Archive for May, 2011

The Baby Show a Networking Event for Mumpreneurs

Baby Swap or ShopWritten by Carrie Safford of Baby Swap or Shop

Posted 26th May 2011

I visited The Baby Show in double capacity; as a mother eyeing out baby products and as a ‘networking mumpreneur exercise’ to catch up with contacts and meet other ‘Baby World’ entrepreneurs.

It was a great day for both I must say! There was a variety of unique baby-wear and innovative gadgets as well as some lovely people on hand to help and it was great to put faces to names!

The foot-flow of these shows are amazing so well worth time out of the office to make this trip as well as an alternative to ‘High Street’ purchasing for the little one.  I could have spent a fortune; not because anything was too expensive –quite the opposite with show offers and freebies given away but because the show catered for every purse (mine is usually close to empty as a newbie start-up!)

The Show also offered ideas and advice, which is invaluable so if you are not particularly on the hunt for anything special but would like to be made aware of classes, services or for support and techniques they are all here too!

I loved the fact that it made a lovely day out for the family; catering for baby’s needs too with all the facilities to hand so it is made easy for parents to enjoy what is on display.  The only let-down in my opinion was that there was an issue with the wi-fi on that particular day (no fault of The Baby Show themselves obviously!) but maybe that was a blessing in disguise and made it a relaxing Friday for once!

As a promoter of recycling, saving money and resourcefulness I would recommend The Baby Show to both our website members and fellow baby-businesses; whether it is to exhibit, shop or simply browse for a pleasurable day out.

Diglot Books at The Baby Show NEC 2011

Diglot Books at the Baby Show NEC 2011Written by Alison O’Dornan of Diglot Books

Posted 26th May 2011

The Baby Show at the NEC May 2011 was Diglot Books’ first foray into retail exhibitions. So what did we think?

Firstly from the perspective of visitors the show seemed to be quite well laid out and the hall aisles were nice and wide for pushchairs and prams, so even though our stand was opposite the Baby Show photo competition and the stage there were rarely any bottlenecks. The steep entrance price of £20 and car parking fee of £8 didn’t seem to have put off the determined shoppers and opening time each day seemed to result in a mad rush for the creche and the furniture and pram stands who were advertising significant show discounts. A warning to all Dad’s out their looking to visit the show, from what we observed your sole responsibility is going to be carrying bags and providing the wallet. Whilst it is always a common sight to see fathers weighed with bags whether it be the park, the shopping center or the airport, the baby show seems to be the training ground for all new fathers and they didn’t look like they were enjoying their new role in life!

Diglot Stand at the Baby Show NEC

There were lots of independent retailers like Diglot Books and every one seemed to have dragged at least their mother along to help man the stall if not their entire family, but I like to think that this meant that we were all much more genuinely able to help and advise visitors and were definitely more cheerful than some of the larger stands around the hall. We picked up lots of great tips from our fellow exhibitors who were all extremely helpful and supportive of us newbies, and it was great to be able to swap stories and advice on everything from how to break down a stand, to where to get leaflets printed and how to run a competition. A particular warm thanks to Bras4Mums, Morrck, Naturally Cool Kids, Eric & Rufus, and The Miracle Box.

As to our bilingual books and flash cards, and what our customers thought, the show was a great success. We had lots of fantastic feedback from everyone we spoke to and were able to advise lots of new parents about the best ways to go about teaching their children a second language whether they were fluent in another language themselves or not. We were particularly encouraged by the number of young parents who were excited by the idea of giving their children a head start in languages before starting school. All of the parents we spoke to loved the idea of introducing a teddy bear that can only speak the second language so that their child would start talking to the teddy bear when they weren’t around in the new language. Don’t worry parents we will have a soft toy version of Diglot out before Christmas for exactly this purpose!

