I am starting up my new cake business and am looking into becoming a vendor at a bridal show in april. my question is.....are bridal shows really worth it?? its over $400 to be a vendor at this show, and i really want to make sure it will be a benefit for my business and not a waste of time. will i be able to bring in a lot of clients from this...
any advice is appreciated!
Here's 214 threads on bridal shows.
Yes, they are worth it ... IF its a good show; IF you work it right; IF you have a good sales and marketing plan; IF you do good follow up; IF you have sales savvy.
Like anything else, its all about what you put into it.
But the big thing to remember is that meeting brides is secondary. The BIG perq is networking and getting to know your fellow vendors. THAT'S the big benefit!!!
thanks for your advice! the bridal show i am looking into is well know and at a large convention center. they do lots of advertising on the radio as well as billboards. from what i understand there will be about 400 to 500 brides there.
if all goes well...do you think i can plan on 10, maybe 20 orders?? i know my information is sort of vague, but i was just trying to get a general idea of what to expect.
do you have any advice as to how i should network with my fellow vendors??
i hate to be miss negativity, but a caterer/florist i work with and i did a wedding expo, $700 for booth rental plus money for fresh arrangements, samples of popular dips and tid bits, along with hundreds and hundreds of cake samples with my homemde fondant so they could taste the difference. We gave out every (several hundred) card/photo collage cards, brochures, etc... and we booked..... get ready for this...... not one darn thing!!!! we heard all excellent reviews and our booth was super busy and swamped. they loved the displays, photos, signage, and everything else, but we never booked anything. I even went around and visited the other booths and sampled as well as visited, but it was th year the recession hit too. we were very disappointed and have not done one since.
yikes! I see I forgot to cut-n-paste the link!
(I posted then ran out the door to school! )
indydebi - thank you for the link!
dguerrant - i'm sorry that didnt work out for you. what a bummer that is!
i guess i'll just give it a go and hope for the best.....
also remember that its rare for a bride to BOOK a wedding cake at a show. Unless their wedding is within a month, they are window-shopping and information-gathering.
I have a photog friend who offers a bridal show special .... if they book within 7 days of the show, he gives a $200 discount (or something).
Somethings you might consider if they book a consultation within 7-10 days would be a free filling, or a dozen choc covered strawberries for the bride/groom, free delivery, or whatever other value-added incentive you might want to use.
Also the success of a bridal show sometimes isn't reflected for months and months. A bride who attends a show in January, but isn't getting married until November, may not book her cake until August.
i really like that idea! thanks for the advice. i think i will give that a try! thank you so much!
I did one show in our area (with the big show company) and I booked weddings for the rest of the year (it was april) plus 1/2 of the next year. IndyDebi is right though...follow up and vendor networking are key.
and did I mention follow up? I had a sign up sheet...I emailed them, then called, then booked, then emailed those I didn't speak with....I did it based on time of wedding though. Everyone got the first email..then I broke it up into time periods...closest weddings got the first calls, then so on...but all emails & calls were done within the first week or two.
Check out my e bay auctions, sjstoner21 going out of business items...
you have no idea how comforting that is to hear! its scary trying to start a business from scratch....but after learning of your success i feel much better!
if you dont mind me asking....how big was your bridal show? did you do samples, and if so how many did you do?
thanks so much for your encouragement! keep in touch!
The Bridal show was really large. I honeslty don't remember how many samples I made, but I know I made so many 12x18 sheet cakes my eye started to spin. I made my cakes in the sample cups and put lids on them with labels...flavor and my name. It cost more, but it was effective. I saw people put them in bag for later (lots of samples at a show) and I saw people save lids to remember.
I was nervous too (WAY!) but I took my husband and sister and my excellent dummy displays, a computer screen with slide show, and books with pictures.
My husband MR. Talkative met them at the entrance and enticed them in...directed them back to me. My sister caught them from the other way...at the slide show had them sign in and both directed them back to me where I was standing next to the "Cool Factor Cake" A sushi boat groom's cake (TOOK ME DAYS to do that rice ). Everyone wanted to see that...so we sucked them in to the back of the booth where I could talk details to them.
Also- have a calendar out where they can browse to see when you are available. i went ahead and marked my vacations on there as booked. And I set aside 3 days as tasting days and let them sign up for tasting days right then. Just make sure to follow up with them...you don't want open spots on tasting days...that's wasted effort.
Best of luck to you..let me know if you have more questions. I best get off here before I start missing caking!....