The National Stationery Show 2013 (PART THREE)

Posted June 18 2013

Hi everyone! I'm back with the third installment of this NSS re-cap series. It's been fun putting our experience into words and photos and hearing back from those of you who have been following along. Today we'll go over what can be a scary aspect of exhibiting, the budget! Don't let the numbers intimidate you too much though. Keep in mind that this show is an investment and may be some of the best marketing dollars you'll spend. Hopefully you'll leave with much more than simply marketing, but as mentioned in parts ONE and TWO you can't come in expecting to make it all back in one show. If you do, then awesome!

In lieu of writing out another word-heavy post like part TWO I decided to put the data into a little infographic complete with pie chart (I've always wanted to make one and have never needed to) alongside the overall budget percentages and what those represent. I've heard that first time exhibitors spend anywhere from $7k- $12k their first year. I've gathered this from webinars from the TradeShow Camp along with talking to other exhibitors. Well, how much did you guys spend you ask? Let's just say we fell somewhere in the middle, toward the lower end. 

Some other things to keep in mind as you process the info below:

1. We travelled to the show from California, so we had to account for flights for two people and accommodations. We crashed with a friend for a few nights during setup, but then stayed in a hotel for the actual show, hence the hotel for 4 nights. If you're driving in or staying with friends or family the entire time, your percentages may be vastly different from ours when it comes to travel and lodging.

2. This chart does NOT take into consideration the costs to produce your products and samples for the show. That can be a huge chunk, especially due to minimums if you outsource, so keep that all in mind when it comes to your total spending.

3. We "rented" foam walls from a third party company and had them installed. In terms of dollar signs, this falls squarely in the middle with two dollar signs, $$. You'll pay much more to rent their hardwood walls, $$$. If you are able to arrange for your own foam walls or use lightweight coverings you're looking at spending less, $. Keep in mind you'll have to install your wall coverings or boards if you don't elect to use a third party and there are those crazy union labor rules. Another option is to build your own walls, which is an initial investment that can be re-used in the long run, but you'll have to ship them (or drive them in) so you should expect to see your shipping percentage increase quite a bit. The only items we shipped were our floor tiles (heavy box), our shelves (long box), and then a few USPS boxes (priority mail) of booth supplies, tools, and some heavier marketing items like catalogs and press kits.

4. Since we showed both of our brands at our very first tradeshow, sass&peril and The Paper Cub Co., we had two catalogs, two sets of business cards, and two set of vinyl signs. This increased our marketing materials percentage a bit.

Ok, I think that is enough explaining! I hope this chart will be useful for you and give you a real picture of what goes into these types of shows from a financial standpoint. I will be back next week with the fourth and final installment covering our final thoughts on the show and if we met our goals and expectations.