Our brand new author Esmee Carre stopped by the stand to see her book Matthew and The Wellington Boots for the first time and to take away a few copies for all her relatives back home in Guernsey. Apparently all her professors at the University of Winchester; where she is studying to be a primary school teacher, are deeply impressed and rather amusingly apparently a few have rather green eyes having been trying to get published themselves for some time! We look forward to hearing Esmee’s reports of how she used both the Matthew book and the ABC Francais English book in her teaching practicals this year.

What we learnt that we can pass on to future exhibitors at shows like the Baby Show.

  1. Firstly plan the layout of your stand at home, what works best where, and where can you store your valuables, your lunch and some spare stock discreetly so that you don’t have to run back the to stock room every five minutes.
  2. Don’t just assume that everything the show organiser tries to sell you is compulsory, try to check with other exhibitors in advance as most of it isn’t!
  3. Practice likely questions customers might ask you and your answers, customers seemed to expect answers instantly and were put off by any sort of pause in your response.
  4. Get lots and lots and even more leaflets printed. Make them distinctive and high quality so that people want to read them.
  5. Ask other exhibitors in the quiet periods what their top tips are, you will be surprised at how inventive some of them are, and everyone is always immensely friendly and helpful.
  6. Check ahead of the last day with the organisers, the security people and other exhibitors about the breakdown process. Then work out the best way for you to get away quickly without getting stuck in a traffic queue for hours waiting to be able to re-load your car or van.
  7. Get some sweets or balloons to attract the toddlers to your stand.
  8. Smile, Smile, Smile!
  9. If you can, take lots of short breaks to keep up your energy.
  10. Get a smart uniform so that your staff stand out, and brand it, so that even when they are walking around on their breaks they are still advertising for you.
  11. Keep lots of bottles of water on the stand, and a lip salve in your pocket as your mouth and your lips will get very dry from all the talking.
  12. Wear flat comfortable shoes, and perfect a little shuffle so that you keep your feet moving without looking like you have ants in your pants!
  13. Find out what the Press’ badge looks like in advance and prime your staff so that if any visit your stand or walk nearby you are are ready.
  14. Get a credit card terminal. They really are worth it, everyone seems to run out of cash quite quickly.
  15. If the show is not near where you live, shop around for a hotel, there are likely to be lots in the area that aren’t at an extortionate price. We stayed in a perfectly adequate innkeepers lodge in nearby Coleshill for about half the price of the hotels near the NEC.
  16. Get a really good trolley, preferable a flat bed truck trolley like the ones sold in Screw-fix to help carrying your stock in and out of the show at setup and breakdown.
  17. Shop around on eBay for your stand furniture and even banners, we made some fantastic savings this way.
  18. Keep some business cards on the stand in case the press stop buy.
  19. Make use of the press office and media provided by the show organisers. Check to see if they can provide you with free access to things like the stage, celebrity bags, speakers corners etc. IF YOU DON’T ASK YOU DON’T GET!! Send them press releases in advance of the show that they can use to help promote the show, and provide some press releases and sample products for the press room during the show.

We hope that our insights and exhibiting top tips will help future companies new to exhbiting with planning their show and making it as successful as possible.

This is Me Anna Stocks of RDA Events

Anna Stocks RDA EventsWritten by Anna Stocks of RDA Events

Posted 23rd May 2011

This is me Anna Stocks a self confessed workaholic and mummy to two wonderful boys. Following a life of being driven by results and following examples from my parents I wanted to achieve the very best out of life which took me to university. Falling in love with my now husband at an early age led me to have a surprise birth just when I had finished my Marketing degree at Manchester University. Was I ready for a baby at 23? No not in a million years! I was still a student doing student things and I hadn’t seen the world yet, bought my first car, shared some time with my husband to be. However with the help and family support I gave birth to a 9 pound healthy boy and went on to have my second healthy 9 pound boy 3 years later. I suffered from postnatal depression which made me feel very isolated, lonely and afraid of life and what the future held and found that mums in the local area were already in groups of friends. I had to make a life for my son and that’s where I discovered Tumble Tots (and no I am not on commission for putting them in this article). These ladies where fantastic and gave me a social life for me and my son and I still have my friends from 7 years ago where we meet on a regular basis and our children have grown up together.

