By: Tracy Watson, Publisher, Our World Books (WI grad '06)
Getting ready for the trade show, I worked straight through the night.
But my mom and I arrived chipper and ready to bring home the bacon at 6:15a.m. on the dot. It was dark outside still. Mom and I worked like garbage men, unloading our boxes into the Marriott lobby. Susan, our fearless tradeshow coordinator, looked like I feel--tired, but preternaturally determined. She flitted up to me, took me to our designated spot and moved quickly on to the next task.
The table taunted me. It was stark and expectant. Well? Show me what you've got! its blank black cloth said. I stepped back and looked at it. I'm not afraid of you, I thought. Then I got to work. Somehow, the cloth and the boxes, the stationary and the books, the t-shirts and so on, all came together. By 7:28, we were done and ready for action.
I was signed up for the breakout session on Quickbooks, but mom was so tired that I had to send her home for a nap. Maybe this wasn't a bad thing after all because I had a steady stream of traffic and even if she had been there, it might've been a strain for her to be there alone. I met so many awesome individuals and it was wonderful to get instant feedback about what people thought of our products and company.
By lunchtime, mom still hadn't made it back and I was STARVING! Luckily, WI posted ambassadors down the corridor so that we could leave our booths! That was a brilliant idea, because I paid for mom to go to the whole thing so even if she had been there, I would've wanted to have lunch with her, not in shifts.
I made a fatal error at lunch: I did not fill out the bingo questionnaire! Always, ALWAYS, fill out stuff at WI functions. As a result of not filling out this form, I didn't get to enter to win a ton of cool prizes. Arrrgh!
Anywho, all in all the day was a tremendous success. The contacts I made were tremendous and we didn't do too bad on the sales side! But the crucial thing was getting to put my face to my company and my website - that's key. I've tracked the hits to my site since then and there was a definite spike in the days following the show.
Before the end of the show, I strolled around and talked with some of my fellow exhibitors. I was so impressed with the elegance, the style and the charisma of their presentation and their products. I am honored to know these women, to be a part of their community. They are amazing.
Ladies, let's keep this circle of inspiration going, let's meet and share our experiences and our insights. Until next time, much continued success to each and every one of you.
(Photo of Tracy at the Conference by Kali Kraum at Oakland Magazine.)