So this will be a short post today, and it's a little later in the day than usual, sorry! The DC Pen Show whooped my butt, and I decided to sleep in this morning (at least as long as my 7-month old would let me.....8:30am!). I'll be writing a far more substantial and conclusive DC show post tomorrow, but for now, I'll just say that it was a great show, and I had a blast talking to everyone.
Some changes I'd make next time:
-Get a table with electricity and wireless internet so I can have people cruise on the Swab Shop live at the show and watch Ink Nouveau videos.
-I'd bring about half the paper (especially Rhodia pads which were ubiquitous) and twice the ink.
-I would not set up at all for the pre-show, but only for the weekend (I would attend the pre-show just to meet other vendors).
-I would purchase my products for the show and have them shipped directly to the hotel so I wouldn't have to haul them there, only back (after I've sold a bunch, hopefully).
The show was one of the busiest in years (I was told by those who have attended for years). I was able to network with some vendors I was very eager to meet and even do a couple of interviews, as well as meet a lot of GouletPens.com customers and fans of Ink Nouveau.
In the end, with 3 free helpers, a free place to stay, and a very busy and by all means extremely successful weekend, I about broke even or perhaps came out a little ahead for the weekend. I haven't been tracking, but if I had to guess I'd say I've invested 100 hours or more into the show prep, the actual show, and the work to get back to normal after the show. So was it worth it? Financially, not yet. Only time will tell if it will help in the long run.
What I will say is that I am glad I at least did this show once, and that even if I don't do a huge spread like I did this year, I will at least attend and blog about it next year. The logistics of doing a show like this for a vendor with my type of products are quite frightening, and I surely won't be able to make shows like this a regular part of my operation, I simply don't have the manpower.
For the rest of the day today, I'll be pulling out and double-checking everything I have left over from the show to inventory and put back on GouletPens.com. Thankfully, I'm going home about 8 bins lighter than when I came, but as you can tell, it's still quite a bit left!