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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Winding down

I've already kept you up to date on the DC Pen Show for 2010 on Friday and Saturday, but I have to say that Sunday was actually my favorite day. For one, I didn't have to haul anything and set it up! Everything was set up from Saturday already, we just basically strolled in and were ready to go. Nice!

Sunday is always slower than Saturday, and for me, that was a great thing. The pace was still good, but not insane like Saturday was. I opted not to film anything for Sunday, because it was very similar to Saturday, except all the hauling was done at the end of the day.....so you can take yesterday's video and play it in reverse if you want to see how it went :P

The great thing about a slightly slower pace day was that I got to spend more one-on-one time with everyone, including fans of Ink Nouveau and GouletPens.com, new fans who hadn't heard of us before, and other vendors as well! I was able to meet Richard Binder face-to-face (although quickly, because he had a line of people waiting to get their nibs adjusted!), Pendleton Brown, David Oscarson, and I even managed to squeeze in an interview each with Brian Gray of the Edison Pen Co. and Ernest Shin of Hakumin Urushi Kobo about their joint Urushi pen project, which I'll be posting later this week.

I was also able to meet face-to-face with Karen Doherty, the Marketing VP of Exaclair, Inc. I talk with her regularly on the phone and trade emails constantly, but this was my first time talking with her in person. I was able to share with her all of the things you all have been clamoring for, including more 1670 ink, off-white Triomphe/Webbie tablets, more colors in 100ml bottles, and a possible new refillable small Quo Vadis notebook as well as some new stuff from J. Herbin. All exciting stuff! I'll be sure to keep updates coming as I find out the latest in the writing world.


I keep getting asked a lot about whether or not the show was 'worth doing'. I think it's pretty well understood at this point that the show was a lot of work (for every vendor there, especially those with big spreads and heavy products). Other 'competitors' of mine have been doing the DC show for years, and may even do the whole show circuit....DC, LA, New York, Chicago, Raleigh, Philly, Ohio, Dallas.....honestly, I don't know how they do it. We at GPC spend so much time running our well-oiled machine of a website, and the show has been a serious disruption to the flow of our normal operation.

As to whether or not we'll do the show again, it's up in the air at this point. There are many factors: financial, time, physical effort, of course, but also at this time next year it's possible that Rachel could be pregnant, I could have employees, our shop location could be different, etc. Keeping in mind that we only started selling ink and paper as of November last year, and we've grown exponentially since then. I have no idea where we will be at this time next year. It'll be about 6 months before I need to decide whether or not to do DC again next year. I would do a lot differently next year though, as I laid out in yesterday's post.

I can't say at this point whether I will do it again next year or not, but I can say unequivocally that I won't even be thinking about another show until next year's DC show. It's kind of a catch-22....I do a show like DC to get business, which makes me busier, which makes it that much harder to do shows. Something has to give....either spend my time having quick response on the website and make videos for the blog, or I don't shows. It's kind of one or the other, especially with just my wife and I working together (with the baby, no less!). So yeah.....but I probably should speculate on next year's show too much while my back is still sore and I have to load the trailer back up to head home from this year's show :P

4 comments:

  1. Interesting Brian, I would love to make it to a show some time soon. Without getting too personal with your business, I have to wonder if the sales at the show are a large percent of your annual sales or if it's something that you can easily make up from Web site sales? That would have to be a major consideration for your participation for next year.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Shows in general are a pretty tough way to make a living. There are booth fees, hotel costs, gas, trailer rental/purchase, displays, etc. etc. Going solely on 'numbers', it was not worth me doing the show. However, you can't put a price on publicity, meeting people face-to-face, getting to introduce myself publicly to the other vendors, etc. I think if I do it next year I'll have a whole different approach, doing it more for PR than for retailing at the show. Because of this blog and other viral marketing efforts I'm doing, I already had at least half the people that came up to my booth know who I was already. That should tell you how the internet has changed things from even 5-10 years ago. Trade shows are no longer very critical, especially when I can post personal videos of myself for you to view for free. Heck, even Apple has decided not to go to the Macworld conference anymore, shouldn't that tell you something? :/

    ReplyDelete
  3. Shows in general are a pretty tough way to make a living. There are booth fees, hotel costs, gas, trailer rental/purchase, displays, etc. etc. Going solely on 'numbers', it was not worth me doing the show. However, you can't put a price on publicity, meeting people face-to-face, getting to introduce myself publicly to the other vendors, etc. I think if I do it next year I'll have a whole different approach, doing it more for PR than for retailing at the show. Because of this blog and other viral marketing efforts I'm doing, I already had at least half the people that came up to my booth know who I was already. That should tell you how the internet has changed things from even 5-10 years ago. Trade shows are no longer very critical, especially when I can post personal videos of myself for you to view for free. Heck, even Apple has decided not to go to the Macworld conference anymore, shouldn't that tell you something? :/

    ReplyDelete
  4. Interesting Brian, I would love to make it to a show some time soon. Without getting too personal with your business, I have to wonder if the sales at the show are a large percent of your annual sales or if it's something that you can easily make up from Web site sales? That would have to be a major consideration for your participation for next year.

    ReplyDelete

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