The Stand at Top Drawer/ Home 2012

Top Drawer/ Home 2012 has concluded and we were lucky to have the help of a few good people* as we set up our stand at Top Drawer/ Home 2012.

Thought we’d share with you some of the images; before, during and after, so that you can all see how we got there too.

Shankar putting up the rails to showcase our throws

Almost done- L to R - Sonali (seated), Shankar, Priya (with back to camera)

Putting on the last few touches to posh it all up

The stand finally all set up

*A big ‘Thank you’ to Shankar Raghu (Sonali’s husband), Isabel Costa Lucio (Our stand designer) and Sandra Vollrath (an Event Manager in a previous life, friend, adviser and sounding board.)

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Learnings from participating in Top Drawer’s Home 2012

Getting selected to participate in Home 2012 at Earl’s Court, London, a brand new trade show spun-off from Top Drawer, featuring some of the best Home Décor sellers and brands, was a high! The reality set in later as we worked against time to get our stand just right- to make it attractive and accessible to all.

Now that we’ve been exhibiting there for two days (today is the third and final day of the show), we thought we’d share some of the lessons we’re taking away from this, the first of (hopefully) many trade shows we’d like to participate in.

1. Which Trade Show?-Although Home 2012 is a first, in that there has never been a separate Home show under the aegis of Top Drawer before- the response has been  excellent. When we were debating whether or not to participate in such a new trade show  seeing as we’re so new, what tipped the balance in favour of participating was the brand association with Top Drawer, which we knew to be a very popular, established and well organized show. It’s evident that those who attended Top Drawer, have come to Home 2012 too, expecting the same high level of creativity and novelty.

2. Feedback; especially if you’re new– Our brand philosophy has been validated several times over during the course of this show, as we see the typical attendee of Top Drawer – Home 2012 exhibiting a healthy interest in preserving the past and keeping handicraft traditions alive and well. The footfall at our stand, Aa 36, has encouraged us, as have the many enquiries. Trade Shows are a great way to get your ideas and your products validated. If they work, great, if not, go back to the drawing board with the suggestions you got there.

Our advice to others in our position would be, go with established trade shows, or even newer ones promoted by the same organisers as celebrated ones.

3. Location, location, location– At any trade show, as with property assets, the most important mantra is ‘Location, location, location’. Where your stand is located could be the difference between success in the form of several leads versus a boring three days standing around twiddling your thumbs or drinking coffee by the gallon. If you have a choice, plan ahead and try to get a spot that sees a lot of traffic and is easy to reach.

4. Whither Stand Design?– Next to location, perhaps the most important thing is the design of the stand itself. Ensuring that your stand is uncluttered, logically laid-out, and offers easy access to your products, so that visitors can touch and feel them, is imperative. We were lucky to find a gifted and cooperative stand designer who totally ‘got’ us and our brand.

5. Judging Interest– How do you know if someone at the trade show is serious about wanting to do business with you at some point? The dating principal applies! If they give you their contact details as well as taking yours, you can be fairly sure they’re interested in hearing from you. And after all, isn’t all business a bit like dating? Buyers and Sellers, if their interest in each other is mutual, only then can business take place and grow.

At trade shows, it has also become the norm to sweeten the deal a little bit by offering a raffle prize; for e.g. in exchange for putting business cards in a fish bowl, or filling out a feedback form with a section asking for contact details, your visitor may win a gift of some description. At our stand, Aa36, at Home 2012, we’re offering a goody basket filled with gorgeous yet utilitarian Indian handcrafted products.

We hope this post has inspired you to participate in trade shows and we’d love to hear your views on it.

London…we are ready to LAUNCH!

What should a little known start up like ours do to attract attention? Dance on the London rooftops aka Mary Poppins or arrive in a sleek Aston Martin aka James Bond. Quintessentially British – and oh yes that’ll attract attention – of the London Metropolitan Police and NOT the retailers (rolling eyes)!!

So we have resorted to more traditional methods (not anywhere as exciting as the above – but realistic) like getting featured in a trade magazine, inviting retailers by sending them postcards and listing ourselves in the exhibition directory.

Progressive Gift and Home feature

Progressive Gifts and Home is a renowned trade magazine with 7000+ worldwide circulation. They always do a feature article on new products showcasing at Top Drawer. We are thrilled to bits that they agreed to feature us as one of the highlights. Not bad, eh?

We are eternally grateful to Anita Mackenzie (www.plumchutney.com) and Lisa Long (www.morethanwords.uk.com) for all their advice and support, both having previously exhibited at Top Drawer. Taking their suggestion of being proactive before the actual trade show, we created postcards with some of our snazziest images and posted it out to our target retailers. This invitation also gives a sneak preview of what to expect at our exhibition stand! Like we always say, what would we do without friends like you? Anita and Lisa, thank you ever so much!

Postcard Front

Postcard Back

Lastly, what happens when the buyers have had a look around, grabbed the goodie bags, downed a litre of coffee and taken the exhibitor directory back home. Aha, we have covered this avenue too with a detailed listing of Purvaai for them to refer to at leisure.

And the hysteria is just beginning – wish us luck!