Who doesn’t love a trade show? The deals, the face-to-face connection, the free swag, and the samples, it’s always fun at a trade show. And even better, these expos are finally coming back after a long hiatus due to the pandemic. A team from ScreenPrinting.com joined the trade show circus again this March, at the Impressions Expo in Atlantic City. Here’s what they had to say about the experience.
WHY TRADE SHOWS?
Trade shows are the perfect way for screen printers to get a special look at everything that the industry has to offer. From new darkroom technology to automatic presses, everything at a trade show is all for the screen printer and all about making connections.
Brandon Schmunk, President of ScreenPrinting.com, has attended dozens of trade shows in his career. His takeaway from trade shows is that they’re all about connecting with printers face-to-face.
“There’s more empathy in the interaction, everyone learns a ton more and creates a lasting bond that stays with them,” Schmunk said.
As e-commerce takes a front seat in today’s market, making connections with customers and other printers is still important. What better way to do that than at an expo designed for screen printers?
The event can seem like a circus, with vendors and attendees traveling from all over to see the newest and greatest in the screen printing industry. But it’s all about the experience for screen printers to see what the options are in the trade and get to make connections with vendors.
RELATED: WHY SHOULD I GO TO A TRADE SHOW?
IMPRESSIONS EXPO ATLANTIC CITY RECAP
ScreenPrinting.com sent a team to the Impressions Expo in March: Channel Sales Manager Ronald Peters, Product Manager Colin Huggins, and Sales Rep Sebastian Furimsky all caught a red-eye flight to Atlantic City to make the event a memorable one. Pennsylvania Branch Manager Kevin Folker joined them for his first expo. Here’s what the team had to say about their experience.
This was the first trade show ScreenPrinting.com has been a vendor at since 2019.
“[It was] super cool to be back at a trade show for the first time in three years,” Furimsky said.
Though the show wasn’t as big this year as it had been before the pandemic hit, the turnout was impressive.
“It was great to reconnect with longtime customers and meet with many of our new and upcoming screen printers in the flesh,” Peters said.
This was Kevin Folker’s first screen printing trade show. His favorite experience was seeing new faces.
“[I liked] meeting new people in the industry and listening to them explain their journey in the business,” Folker said.
Remember how we mentioned that trade shows can be a total circus? Well, that’s Sebastian Furimsky’s favorite part.
“The last couple hours on the final day are always a mad rush. Printers are trying to make their final deals or stopping by one more time to check on a certain item again,” Furimsky said.
Printers come from all over to attend trade shows like this one. Ronald Peters loves the human connection of an expo.
“Getting to know people’s stories and helping provide a solution that is going to help them meet their goals is so valuable each time,” Peters said. He also loves putting faces to the names of customers he’s worked with over the years.
ADVICE FOR ATTENDEES
Participating in a trade show as a vendor is different from attending as a screen printer. Kevin Folker’s advice to printers is to come prepared.
“Create a list of challenges you’re having and any problems that you’re trying to solve before you go,” Folker said. “This way, you can identify new products that can help you or ask the right questions to get answers from the experts that you might meet while attending.”
Doing your homework is important, both for your own shop needs and for the vendors that will be at the show. Sebastian Furimsky recommends researching the vendors at the show and identifying a few you want to check out.
“The show can be overwhelming with all the vendors then you cut the time short with vendors you wanted to talk to more with,” Furimsky said.
Ronald Peters’s advice is similar: do your research and come prepared, but also bring your own networking material.
“Bring your own promotional SWAG to hand out to those who you meet and network with. I love when show-goers bring some of their own rad stuff to show or share!” Ronald said.
Furimsky has one more piece of advice when it comes to swag: “Bring a rolling suitcase for all the samples that are handed out!”
RELATED: YOUR GUIDE TO NAVIGATING TRADE SHOWS
Trade shows are a great place to connect with printers and vendors from all over. The ScreenPrinting.com team had a great time at the Impressions Atlantic City expo and is looking forward to the next trade shows to come. Join us at the GRAPHICS PRO EXPO Portland from July 19-20, and catch us at the Impressions Expo Fort Worth from September 14-16.