works for you.