Archive for January, 2011

Comparing Regional and National Baby Shows

Bras4Mums stand at The Baby ShowWritten by Joanne Waltham from UK Baby Shows

Posted 28th January 2011

First of all both types of baby shows give you a great opportunity to meet and engage with your customer, but there are differences in stand design, visitors, exhibitors and costs.

Stand Design

Snugbaby at The Scottish Baby ShowAt the regional baby shows stands are mostly designed around products displayed on a table top with posters on the back wall, if there is a shell scheme, or pull up banners.  Some stands, depending on what they are selling, have mannequins, clothes rails or other display equipment to display their products.

At the national baby shows some of the larger stands, like Mothercare’s, are professionally designed and specialist built, utilising display plinths and so on. Many companies don’t use such “exhibition stands”, but utilise retail display equipment such as slate walls and display islands. There are also stands that use an inventive mix of light weight furniture (often purchased at Ikea) and full length posters fixed to the shell scheme.  A few companies use a table as a basis for their stand, when this design suits their purpose well.

Visitors

Mamascarf at The Scottish Baby ShowMost of the regional baby shows I have exhibited at have been called “Baby and Toddler” shows and the visitors range from first time expectant parents through parents expecting additional children to parents of toddlers.  I have sold, in fairly equal measure, products for toddlers and products for new babies.  Visitors to regional baby shows are looking for products that they can’t find on the high street and local services. I have occasionally heard a few visitors comment that they were disappointed that there weren’t many stalls offering the big purchase products such as cots and pushchairs.

The majority of visitors at the national baby shows are first time parents and at the Earl’s Court Baby Show last October I had never seen so many bumps in one place before! These visitors were mainly interested in maternity and products for new born babies. They were looking for the big purchases and the baby essentials and I saw many expectant couples walking around the show pushing brand new pushchairs with car seats balanced on top!

One piece of advice, if you are going to exhibit at the national baby shows, is have some gender neutral versions of your product as you will be selling to people who don’t know the sex of their baby yet.

Exhibitors

The majority exhibitors at the regional baby and toddler shows tend to be small businesses. There is quite a variety of business types including:

  • Craft products such as nappy cakes, jewellery and baby art.
  • Local franchisees of big businesses such as Usborne Books and Phoenix Trading.
  • Services such as photographers, nurseries and ultrasound services.
  • Consultants and advisors regarding a variety of baby related subjects.
  • A few “general” or “one stop shop” retailers.
  • Baby clothing retailers.

Baby Loves Shopping at Hampshire Baby and Toddler Exhibition

At the national baby shows you get:

  • The bigger retailers such as Mothercare.
  • The distributors that also have retail websites, such as Hippychick and Perfectly Happy People.
  • The baby brands, big and small representing themselves, such as Mamascarf, B Organic Skincare and Pourty potty (one of the few stands with products for toddlers).

Costs

It is certainly true that regional baby fairs are cheaper than the national ones. First of all the stand costs are cheaper because the event is normally just for one day rather than three. Secondly, you are more likely to find a regional baby show closer to you so your travel and accommodation costs should be less. Finally your sales volume are likely to be less, as regional baby shows are over one shorter day, so you do not need to take so much stock with you. At a national baby show you may need extra staff to cover your stand over the longer days.

Looking at just the stand cost, the cost per square meter at regional baby shows varies depending on location but I have usually paid between £40 and £65. At the Earls Court Baby Show I was quoted £279 per square meter. However if you divide this square meter cost by the 3 days then it is £93 per square meter per day. Add in the fact that the days are longer and you may feel that these costs become comparable.

B-Organic Skincare at The Baby Show Earls Court
Of course what you really want to know is costs versus potential sales and unfortunately I can’t tell you that. I was recently chatting with Aycin from B Organic Skincare. She had exhibited at two of the same baby shows that I had; the Hampshire Baby and Toddler Show and the Brighton Baby Expo. Aycin had a great response at the Brighton event, selling all her stock in one day, but found that the Southampton one was not as successful. I on the other hand had much better sales in Southampton compared to Brighton. So it is not easy to directly compare a regional baby show to a national one as different exhibitors have different results.

So which type of baby show to invest in?

That depends on:

  • What your business is.
  • What your target market is.
  • How much time and money you have to invest in a baby show.

