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The Secret to Speeding Business Success

by Karen Booy
as excerpted from the CRAFTLINK Newsletter

Do you make crafts to sell at craft shows, open houses or to gift shops? Are you looking for new sources for the latest supplies for your type of craft? Do you want to lower your costs when purchasing your supplies and buy wholesale? Are you having difficulty finding the supplies you need or when you find them are they always out of stock? Do you want to see the latest in craft supplies, techniques, publications, demonstrations and trends? Do you want to meet the people who design the books, publish the books or buy the designs for the craft industry? Do you want to meet and learn from the top experts in your area of craft interest? Would you like to meet and network with hundreds, thousands of other craft business owners from across the country, the world?

Are you serious about your craft business? If you answered yes. . . . .

Then it's time you invested the time and money to attend a major craft trade show!

HIA Hobby Industries of America -- the worlds largest wholesale craft trade show is held yearly in January. HIA 97 was held in Las Vegas January 19 - 22nd. For information call 201-794-1133.

ACCI -- Association of Crafts & Creative Industries -- will be held July 25-28th in Rosemont, Illinois. For information call 614-452-4541.

CCHA -- Canadian Craft and Hobby Association. The Canadian Wholesale show was expanded to include three shows for 1997. April 4-6 in Toronto, May 31-June 2 in Calgary and August 9-11 in Toronto. For information call 403-291-0059.

All three shows are organized by three separate trade associations with each helping to foster industry awareness, education and growth. Each organization helps the industry prosper by developing and implementing first-rate programs, events and activities.

If you have reached a plateau in your craft business, perhaps it is because you need to take the next step and become more serious about your goals and expectations. In order for others to take your business seriously, you must first take your self and your business seriously. If you don't believe it, how do you expect to convince others? By investing the time and money to attend a major trade show you have demonstrated that you are committed, this is not just "a little hobby" you are serious about your business. This can have very positive affect on your mindset and as a result influence the direction and speed your business takes.

Before attending a show, study up, go prepared. Write out your goals and objectives for attending the exposition. Make a list of companies you want to be sure to visit and people who you would like to meet. Get clear on what you want to accomplish, otherwise your first experience at such a large show can be just plain overwhelming. Oh, and wear comfortable shoes! Dress comfortably but professionally -- remember you never get a second chance to make a first impression ad like it or not you are being sized up in seconds, so make it be a favorable one. Study your show guide -- well in advance of the show. Highlight booths of companies you recognize and don't want to miss! Don't forget to take lots of business cards with you. Check your supply of business cards well in advance of the show, perhaps it's time to update those cards. The first HIA I attended was in Dallas, Texas and several "good ole boys" thought that BC (British Columbia) stood for "before Christ." Be sure to have your full address and postal code and your COUNTRY on your card if traveling outside of the country. Don't forget your area code for your phone number.

If you clearly identify your goals you will be astounded at what can transpire at a trade show. You might meet your favorite designer, discuss ideas for new products with a manufacturer or have lunch with another crafter from another country far away. Anything is possible. The contacts made during one day at a trade show could take days, weeks, quite possibly years to make while operating from your workshop at home. Besides, the creative energy that you experience at a gathering of this many creative people in one place, at one time, will be enough to keep you fired up till Christmas! That's what it does for me. After attending my first major craft show 5 years ago I realized one of the most important things which has led to my "success" as a craft business owner. After meeting the "designers", the "manufacturers" and "publishers," I realized they were just like me, and if they could do it, why couldn't I? I hope to see you at a major show soon . . .

Oh, I should include that attending craft trade shows is very addictive. After attending one, you will want to try them all. . . .

Kick start your business . . . see you at the shows!

For more information on upcoming industry trade shows check out CRAFTLINK News & Reviews.

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