My boys are 4 and 7 now and I wanted to focus on something I have always wanted to do by the time I was thirty which is to open my own company. I had drive, passion and determination but lacking in confidence. A company called Train 2000 who support Women in business took me in and trained me up to the highest standard focusing on my business plan and the future. I wanted to run a business I enjoyed and something I was passionate about, and my life revolves around my children.

I love talking to other mums about what they do and I show a genuine caring interest for others. I support friends who have been through postnatal depression and after seven years I am just about there. Yes I was on prozac which at first I was ashamed of but if you had a headache you would take paracetamol wouldn’t you. That is where Mothers Instinct Premier baby shows where born, with drive, blood, sweat, tears and balancing a family life as well as running my own business was difficult. For me, and suffering from post natel depression, it was not about earning money. The money is a bonus as I was really feeling the pinch with having two active children and it all goes on my boys and back into my company. It is about feeling successful, powerful and seeing exhibitors satisfied and customers happy and waiting to come back to my next show that’s what gives me the high! It really gives me a euphoric feeling and exhibitors know how hard I work as there is no such thing as failure in my life even though these shows are a huge learning curve and you can take away something from each show. The Wirral NCT Kerry and the gang were so impressed on all the hard work and even told me to slow down and relax. All the exhibitors I have worked with are all fantastic and I feel like mother hen prior to the show sending them regular emails updating them about the show and this is why the exhibitors come back to the shows time and time again.

NCT Thornton Hall

As well as a mum of two, running my own business, I still work for a large established retail store as a customer service Manager and have won lots of awards for my very high standard. I love the social side of this work and I do feel very very lonely working for myself. This is the down side of the job. I have had many offers of business partners, however this is my baby and I feel very passionate and work so hard to get it right. My friends and family say I am obsessed with Mothers Instinct premier baby shows. Maybe they are right? Like me women are enjoying working for themselves and I want to support local businesses as the large retailers are undercutting products and services and do we want to end up like the American malls where we will purchase from a choice of 2 big retailers. No us mummy’s like to browse and support local companies and that’s why Mothers Instinct is a retail experience that no mum should ever be without.

When I first did these baby shows they were very few and far between now companies are deciding its a great idea to bring out another baby show. Competition is healthy and I am very willing to have a good chat and share ideas and thoughts. However I do worry, like in many in the baby industry, that baby shows will be so saturated that customers and businesses will not want to attend the shows as they will be too hassled, some companies will be successful others will not.

Mothers Instinct Baby Show

I wrote this article to wear my heart on my sleeve and say it is a very difficult task to organise a really great baby show with happy customers and happy exhibitors. Prior to the show I have suffered from acne on my back, sleepless nights, anxiety attacks, tears, stress and greying hair going on family holiday and outings taking my laptop. I could pop some comments and statements from customers and  exhibitors about the shows and it would go on and on and on but I am not because every event organiser will do this and so they should, if they proud of what they have achieved you should shout it from the roof top.

Wirral Mothers Instinct Baby Show

I wish every mummy in business all the best and I would love to hear your thoughts and where your ideas came from.

Here are the dates for our Premier baby shows Mothers Instinct:

Cheshire and South Manchester Sunday 11th September at The Waterside Hotel Didsbury 12-5

Wirral, Liverpool and Chester Sunday 2nd October at Thornton Hall hotel 12-5

This year we are being sponsored by The NCT, Busy bees day nursery and Baby Premier see you all there.

