I am organizing and executing a product launch for 8 furniture products during next years trade show season. The designs are all prototyped and manufacturing is pretty much set up in China. However, I want to get some feedback from anyone who has attempted to launch a product line via the trade show route.
The designs are modern utilizing materials from corian, to plywood, to stone, to upholstering. The price point I believe will compete with companies like blu-dot.(mid-high end for high style/high quality)
Any advice on what shows are good for what? I have been to the ICFF and I will be attending High Point at the end of this month just to do some research. I plan on getting a small booth for 3-4 shows and introducing our products to get some feedback.
Should we be ready to take orders right away or should we just show the products for the first few shows?
Any advice would be appreciated! Also, any good RESOURCES for launching such a company?(books, articles,websites…)
A new launch - you must be both excited and exhausted.
Here is my .02: I think it is important to have your brand completely defined and rigorously applied to everything in your presentation. All your communication material should be professionally prepared, and have a very consistent feel. Your website should be up by the time you get to the show. More than anything, you are offering a unique lifestyle proposition, and you need to communicate that message. If you are not, well, it won’t be as strong.
Also, have your press releases ready and make sure you have lots of time to talk to the editors when they come around to your exhibit. If they like your work and your ideas they will want to interview you and have photography done that day to get the scoop and ride the buzz. Also, Leave enough space to set the pieces off - don’t crowd your exhibit with too much stuff. Let the pieces speak for themselves.
Good luck! Let us know how it is going.
By all means take orders at the first opportunity. Make sure you have your pricing and shipping info in place. Also, know how long it will take to deliver the first pieces. The buyers will be very astute on LTL, etc - and they are going to be sensitive to a huge outlay and minimum buy. Have a displaying-dealer package ready to go, and make it accessible. Know where you want to divide your territories too - you can’t have 2 dealers in Williamsburg, but downtown Manhattan is differnent from CPE, etc.
Ditto what mickdesign said.
High Point will get you a massive audience, but its an audience that is less receptive to ‘new’ and different things in the furniture industry. Its a commodity/marketing show, where those with the ‘most for the least’ are perceived as winners. This is where you can make a lot of sales and get many dealers to carry your line, but with so much to choose from (if you haven’t been to High Point before, you first time will be absolutely overwhelming with the amount of product on display) its tough to get everyone’s attention. Having a glass-walled space in the design center will at least attract attention from those just passing through, although the rent will undobtedly be steep - especially if you are not ready to take orders.
ICFF will be much more receptive to design and innovative materials usage, but you are less likely to sell a great deal of product as it is not where your bulk of furniture dealers go; not a bad thing if your product is not geared toward this type of furniture store in the first place. Interior designer traffic is very good here, not sure about numbers compared to High Point, though.
NeoCon is your place if you want to do a lot of contract-type sales. I’ve not attended these shows so I can’t say what type of buyer/dealer/interior designer traffic attends.
I’ll be in High Point in a couple weeks as well - anyone else going?
NeoCon is by far the best. Market is a joke - a bunch of old farts with Souther accents going off about sytling rather than true design and innovation.
You get everyone at NeoCon (buyers, architects, interior designers). Heck even buyers from Office Max and Office Depot go to Merchandise Mart every summer for NeoCon…
Thanks for all the feedback! Much appreciated!
Just a few more questions.
How does Neocon West compare to the show in Chicago? I ask this because we are based in LA.
Is it hard to get into Neocon?(Chicago)
Has anyone heard anything about the new Vegas Market? I heard it is up-and-coming!
I posted a reply on your other thread in General. Vegas was extremely busy for us this year, much more than HP.