I have my first bridal show this weekend! It's a small open house type event at a venue where there is only one vendor per category (one dj, one florist, one photo/video guy). They called me last week on Wednesday because the baker who signed up for the event backed out. Last minute... sure, I love pressure! Fortunately (or unfortunately) the one week time frame was too short to get a temporary permit and rent commercial space to make samples for all the brides (I'm a home baker, so I can't pass out samples en masse at a show otherwise in my state).
I feel pretty prepared, but I am wondering if I have missed anything. I would love for you guys to take a look at what I'm planning on bringing to double check me. Let me know if you think I have missed anything!!
- Dummy cakes (6 of them) and stands, table and cloth (I have to provide my own), banner. I'm going to do a set up test run to make sure I don't have any gaps on the table that need to be filled with a small vase of flowers or something, and I still need to figure out how to attach the banner to my table cloth - I can't hang anything on the walls.
- Cart to haul everything in and out which I still need to procure, anyone in the Dallas area willing to let me borrow one? ;)
- Business cards, required door prize - gift certificate for a free dessert cake or $65 off a wedding cake order, photo album
- Snacks, water, mints
- Steamer (for me and the table cloth), and lint roller
- Giveaway sign up sheets? I am on the fence about this one. I thought since I can't do samples at the show, I could give away a free cake tasting. I'll get a lead list from the show, but I thought it might be nice to have something specific to brides who are specifically interested in cake.
Also, I can't decide what to wear. I have a white polo with my logo embroidered on it, but I normally wear that with jeans for deliveries - not very bridal feeling, but it will be obvious what company I am with. Should I wear something dressier like slacks and a blouse? I'll have an exhibitor badge, so I'll still be identifiable.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
This sounds so exciting! I have no advice to give as I am not at that stage, yet. But I am interested in reading what others have to say.
Definitely have a signup sheet so that you can get in touch with people who are interested enough to engage with you at the show.
Since you can't pass out samples, you might want to work up a little flyer with cake flavor combinations on it, and make them all sound really delicious. That's the kind of thing you can print one out and copy at Staples without a lot of trouble, and it will make people more interested in signing up.
If you can't pass samples to the brides, give samples to other vendors including the F&B manager of the venue.
Thanks cakewitch! I thought I would bring 4 packs of cupcakes (with one each of White Chocolate Wedding, Chocolate Almond, Lemon w/ raspberry buttercream, and Vanilla Caramel flavors) for each vendor, with a few extra for the larger vendors.
I think a giveaway is a great idea! People love the idea of getting something for nothing. As far as what to wear, I'm currently a bride going to a lot of bridal shows and I've seen bakers in both chef coats and dressy attire. The majority were in dressy attire. I am based in Miami though, so I'm not sure about the norm in your area. Hope this helps :)
A change of shoes with a different heel height! You probably will be on your feet for hours and you'd be surprised how much of a difference changing your shoes will make.
Thanks for the input everyone! Here is what my table looked like yesterday. It was a really small show (about 50 brides), which was good for me since I don't have a ton of weddings under my belt. The show coordinator was thrilled and the venue coordinator wants to meet with me. They are a bring your own vendor kind of place, but they want me to come back and meet with them about being their preferred vendor and offered to let me do tastings at the venue (very nice since I'm a home baker). I passed out the 4 packs of cupcakes during our hour break (part of the show was only open to other vendors), and I got rave reviews. I know my cake is good, but it's always nice to hear it from other people in the industry since they can probably compare me to my competitors.
That is a lovely table! So much hard work. How many exhibitions do you think you could do in a year? And how do you find out about them? I assume the cakes are dummies that you have decorated? I have always wondered how does one store these cakes to avoid them getting dusty. There is so much I need to learn!
I personally wouldn't do more than one or two a year of these small ones, but my business model is to stay small right now. The little purple cake was the only real one. Part of the show included a surprise wedding, and we boxed it up for the bride and groom. The rest are dummies. Two are buttercream, and those I'll scrape off / clean up and just recover next time. The two fondant cakes I'll cover with a trash bag and put on my closet shelf. The venue wants to meet with me about being their preferred baker, so I'll see if they want to keep one at thier facility. I joined a few wedding vendor networking groups a few months ago, and contacts through one of those networks put together this event.
Thank you for sharing this with me :) I really appreciate it. I was thinking that a wedding vendor networking group would be a good idea because a friend who is a hairdresser has created one and they support each other (models, makeup artists, photographers, etc.) Their combined effort has drawn attention and their work has been featured in magazines. They all worked free of charge but got photographs for their portfolios.
Beautiful work! Sounds like you made the very most of the opportunity! Not sure if you had to pay anything to be part of this show, but if you did, definitely keep track of how many bookings you get. Also, I wouldn't pay for a show if I couldn't give out samples. I've done some small shows that don't really pay for themselves, but if you're trying to build a wedding business, it's all good exposure, and the most important thing you can do is look very professional, which your table definitely looks. The only thing I would change is instead of the banner, make a logo sign and put it in a gorgeous frame and place it on a table easel, or floor easel, or hang at the back of a booth. As for what to wear, I vote for "business bridal" or a logo chef jacket.
Your stand looks amazing - and such a variety of designs :-)
As for what to wear for the future, a lot of bakers in my area wear chef coats as well but I personally find that a bit weird. I mean, chef coats are designed to be work while you're baking, right? So unless you have 2, I don't like the idea of wearing them out of the kitchen in public but maybe that's just me. I usually stick with a blouse and smart jeans/trousers. I have a pair of crocs wedges which give me a bit of a heal but still feel like i'm walking on clouds, even by the end of the day and I have my company name badge with my logo etc. I feel more comfortable in that so feel better talking with potential customers but each to their own :-) Hope you got lots of orders! x