What's Your Best Bridal Show Tip???

Business By ButtercupMama Updated 31 Jan 2010 , 3:53am by Mencked

ButtercupMama Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 3:48am
post #1 of 39

I've done a bunch of them, but I'm always looking for that EDGE.
You know what I'm talking about icon_wink.gificon_wink.gif

So how do YOU stand out form the crowd?

Give out freebies of some kind? Wear nothing but whipcream??
C'mon people, let's hear those ideas!! thumbs_up.gif

38 replies
brincess_b Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 9:52am
post #2 of 39

i went to a bridal fair as a visitor - the one place that stands out had a cool and memorable name, and the nicest looking cakes which tasted great.
another memorable stand had a 'show' cake - a big dragon. i guess it caught your attention.
i would say put your name on everything!
xx

indydebi Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 10:43am
post #3 of 39

Have a "WOW" factor cake.

I have a 6-tier dummy that when placed on top of glass blocks towers about 2 feet taller than me.

Last show, I made a Halloween wedding cake with ghosts and bats flying off of it, and styrofoam balls coveredin fondant as pumpkins as the base. A real attention getter.

I also prefer to turn the tables around so the front of the booth is open. I hate standing behind a table. The open set up invites the bride into the booth to look and to talk.

dsilvest Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 10:46am
post #4 of 39

I have actually gone to bridal shows as a guest and then went around from booth to booth and networked with the various vendors. I hand out business cards and talk up my business. I have gotten numerous orders as a result of this and haven't had to pay the high prices to show my cakes. I might do this at the fall shows and then display my cakes at a spring show.

playingwithsugar Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 11:44am
post #5 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by dsilvest

I have actually gone to bridal shows as a guest and then went around from booth to booth and networked with the various vendors. I hand out business cards and talk up my business. I have gotten numerous orders as a result of this and haven't had to pay the high prices to show my cakes. I might do this at the fall shows and then display my cakes at a spring show.




Glad to see you can get away with that up there. Here, they have security people walking around as guests. You get caught doing that, and you're escorted out the door. You get caught again, it's considered theft of services, and subject to prosecution.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

costumeczar Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 11:55am
post #6 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by playingwithsugar

Quote:
Originally Posted by dsilvest

I have actually gone to bridal shows as a guest and then went around from booth to booth and networked with the various vendors. I hand out business cards and talk up my business. I have gotten numerous orders as a result of this and haven't had to pay the high prices to show my cakes. I might do this at the fall shows and then display my cakes at a spring show.



Glad to see you can get away with that up there. Here, they have security people walking around as guests. You get caught doing that, and you're escorted out the door. You get caught again, it's considered theft of services, and subject to prosecution.

Theresa icon_smile.gif




I was thinking the same thing! They have a strict policy in the shows that I do here that you're not allowed to solicit business unless you have a booth. I'm lending a dummy cake to a rental shop for a show this weekend, and he said he'd put some of my cards on the table near the cake. I told him they'd just be confiscated...

As far as tips for the shows, make sure that you have a "sample assistant" who can be responsible for handing out the samples. If you don't you'll end up not being able to talk to anyone. You could also put out a guest book for people to sign up to be contacted later. Get their email addresses and you can send them a note about scheduling an appointment or something along those lines.

FairyPoppins Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 1:48pm
post #7 of 39

I will be coordinating a booth for a wedding show in January 2010 for the bakery I work at. So far we haven't done many conventional wedding cakes so our portfolio is very sparse. We have ordered some cake dummies and I'm planning on decorating and photographing them just for the portfolio. How many photos would we need in the portfolio - 10, 20, more?

Also how many dummy cakes will we need for the booth? I've never even been to a bridal show so I have no idea!

FairyPoppins Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 1:54pm
post #8 of 39

I will be coordinating a booth for a wedding show in January 2010 for the bakery I work at. So far we haven't done many conventional wedding cakes so our portfolio is very sparse. We have ordered some cake dummies and I'm planning on decorating and photographing them just for the portfolio. How many photos would we need in the portfolio - 10, 20, more?

Also how many dummy cakes will we need for the booth? I've never even been to a bridal show so I have no idea!

aundron Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 2:09pm
post #9 of 39

Keep the replies coming; I will be doing one soon and I have no clue where to begin!!

leah_s Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 2:35pm
post #10 of 39

A portfolio at the wedding show does not really help you, IMO. It ties up too much space with one or two people just standing there looking at pictures. You need a display of your coolest dummy cakes, cake samples packed to go with your contact info on the containers and in a basket ready for people to pick up, along with biz cards. The show organizer should provide you with the contact info for every attendee.

The best tip for bridal shows is this "Realize you aren't there to meet brides. You are there to meet other vendors who you can set up a referral arrangement with. The brides are just gravy."

Motta Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 2:44pm
post #11 of 39

Great advice! I never thought of it as a networking event - just as a way to get bridal cake orders. Another reason that experience counts!!!

__Jamie__ Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 2:51pm
post #12 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by leahs

A portfolio at the wedding show does not really help you, IMO. It ties up too much space with one or two people just standing there looking at pictures. You need a display of your coolest dummy cakes, cake samples packed to go with your contact info on the containers and in a basket ready for people to pick up, along with biz cards. The show organizer should provide you with the contact info for every attendee.

