I have exhibited at Surtex three times - twice with a collective in 2013 and 2014 and once by myself. Both are very different experiences and both rewarding in their own way. When I did my first show I was wide-eyed and embarking on the unknown. I had no expectations and no idea if I was presenting myself in the right way. Being in the collective and having a large offering of work to browse through gave me insight to what buyers were gravitating towards. I could see they liked variety but were always looking for something specific and they knew it when they instantly saw it. I could see that my work felt lost within the group and only a few collections were catching their attention. I knew I needed to make some adjustments the next time.
When I approached the second year of exhibiting I realized that I needed to tighten up my presentation. When I look back at the first show the booths that stood out for me were ones that clearly demonstrated their skills, their distinctive style and their BRAND. How could I have a brand statement as part of a collaborative booth if we are branded as a group? This is when I realized that your STYLE and PRESENTATION is EVERYTHING.
Instantly you STAND OUT if you make it clear:
1. what you do
2. what you are offering
3. what makes you unique
This was a CHALLENGING TASK going into year two. I decided to focus on my work and make sure I demonstrate my skill set and the type of work I'd like to license and sell. I put a variety of more thought-out work in my book and on my banners and considered the trends and type of work the buyers were interested in the year before that align with me and my style. I ended up receiving a fantastic deal from one of the pieces on my banner and continue to work closely with this client today. They sell my designs in retail stores year round all across the country.
I realized this selected art piece was:
1. on trend
2. showed my lettering skills
3. was work I enjoyed doing and would like to do more of
At that point I believed I was on to something. I realized that I needed to stay in this lane and make work I was proud of, that represented me and my style and was work I'd like to continue doing.
After taking a year off I wanted to do the show on my own and come out debuting my brand. What was my brand? What would I do? I went through a detailed BRANDING PROCESS you can read about HERE in my previous booth design post. It was time to get to work and develop my trade show presentation.
I knew when exhibiting that it was important to:
1. stand out
2. be true to me (be an extension of me) and my visual point of view
3. have a clear brand statement that tells buyers what I have to offer
As I designed I kept these three things in mind. Everything I made a decision on, things I designed, purchased, posted and wrote was unapologetically me. It was CONSISTENT visually as well as on message. I developed branding guidelines to follow til the end of the show and still use today.
I could then see other booths that had no brand statement and did not represent the artist. I personally saw buyers walk past them and not make eye contact over and over. The artists looked somewhat bored and disappointed. It validated to me how important branding is for exhibitors. You want to STAND OUT, BE MEMORABLE, have people stop by who like what they are seeing, GRAB BUYERS' ATTENTION and create something that is TRUE TO YOU - something you can be proud of and EXCITES YOU. I received lots of love for my booth and work and felt a sense of accomplishment from the branding bootcamp I put myself through. It was well worth it.
Designing for the show gave me tremendous clarity on my brand and gave the opportunity and motivation to bring my brand to life. It is always evolving but I now have the understanding and foundation to continue to develop it as I grow and expand.
***EXCITING OFFERS FOR EXHIBITORS!
I decided this year to not exhibit BUT I have parlayed my experience and design knowledge into NEW offers and partnered with an amazing artist and educator to bring you an informative WEBINAR for exhibitors!
WATCH our WEBINAR THROUGH DEC. 16th!
Sign up HERE to WATCH the REPLAY. Click on "Claim my spot now".
If you are thinking about exhibiting or interested in doing it some day, we have an highly informative WEBINAR that you shouldn't miss. My friend and collegue, Dariana, of DariDesignStudio and I put on a fabulous webinar to share our productivity tips and strategies and branding exercises and tips that every exhibitor should know. Stick around til the end and receive info on our services and products for exhibitors!!!
SIGN UP HERE TO WATCH the REPLAY AND RECEIVE OUR FREE BONUS DOWNLOADS that includes a roadmap to the show and a branding worksheet that you won't want to miss.
- BRAND ON POINT a 3-4 month one-on-one DESIGN COACHING package for trade show exhibitors. Have your own design consultant working with you directly to put your brand statement together for your show! Starts week of December 19th! Get it now for only $200 a month for 9 months or 3 payments of $600. Payment plans end on FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16th at 11:59PM PST. Learn more here!
- BRAND AWE-THENTIC, a branding and design ONLINE CLASS for trade show exhibitors. Work on your own using my design process to develop your brand for the show! Starts January 9th and is only $97! This early bird pricing ends on FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16th at midnight PST. Learn more here.
- Need assistance with the trade show prep tasks and staying on schedule? Learn about Dariana's INSANELY AMAZING COACHING PACKAGE, "SHINE", and MODULES for exhibitors to help keep you on track and be highly productive!!! It's a MUST! There's nothing like it. Get it for only $200 down! Payment plans end Midnight DECEMBER 16th PST!
- We are also offering one-on-one HOURLY Coaching CALLS if you'd like to chat with us about something you need assistance with. Write us on our website contact pages to set up a call here and here!