We exhibited at our first trade show this past weekend at the UDMA, United Dance Merchants of America, show in Worcester MA at the DCU Center. And, I mean our first trade show ever! We had no idea what to really expect, but we had a great time. We met new people and caught up with old friends. For the past three years or so, I was told by a good friend of ours, Jane O’Donnell, owner of the Center for Performing Arts right here in North Andover, that we should attend this show. It had always been in New York (New Jersey), and we balked at the idea. But, this was the first year that UDMA had the show in Worcester, and there was no way that I was going to let the opportunity pass since it was going to be right in our back yard.
I had a special banner made that was going to be used on the front of our exhibit table, and I was going to hang one of our smaller backdrops behind us. Unfortunately, the backdrop didn’t work (it was too tall), so I had to use the table banner behind us as you can see in the photos. It looked great, but I’m going to have to have a special backdrop made just for the trade shows, which we will probably continue to attend. I was really disappointed the backdrop didn’t work, but you live and learn. Like I said, we had no idea what to expect.
On our table we had a sign-up sheet for potential customers to give us their information in order to send them a coupon for use on their next order. Now, you have to have attended the show and sign our sheet to get this special coupon! If you have that coupon, don’t forget to call and order your backdrops! We also had some gifts for the attendees as did most of the exhibitors at the show. We had candy and mints, emery boards with our logo on them, and stress balls with our logo on them as well. I gotta tell you! I was surprised at how popular the stress balls were! I’m gonna have to get more of those, I think.
I brought my tablet and files with me too. I was able to show new customers our website and how easy it is to maneuver around the site. I took a couple of orders from some long-time customers. They figured they were there. Why not take care of it face to face! I thought I would get more orders, but again, I didn’t quite know what to expect. Most were there to get information and ideas. We were both amazed at the costume companies. They took up entire rows and had hundreds of costumes on hand for people to try on and order on the spot, which is what most of the studio owners did. What a business!
In addition to the costume companies and backdrop rental companies, there were videographers, dance competition companies, dance magazines, dance accessory and supply companies, and software companies offering dance specific programs to name a few. It was literally what the title says—dance merchants of all kinds.
As I mentioned, we saw long time customers at the show. And I have to thank them for the kind words about me. My mom helped me out over the weekend, and needless to say, she was very proud when she heard the comments. We also made new friends that had never
rented backdrops before and who, I hope, will give backdrop rentals a try. You’ll see how very easy they are to use. And, hopefully, we can start a new relationship.
We had some old friends stop by too. Rhee Gold took some time out of his hectic schedule to come say hello as did Nancy and Art Stone. They were very pleased that we were there contributing to the scene and also had very nice things to say. My mom goes way back with all three of them. It was a chance for mom to help me out, have fun, and reacquaint with old friends. My mom is a retired dance teacher and knows all of these people through her years in the business. She wishes that some of the companies in attendance were around when she taught such as the on-line recital ticket ordering programs. But, alas, the technology did not exist. She said it would have made her life so much easier.
All in all, we are so glad that we attended this show. It was a wonderful experience. We hope to see you all at some of these shows in the future. And remember, “We’ve Got Your Backdrop!”