Babyexpo Brighton is Back

Brighton Baby ExpoWritten by Suzanne Borrell of What’s on 4

Posted 22nd May 2011

DATE FOR YOUR DIARIES! – BABYEXPO – the premium parenting and babyshow event for the South East – is back on November 13 at the fabulous AMEX Stadium in Falmer. With record birth rates in the UK (with a further boom expected by the end of 2011!) and parents spending an average of nearly £10k in the first year, Babyexpo will showcase 100+ national and regional exhibitors, a wealth of information, advice, special show deals and prices and a fantastic entertainment programme for mums and dads-to-be, young families and extended family members.

Jo TantumThe Babyexpo will also offer the chance to meet Jo Tantum, international baby- care expert and best-selling author as seen at the London and Scottish Babyshows, on Channel 4, ITV Daybreak, the Sky Baby Channel and Prima Baby’s resident baby sleep expert! Jo will be giving away her amazing new sleep products to prize winning parents, sharing her parenting tips and will be available for 1-2-1 advice for sleep deprived mums and dads!

Mr MakerBack by popular demand will be Cbeebies Phil Gallagher from ‘Mister Maker’ with 2 fantastic shows during the day on the main stage. There will be a fabulous range of exhibitors, a Natural Parenting Zone, Fashion Shows, Innovation Alley, Flexible Working Zone, Petting Zoo, parenting seminars, fun trial classes, face painting, children’s entertainers and much more. Check out the very latest buggies at the buggy demo area and meet the NCT and the Midwives! Win prizes to include a £250 maternity/nursing wardrobe, Fisher Price Goodies, family photography sessions and 10 lucky children will have the chance to meet Mister Maker and win a signed photo and special treat to take away!

Headline Sponsors are Early Years Childcare, Yummy Mummy Maternity, Diddidance and Sing and Sign. ABC Magazine and Heart FM are official media partners once again and we are delighted to be supporting the NCT and Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice.

Brighton Baby Expo

For full information go to www.brightonbabyexpo.co.uk/baby-show

The First Edinburgh Baby and Child Fair

The Edinburgh Baby and Child FairWritten by Karen of Edinburgh Baby and Child Fair

Posted 18th May 2011

The First Edinburgh Baby and Child Fair – just under 40 stalls all dedicated to pregnancy, baby and child, each one different – a unique event & a must for local parents & parents to be!

Bringing together a whole host of exhibitors offering information, support and wonderful goods to buy from pregnancy through birth and beyond.

The fair is being held on Saturday 21st May 2011 at Cramond Kirk Halls, Edinburgh from 11am to 4pm.

Visitors will find a whole host of exhibitors showcasing unique and practical products as well as support during pregnancy and advice on subjects such as breastfeeding & real nappies.  There will also be exhibitors offering information on local clubs and classes for babies & children.  Many of the exhibitors will be offering special show offers.

In addition for the children there is a play area, bouncy castle, face painting, glitter tattoos & balloon artist.

In our cafe area you will be able to purchase healthy food & yummy home baking!

The surroundings are stunning and we are delighted that Zoe from Zoe Stewart Photography – www.zoestewartphoto.com is offering mini photo shoots on the day – booking is essential for these – you can contact her through her website.

We are also very pleased to have The Sleep Lady at the fair – Linda Russell offers a bespoke service to families all over the world, working one-to-one with families either in their own homes or over the telephone and internet. She helps concerned parents with all aspects of parenting: new baby routines, faddy eaters, toilet training, temper tantrums, weaning and shyness. Most of her work with families starts with a sleep issue. Linda is offering FREE consultations at the fair. http://www.thesleeplady.co.uk/

Stallholders to date are:

