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Remember the very first Expo you went to? If you’re like me, you thought you had died and gone to heaven! I took absolutely every handout—sometimes two and three (to give to friends). I was so loaded down with “stuff” that I seriously damaged fellow Expo attendees (not to mention myself) with my over-sized, over-weighted bag. Once home, the bag sat under my desk; then it migrated to the sewing room; then to a closet and finally got tossed when I came home with a new bag from the next year’s Expo. Over the years, I’ve learned how to get the most out of Expos and I’d like to share these tips with you.
1) Eat breakfast as you may not have time or want to take the time to eat.
2) Pre-register for any classes so you don’t miss out on ones that get filled. Take at least one class TOTALLY outside your areas of interest just to expand your horizons.
3)Supplies to bring:
a double-ended pen with a hiliter on one end; clip it to a pocket or the outside of your purse
self-stick return address labels to put on address lists and contest forms.
a SMALL collapsible rolling bag. (I found one at a Totally Organized type of store for about $20) CAUTION: at crowded shows, these can be hazardous. You can’t tell that the person ahead of you is dragging a bag and crashing into one can ruin a perfectly good day!
small notebook for notes about products and ideas and to make sketches from the style shows. Before you go, list fabric yardage requirements in the notebook so you can purchase the correct amount of fabric.
4)What to wear:
something with outside pockets to keep the return address labels handy and to stash vendor business cards
a canvas/nylon handbag—leather is too heavy
something you made—a great way to meet people
5) Preview the vendor show by doing a quick run-thru and hilite on the show program, the ones you want to revisit. Once you’ve done the run-thru, find a seat, get a cup of coffee and map out your strategy. If time is limited, divvy up the list with a friend and then share the loot!
Bring cash for inexpensive items—no $100 bills—and most vendors will appreciate smaller bills than $20’s so they can preserve their change.
Use credit cards for more expensive items.
Check purchases at the Bag/coat Check provided by the Expo.
Buy at the end of the day or the last day of the show in order to preserve your budget.
If you are in the market for a big-ticket item, be prepared to take advantage of show specials.
Be selective on taking handouts to conserve the weight in your bag.
7) When you get home:
Crash—then sort. Do this ASAP.
Toss all paper you have second thoughts on. She who dies with the most handouts, does not automatically get into Heaven! “Keepers” go in a loose-leaf binder, file folder, whatever.
Stash the business cards in a small box. You have my permission to save the boxes checks come in for this purpose. Label the box with Expo name and date. Don’t bother to alphabetize; when you need a name, you’ll be amazed—as you sort--at everything you find that you had forgotten.
Pet all the purchases, sort and put away. I caution you about leaving them in the bag/box—it’s too easy to forget what you have. If you must do this, label with product, vendor, etc., as a quick reminder of what you already have.
It is two weeks later—midnight—and you suddenly remember something you should have bought and need RIGHT NOW or you can’t quite remember a technique. Well, just bring out that box of business cards and log onto the Internet—instant gratification. My how times have changed. When I first started going to Expos, 800 numbers were a rarity!
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