Although I had always intended my Kerry-All Pouches to be only a woodworking product, interest from farmers and machinery dealers has forced me to expand (in a good way).
And since the regional farm mechanization show is only every two years and my budget is still small (this is still only a part-time business), I decided to do the farm show this year, and the regional building supply dealer show next winter.
It was an incredible learning experience, and I’m guessing many (most?) trade shows are similar, as far as the great support from show organizers and fellow exhibitors goes.
Everyone treated me with the same respect and consideration the John Deere dealers got. I thought, being a one man show (and that can be tough at a three-day show!), I would feel like a small cog in a big wheel, but I didn’t.
For someone with a rather new and unique product line (or at least I think it is), getting my stuff out there isn’t easy, who’s going to Google “Kerry-All Pouches” or anything close? It’s not like I’m selling another line of cowboy boots, or something. Trade shows appear to be one good answer. So many people told me what great products I have, lots of “why didn’t I think of that?” or “I was thinking of doing something just like that a couple of years ago.
And the best ones… “Can you make me a cover for..” or “a pouch for…” tons of great contacts, more sales than I expected for a first time exhibit.
Why am I telling you all this? “It’s just stuff for farm equipment, we’re woodworkers here…” True, but a lot of you are probably thinking about doing your first trade show. I’m here to tell you to go for it! I’ll attach a pic, and you’ll see I had nothing fancy; I think the most expensive thing was the $60 banner I put up with my name and logo on it.
Some homemade pine holders for postcards, three cheap display stands ($12 each on eBay), and some other literature (brochures, business cards, etc.).
I know trade show exhibiting isn’t cheap, but I think well worth the investment compared to online or magazine advertising, etc.
Oh, and I’m also here to blow my own horn… just a little bit!
-- Lloyd Kerry; creator of the Kerry-All Pouch, http://www.kerrywoodworking.com