Clicky

Blog tagged "marketing" - N-Product

A few things happened.

New web store. New designs. New(ish) brand.

It was always part of the master plan, we would always roll back under the N-Product roof once after we launched Deckster. We took a risk when we first launched by putting the Deckster name out in front of our company name. We needed something catchy and sticky and it stuck. We received great exposure and press and deckster.ca was getting good traffic from day 1.

The Deckster Timepiece was a huge endeavour for us, we designed, manufactured and marketed a product in a very new segment. In an attempt to be sticky, we lead with the product name. And that name stuck, we received great press for our design, but we knew that the day where Deckster will have to take a step back.

While we were aware of the challenge before us and we had a plan, it wasn't an exact science. We used N-Product for a small "corp" site, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr

But in the last 8 months, we have been busy little beavers. We brainstormed, designed, prototyped tons of products. 99% of them were scrapped. Check out what we had baking in the oven. The dream of 'products without limitations' is slowly taking shape. The baby is walking now. 


Cardboard Rings


Vintage Jewelry


Urbanwood Maps

Previous post: NYIGF SHOW & TELL: INTRO


Registration 

In typical fashion, we first learned about the NYIGF in November (2011) and the winter edition was happening in 2 months. Bad news, application deadlines had long passed. Good news, we never let that stop us. So we picked up the phone and called, fortunately we're weren't the only one late to the show (bad pun). In the world of commerce, money talks. Big time. We paid all our fees up front and lo and behold, we got a spot. 

For 5 days, we were booth #30004, in the New York's Newest section at Pier 92. This was a satellite site away from the main zoo that is the Javits Center


Pretty risky move when our company has never showed before, we had no booth designs and we had no inventory. We decided that the "pay now, worry later" was our only strategy. Do yourself a favour and search for a calendar of events for shows and their location. Pick the one that makes the more sense for your budget and audience, most of the big ones are in the US and they happen year round. The more research you do up front, the better the results will be for you and your company. 

Tip: Most shows have early bird specials that can cut costs down for you. Money that can be better spent elsewhere like paying bills or a gel in-soles for the long days of standing in your booth.

Space Rental 

Most shows have different space options, we took the smallest space available 8 x 10'. Our little home away from home would cost us roughly $3500 USD for a small patch of concrete, a couple of chairs and a trash bin. Lights and electricity were extras and would be pre-installed by their team of carpenters and electricians. Everything would be extra, you'll learn this quickly.

Tip: Using masking tape, measure out the actual space on the floor of your home or office. No use spending on extra space that you won't need. Big isn't always better, especially if the space will look empty.

Booth Display 

Trade show booth design is an art, a science, a bit of voodoo and lots of wishful thinking. Designing a 3D space in 2D without ever seeing the installation site can be a challenge. With the right budget, a booth can look like intergalactic space vessel or a Swedish lodge—the possibilities are endless. We tend to lean towards a more minimalist aesthetic in general, we took inspiration from a museum or gallery, so everything will be white throughout, allowing the visitors to focus on our designs. White is also an easier colour to match.

The NYIGF provides you with the following amenities with your space rental: used industrial carpet, a waste bin and 2 plastic chairs and a frame of poles. All the exhibitors would be separated by some flimsy sheer curtains. If we didn’t bother “dressing” up our space, the term “ghetto” would be an understatement. 

There are a lot of “pop-up” booth display systems out there, but we didn’t want to commit to a hardware and design until we experience a show first. It’s always a good idea to move to your new house, live in it a for bit before you decide on colours for the walls.

We ordered a 6 x 12’ wall to be constructed for us. A bit costly, but it saved us a lot of hassles. It removed for us to think up or order a costly display that we might tire of. 

