Why Buying at a Trade Show Makes Sense

As those of you who follow us on Facebook and Twitter already know,  EnMart will be exhibiting at the NNEP Embroidery Marts in Houston and Nashville later this summer.   We’re very excited about these shows,  partially because we’ll be debuting a new booth design and partially because we’re bringing a lot of product to sell and there will be some great savings to be had in our booth.

If you’ve never purchased anything at a trade show before,  you may not know there are several reasons why this type of purchasing makes sense for a lot of businesses.  For one thing,  many companies,  EnMart among them,  may offer discounts or special deals that are available to trade show attendees only.   There are a couple of reasons for this practice.  One is that we want to sell the stuff we bring to the show,  and another is that we want people to visit us when we go to these shows.  Offering discounts or deals is a great way to move merchandise and to get people into our booth to learn more about us.  It’s really a win-win for everyone.

Another reason to buy at a trade show is that you get to see the merchandise first hand.  You can talk to people who actually use the items they’re selling and you can see the machines put through their paces.  Videos and webinars and all the rest are very useful,  but nothing is a substitute for actually being there and watching someone use a piece of equipment.   Trade shows also let you compare products,  so you can find the items that best suit your budget and your needs.

Buying at a trade show also allows you to avoid shipping charges.  EnMart plans to have several of our QuickStartR packages and a few of the Ricoh 7000 printers in our booth in Houston and in Nashville.   We’ll also have paper, Hanes Sublimation Maker software and other products.   Whether you purchase a package or simply buy a few packs of paper,  you’re saving the cost of shipping.  Buy enough product and the savings can really add up.

Finally,  the biggest advantage to buying at a trade show is simply this,  you get to talk to the experts.  Each business and each person will have slightly different needs,  and talking with someone who uses the products they sell will help you find the products that are right for your business. Talking on the phone is useful and talking via e-mail or live chat can be helpful,  but nothing really replaces standing face to face and talking with an expert.

EnMart will be in Houston at Embroidery Mart South and in Nashville at Embroidery Mart East.  We will announce booth numbers as soon as they are available.   I hope everyone who is attending those shows will stop by and see us.

Sublimation and Trade Shows

You may have noticed that this blog has been mostly silent for the last few weeks.  That’s because we were preparing for the first in a round of trade shows that started mid February and stretches across the entire month of March.    We started off at NNEP Dublin back in mid February, continued on through DAX Kansas City last week,  and will end our trade show run with ISS Atlantic City this week and DAX Minneapolis at the end of the month.

Doing trade shows is a lot of fun,  and one of the things that makes it enjoyable is getting to meet so many of our current and potential customers and to educate them about sublimation.   Some people we meet have never heard of sublimation and don’t even know what it is.   Others have some vague idea,  but need to know more about the process.  A few have done their research and are just looking for the right company from which to buy.    What ever stage of the process you’re in, EnMart can help.

If you come to visit us at an NNEP or DAX show,  we will generally have printers and a heat press in the booth.  We can do an on the spot demonstration for you,  and also show you some of the different printer options that are available.  Our sublimation expert, Tom Chambers, has also created a very helpful booklet that gives a lot of information about the sublimation process, and contains a comparison chart for all the printers available for sublimation.

If you’re considering getting into sublimation and you’re in an area where we will be exhibiting at a trade show,  please do stop by our booth.   We will be happy to spend the time it takes to help you find the system that will suit your needs and your budget.  EnMart also offers show specials at most shows,  and we generally have multiple printers in stock in the booth, so you can make your purchase and take it home with you,  which will give you a discount on the system and save shipping.

To see a list of the trade shows we will be attending,   please visit the EnMart homepage.  There is a widget on the righthand side of the page that lists the trade shows we will be attending.  Generally the list covers the next few months.   You can also find information about where we’ll be by following us on Facebook or Twitter.

What You Can Learn When You Visit Our Booth

You can learn about sublimation from videos,  articles on the Internet,  blogs like this one,  webinars and plain old trial and error, but one of the best ways to learn is via a hands on demonstration.  Seeing and touching the equipment and supplies while speaking with people who are expert in using that equipment and those supplies can be very helpful.  Since EnMart will be exhibiting at ISS Atlanta this week,  I thought this would be an opportune time to discuss what that experience is like when you visit our booth at a trade show.