The best tip for bridal shows is this "Realize you aren't there to meet brides. You are there to meet other vendors who you can set up a referral arrangement with. The brides are just gravy."




True that!

Which reminds me. I have a kick a%$ stat analyzer on my website. Tells me who looks at my site, how long, when, etc. etc., and one that shows where they linked from. I can see who links to me from people I have a referral arrangement with. Pretty neat to see the numbers on that each month.

dsilvest Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 2:55pm
post #13 of 39

"I have actually gone to bridal shows as a guest and then went around from booth to booth and networked with the various vendors."

I only speak to the vendors, never the brides. I speak to the vendor and we talk about their business and their services. They ask what I do, I tell them. If they ask for a business card I give them one. I take one of theirs as well for future bridal referrals.

Now when I go to these shows the vendors remember me. We talk about how things are going. This was a way to network with many businesses, not sell any specific product when I was first starting out.

ButtercupMama Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 5:32pm
post #14 of 39

Okay, I see what you guys are saying about the WOW-factor dummy!

I've always avoided extravagant dummies, so I don't have to answer "How much is THAT?!" all day, knowing it will be a long explanation which might result in them thinking I am overpriced, cuz they only asked about the WOW cake. (Not that they would ever order something so showy)

I generally put out simple, but pretty fakes that real people around here might actually order. Maybe I will make a WOW dummy! (Fun!) Now, how to go about answering that question without some long answer....

OH!!!
And how many of you put a tag in front of your dummies showing the amount of servings it holds, and or the price per serving???
I never have, but again, the questions people ask...

And does anyone give out something more memorable than cake and paper marketing materials??

flourpowerMN Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 5:39pm
post #15 of 39

This is a bit of a different perspective, but the greatest cake in the world isn't going to mean anything if you don't follow up with people after the show. If you are going to take the time/effort/energy to get their contact info, make sure you follow up with at least a phone call/voicmail message after the show...even if it's to say you were pleased to meet them. You'd be surprised at the number of businesses that do NOT do this. You'll really stand out to people after the fact if you do.

Leahs...great tip on networking with other vendors!

leah_s Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 5:43pm
post #16 of 39

I have a picture of a very elaborate cake, covered n handmade flowers and fruit. Whenever someone points to that cake and asks the price, I start with, "Oh that was for a Show. And it won gold. But if you're really interested, I'd just looooooove to recreate it for you." They aren't really interested in buying it.

And then if they're interested I lay a couple thousand $ price on them.

jillmakescakes Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 5:57pm
post #17 of 39

i use a digital photo frame in addition to having a small portfolio. I keep the small portfolio to show specific examples when people ask "have you done this?" the digital frame allows multiple people to look at the same thing, it cycles through fast enough to keep their attention, it also "forces" them to see things that they may otherwise pass up in a book!

Motta Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 9:46pm
post #18 of 39

Jill - great idea about the digital photo frame!!!! How techy.

FairyPoppins Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 9:56pm
post #19 of 39

Thanks for some great tips ladies. I think I'll have to attend a bridal show as a guest to see how things are set up before I do one.

saberger Posted 5 Aug 2009 , 11:39pm
post #20 of 39

Awesome info for future reference. Thanks. Ok.....here is a REALLY stupid question....how do you find out where the bridal shows are?

-Tubbs Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 1:42pm
post #21 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by saberger

....how do you find out where the bridal shows are?



Google your city and 'bridal shows' and they'll all come up. You can contact them and ask for information on how to become a vendor.

indydebi Posted 6 Aug 2009 , 1:54pm
post #22 of 39

CHeck the PWG site (Perfect Wedding Guide) for your area; they do a lot of shows. Ask other vendors what shows they've been in and how to get on the list. SOmetimes radio stations sponsor the shows, so check with those, too.

evescakes Posted 7 Aug 2009 , 8:49pm
post #23 of 39

I used to work for a company that produced bridal shows/expos. The whole "networking" without a booth does not work in Florida and most of the states in the South East USA. We actually escorted many of these people for soliciting in a non-soliciting event. However, if you have paid for a booth you get a great chance to network with other vendors before or after the show. Another no-no for these shows is to sublet your booth space to another vendor without prior concent from the show producers.

The show producers will provide you with a list of brides (and attendees) after the show (usually withing a couple of days after the event). Make sure to contact all your brides the same week of the show.

As far as the faux/dummy cakes...make sure you know what kind of show you will be attending first. For example in Florida you get a lot of events that are geared to the Hispanic (Quinceanera) community. In these types of Bridal & Quinceanera shows you cannot only take wedding faux cakes for the obvious reasons. You would need to take the more girlie type cakes so you can actually get a good response. Another good example would be if you are doing a more upscale show, then you would take your most extravagant, 7 tiered faux cake, because that is the type of cake these brides will respond to.

