Exhibiting at Wholesale Gift Shows

Attending or exhibiting at a wholesale gift trade show is exciting and profitable to your growing your new craft or gourmet foods business.  As you will discover, certain buyers prefer to buy only at trade shows.  Being able to schedule time away from their stores to touch, feel and experience products, may be the only way they purchase gift items from you.

Wholesale Gift Shows (or frequently referred to as ‘market’) are held in numerous cities, including foreign countries across the globe.  Several major US cities host a 4-5 day, 8-10 hours/day gift show, one to four times per year, exhibiting hundreds of producer’s lines and attended by numerous retail store buyers from all over the country.  Major cities that host two shows a year usually hold one show during the winter months and the second show in the summer.  Depending on the location and popularity of the gift show, attendees can range from 20,000 to 50,000 or more potential buyers.

Major gifts shows are also a place where lots of resources about the retailing industry are readily available.  Whenever we visit gift shows, we pick up free copies of trade magazines (many we have subscriptions to now) not found in the typical magazine racks in the bookstores.  Some shows, like those hosted by Western Exhibitors on the west coast, offer various seminars and classes held during the show hours.  Although these workshops are normally geared towards the retail buyer, you may find some topics that may be valuable to you.

Why Exhibit at a Gift Show

Before deciding to exhibit at a wholesale gift show, you need to first attend a gift show.  Actually walking through your first gift show can be a good experience to learn the overview of the wholesale gift industry, observing other booths and manufacturer’s exhibits, and noting buyer’s attendance.

Although wholesale gifts shows are time consuming and costly, there are several good reasons for exhibiting your products in a regional gift show:

1.    Your company will have a presence at a large gathering of pre-qualified buyers where you can develop additional sales leads.
2.    You will have your own booth where you can display products and invite your current buyers to examine more closely the items you produce.
3.    You may be able to meet and visit with the buyers and decision makers from stores that would never talk with you otherwise.
4.    You can test the market and receive feedback on new products you are selling.
5.    You can conduct market research (check out your competitors!) to compare product options and pricing and identify market directions.
6.    You have the opportunity to answer customer concerns or complaints about your products.

Over the next two weeks, we’ll talk about gift show costs and expenses.

6 comments for “Exhibiting at Wholesale Gift Shows

  1. February 6, 2010 at 3:05 am

    I enjoy reading all your posts. You are simply generous with your knowledge.


  2. February 6, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Thanks Claire! I enjoy helping people with their businesses!

    Gift Rep Sandy

  3. February 24, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    Great advice Sandy

  4. February 24, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Thanks Jeanne. Would love to hear your perspective after just coming back from a show!


  5. February 25, 2012 at 9:25 am

    I would like to know what regional wholesale shows are closest to Raleigh, NC. These unique, soft, Artisan crafted “Leather-Wraps” (ladies shawls) are imported from Ecuador. Each is truly a “one-of-a-kind” in solid and multi-colors. I am looking for affordable ways to show this lovely accessory to the world. Thank you.

  6. February 27, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Hi Margaret,

    One of the best places to find gift shows in your area is through Smart Retailer: http://www.smart-retailer.com/giftindustry/shows/winter/brieflistings.aspx


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