Great job! You have taken that first step and researched the upcoming shows to see which shows, if any, are right for your company. If you are just starting out and really want to see what is out there I would recommend going to as many trade shows as you can. As long as it is in your budget. And as long as it is the right show for you. The benefit is that you can network, attend seminars, and learn a whole heck of a lot. Ready?
Shall we take our first business trip together?
How exciting! I’ll prep for the show while you book the hotel… deal?
I have prepped some questions so that we can get as much done as we can in the little time we have. Badges on, check. Notepad and pen, check. Large coffee in hand, check. (I do love my coffee in the morning…or all day.)
Remember in our previous post we discussed Fake it till you make it? Yep that’s right, you need to come off as if you know what you are talking about, even if you don’t. We want the sales rep to take you SERIOUSLY. Which means you need to understand industry language and know what you are asking for.
1. WHAT ARE YOUR MINIMUMS?
As a new company you will work with companies that have low minimums usually 20 – 100 yards.
2. ARE THESE FABRICS IN STOCK AND READILY AVAILABLE?
Try to avoid “Jobbers” as they do not produce fabric and usually cannot supply yardage if you get a large order or reorder.
3. DO YOU PROVIDE SAMPLE YARDAGE? WHAT AMOUNT?
You can usually order 5 – 20 yards to start your sample line.
4. ARE THESE FABRICS DOMESTIC, OR IMPORTED?
Domestic mills will have lower minimums, less issues in shipping and late delivery.
5. HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO SHIP THE ORDER?
Know your production deadlines. If you don’t know, ask the DCC for help.
6. ASK FOR SWATCHES OR HEADERS OF FABRICS YOU ARE INTERESTED IN.
These will be helpful for fabric storyboards and line development.
Tip: Remember to take business cards, take notes, and write down style numbers and color-ways you are interested in.
Tip:Always follow up on orders and sample requests. Fabric Mills are very busy after shows and need to be reminded about new customers.
Worried you won’t remember the questions to ask?
Don’t worry partner, I have you covered!
Click on the GIANT button below to download the script, What to Ask at a Textile Show.
Take this script with you! Heck, print out 20 copies and write notes based on the vendors you meet. Isn’t that easy.
Tip: Bring a mini stapler and staple their business card or PO to the script so you have everything in one spot.
Remember, I am here for you. If you would like to spend some time prepping for the show in a One-On-One Strategy Session, click here. You will be taken to a link to purchase the session and we will follow up with you to set up a time. It is that easy!
Next up: Finding the best materials for your line.