April '18

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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20 || P R I N T W E A R A P R I L 2 0 1 8 Jennifer Cox is the president and co-founder of the National Network of Embroidery Professionals (NNEP), a professional organization for apparel decoration busi- ness owners. NNEP supports the success of NNEP mem- bers with best practices, ideas, sources, solutions, vol- ume-buying benefits, and services. Cox was recognized as a Top 50 Small Business Influencer and Community Choice STITCH SOLUTIONS B Y J E N N I F E R C O X Leader by Small Biz Trends in 2013, is recognized as one of the industry's "Most Creative Thinkers," and repeatedly ranks in the top 40 on the industry's "Power List." Reach her at or go to 10 Ways to Maximize Trade Show Time W ith so many industry trade shows and events filled with sup- pliers and so many aisles to cover, classes to attend, and so much to take in, there are of course some secrets to getting the most from your time at an industry trade show or event. Here, we'll talk about are some suggestions from veteran show attendees. PACE YOURSELF Trade Shows are surprisingly exhausting. Hour after hour and even day after day you schlep yourself and the materials and samples you collect up and down aisle after aisle. As the bags get heavier, you simply run out of steam. Remember that this experience is akin to a marathon, not a sprint! Grab something to drink, sit down for a few minutes, and review the last few aisles you travelled. What prod- ucts still stand out in your mind? Those are products that might be memorable to your customers as well. KEEP AN OPEN MIND While you are at the show, keep an eye out to expand your aware- ness of new products, new looks, new colorways, new fabrics, new decoration trends, and new ways to present your products and your work in the samples displayed. TRUST YOUR GUT You know your customers and what may appeal to them. Become comfortable saying "no" nicely so that you can spend time con- necting with the suppliers that will serve the needs of your cus- tomers. You also need to be looking for anything that is "new," or at least new to you. When you get home after the trade show, contact your existing customers to refresh and renew their interest by showing them the new products, colorways, and design ideas.

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