Professional => Vendors and sources => Topic started by: BergspitzeCustoms on July 18, 2017, 12:48:13 PM

Title: Conventions and Trade Shows
Post by: BergspitzeCustoms on July 18, 2017, 12:48:13 PM
So let's talk conventions and such for a moment.  Today I found out that I have credentials to go to the Outdoor Retailer Convention next week in Salt Lake City (45 minutes away) thanks to a company that recently asked me to design and prototype some new pieces for them.  Being the small fish that I am, I have not attended such a convention before that was not open to the public.  The company I'm going with is basically turning me loose to walk the floor and network with anyone I want to, and also find new hardware/materials/etc. to use in future products.

Three main goals on my end: 
First, enjoy the experience.  Because of recent political drama, ORC is moving out of Utah after this, so it will be more of a logistical hurdle to attend in the future.
Second, Find as many new hardware, technology, materials, and other things that will prove useful in my role with this company's progress.
Third, meet as many people as possible that have a connection to a full-time job in the industry.  Especially in R&D/concept/design, etc.  The company I'm working with is exhibiting at the show, but is relatively small and it might be years (or never) before that moves from a contract basis to a full time position, so I'd like to see what else can come of it.

For those that attend shows regularly, what tips and tricks do you have?  How do you avoid just being another face in the crowd to all the exhibitors?  Anything to look out for, to do, to make note of, or to say that will help me get the most out of my time there?
Title: Re: Conventions and Trade Shows
Post by: Alex on July 18, 2017, 01:57:54 PM
It's a fun show. You need to setup all your meetings with materials suppliers asap to get decent meeting times. Set your bar low due to all this years drama. Hopefully you'll have a "Buyer" badge. They get all the best perks, everyone else is a commoner (remember, this show is mainly for buyers of outdoor gear for retail/online stores). The design areas are meh. The best part of the show is checking out new materials (mainly in the asia/pacific company areas), networking with other designers, materials suppliers and industry people. If you want to find all the special forces guys, and industry people on that side of things, go check out the Beyond clothing booth. It can be a hangout spot for mil/LE at the show.

Tips and tricks: Go to all the big and small companies you know at the show in our industry and introduce yourself. Tell them what you do. They are all pretty cool and could introduce you to others in our small industry. For example, go to Mystery ranch and talk to the owner/founder Dana. It may take a few tries to the booth to find him if he's in meetings.

The following show is not as "sexy", however it's legit. Tons of sewing machines and materials suppliers. (

Lots of designers and manufacturing experts go to it.
Title: Re: Conventions and Trade Shows
Post by: Corvus on July 23, 2017, 05:21:25 PM
I've been to OR twice and it is an experience for sure. I hope to attend next year when it's in Denver, as the logistics work out a little better for me.
I would try to get the schedule of meetings that the company is attending and pick a couple that might be interesting to you. Getting appointments can be a challenge even with a buyer badge, as many companies have booked up in advance. Definitely worth having your elevator pitch dialed, using peoples names and carrying a lot of cards. If it's your first time, I would try to enjoy it and observe how it all works. Don't forget to eat, have a home base you can ditch stuff at. The show is HUGE! My first one took me two days to figure out the layout and I still kept finding new, smaller booths with some really neat stuff. Have fun.
Title: Re: Conventions and Trade Shows
Post by: Alex on July 23, 2017, 05:37:20 PM
Use the coat check at the convention center as a personal locker for all the stuff you'll pickup throughout the day. Bring a big rolling duffel and check it there every morning. It's $2 a day. You can access it as many times as you want. You can use coat check like a personal locker so you are not walking the floor with a ton of stuff. You'll get a lot of samples, free schwag, etc. If you are taking product samples to show to people, it lets you keep them in a secure place until you need to pull them out.

The coat check is to the right of the badge/registration area at the main convention entrance.

Also, if you have a buyers badge, there is a special lounge for buyers that has free wifi, drinks and snacks. They sometimes bring pretty cool schwag there. Last year they gave everyone a Thule back pack filled with cool stuff.