We've been working with small business owner Pamela Anthony of Beehind Thyme to give us an insiders look at taking your business on the road. She recently took her business on the road and has graciously shared with us her expertise and help. (Click images to enlarge)
Can you tell us what you do to prepare for taking your business on the road.
First of all, if you are fortunate enough to know a party that attends the show or actually has sold at the show, start by asking them questions such as; How is the crowd? What was their best seller, style wise? How where the sales? All of this helps in determining whether you are interested in participating.
Then inquire with the individual that is in charge of organizing the show, usually is months in advance… so be searching ahead of time to be able to get in, get juried (if required) & to get your stock up to par for a show, especially if it is a 2 day one, for restocking. Ask about how they advertise & the amount of advertising they do, to see if pride is taken in the event. Normally if show has been in affect for awhile there is a round-about head count of attendance. Next, getting all the information on day, time & place… there is a time that is designated for set-up, you need to know this & make sure that you & party in charge are prompt on this, very important. Usually you are assigned a booth location, if available before show date, stress to the individual over the show it would be helpful to get that information & any other needed like is there electricity available, etc.
As a brick & mortar shop owner, I have to make preparation for the duty that is being left behind, whether that be scheduling someone to stay at the shop or would it be better to close the doors, if so; a sign with returning hours is good.
What are some important items to remember to pack for a business road trip?
Well, I start making my list weeks ahead, knowing if I don’t there will be something forgotten. Just as I think of things, I jot them down. My mind is racing & as time is running out, you get a little careless, and not to say… rushed. I have been known to write on my hand until I get to my list… Here are a few that you will find jotted down: receipt books, business cards, brochures, any advertising material that you may have for an up-coming event or gathering, tissue paper for wrapping, bags, cloth/material for covering boxes/crates when building up displays, etc. Now for set-up: cordless drill, screws, hammer, nails, glue gun/glue sticks, my paints & brushes… and something I always seem to leave behind… chair/stool for sitting in when needing a break.
Now… my husband always has his list of things to pack… battery charger, tools, cables, flashlight, ropes/bungee cords, etc
How much time do you allow getting everything ready to go?
A least 2 days ~ 1 day to make a visual of what I will be taking, sometimes that includes actually drawing on paper how I want my layout to look like or do I have a theme. Second day we begin to load the truck & trailer.
(This is the beginning of loading our trailer We start with the large items filling every hole and crannies. Pictured : Old Original Goat Cart.)
When you arrive at the show location what is to be expected of you?
First off, we normally register; get badges, signs & location of our booth. I like to meet & greet old & new friends that are vendors while I find my way to the spot we will be spending the next few days.
We then find the nearest entrance to unload. Of course, the furniture & all the big pieces come off the trailer first. After unloading, it is very kind & polite of you to pull your vehicle to a parking spot or a least give room for someone else to unload, “Do unto others as you would have them to do unto you”. Now is the time I start working my displays.
Can you share with us a little about setting up, the time involved?
Wow!!! This is the time that I get a wrench, tighten feeling in my stomach, no matter how many times… it is still there, probably due to the fact, I want the displays looking there best, I really fret about it. It normally takes me around… 4-5 hours for a 12 x 12 size booth to really do what I feel comfortable with for the customers.
Yes, this is a 2 day show, with us leaving out the day before, making it 3 days for us being gone. Of course, finding hotel accommodations ahead of time is the very smart thing to do. But with this show, we didn’t & we were blessed to find one about 10 minutes from the show location. I highly recommend that you do make reservations, a lot of times there are so many events going on in larger cities that hotels are filled.
There is light packing when it comes to your personal needs. All the room is taken with merchandise & treasures, so we pack the bare necessities. It is needful to bring a cooler along for those days when it will be hard to get away from your booth & customers.
Any advice you can give to businesses thinking of taking their business on the road for shows?
Plan ~ do your planning, especially when going a distance. It is hard to turn back when you are on a strict schedule & time waits for no one.
I say… go for it! It is an awesome tool for marketing your item or items & promoting your business. After EVERY show I have done… I always came back pumped up & excited about what is happening at Beehind Thyme.
(Everything is complete, we had pleanty of room and didn't bring our walls)
Beehind Thyme Garden & Wares
353 Lone Valley Rd
Campbellsville, KY 42718
270-789-3143 / 270-469-0026
Web Site coming soon!
Shop & Garden Hours: Tuesday thru Friday 10am-5pm EST / Saturday 10am-4pm EST… Open by appointment OR by chance at other thymes.