Did you ever wonder what it’s like to not only attend, but to participate in a trade show? Well, we’ve got your answer…
In one word, this show was amazing!
My girlfriend, Cyndi, told me I had to go and that I had to get a booth in the Inventors Corner of The International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago. It is the best place to meet prospective partners to sell your invention. After shrugging it off for a while, I finally contacted Stephanie, the absolutely fantastic and energetic contact for The Inventors Corner, paid my fees and picked a booth.
I decided to pay a little extra to be upfront and personal to the “pitching” and secured a corner booth. I was able to watch all of the pitches and presentations from my little home for those four days. My daughter, Chelsea, joined me for the show and represented The Cupcake Rack very professionally.
The big shows like the International Home + Housewares are very expensive, but some states, like my state, Oregon, give grants for business opportunities such as this. Oregon granted me almost half of my cost because of the international aspect of the show. I even met a few international contacts whom I have the potential to sell to.
TIP: Check out grant opportunities to help pay for your trade shows!
The Housewares Show filled McCormick Place in Chicago, so there were tons of people there and miles of booths, big and small. My plan was to walk around and check out all the booths, however we were so busy that there was no time for that! I was thankful we were so busy, there were lots of people interested in The Cupcake Rack!
Chelsea and I flew into Chicago on Friday afternoon, and then took all the packages of my supplies that I had previously shipped to my hotel to the trade show to set up before Saturday morning when the show began.
The Inventors Corner is sponsored by our good friends Dhana and Melinda from Inventorz Network and HSN American Dreams. Throughout the weekend, inventors like myself pitched their products to the pros hoping for a chance to sell their product on HSN and be apart of HSN’s American Dreams, or to get a deal with a Venture Capitalist or Big Box stores.
TIP: Memorize your product pitch.
Besides coming to the show, Cyndi suggested I memorize my pitch. I always thought that I could wing it because who knows my product better than me, but she was right. Memorizing your pitch is extremely important, especially when you get a little nervous in front of all these HSN buyers, Venture Capitalists and Big Box store buyers. Writing down your pitch to memorize compels you to use productive wording. Pitches should be short and to the point. Writing it down allows you to see the unsubstantial filler words that do not enhance your product.
Write it down and memorize it and be sure to time yourself saying it.
Practice it nice and slowly and speak clearly. You’ll probably say it faster when you are nervous giving your pitch, so practice it by speaking slowly. I think Roger Brown has told us a million times to know your pitch, memorize it, have it down. Sorry I didn’t listen sooner Roger! LOL!
We displayed our booth with a cupcake bouquet using The Cupcake Rack and had plenty of sell sheets and business cards available for all the people who visited.
There were buyers, store owners, PR people, other inventors, and more. There were people from the US, Canada, Australia, Europe, etc. We were energized by the excitement at the show because there were so many cool inventions and so much to see that everyone was happy and excited. We also got to see a few EN members while in Chicago, including Eric and Andrea Huber, Susan C., and Jacob Downey.
We were given a second opportunity a couple days later to pitch to a team of pros who gave us constructive criticism on our invention. This was a very helpful moment and an opportunity to not pass up! The experts were kind and helpful.
One very exciting moment was when I met Marc Portney, the host of All American Makers and an investor in the HSN American Dreams TV Show! Spending time with him discussing The Cupcake Rack was extremely enlightening and helpful!
Dara Trujillo, VP Brand/Business Development at HSN gave an inspirational speech at the end of the show. She was so kind and thoughtful to all of us inventors in The Inventors Corner by giving us hope and encouragement, and letting us know that dreams do come true!
On our off hours, Chelsea and I toured the city and loved every moment of it.
The skyscrapers are a combination of old and new architecture, giving the city a feeling of refreshed mystique! We traipsed up and down the river walk, we enjoyed dinner on the 96th floor of the Hancock building, we ate at Trump Tower and went to see The Bean. It was great!
But there was one very special moment while we were in Chicago that outweighed every other…the moment I heard that our William received a new heart. We were told that it was almost a perfect match and he was about to go into surgery. My heart skipped a beat as I closed my eyes in prayer to ask for strength and success for his surgery. Our prayers were answered, another miracle was given in our community! Our William got his heart and is doing well. Thank you Jesus!
All in all, the show was great and I am really happy I went! My contacts gave me hope for some excellent potential opportunities and I even got some orders!
TIP: Sign up for the shows that are right for your product and sell-on!
To learn more about Elizabeth’s journey prior to premiering the Cupcake Rack at the show, please check out this forum thread.