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EXHIBITING- March 2011 Camerontakes a look at why severalexhibitors chose to supportbroad-reaching retail tradeevent Top Drawer UK. For Urban Graphics (UG), TDS'sbroad-reaching UK and internationalretail coverage of galleries toindependent gift shops makes it a solid exhibition choice."We wanted to launch our newestproduct ranges with a real bang,"said sales manager Emma Skelton."The show hosted lots of potentialnew customers, and allowed us to tryand entice back those who may havemoved away too."Our stand had to be innovative,with great lighting and presence, toshowcase our cards to the bestpossible standard," she continued. "We have upgraded the materials weuse, so we wanted visitors to be ableto see and feel how tactile ourproducts are."Results this year included anincrease in footfall, more orders andthe most follow-up calls UG hasexperienced to date. "Exhibitionsoffer brand awareness within theindustry and are supported by somany different people, so it pays tobe involved," addedSkelton.BaggeeStatus:Second-time exhibitorStand size:6sqmStand type:Shell schemeBoutique bag designer Baggee(pictured above) chose TDS becauseits audience matched the company's"funky" nature, director ConalCunningham said. This year's aimwas to increase brand awarenessand conduct additional marketresearch."We only launched last year, so anyway of increasing our brandawareness is welcome," saidCunningham. Baggee chose todisplay its products in different waysto try and appeal to bigger retailersand also to avoid having to rearrangedisplays after customer disruption."Exhibitions are a great way forestablishing brands. Our product isnew and we were given anopportunity to show it off withouthaving to 'sell' it," addedCunningham. "It is also reassuring tomeet other exhibitors and learn thepitfalls of this medium."Places and SpacesStatus:winner, Best Dressed Stand(over 24sqm); first-time exhibitorStand size:35sqmStand type: Custom-buildFirst-time exhibitor Places andSpaces (PAS) traditionally exhibitedat furniture shows, but opted forTop Drawer Spring (TDS) isone of two trade events heldby Clarion Events every yearfor the gift, homewares and well-being retail markets. Its 2011edition took place in Earls Courtthis January and was attended byover 700 exhibitors.Exhibitingspoke to several of thisyear's exhibitors, both large andsmall, to discuss strategy and findout why they continue supportingthe live events sector. Urban Graphics Status:2011 winner, Best DressedStand(under 24sqm); regular exhibitor Stand size:21sqmStand type:Custom-buildSpring forward or fall back?exhibitofre faotcuuresUrban Graphics

exhibitor focusFulton, said TDS's exhibitor mix helpsattract a high calibre of visitors."We have the usual exhibitinggoals, but we like showcasing ourbrands and catching up with ourregular customers," said Fulton. PTused a small bar with chairs, wherevisitors could indulge in freshpopcorn and complimentary drinks. "Our strategy is always the same.We want to be friendly, open andentertaining," he added. "This givesus the chance to present ourproducts in the best light. I'd sayexhibiting is the best marketingplatform to showcase your brands." Jan ConstantineStatus:Regular exhibitorStand size:6sqm/12sqmStand type: Shell schemeJan Constantine (JC) produces handembroidered goods with a focus onUK symbols and events. Its owner,Jan Constantine, said TDS is a majormarketing and sales platform. "Our object is to widen ourcustomer base and this offers TDS's broader trade appeal toaccess more gift and lighting product buyers. Its stand included a back wall toshowcase wall-mounted products,as well as display lighting goods anddark painted chipboard instead ofcarpet as its floor covering. "We made areas of interest forsome products, which then repeateda texture, shape or colour so thestand had fluidity," saidspokesperson Laura Rippington."I do not want to have to send a sales rep in a car around to seeprospective clients. You never knowwho you might meet at a show, theremaybe a lead you would not haveapproached," she added. "Anexhibition is the best way to talk tovisitors when they are in apurchasing mindset."Present TimeStatus:Regular exhibitorStand size:119sqmStand type:Custom-buildCountry manager for giftwarecompany Present Time (PT), Nika great PR exercise," she said. "We also launched new products,specifically targeting London andwith regards to the Royal Wedding." As well as a main stand, JC took a separate area for its London 2012 collection. "Live marketing offers one of thebiggest selling opportunities. We hadgood results with both new andexisting customers ordering at theshow," added Constantine.Striking similaritiesWhile the stands and product rangesare significantly different, theseexhibitors agreed the live eventsspace presents an opportunity toconverse with new and existingcustomers in a purpose-built buyingenvironment. Most will also retain, ifnot increase, their participation inexhibitions over the next year. Perhaps it's time you alsore-evaluated your exhibition budgetand looked for the next big event?Places and SpacesPresent TimeJan Constantine