  • Little Froggies Real Nappies,
  • SomaUK – Cranial Osteopathy,
  • Anne Nash – Baby Massage,
  • Monkey Music, Bright Horizons,
  • Barefoot Books,
  • Waterbabies,
  • Edinburgh Hypnobirthing,
  • Totseat,
  • Edinburgh School & Nursery Guide Educational Tosy,
  • The Baby Stork Company,
  • Smallprint,
  • Lil Bubba Things,
  • NYROrganic Skincare,
  • Tumble Tots,
  • Baby Sensory,
  • Block Art,
  • First Steps,
  • Janis Mackay (Author),
  • Nippers,
  • Wee Tooties,
  • Tiny Castings,
  • Wee Dumplings,
  • Stable Cottage Glass,
  • The Sleep Lady,
  • Pocket Money Toys,
  • Zoe Stewart Photography,
  • Dreamz4U,
  • Facepainting,
  • Pregnancy & Parents Centre,
  • East Lothian Bouncy Castles,
  • Stina Sparkles,
  • Flowerbox Baby,
  • Vanilla Bloom,
  • Xpress Art,
  • If the Shoe Fits,
  • Kiss the Fish,
  • Scruffy Stuff & Bare Knees.

Tickets are only available on the door and are £1 per adult and children are free.

More information can be found at edinburghbabyandchildfair.blogspot.com or on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Edinburgh-Baby-Child-Fair/184162378273526

Cramond Kirk Halls, 16 Cramond Glebe Road, Edinburgh, EH4 6NS

Top Tips for Exhibiting at the Baby Show for Trade

Baby Show for TradeWritten by Russel Hughes from The Baby Show for Trade

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7370 8874
Email: russell.hughes@clarionevents.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/BabyShow_Trade

Posted 13th May 2011

With retailers always on the lookout for the next big thing it is important to be well prepared when meeting with them. The nursery industry is no different so at The Baby Show For Trade we have a dedicated innovation zone for brand new businesses to showcase their latest inventions.

I have been contacted recently by many new and independent companies who are in desperate need for some advice on how to exhibit at shows without breaking the bank. Here are a few tips I have included that if followed can provide generous savings and help to make the most of your time and money spent. More often than not these are borne out of recent personal experience. This is what makes them so good!

It may be the chance of a lifetime to pitch directly to the nursery industry’s leading retailers and get products stocked in stores across the country so I hope the following tips and FAQ list can go some way in helping you with this often daunting process.

The FAQ list is very factual so I apologise in advance if it appears a touch monotonous and dry!

I am sure there are many more people out there who can share tips and their experiences so please do get involved and lend a hand to those in need.

Baby Show for Trade

Top Exhibiting Tips

  • By ordering stand extras earlier, about 4 – 6 weeks out from the show, you can save up to 15%!
  • Take a ‘Dongle’ on site with you, far cheaper internet access than going through the venue!
  • Take advantage of the pre show marketing by sharing any interesting news with the organiser. Get involved with social media by following the organiser on Facebook & Twitter and ask them to follow you back.
  • For trade shows: I would recommend being able to provide where appropriate – patent documentation, medical research and case studies of success. All extremely valuable and attractive to a potential retail buyer!

Exhibiting FAQ

Details of the contractors used by the organiser will be listed in the Exhibitor Manual so request a copy of this as soon as possible. They are often produced a few months before the show.

Q: How does a trade show differ from a consumer one?
A: Trade shows only allow retail buyers to visit and are not open to the general public. They are used to demonstrate the latest products in an industry and for retailers to place their annual or seasonal orders.
Consumer shows enable you to sell directly to the general public.

Q: What is included in my stand?
A: Cream Carpet, shell scheme walls (as above), and a name board.

Q: What colour will my walls be?
A: White

Q: What height are the wall panels?
A: 2.5m height (2340mm for display)

Q: What is the width of each panel?
A: 990mm wide (944mm for display)

Q: What does it look like?
A: A standard sized (4m x 3m) shell scheme stand is pictured below.

Baby Show for Trade Shell

Q: How much space do I need?
A: Stand sizes range from 4sqm to 300sqm, however the larger stands are predominantly space only and for larger items such as Buggies and Nursery Furniture. The average shell scheme stand size at The Baby Show for Trade is 8sqm and is usually adequate for smaller items and a small area to meet with retailers interested in stocking your products.

Q: How should I use the space?
A:  Have a look at the standard shell image above for ideas as well as the overview picture above of part of last years baby show for trade.

