Being Retail Ready for ShowcaseJan 23, 2017,
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Ready for Retail Success - an artisan producer's tradeshow experience
Lucinda Layton, owner of Rose & Alice Handcrafted Soaps and Gifts in Co Laois, chats to us about the nerves and excitement of participating in the major international trade show, Showcase.
"Showcase 2016 was really my first big break. I attended the tradeshow as part of my Local Enterprise Boards' Enterprise Zone. My expectations of the outcome were set modestly low - I thought, maybe an order or two and some leads?
As I was preparing for the show, a friend advised me to get my products barcoded. I got on the phone to GS1 Ireland and they talked me through the barcoding process. They explained it in a way that made sense to someone like me, with no retail experience." I was in the middle of finalising the new packaging for my soaps and bath bombs, so it was important to get it right and to have everything ready to show to buyers at the trade show."
Two days before the event, Lucinda and her husband Brian went up to RDS to paint their stall. "We walked into the main showroom and we saw major Irish retailers setting up their stalls, and there was me with my bucket of yellow paint! I was absolutely paralyzed with fear. All I could think of was that I was in way over my head and I needed to get the heck out of there, fast."
"By the time I got upstairs to the stall, I could barely breath. I was terrified that I was going to look like a real amateur next to all of these companies who seemed to know what they were doing. I thought my best option was to fake a serious illness and call the organiser to say I was too ill and wouldn’t be able to exhibit, ... and I was really going to do it! See how damaging a moment of self-doubt can be?"
Thankfully, Lucinda's husband, Brian, reassured her and asked her to help him paint the walls. So Lucinda cried as she painted her stand walls and got over the fear. By the time the show started on Sunday Lucinda was back on site with the mindset that she was going to finish the show with an order.
"Sunday was the slowest day in the tradeshow, so I used the day to practice my pitch, collect leads and watch how buyers reacted to my products. But, by the end of the day, I had an order! I called Brian to tell him the good news and reset my goal for the show ... now I was aiming for five orders."
"Monday was crazy. The Rose & Alice stand was swamped with buyers from large and small companies. I engaged with every single buyer that walked by the stall. The days flew by in a flurry of activity. By the end of the show, I had nearly 20 orders. When I was approached by a retailer of any significance, the first thing they did was flip the box over. They’d say “ah good, you’ve already got your product barcoded”. Do you know, those boxes are flipped over at every trade show, again and again. Many of the buyers that we got orders from wouldn’t have even considered us, if our products hadn’t been barcoded."
New Retail Ready Packaging
Following her success at Showcase, Lucinda’s business has developed at a blistering pace, and shows no sign of slowing down. “The focus for 2016 was on expanding the business into retail which has been an enormous success”. For 2017 Lucinda’s ambitions include extending domestic listings for her products, finding interested retailers abroad and expanding into the Irish hospitality sector.
Fortunately, GS1 barcodes are accepted in any country, so you may find Rose & Alice products on shelves all over the world before the year is out! #showcase2017
You can order Rose & Alice products online from Lucinda’s website at http://www.roseandalice.com/or find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RoseAndAliceHandcraftedSoapsAndGifts