We are doing some spring cleaning here at the NNEP office this week and I came across some of these show directories, from the very first Embroidery Mart, held in Nashville in 2002.
I have such vivid memories of this event – arriving at Opryland and just being WOWed by this hotel (it was spectacular), hoping that people would show up (they did), and hoping that we prepared enough and well enough to take care of the exhibitors and the attendees (seems like we did, as we’ve hosted Embroidery Marts every year since 2002), meeting members of NNEP that we’d not yet met in person (loved seeing so many members for the first time), and then how tired and happy we were at the end of the event.
We are the first ones to the event, as we have to get things set up so that when the exhibitors begin to arrive, everything is in place. We are the last ones to leave the event, so that we are certain that everyone has been able to get all their things out of the building and we pass the post-show inspection, proving that we left the facility in the same condition as when we arrived.
If you have never hosted any kind of event other than family gatherings, it is hard to imagine all the “moving parts” that are involved to bring an event like this to life. Hotels for people to stay in, spaces for people to exhibit in, classrooms for people to learn in, food that is affordable, accessible and edible, parking areas for cars, signage to get people from their cars to our location inside the facility.
I guess the best analogy I can come up with is to have you imagine a wedding, yours or someone in your family perhaps, and all that went into creating that experience for the couple. Planning an industry trade show is sort of like that, but it lasts a few days instead of a few hours, and it involves meeting the needs and expectations of a few thousand people instead of a few hundred people.
I am one of those strange people that enjoys creating these embroidery and apparel decoration industry trade shows – I love working with all the moving parts to get them to come together in such a way that they create a dynamic event where we bring together industry suppliers and experts with embroidery business owners and apparel decoration professionals to move their businesses forward. Every challenge that pops up before during and even after each show (and believe you me, there have been some real whoppers) pushes us to find solutions that will not detract from the experience for the attendees or the exhibitors.
The industry suppliers commit a great deal of resources to exhibit at these industry shows, between the travel time and expenses for their people to the securing their space in the exhibit hall to moving all their products/equipment/materials/information to the show and then back out again.
If you have not attended an embroidery trade show like Embroidery Mart or one of the other apparel decoration trade shows, plan to attend one soon. The energy and information you get from being around hundreds or thousands of other apparel decoration professionals and industry suppliers, much less being able to see, touch and feel thousands of products and all the current equipment, all in just a few days is a benefit for your business that you simply cannot experience any other way.
I would love to know what you most value from your experiences at industry trade shows, leave a comment below. If you were at the NNEP’s first Embroidery Mart in 2002, I would love to hear what you remember from that event!