Q: Can I paint / wallpaper my walls?
A: No. However they could be covered in loop-nylon.

Q: Can I attach posters/graphics to my walls?
A: Yes, we recommend using double-sided Velcro. You must not damage the walls. If you are in any doubt please contact the shows contractor for advice.

Q: Can I change the carpet colour?
A: No, you must contact the Organisers to discuss your plans and request special permission. Please note that there will be additional costs involved.

Q: Is cleaning included in the cost of my stand?
A: Yes, it is covered in your stand package. The floor of your stand will be vacuumed overnight automatically.

Q: Can I hang banners / graphics above my stand?
A: No, shell scheme exhibitors cannot hang banners above their stand.

Q: Where can I order furniture?
A: You can request a furniture catalogue from the show contractors but an approx cost for a set of tables and chairs would be £100.

Q: Can I bring in my own furniture or hire it from a different company?
A: To save on this cost you can bring in furniture from any source, even your home.

Q: What if I require lighting or electrics?
A: This is not essential but if you would like to highlight a selection of your products, spotlights can be very effective. An approx cost for this would be £150.
The official contractor must carry out lighting and all other electrical installations on your stand. Don’t forget to order 24 hour power if required.

Q: What is a nightsheet and where can I order this?
A: A see through nightsheet is a canvas drape that is padlocked to each side of your stand and is constructed to stretch around the open sides of your stand.  It is a good deterrent for the opportunist thief and can be ordered from the shows contractor.

Q: Do I need to carry out transactions onsite?
A: Yes if it is a consumer event and highly unlikely if it is a trade show. At one of our UK Baby Shows you will need a PDQ machine to retail which can be ordered from ‘123 Hire’. For The Baby Show For Trade I would highly recommend taking order forms with you on site, considering what mark up you are prepared to accept from the retailers, what your minimum/maximum order level is and even work out some European costings.

Q: Can I bring prototypes to the show?
A: Yes if you are attending a trade show but not advisable at a consumer show unless you are using it solely as a customer research activity. At The Baby Show For Trade I would recommend being able to provide, patent documentation, medical research where necessary and testing, case studies of success.

Q: How do I get the internet?
A: You should contact the venue to set up your internet connection however as mentioned in my top tips I would advise getting a dongle as this is far less expensive!

Q: Is there somewhere to plug my laptop into on the stand?
A: This is not included in your stand booking. You must contact the show contractor to have this ordered and installed before going on site.

Q: When do I need to set my stand up?
A:  Usually the day before the show. For the baby show for trade that will be the 15th October 8am – 10pm.

Q: Where can I collect my exhibitor passes?
A: These will be sent out to you a month before the show.

Q: Can I park at the show?
A: Yes. You will receive 1 x free car parking pass automatically two weeks before the show.  You must bring this pass with you.

Q: What happens with my stand at the end of the show?
A: It is dismantled by the organiser and contractors on site so don’t worry about doing this yourself!

Think business, Be creative, Do your research

NCT Bump Baby and Beyond ShowWritten by Gabriela Castro-Fontoura from the NCT Bump Baby and Beyond Fair

Posted 12th May 2011

The NCT Bump, Baby and Beyond Fair is less than three weeks away. Since it is the first event of its kind in the area, located in a most unique venue, it makes sense sharing our vision for the event together with some practical hints and tips for our exhibitors and those considering attending other similar events.

This fundraising event organised totally by volunteers originated from my own initial idea of having a childcare fair to provide parents with plenty of information from a variety of sources on education up to school age. As the advertising coordinator for our NCT branch I had many business contacts who right from the start loved the idea of this “childcare fair”, which we shaped up together into what it is now: a focal point for the whole area (and beyond!) on anything and everything related to pregnancy, birth, toddlers and pre-schoolers – and their families! The event includes varied and unique exhibitors and sponsors – these are some thoughts for them…

First of all, don’t be fooled by the term “baby fair” – although the audience is rather cute, most of you will be there to “do business” (whether that is making a profit or not is another matter). Therefore, think of what exactly you are seeking to achieve:

  • Is it getting your name out there?
  • Is it selling on the day itself?
  • Is it signing up people to activities?
  • Is it gathering contact details from fellow businesses?
  • Or would you quite like to get a list in the end of potential clients for your marketing efforts?
  • Or are you at a time when you really want to listen to feedback from potential clients and do some market research?

