The salon and beauty industry is constantly changing and there is no better way for you to keep up with innovation than to attend a national or regional trade show. Trade shows give you a professional shot-in-the-arm and reenergize your connection to the beauty industry.
For those of you who have never lived near or traveled to a large beauty event, you are in for a real treat. Take a camera to record your impressions. The color, sound, and human energy pulsates up and down every isle of the show. It’s an educational extravaganza on steroids.
The big question for most stylists is how do I justify the expense and time away from the salon. Each day that I’m gone means less money in my pocket and more work when I get back home. Who will watch the children? Where will I stay? What will I learn? Am I wasting my time?
Going to trade shows is your best method for continuous, up-to-date education. Accountants, lawyers, programmers, and a thousand other professions have a need for continuous education, why not our industry? To get the most from your experience, try these five ideas for visiting trade shows.
One – Plan Well In Advance
Make all of your travel arrangements early so that you get the best deals on hotels and airfare. Search the Internet for Priceline deals or locate small boutique hotels that are within walking distance of the convention center venue. Save your money in advance of the show so that you aren’t using credit to fund the experience.
Two – Act Like You Are A Reporter
Attend a show with the mindset that you are there to learn, learn, learn. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions when speaking with manufacturers reps and other stylists. Look for demonstrations and be willing to take a lot of notes. Put a star by things you write down that could be helpful to your business and interesting to your customers.
Three – Take A Camera and Keep Snapping
Use the show for marketing. Call some of your best customers while attending the show and tell them that you noticed a new look or thought of an idea that they may want to try. They will love the fact that you remembered them while attending a national event. Email customers and co-workers a photo or two to help them feel part of your experience.
Four – Be Wise About Tradeshow Specials
Most manufacturers offer tradeshow specials and some will extend those specials to you beyond the trade show dates. On the first day of the show, take a quick spin around the trade show floor to get a feel for the type of products and education that is available. Don’t be too quick to spend your money on products that you see the very first day. Jot down booth numbers that you would like to revisit.
Five – Evaluate Your Experience
After the dust settles and you are back home again, make some notes in a trade show journal about what you might do differently if given a chance. By thinking through the best and worst of the show, you’ll be better prepared for next year’s gathering. Try flying to different cities each year to compare the “personality” of that show and that region of the country.
Check out our post titled “Must Attend Trade Shows” dated 01/25/11 for the months and cities of the industry’s best events.
Logan is founder of Donna Bella Milan hair extensions and lashes and an author of the Donna Bella weblog.