The saga of the newbie at the World Tea Expo continues from Part 1:
Then there’s your time “budget.” However long you think it’ll take you to prepare, both before leaving home and at the Expo hall, double or even triple it. Just slogging through the 150-page Exhibitor’s Manual and figuring out what parts of it apply to you can take hours! You need to determine which on-site services you’ll need, and order them. Then, you have to decide exactly which of your products and how much of each you’ll bring. There’s sourcing, and in my case creating, stock for display, samples, and on-site sales. Updating your wholesale price lists. Designing and ordering your promotional materials. Shipping delays and back orders. Devising a layout for your booth; revising the layout on the spot as necessary. Packing everything up to ship; packing it back up and shipping it home after the show. If you’re offering textiles, as I did, ironing or steaming out wrinkles. Unpacking and setting up the booth, then breaking it down at the end of the show.
Not to mention following up on all of your leads after the show is over — remember, this is why you’re exhibiting!
Although being an exhibitor required spending more time and funds than I had originally anticipated, it was well worth the expenses. As a whole, the experience of being a vendor at WTE is most gratifying. I so enjoyed meeting new people — from the gentlemen at Tea Farms Alliance who brought us exquisite cups of “morning tea” to chatting with all the many tea lovers and business people who took the time to stop by our booth — as well as re-connecting with countless old acquaintances.
It was also in many ways an overwhelming experience. I was fortunate to have excellent mentors through the rough spots, and especially appreciate Annelise Pitt of Thistledown Cozies and Jennifer Peterson of Tea Trade Mart, who helped out in more ways than I can count. Booth neighbour Kim Hendrickson of Salvia Press and her colleague Suzanne for their spot-on set-up suggestions and general moral support; the folks in the Cirqua Water booth across the aisle for their kindnesses, including modeling our “Infinity” scarf for us. And the World Tea Expo staff, who from the beginning and all through the show were so patient and responsive to all of this newbie’s many questions and concerns.
I’m looking forward to being a seasoned veteran at the next Expo. Hope to see you there!
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