You need to know how big your booth space will be. Most of the hotel shows are doing a 8x8 or 10x10 booth with a 6 foot table and 2 chairs. Word to the wise, take another table and put it next to your original table so you have enough space for the following
1. At least 4 VERY different faux cakes
2. Space for business cards, brochures, price and information sheets etc
3. Space for your cake samples (remember you will probably have to cut and serve more cake samples as the show progresses) SO MAKE SURE THAT YOU HAVE SOMEONE IN YOUR BOOTH TO HELP YOU
4. Space for an album that showcases more of your work.

The vendors that we always remembered and referred were the ones that were always smiling, the ones that had the best tasting cakes (make sure you offer the brides three different cake flavors) and most of all the ones that showcased the widest variety of work.

Hope this information helps a little...
Best of luck

evescakes Posted 7 Aug 2009 , 8:50pm
post #24 of 39

I used to work for a company that produced bridal shows/expos. The whole "networking" without a booth does not work in Florida and most of the states in the South East USA. We actually escorted many of these people for soliciting in a non-soliciting event. However, if you have paid for a booth you get a great chance to network with other vendors before or after the show. Another no-no for these shows is to sublet your booth space to another vendor without prior concent from the show producers.

The show producers will provide you with a list of brides (and attendees) after the show (usually withing a couple of days after the event). Make sure to contact all your brides the same week of the show.

As far as the faux/dummy cakes...make sure you know what kind of show you will be attending first. For example in Florida you get a lot of events that are geared to the Hispanic (Quinceanera) community. In these types of Bridal & Quinceanera shows you cannot only take wedding faux cakes for the obvious reasons. You would need to take the more girlie type cakes so you can actually get a good response. Another good example would be if you are doing a more upscale show, then you would take your most extravagant, 7 tiered faux cake, because that is the type of cake these brides will respond to.

You need to know how big your booth space will be. Most of the hotel shows are doing a 8x8 or 10x10 booth with a 6 foot table and 2 chairs. Word to the wise, take another table and put it next to your original table so you have enough space for the following
1. At least 4 VERY different faux cakes
2. Space for business cards, brochures, price and information sheets etc
3. Space for your cake samples (remember you will probably have to cut and serve more cake samples as the show progresses) SO MAKE SURE THAT YOU HAVE SOMEONE IN YOUR BOOTH TO HELP YOU
4. Space for an album that showcases more of your work.

The vendors that we always remembered and referred were the ones that were always smiling, the ones that had the best tasting cakes (make sure you offer the brides three different cake flavors) and most of all the ones that showcased the widest variety of work.

Hope this information helps a little...
Best of luck

pkinkema Posted 7 Aug 2009 , 9:04pm
post #25 of 39

How did all y'all ever get past the "wear nothing but whipped cream?" I'm still ROFLMAO! icon_biggrin.gif

leah_s Posted 7 Aug 2009 , 9:12pm
post #26 of 39

I strongly, strongly advise against cutting and serving cake in your booth. Cut you cake at home, put the little squares into plastic souffle cups with lids and put a sticker with your name and website address on the lid. Brides will get home, not remember who they liked, then find your samples in their bag with your contact info. You're the only one they know at that point.

evescakes Posted 7 Aug 2009 , 9:26pm
post #27 of 39

That is if they keep their plastic cups in their bags. I think another good idea would be to use brochures in your booth rather than business cards, because at the end of the day they will have a bag full of business cards and they won't remember who was who??!?!?!?! I think in the brochure you can include pictures of the faux cakes that you had in the show so they can remember (with some other pictures as well) a list of flavors, a list of cake sizes and serving prices as well as your contact info....

Just a thought icon_smile.gif

indydebi Posted 8 Aug 2009 , 1:14am
post #28 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by leahs

I strongly, strongly advise against cutting and serving cake in your booth. Cut you cake at home, put the little squares into plastic souffle cups with lids and put a sticker with your name and website address on the lid. Brides will get home, not remember who they liked, then find your samples in their bag with your contact info. You're the only one they know at that point.


totally agree.

Also check your local health dept rules. Every year, the small community I live in (technically, I don't live IN indpls) does a Family Day at the park. Businesses set up tables/booths. I set up a simple cardtable and give away cookies.

If the cookies are prepared AND PACKAGED in my commercial/inspected kitchen, then I dont' need to spend the $60 for the temp HD license that is needed when doing an off-site event like this. If I was cutting cake or if the cookies were just in a big box and I was handing people a cookie, then I'd need to pay the license.

So cutting the cake on site vs. having them already packaged could save you some money. (and keep you out of trouble).

korkyo Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 4:19am
post #29 of 39

Is pass out samples and also have samples to take home. They seem to like this idea. Espically when they have had WAY too much cake. I print out address labels to stick on the one ounce cups that I get from Sams club.

Instead of photo albumes I hang laminated posters above my display. Gets them to "look up" and really see the display. See the picture attached. I try to make as many dummies as I can. I have a few new dummies coming that I can share later. Don't want to give away ALL my suprises to other vendors that may go do this same show. icon_smile.gif

I also use Vist print and make the postcard size cards to pass out. I think it helps them to remember my booth later.

Good luck!!
LL

Motta Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 1:35pm
post #30 of 39

korkyo - thanks so much for posting a pic! It really helps to see the set up. Looks nice and thanks for the tips.

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