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Wholesale Strategy For Makers  Carolyn Keating 💁🏻 I teach Makers & Creatives how to start + grow their wholesale biz, connect with retailers, work w/sales reps and sell to stores.

Thursday morning #Maker vibes #amiright ☕️🎨✂️
Double tap if you're a maker who can relate! (📸 via @pinterest) ⠀

Anyone else having an #NSS2018 hangover?
IG has been 🔥🔥🔥 with images of gorgeous brands + booths and I don't know about you, but my creative juices are seriously flowing.
Whether you walked the show or followed along on insta I'd love to know, who caught your eye at this year's show?

#NSS has always been my unofficial kick off to the summer trade show season. Whether you've just wrapped in NYC, or have plans to exhibit in Las Vegas, Atlanta or Dallas, there is one common thread amongst successful show exhibitors: HAVING A PLAN
With so many moving parts, you simply have to have some structure to keep you sane. From marketing materials to sales strategy, getting comfortable asking for an order to setting your terms, there are a lot of boxes that need to be checked. Have a trade show on your list this summer + want help carving out a plan unique to your business? Head to the link in my bio to schedule a free discovery call to learn how I can help you rock your next trade show. 🤘🏻🥇

Another year of #NSS is officially on the books!
Congrats to everyone who exhibited this year. It is the craziest few NYC filled days but 100000% worth it. Cheers to new retail partners and new maker friends.
Now that the show has come to a close I want to talk about one more plan you should have in place as an exhibitor: Your Post Show Plan
Once the show is over you’re probably going to want to take a long vacation. ☀️🌴 There is so much to do that it’s easy to become overwhelmed and check out for a few days. Developing a post-show plan beforehand allows you to come up for air without anything accidentally slipping through the cracks. If you accidentally forgot to put your plan in place no worries, because I've got you covered!
Here are a few post-show planning ideas to get you started: •Decide when you’ll answer outstanding emails from your time out of office
•Organize show expense receipts
•Calculate new stock order units
•Decide when you’ll place the stock orders
•Determine how you’ll follow up with and thank buyers who placed orders
•Have a plan for following up with buyers who showed interest but didn’t write
•Decide how you’ll collect outstanding payment info (not everyone is comfortable leaving their CC info with you at the show)
•Processing any orders that need to ship immediately 📸@elumdesigns

We're in the home stretch of #NSS2018, how are my #maker friends doing on this sunny Wednesday morning?!⠀
When it comes to deciding on a trade show, some options are easier to spot than others. #NSS is unique in that it's a show specifically for stationers. But what if your product falls into a different category? How do you find the best trade show for your brand? Below are some of my tips to help you find the best tradeshow for your biz⠀
•Start by Determining your WHY.⠀
Why is exhibiting at a tradeshow important to your business? Are you looking to get in front of sales reps, land a national retail chain or do you simply want to sell more? You need to know your why because it will help to determine which show would make the most sense.⠀

•Google that ish⠀
Simply start by searching your industry (say, “stationery”) + “trade show” Yes, you’ll get thousands of results but the cream tends to rise to the top so the more popular options will most likely be found on the first few pages. Once you find a few shows that look like they could be winners look for the page on their website that lists exhibitors from the most recent show and see who exhibited. Are there any familiar names? Do these company’s mirror your target market? You may have to dig a little deeper and search these company names on social media. It’s time intensive but so worth it because exhibiting at a show can cost you thousands, so you want to find the show that’s best for you.⠀

•Ask your buyers⠀
Your buyers have probably been to quite a few shows and have some favorites. Ask around and see which they attend to get the names of shows that would compliment your business.⠀

•Scope out the Competition⠀
Search your competitor's social media profiles and see if they’ve attended any shows. Find relevant show hashtags and seek those out too! Even searching #tradeshow on Instagram will yield tons of results.⠀


Can we just talk about this gorgeous booth at #NSS2018 by @shannonkirsten (I'm having serious #NSS envy for everyone who got to attend this year!)
Everything about this space says "come and see what we're all about" From their colorful products displayed on the walls to the simple/ functional fixtures and main table for writing orders this booth gets the gold ⭐️🥇for everything a booth should be.
If you're thinking of taking the leap and exhibiting at a trade show, there are a few questions you should be asking yourself before signing up: •What types of buyers do you want to sell to?
•Do you have enough designs to sell?
•Can you afford to exhibit?
•Is your pricing is ready for wholesale?
•Do you have a concrete set of goals?
•What kind of booth can you afford?
•What types of buyers do you want to sell to?

Deciding at the 11th hour to participate in a show may put you in a losing position from the onset especially if it's your first-time exhibiting. Not only does it leave you scrambling for a decent booth location (most of the good spots are probably already taken) but then everything else starts to feel like a rush job and when you’re left scrambling there tend to be more mistakes. Don’t back yourself into a corner when it isn’t necessary, ain’t nobody got time for that.
When you do it right, exhibiting at a trade show leaves a lasting impression on your business. It’s a ton of work but the payoff can be huge! Have you committed to participating in a trade show this year? If so, leave me a note in the comments below!

