Lots of trade shows exist. When you think about them, do you imagine people up in your face, trying to sell you stuff that you don't want or need? Yeah, sounds cringe-worthy, and a reason to not go. While that may happen a few times, the benefits of going to a show outweigh the reasons to skip it. Essentially, there are three main reasons to go to a trade show:
- Connecting with vendors
- Staying up-to-date on the latest industry products and news
CONNECTING WITH VENDORS
All your current and potential vendors are in one place. The reps you chat with on the phone when you order or have a question are there, so you can meet them face-to-face. By chatting with vendors, you'll learn who they are and what they stand for. When you step in a booth, you'll also be able to try stuff out yourself. And these specialists are there to walk you through various tools and processes.
Have any issues in your shop that you just can't figure out? Bring it up. Vendors are also there to help you. For all you know, the press or ink or emulsion, etc, that you are experiencing troubles with will be at the show so you and the representative can talk through and discover a solution to the problem.
Not only do you have the opportunity to connect with vendors, you can network with other screen printers. Hanging out with other printers means you have another person to reach out to when you have a question, another person who will understand your ups and downs, another person who can open your eyes to new ideas. Can't hurt to have more friends!
Trade shows will offer workshops and seminars on all kinds of aspects of the industry. Wanna learn how to DTG print? Head to that session. Need more help in the business management side? Sign up for that seminar. Literally, all facets of screen printing will be covered. You'll grow your business, and yourself as a person by learning more.
GET THE LATEST INDUSTRY PRODUCTS AND NEWS
When vendors come to these shows, they don't hold back. Vendors will release new inks, presses, gadgets, tools, printers, etc. (We'll be introducing a few new things at the Impressions Expo in Long Beach. You don't want to miss that!) They'll show you how to use the products. You may even learn about different products and processes you didn't even know existed! Learning about the latest products and news will give you an edge against your competitors who didn't attend. Knowing a new way to make your prints even better means more business for you.
How do you find these trade shows? First, you can subscribe to industry magazines like Impressions Magazine, Screen Printing Magazine, Printwear Magazine, etc. Industry magazines will inform you about the big trade shows happening all over the United States. If you're not subscribed to a magazine, you can learn about shows through online communities. Facebook has a ton of screen printing groups like The Print Life and Screen Printing Gurus/Print Hustlers. Follow the aforementioned magazines on Instagram, or follow industry leaders like Ryonet to learn about shows you should attend. Online forums such as Halftoned or T-Shirt Forums are another area to pull trade show information from.
Try going to one national and one local show each year. If you're a smaller shop, then try to go to one show a year. If you only have the ability to go to one show, we suggest going to the Impressions Expo in Long Beach, CA (formerly known as ISS). It's crazy big – more than 400 exhibitors and experts will be there. Make that one the show you go to.
For shows that require you to travel, we suggest to start making plans several months in advance to the show. Firstly, a trade show's prices get more and more expensive when you get closer to the date. So if you know that you're going to go, the most economical move is to get your ticket ASAP. On top of that, it's also cheaper to get your plane tickets sooner rather than later. You'll want to get your hotel or Airbnb before everybody else makes their reservations. Basically, it's better to avoid procrastination in order to save some cash. If you decide last minute that you want to go to a trade show, most shows allow you to register the day it starts.
Ready to head to a trade show? We'll be at the Impressions Expo in Long Beach, CA, on January 17-19, 2020! You'll find us at Booth #3001. If you want to go, register here with the promo code: EXIV227865.