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.

Brand Ahoy! (Part II-The hunt for the perfect logo)

In my time at TiE-Boston, the Boston USA chapter of a worldwide business-networking not-for-profit organization, I had worked in Marketing and Communication.

Each year for the annual conference, we commissioned a brochure. This work had been awarded three years in a row to an advertising and design agency based in Pune by the name of Studio Blossoms. They kept getting repeat orders from TiE-Boston because they were just that good!

In that time, the proprietor, Prasad Rasal, had become a friend. When we realized we needed a logo for Purvaai, I knew I wanted to go to Prasad and his team at Studio Blossoms. Their work had been exemplary and they were very, very good about understanding client requirements. Luckily, my partners Sonali and Priya were open to that.

When I mentioned to Prasad that we’d started our own business, he was genuinely happy for us and asked what he could do to help. I explained what we needed- a logo that would stay on with anyone who came into contact with us, one as beautiful as the products we would sell.

As always, he understood perfectly and was super-supportive. So much so that he gave us a break on his regular charges for these services! This was, to a small start-up like ours, a huge deal.

Logo options as provided by StudioBlossoms, Pune

All the gorgeous logos we had to REJECT to pick the best one!!! Criminal waste, we say.

Within a week or so of us having communicated our requirements for a logo, Prasad’s very efficient and extremely talented team had already created no fewer than SEVEN logos!

All of them were beautiful and very relevant to our positioning. They had interpreted the brief so well that all we needed to do was select our favourite. Of course, again, like with the brand name, this was easier said than done. But we managed- the winning logo you can see at the top of this page.

Just like Prasad and Studio Blossoms, there are many others; Photographers, PR professionals, Designers, other e-Commerce retailers and many more, who have helped us in our journey towards becoming successful. Some have offered price breaks, others advice we wouldn’t get anywhere else. One of the things we hope to do through this blog is also thank all these individuals and hopefully get the word out about them. Purvaai supports other small businesses and entrepreneurs.