Exhibiting for the first time at NY NOW March 19 2015

Exhibiting at NY NOW (what I still think of by its old name of the New York Gift Show) as a first timer was a somewhat scary (the expense alone will take your breath away), somewhat exhilarating (I'm finally here, among my compatriots!) and somewhat frustrating (what...why aren't the buyers crowding into my booth?) If you forget the hefty price tag for a minute, it can be well worth the time and effort. I took orders from stores scattered about the country, met many nice encouraging people, and established some leads that will hopefully pay off in the long run.

1. Ordering the space. If you don’t already have a pre-constructed booth, order the expensive hard-walled package. We were able to walk in, unpack our disposable paint supplies, and start painting. After a few hours we had a blank, colorful canvas ready to go.
2. Checklists! Make checklists as if your life depended on it. I made checklists for all the show deadlines (shipping to Javits for example), for every item I needed in the booth, supplies I needed to ship or carry in my suitcase, printed materials, etc.
3. Plan the booth. Careful product display planning and good booth design is essential. If you have a small-enough enterprise (like me), you can creatively store your packing crates or boxes in your booth, thereby eliminating hours of waiting time at the end of the show. We were able to pack up the booth immediately after the show ended and catch a train in Grand Central about two hours later.
3. Rely on family and friends. We saved money both by parking our car at a friend’s house in Connecticut and by staying with my cousin right in the city. It wasn’t Waldorf-Astoria-luxurious, but it was a lot more fun and much less expensive than a hotel. Obviously not an option for everyone (and probably not for me if I exhibit again soon!) but it's worth mentioning.
4. Have a great booth buddy. I was lucky enough to have a handy helper who could lift heavy objects and hang things with competence, but he also helped man the booth during the day so that I could take quick breaks to walk parts of the show, eat my lunch, and run to the bathroom.
5. Pack lunch. Javits food is pricey, and we were able to save a little money by shopping at our neighborhood bodega and bringing our own snacks, drinks, and lunch every day.

1. Look into other shipping options. This is a big expense.
2. Splurge for electricity (yes, they charge for that too!) and bring some clip on lights. It wasn’t a deal-breaker but the brighter your booth is, the better it looks.
3. Think of some fantastically original give-away for visitors (and passersby) to take with them to try to generate more excitement, and more traffic.

Here's the booth plan:

And the booth in real life.