The aims can be multidimensional but you need to be clear about them and also plan your resources (staff, promotional materials, displays) accordingly. For example, I have suggested to a photographer to give a discount for a photoshoot if people sign there and then with a nominal deposit. I have also suggested to some exhibitors such as childcare providers making sure that they promote their spring/summer activities and open days at the event. I have also suggested to some businesses doing a mini prize-draw at their stalls to do a bit of data capture. If you would like more twitter followers, for example, why not hand out cards specifically with your twitter address and related prize draw if people join? Could you offer to post free samples to those who sign up on the day? I am an Economist and therefore obsessed with good quality data, so I have also suggested short surveys or links to surveys – please note that data protection applies when you gather individual data for whatever purpose.

Secondly, be creative. We have over 80 exhibitors and expect hundreds if not thousands of visitors, so what will make you stand out? Having a table and distributing leaflets probably won’t make you memorable in a baby fair setting, what will?

Lastly, do your research. I have personally found the UK Baby Shows website amazing in this respect. Be proactive and contact other fellow exhibitors (maybe one that complements what you do, or one that you admire) – ask questions and offer to help in return. The A-Z list of exhibitors is on the website and you can also use our twitter and facebook pages to connect. Google other events and see what worked and what didn’t. Ask people you know. Attend other fairs as a visitor.

And don’t forget that we are here to make this fundraising event be a success for you for it to be a success for us! As your target audience, we are an ideal starting point. But as organisers and highly-qualified women, the sub-committee can really help out, talk to us!

First Choice Baby Scan at the first Cheshire Baby and Childrens Show

First Choice Scan at the Cheshire Baby and Children ShowWritten by Gillian Martin from First Choice Baby Scan Ltd

Posted 11th May 2011

Cheshire Baby & Childrens Fair took place at Winsford’s Lifestyle Centre on 16th April 2011, and First Choice Baby Scan was very happy to exhibit here. It took off to quite a shacky start, despite having booked a specific stall from plan provided by organisor on arrival there was a free for all for the prime pitch. Eventually we got our stall set up and were ready for the public. “Footfall” on the day was slow but steady (it was a lovely sunny day out side!). There was a good selection of different companies representated, and live demonstrations. Would I recommend that they do anything different ? We’ll my husband (who I’d volunteered to help out on my stall that day) suggested that something serving snacks (hot dogs, drinks or even BBQ if out door event) would have gone down great!

First Choice Scan at the Cheshire Baby and Children Show

To Cancel or Not To Cancel

Warwickshire Baby and Toddler ShowWritten by Annabel Brown of Special Occasion Events

Posted 10th May 2011

This weekend (15th May) should be our very first venture into Warwickshire with The Warwickshire Baby & Toddler Show at the Ricoh Arena.  It was an event that we were asked to put on by several exhibitors and the planning was all going  swimmingly…….

Well, it was going swimmingly  up until the point where we had sent out our trump-card-email-marketing to 4,760 expectant mothers……and nothing happened…..1 measly ticket sale in the first 24 hours….. Now to be fair, the response hadn’t been great from the other advertising we had done, but as we had tried some new things and there had been some delays with distribution etc we weren’t too worried about it.  However, this email marketing works for us time and time again – it’s a main source of visitors to all our events and the conversion rate is a pretty good indicator of final visitor numbers.