For our booth display and setup, we had the following items: 

  • 2 1950’s shell chairs (borrowed) 
  • 1 step ladder (borrowed) 
  • 1 trolley (borrowed) 
  • 1 Ikea PS cabinet (ours) 
  • 12 Ikea Lack shelves (rented) 
  • 1 custom made cardboard giant Deckster replica 
  • 1 cardboard safari moose (ours) 
  • 1 Ikea Dave laptop table (bought) 
  • 1 Sony digital frame 
  • 1 Benq lcd projector 
  • 1 car vacuum 
  • 3 screwdrivers 
  • 1 hammer 
  • 2 drill kits 
  • 1 hot glue gun 
  • 2 packs of glue inserts metal wiring extra cardboard panels 
  • 4 lcd light dics Multi screw/nail kit Laser level 
  • 1 big ghetto blaster 
  • 1 small cassette player 
Since we had our car, we took a few "we might need them" items. Did we use everything? No. Did we have to run to the hardware store for anything? Also no.

Tip: Follow the 'Bridesmaids Dress Rule', don't overspend on anything you're only going to use once. Keep all your receipts and return everything you can. 

Tip: The NYIGF have online video tutorials and webinars that touch on a myriad of subject matter from logistics to marketing. They are greatly useful for noobies and veterans alike.

Travel 

We decided to pack our wagon with all the gear and make it a road trip. It saved us flight plus the freight of the goods. A decision that added a lot of road time but lighten the strain on our budget by more than 50%. Even with our Ikea “rentals” that were flat-packed, we needed more room in our car. Instead, of renting a van, we borrowed a car roof storage box. That, along with a couple of tries at strategic car loading worked perfectly. 

Tip: Car roof storage boxes can be rented or borrowed instead of buying it brand new, you just need cross bars installed on your car. The add tons of temporary storage space. 

Tip: Make sure you fill out all the required paperwork for any merchandise you plan to bring over the border. Failure to do so may result in a hefty fee or a denial of entry. 

Hotel 

We are heavy users of hotwire.com, it helped us save about $1000 over the span of the week at a 3-star downtown hotel within walking distance to the show for a rate of $80 per night. Parking was extra at $45 a day, which was a deal considering the lots scattered around. We were there for business, and our working days would long, so cool boutique hotels were not an option. Plus we were in NYC, so we didn’t plan on spending much time in our rooms. 

There are similar services, and we have never been disappointed in finding a good room and a great rate. Overall, the decision to drive forced us to coordinate with our car a lot more, but it was really convenient to have a car available for any last minute errands.

Tip: Using a web service (like Priceline.com or AirBnB.com etc) to book a room can save you up to 75% of the regular rate.

2012 saw a huge increase to our marketing budget, but going up from zero wasn't too much of a challenge. While we have never spent a dime on advertising or pr, we knew that we needed to set up shop at these events to maximize our outreach to international retailers and distributors.

Our online customers have been mainly been outside of Canada, and building that presence abroad was always part of the game plan.



The New York International Gift Fair would be our first foray into the trade show world. It is one of the biggest, with an expected traffic of over 200,000 people coming from all over the globe. It was also our most expensive activity to date next to our tooling and North American manufacturing set-up costs. Suffice to say, that we were a bit nervous when we considered the 'investment vs return' equation.

Was it worth it? For us, it was a resounding 'YES!'. Yes, it was expensive. Yes, we had no idea what we were doing. Yes, it was stressful and a lot of hard work. But it was indeed worthwhile. The most valuable part of the experience was the education we received from our fellow exhibitors and the experience. It gave us a glimpse into the market, how the big and small players acted. It also gave us the confidence and the resolve to continue on this long and winding journey.

What was supposed to be a quick synopsis of our experience turned out to be quite a long post, so we decided to divide them up and posted them in parts over the next week or so.

We broke it down to 3 main sections:
  1. Pre-show
  2. At-show
  3. Post-show
We’ll also have some Tips at the end of each article that we think may help ease your process a bit. Just like these below.

Tip: Remember, just like your daily business activity, all decisions are influenced by time or money. Sometimes, the cheapest option will require more of your time and your time is valuable. Don't always go for the cheap.

Tip: Every industry has a calendar of events, a bit of research will help you find the right event that makes sense for you, your product and your potential audience. You can cut your costs by planning ahead and registering early.