PHP at Baby Show Earls CourtIf you are a local business with a local target market, such as a nursery or retailer with a physical store, then the local and regional baby shows are going to be better for you.

If you have produced your own product and are trying to get national coverage for your brand then consider the national baby shows.  At the national baby shows there is quite a lot of business to business activity as many buyers attend and I know a few businesses such as B Organics that have been approached by distributors at the Baby Show. So always remember to take your trade information pack with you. There also are some opportunities at regional baby shows to speak to the other independent retailers exhibiting and promote your product to them.

I asked on twitter what exhibitors felt about the differences between national and regional baby shows and @AzanaPhotoFrame said something I hadn’t considered, that many regional baby shows donate a percentage of their takings to a charity. I know Liz Weston is very proud that their Young Families bump, baby and toddler shows are run in partnership with their local maternity units and that all their door takings are donated to the maternity units that they work with. Is this charitable giving important to you?

Azana Photo Frames at Grand Pier Baby Show

The best thing about both regional and national baby shows, especially if you don’t have retail premises, is that you get to meet your customer and get genuine feedback on your product.

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Thank you to these kind people for their comments and photos:

Weston Communications Guide to Marketing Your Event For Free

Weston CommunicationsWritten by Liz Weston from Weston Communications

Posted 25th January 2011

I saw a tweet from The NCT Bump Birth and Beyond Fair in Skipton, which asked for help with publicising their event: 

 

“RT @NCTBBBF: Working on publicity for the event – anyone got any good ideas on how to get free publicity for an event like this?”

 

So I started to write what I thought would be a quick checklist and set of links for Skipton NCT Team and anyone else who’s wanting to know about ways to promote your event for free.

However, it’s turned into two pages of suggestions, so I’ve made it a pdf and stored it online, at somewhere that you can download it for free. Just click here: Weston Communications Guide to Marketing Your Event For Free and you can download it, print it, send it to friends, whatever you want to do.

 

And in case you’re wondering these things really work, I can tell you I currently co-organise the Young Families Bump, Baby and Toddler Shows using all of these things. I also have experience in event organisation. I’ve done everything from Dinner for 400 at the National Maritime Museum with fireworks and a funfair for the Financial Times Business to private fundraising dinners for more Lords, Ladies and Sir’s than I could keep count of. 

 

So have a go at these things, and come back here and post comments to tell us all what you think has worked best for you. 

 

Liz Weston

Founder, Weston Communications and Co Founder of the Young Families Bump, Baby and Toddler Shows. 

@cambridgemummy

The Bristol Baby & Toddler Show Celebrates 5th Birthday

Little Monster Baby and Toddler ShowWritten by Caroline Sparks from Little Monster

Posted 18th January 2011

Final preparations are being made for the Bristol Baby & Toddler Show, which is being held at Ashton Gate Stadium on Sunday 6th March.

The show, which celebrates its 5th birthday this year attracts parent-to-be and parents of young children from across the region. Organiser Caroline Sparks is confident this year’s show will be bigger and better than ever!

Caroline commented, “We’re thrilled to be celebrating our 5th birthday. It proves that whatever the state of the economy, people will always be having babies! This year we have an exciting range of exhibitors including Flying Saucers Pottery Painting Café, Happy Hopperz, Catherine Barber Pregnancy Massage, Precious Prints, Bristol City Council, plus local nurseries, photographers and more!

Little Monster Bristol Baby and Toddler Show

We’ve also got plenty happening at the show – there’s free face painting and a packed schedule of free demonstrations from local activity classes including Jolly Babies, Rugby Tots, Gymboree, MmmBopp Music & Movement, Debutots and Baby Sensory. It’s a great opportunity for parents and kids to try out the classes and have some fun!

This year we’re supporting the Cots for Tots Appeal, which is part of Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal. The appeal is raising £1 million to provide a much needed expansion of the Intensive Care Unit at St Michael’s Hospital Bristol, which will provide 4 further intensive care cots and dedicated family accommodation for parents.”

The show is from 10.00am and entry is just £3.00 per person or £2.50 in advance, with accompanied children under 16 allowed in free. Visitors arriving at 10.00am and 2.00pm will also receive a goody bag full of useful information and product samples.

For more information about the Bristol Baby and Toddler Show or to book tickets, visit www.little-monster.co.uk