We were suddenly presented with the situation of being 2 weeks away from the event and less than 100 tickets sold……Now, we know that sales peak 1-2 weeks before the event and that we also have around 30-40% of visitors purchasing tickets on the door. So maybe if we promote like mad things will dramatically improve once everyone gets back to work after all the bank holidays?  Or, maybe we aren’t going to get a huge rush on and the projected footfall really will be 200 – 250 visitors?

So decision time.

Should the event go ahead? As an organiser you have already spent out on advertising and venue hire and if you cancel you obviously have to refund all the exhibitors and advertisers – so huge financial implications, aside from the months of work that have already been put in.  You also know that exhibitors have planned this event into their calendar, may have purchased additional stock or signage/props plus when they make a booking with you they are expecting you to deliver your side of the bargain – ie a Baby & Toddler Show.

Or should you cancel?  After all there is nothing worse than a poorly attended event. When exhibitors make a booking with you – they are not just expecting you to put on a Baby & Toddler Show but a well organised and well attended event. An event that adds value to their business and helps them grow. If you can provide this then an exhibitor will rebook with you – if you can’t then they won’t. Simple!

In the end it was a relatively easy decision, although not of course one we take lightly – I want us to build a reputation for well organised, well attended events.  I want our events to really make a difference to our Exhibitors businesses and with this aim in mind, I didn’t have a choice but to cancel an event that I knew wouldn’t fulfil this objectives.

Have we made the right decision though?

To be honest I don’t know yet.  Why we cancelled this event and “can we be sure it won’t happen again” – are going to be a questions we are repeatedly asked by exhibitors we speak too over the coming months.  This decision will undoubtedly affect peoples decisions as to whether or not to book with us for future events. Will it be seen as a negative in that we are “unreliable” or will it be seen as a “positive” in that our standards are high….??!!

Time will tell!

Little Treasures Company at the first Cheshire Baby and Childrens Show

Little Treasures at Cheshire Baby and Children ShowWritten by Liz Stainsby from Little Treasures Company

Posted 10th May 2011

I am a mum of two little boys and I was due to finish my maternity leave for my youngest as an Occupational Therapist in the NHS at the beginning of April, (giving my notice to finish in May). I had been thinking of starting my mobile baby hand and foot casting business in June to spend more time with and work flexibly around the boys. It was in March however that I saw the advert in a local magazine for the Cheshire Baby and Childrens Show in April. With the show supporting the fantastic Joshua Tree Charity, I felt that it was too good an opportunity to miss, so I contacted Debra Finney the organiser straight away to book my trade table.

On the morning of the event I was extremely nervous, with this being Little Treasure Company’s first event. I took my twin brother along for moral support. On arrival it was obvious that there was some confusion over the table layout. We didn’t need to worry though. We soon spotted Debra with her laptop organising everyone. Even though her arms were aching with having to carry the laptop around, she managed to remain upbeat and welcoming and we were soon at the table setting up. The tables were big enough to set up our display of framed hand and footprints and our small display of FlowerStork baby clothes bouquets which we also sell.

Little Treasures at Cheshire Baby and Children Show

There was a very friendly atmosphere between the tables and we soon struck up conversation with the table next to us which made the event a lot less scary. This interaction has also led to some fantastic networking with other local businesses.

The event enabled us to hand out a lot of leaflets and start to get our name out to our target market. The majority of those that attended the fair were pregnant ladies with their partners and parents with young babies, just who we were looking for!

Any problems at the fair were quickly sorted out by Debra. At one point, as the tables had been put together too closely, the pathways became blocked with prams and people were just trying to get past and became uninterested in the displays. Debra soon had us organising our tables better, letting more people through which was great for us as it allowed more people to stop at our table.

If I was to give any advice to other exhibitors it would be to chat to your fellow traders, they are not your competition. They can help you network long after the event has finished. Also get to the event to set up as early as you can. Then you can relax and even have a stroll around the other tables before the doors are opened to the public.

All in all a very enjoyable event and one which Little Treasures Company will be repeating on August 13th when we attend the next Baby and Children Show in Northwich.