We've been inundated with invitations for bridal shows and fairs. We know that that is probably the best way to get our name out there. However, in this economy, the prices seem SO out of whack for what they are "doing" for us. We have even seen rates several hundred dollars higher in Orlando than in coastal areas.
Is there a going rate of what we should expect to pay to be a vendor at a bridal show? What would you recommend we take if we do go?
Paul & Peter
I can't be of much help to you because I live in the UK but I'll happily give you a bump. Prices for shows over here range from nothing (when I have blagged my way in for free) to a few thousand pounds if it's a big national show. I always ask the organisers how many other cake decorators I'll be up against and I try to find out if I can be the only cake decorator at the show. If that's not possible, I try to get a great spot and make sure my samples, dummies and stand presentation are memorable. I also haggle like mad and try to get some free advertising from the organisers. I wish you both the best and I hope you get a great deal!
I participated on my first (and only) Bridal Show back in April and I paid $450.00, which seems to be the average in my area.
Most of my wedding cakes booking this year came from the show and I also received a great mailing list with more that 350 names, addresses and emails that I used to send out postcards (got them for free at VistaPrint!) a massive email.
That was great to get my name out there and get people to know my business, not only I booked wedding cakes but birthday an anniversary cakes as well!
To evaluate if the show is worth it try to find out how many other cake decorators they will have and how many brides they are expecting (or how many they had last year).
As CakeWhizz mentioned: bring a couple of decorated dummies, lots of samples (people love free food) and business cards, brochures, etc.
I normally use Vista Print for adverting products, they normally have free stuff and you only pay for the shipping, every time the have a sale I order business cards and brochures and all that, and I save them for my next year show.
I canât wait for the next show! It was exhausting but VERY worth it.
Sorry I can't help with prices. I'm in Mexico, but here's a very helpful thread:
There are shows around here that range from free to $2000. Depends on how new the show is, how many brides they are expecting, what kind of venue.
Best bet is to talk to other wedding vendors ... not just cake people ... and see what shows they think are the best. One photographer told me to skip the BIG show in town ($2000+) because another show ($800) was SO much better. TOld me the smaller show had more brides! Also find out what's included in your fee. Some shows charge you $500 for the booth and if you want the bridal mailing list, there's another charge; if you want to be in the flyer, there's another charge. (I HATE nickel-and-diming pricing structures!).
If I had to give only one piece of advice, I'd say start with a small show to get the jist of how it works and what works best for you. And remember ... you best contacts are not always the brides .... be sure you network with the other wedding vendors, giving your card to them and collecting their cards for your file.
Thanks, Indy! That is some very good advice worth listening to.
Paul & Peter