First of all, depending on the size of the booth, we will have a variety of printers on display and a heat press as well.  Booth size does tend to expand or restrict the number of printers or the size of the heat press we bring,  but we will almost always have at least one printer and one heat press in the booth.  The advantage to this is that you can see transfers printed and pressed in front of you as you stand in the booth.  This allows you to get an accurate and real time picture of how the printer prints and how the transfers press.

Second,  we display a variety of sublimated items in the booth.  There is a truly bewildering array of items that can be sublimated,   and sometimes it is hard to know which ones will work best for your business.  Being able to see and touch the items on display will let you get a sense of what might work for you.  It will also allow you to discover items that you may not have considered offering in your shop in the past.   Generally we get at least one person every show who says “I didn’t know you could sublimate that!” when they first sight a jigsaw puzzle or a bookmark or a tote bag.  Visiting our booth gives you a greater awareness of what can be done with sublimation.

Third,  visiting our booth allows you to talk with our sublimation experts.  Tom Chambers,  who heads up our sublimation program,  and the rest of our sales and booth staff are very knowledgeable about sublimation and can help guide you to the system that will work best for your business.    Everyone who works our booth has at least an intermediate level understanding of the sublimation process and how it applies in a business setting.  We know the questions to ask,  and we also have the answers for the questions you have.   Talking face to face in a trade show setting allows everyone to gather the information necessary for you to feel secure in your purchase and for us to know we’ve sent you home with the equipment and supplies that you need.

As I said at the top of this piece,  there are a lot of ways you can learn about sublimation.  If you’re going to be at ISS Atlanta this weekend,  or if you will be at any of the trade shows where EnMart will be exhibiting in 2011,  I hope you’ll stop by our booth and see what you can learn.

Educate Yourself So You Can Educate Your Customers

As I mentioned yesterday, there can be a great deal of value in attending a trade show.    One of the greatest values is the education you can receive from a show.   Every time we go to a show,  even though I usually attend as an exhibitor,  I learn something,  either from someone visiting our booth or from taking the time to talk to another vendor.   The more I learn,  the more valuable I am to my company and the better able I am to help our customers.   That same equation applies to all of you.

Say, for instance,  that you’re selling sublimation services in your shop.   You can sell those services better if you’re fully aware of the capability of your machines.   If you have a printer which only handles 8 1/2 x 11 paper,  you don’t want to promise to print a 13  x 19 design.   If your heat press is only capable of doing flat goods,  you probably don’t want to promise to get an order of mugs out by next Tuesday.   Knowing what your equipment can do and how fast it can do it can save you a lot of stress and allow you to provide timely service to your customers.

As another example,  let’s suppose a customer comes to you looking for a great Christmas gift to commemorate the anniversary celebration of a local landmark.  The customer doesn’t want shirts or hats,  but rather something that people will display and keep as a memento of the occasion.   If you’re conversant with the type of products that can be sublimated,  you could offer key chains,  or ornaments,  or jewelry/keepsake boxes.   New sublimation blanks are entering the market every day.  Keeping current with your favorite vendor web sites and keeping your finger on the pulse of the industry will help insure that you have the right product available when your potential customer walks in the door with a question.

Learning and understanding the latest techniques is another way to provide the best service to your customers.  Sawgrass Ink provides a variety of educational seminars and webinars that will help you learn the latest techniques for sublimation,  and can also teach you how to enter various markets.   Forums like T-shirt Forums or the Apparel Decorators Forum are a great place to ask questions and get tips and help in mastering the latest sublimation processes.   Trade shows also generally offer classes and seminars on a variety of topics,  so you can learn a new discipline from the ground up.

Of course, you should also stay current with the blogs,  Facebook pages and Twitter feeds of your favorite suppliers.   These social media venues are a great place to ask questions and get answers in real time.  They also tend to be the places where announcements about new products, new services, and special offers are made.    Staying current will allow you to be the first to pass the latest trend or the greatest savings along to your customers.

What it all comes down to is this:  the more you know the better able you will be to provide service and support to your customers.   You will also be more aware of all the options available to you,  which gives you more chances to make a sale.   Time spent learning is never time wasted,  and it can often translate into increased revenue.