Remember that pre-show mailer I mentioned the other day? Here's a snap from @themerchantatl to give you an idea of the excitement #NSS generates from the other side. If you were a store buyer/owner, wouldn't you be PUMPED to have a mail day like this?!⠀
When exhibiting, sending a beautifully designed mailer that invites buyers to your booth is a MUST. Your mailer should include your company name, the tradeshow you’re exhibiting at, your booth number and key social media info. (So buyers can easily scope you out ahead of time!)⠀
In addition to a mailer, you're going to want to also check some other boxes off your pre-show marketing strategy list. A pre-show marketing strategy helps build anticipation for the show generates excitement for your brand and products!⠀
In the days leading up to the show, share sneak peeks on social media of what you've got in the works and create show-specific hashtags along with your usual relevant hashtags and use them consistently. Some great types of tags to include are:⠀

•Trade Show related hashtag — tradeshow name, your booth number⠀
•Industry related hashtags (stationery, gifts, home decor)⠀
•Business-related hashtags⠀

I'd love to hear, if you're a retailer walking the show this year was there something that a brand did that really caught your attention? If you're exhibiting, what was your marketing strategy leading up to #NSS2018 Tell me in the comments below!⠀

It's no secret that Trade Shows are one of my FAVORITE ways to build a wholesale business, grow brand recognition and connect with retail stores. Not only do you get to make tons of new friends but you also have the opportunity to connect with some of the BEST retailers throughout the country!
For today's #TradeshowTip I want to focus on your budget. As you're walking the pink carpet at this year's #NSS2018 you've probably seen everything from the Cadillac of booths to the bare bones/blah.
There’s no question, a tradeshow can do some serious damage to your bank account. You’re spending a lot of money upfront in the hopes that the orders will more than make up for it. By being really price conscious and creating a budget you can find a way to tow the line between blowing through all your 💵 and making a killer first impression with buyers. When it comes to carving out your budget, here are some must-includes to help get you started: •Booth Costs
•Hotel + Transportation Costs (taxi/uber/rentals/train/plane and such)
•Special supplies
•Any giveaways you plan as a show special
•Printer costs (business cards/catalogs/press kits/order forms)
•Special Signage (so buyers can easily spot your booth!)
•Postage (for any pre-show or post show mailers, thank you notes etc)
•Meals (especially important if you’re traveling!)
•Miscellaneous Expenses (to cover anything that pops up!) #stationeryshow #stationeryshow2018 #stationerylove #notecards #personalizedcards #greetingcards #NSS #creativefriends #stationery #etsyshop #stationeryaddict #etsypreneur #etsyseller #handsandhustle #risingtidesociety #calledtobecreative #flashesofdelight #sendmoremail #creativityfound #etsyshopowner #calledtobecreative #handlettering #mycreativebiz #makersmovement #creativehappylife #makersgonnamake #wearethecreativeeconomy #etsywholesale

While we're on the topic of booth design it's important to not only do what's best for your budget but what's best for your sanity.
While a lot of people opt to DIY their booth there are companies out there who will build your booth for you. Yes, this can be a different level of investment than if you were to DIY but depending on what your design plan is, it can totally be worth it.
For instance, if you're located on the other side of the country and want to completely DIY a booth with hard walls you'll need to ship in your entire booth to the show in advance, then put it together. Having an outside company handle the logistics allows you to step into your space and start merchandising. Contracting out some or all of your booth build can save you hours and maybe more spending a few extra bucks if it means you can take a later flight, spend some time seeing the best of NYC or get a little more sleep. #themoreyouknow🌈

Yesterday, I introduced you to my friend @paperfinchdesign and today, I'm sharing a peek at her booth!⠀
Booth design is a critical part of tradeshow success. From hard walls to lighting, fixtures and merchandising, this is where the bulk of your budget will go.⠀
While the venue usually provides a bare-bones package that includes a table, some chairs, and curtain walls the best booths you will see go beyond the basics. While it’s tempting to use what they have because it’s so much more affordable, consider the impression you’ll leave when your booth is the only one that didn’t step it up. This isn’t something you should try and cobble together at the last minute so plan plan plan!⠀
I love how @paperfinchdesign really showcases her products and personality with this clean and colorful display. #nailedit
If you’re attending the show be sure to swing by booth 1570 to check it out in person!⠀

I can't talk about #NSS without mentioning one of my all-time favorite brands, @riflepaperco 🌸⠀
I remember my first experience with @riflepaperco was while visiting their booth during one of my early NSS trips years ago. From the second I spotted them on the trade show floor they totally blew my mind. Since then they've continued to bring their A game and set the bar HIGH for great design. If your walking the show I’d love to know, who tops your list of must visit booths this year?!⠀

While there are so many reasons that #NSS is one of my favorite tradeshows, their best new product awards is definitely a highlight! Product submissions are showcased for all attendees to check out and category winners are included in the Show Daily as well as on the NSS website, and social media. Award winners also are highlighted in the press room during the Show.⠀
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This wall flag by @_inthedaylight is a new product finalist and I think it's something each and every one of us should have hanging in our homes. Double tap if you agree!⠀


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