So if you’ve been keeping up with my blog posts, I’ve been talking a lot about getting ready for our FIRST EVER trade show, which was at the Atlanta Merchandise Mart this past week. We went into it not knowing at all what to expect. Are we going to be overwhelmed? Is anyone going to come see us? What if it’s a big bust? I do have to give a shout out and BIG thanks to my BFF Katie of Sylvia Benson. She gave us so many helpful tips and we would have been totally lost without her. The experience itself was amazing, and definitely the best decision we’ve made thus far with The Blush Label. So a great success! But it was one LONG week:
I flew into ATL on Monday of last week to start setting up, and Mary drove in on the same day. Thank goodness we decided to get there early–we were in the temporaries section and our exhibit didn’t start until Thursday. I carried all of the scarves, placemats, coasters, and the cocktail napkins with me because we knew none of them would break on the plane. I packed my bag full and when I got to the airport and tried to check my personal bag, they insisted that my bag of samples was too large to carry on and I would have to check that as well. I had a mini freak out moment thinking “What if my luggage gets lost and I lose everything?!” so I sat on the floor and pulled as much out as I could and put it in my purse. Luckily, my luggage arrived OK and I just looked like a crazy lady in the check in line!
I got into ATL, dropped my stuff off at the hotel, then took the samples to where our exhibit was in Building 1. If you have never been to ATL market…I can’t even explain how huge that place is. There are 3 MASSIVE buildings and it would probably take 2 weeks to walk through all of the exhibits, maybe longer. I got to our floor and it looked like a construction zone/mouse maze. I got lost, walked around about 4 times, and finally had to ask Exhibitor Services where our booth was because there was no way I could find it on my own. Luckily, Mary showed up shortly afterwards with the pillows, trays, and the glasses and we got set up pretty easily. We only had one moment of arguing (amazing!) over an Ikea shelf that wasn’t easy to put together. When you work with family, especially your sister, arguing is inevitable and it’s a miracle we got away with only one during that process. BUT, later on that afternoon she lost the keys to the rental car, which still had the pillows and our signs in it, and after a frantic hour of tears and frustration, I found them and we got everything out and returned the car. Here are some pics from the first day:
When we opened on Thursday the building looked like a madhouse of frantic buyers trying to get in as quickly as possible. We posted pictures of our booth and some items on Instagram and left our booth number, which was smart. Apparently we were not on the “good” side of the building, so we didn’t get as much traffic as the other side. The first hour was terrifying because we were thinking “What if nobody comes to see us?!” but luckily people started coming in, and mostly because of what they saw on Instagram–social media is so powerful. I can’t even count how many people said, “I wouldn’t even have come to this side of the building if I hadn’t known you were here.” So that definitely made us feel better. We had the pleasure of meeting a good number of people that we follow on Instagram–which was so fun! At one point we had about 4 different people in our booth, who follow us and we follow, and it turns out they were all following each other as well. Insta-party! Seriously, it’s so fun actually getting out there and meeting people who do, and love, the same things you do.
We were also lucky enough to be positioned around some other great exhibitors. Across from us was Color Dunes and Pillow Heaven, and we were right next to Orientalist Home. Each has great stuff, and the owners were so pleasant to be next to. If you are in the market for rugs, pillows, or bags and baby products, I highly suggest you check either out. They have fantastic products.
All in all it was a wonderful experience. We received orders from all over the place, even Australia and the British Virgin Islands! I can’t even describe how awesome it feels to be able to spread our products to so many different places. And the feedback we received from everyone was nothing but positive. We felt confident enough at the show’s end to go ahead and book our space at High Point Market in April. Luckily for us, High Point is much closer and we can just drive there and home after the day is over. If we go back to Atlanta, which we probably will, we’ll probably consider being in a different location.
Anyway, I’m back home now and I am beginning the next frantic phase: Getting everyone’s orders made and ready. I will be buried in cocktail napkins until the end of March! Happy Humpday!