The Value of Attending a Trade Show

EnMart just finished a great weekend in Nashville at the NNEP Embroidery Mart.  It was a fantastic trade show and we were able to talk to a lot of people about sublimation and how it can be used.  The show was really fun and very informative, and it made me realize how valuable attending a trade show can be,  both from an exhibitor standpoint and from an attendee standpoint.   Particularly when you’re considering a garment decoration technique like sublimation,  attending a show and getting to see equipment and demonstrations and ask questions can save you a lot of time and money and anguish.  No one likes to purchase equipment that doesn’t suit their business and won’t be useful.  Attending a trade show can help you avoid those kinds of issues.

Although EnMart generally attends trade shows as a vendor,  I’ve certainly spoken with enough attendees to get a sense of the value that attending a trade show can provide.  I thought I’d remind everyone about that today by listing a few of the ways I believe trade shows provide value.

1. Trade shows let you see equipment and supplies up close and personal – Catalogs and websites are great,  but nothing replaces actually holding a product in your hand and seeing it with your own eyes.

2. Trade shows allow you to talk to vendors one on one – Granted exhibitor booths can be crowded and understaffed,  but almost every exhibitor will have some time where they can speak with you one on one.   If you have concerns or questions or just need guidance,  this one on one time is invaluable.

3. Trade shows help you sort out your requirements – Exhibitors have a vested interest in helping you find the equipment that is right for your business.  They know the questions to ask that will help you determine what you need.  They also know which equipment will best serve that need.

4. Trade shows also often offer classes or seminars – At the Embroidery Marts in Houston and Nashville,  Sawgrass Ink did a seminar about sublimation.   Other exhibitors held classes as well.   The classes give you an opportunity to learn a new technique or add a profit center to your business while learning from industry experts.

5. Everything you learn at a trade show is yours to keep – When you leave a trade show you should know more than when you arrived.  If you take the time to visit vendors and ask some questions,  you can learn a lot for only a minimal expenditure of your time.

My thanks to everyone who saw the value in trade show attendance and stopped by to see us in Nashville last weekend.  We had a great time there,  and we look forward to providing more value for our current and new customers at ISS Atlanta in September.

EnMart’s Summer Trade Show Schedule

It’s shaping up to be a busy summer for EnMart, and I wanted to let you all know where we will be in the next few months.  I know there are a lot of questions about both sublimation and embroidery out there,  and that sometimes the best way to learn and get answers is to talk to someone face to face.    Having that face to face conversation is part of the reason that EnMart exhibits at so many shows.    We like getting out and meeting our fans, friends and customers and we like sharing what we know in person rather than through blogs or websites or social media.

First up is the UFG World Expo in Orlando Florida.  EnMart will be in booth 1413.   This is the franchisee show for all EmbroidMe and Signarama franchisees,  so I hope you will all stop by and visit our booth and learn more about EnMart.  Since we sell embroidery thread,   sublimation supplies and ink for the Brother GT-541 printer,  we are essentially a one stop shop.    It will be worth your time to stop by and see what we have to offer.

EnMart will also be at NNEP’s Embroidery Mart South which we’ve taken to calling Embroidery Mart Houston.   We will be in booth 300, and we’ll be bringing the entire supply line along.  Our sublimation expert, Tom Chambers, will be at this show and will have a complete sublimation set up in the booth.  If you’ve been considering adding sublimation to your shop,  stop by this show and talk to Tom.  He and Wayne will be able to give you some great advice.

If you can’t join us in Houston,  our next stop will be Embroidery Mart East in Nashville.    We will again have the complete sublimation set up,  as well as a complete display of our other products.  Tom Chambers will be at this show as well,  as will our National Sales Manager, Tom Paquette,  and myself.   We’re looking forward to spreading the message that embroidery and sublimation can work very well together;  we can show you how.    We will be in booth 401 in Nashville.

Finally,  we’ll end our summer travels at ISS Atlanta.  Since we have now opened EnMart South which is in Atlanta,  this show is a chance to let people know that we’re right there in their own backyard.    We will be talking about sublimation and embroidery  as usual.    EnMart will be in booth 234,  so if you are attending ISS Atlanta,  please do stop by the booth and say Hello.

As always,  we will be offering show specials and deals at all the shows we attend.    If you’re going to be at one of the shows listed above,  please stop by and see us.  It will be worth your while.