We just got back from the summer Philadelphia Gift show and this is what we learned...
We finally recovered from the grueling time setting up, selling and breaking down our booth at the Summer Philadelphia Gift Show that occurred July 21-25. We made a lot of new friends - both other exhibitors as well as with new buyers all sharing amazing stories of how they started their businesses.
The last time By the Bay Botanicals was at the Philly Gift show was in 2013 and a lot has changed in the span of 5 years. The layout of the show was different and for us we chose to be apart of the Handmade/Makers Market section reserved for those who handmade their products. We came back because we want to acquire more wholesale accounts with gift shops/buyers - that range from hospital gift shows, souvenir shops, and even subscription box services - to help share our unique palm wax candles and other gifts with our area - Mid Atlantic and beyond.
We did have one big take away, that we learned, from this event. No matter how prepared you are, still expect the unexpected. What that means applies to multiple examples I experienced.
One example was while By the Bay Botanicals wasn't the only candle maker at the event, which was a known from past experience, but instead at least 15 different candle makers exhibited at the event. Most of them were soy based. Some professional brands like A Cheerful Giver and McCalls are long time exhibitors, while others were handmade by local artists testing the waters. The feed back from our buyers is that they loved our packaging, the colors and style of jars really stands out and caught their attention, and the scents really were natural, not fake. The one thing that really solidified the sale was the fact that we have a money back guarantee if for whatever reason the buyer is not satisfied. Standing behind your product means a lot to gift shop buyers because reassurance that trying something is risky and knowing that we guarantee products eliminates that risk. So, despite having a lot of competition - more candle sellers than before, knowing your product and offering something that stands out, affordably priced and guarantee your work, can really mean the difference of being passed up to closing a sale.
Another example of expect the unexpected related to the weather. The whole time the gift show took place the whole area - most of Pennsylvania and Maryland, experienced the worst rains with lots of flooding in years. Many roads, airports, and even amusement parks were closed due to flooding and flooding condition. This meant attendance was at an all time low. But it didn't keep all people away, each day we did bring on a new buyer who will be carrying our line of candles. A majority of our buyers came from New Jersey! The weather did give us time to really get to know and network with our neighbors some of which we shared leads of people we knew that may be an interested buyer.
Lastly, the last example stems from the fact that while many rate the success of a show by how many orders you get at the event, most forget orders still happen after the event. This is something we are familiar with from last time we attending the gift show. This time however we are being more proactive in following up with people whom we have exchanged business cards or given out sales packets. Despite the fact the Philly Gift show is over, we are very happy fill new orders with new clients, following up and answering questions from potential buyers about to place their first order and more.
If you are a gift shop owner looking to carry a unique line of candles, visit By the Bay Botanicals wholesale page, http://www.bythebaybotanicals.com/wholesale-inquiry.html. Note we do offer private labeling too - perfect for highlighting local landmarks, add a photo of your store front or state your website on the label of too. If you were at the Philadelphia Gift Show and what to share your experience, comment below!!!
~Michelle Sholund, owner of By the Bay Botanicals
I am the owner of By the Bay Botanicals. We want to stay connected to you, and through this blog we aim to share with you tips and tricks to buying and burning candles as well as read up on what goes on behind the scenes at By the Bay Botanicals. Feel free to comment, and comment often as well as share with your friends and family.
Wish to contact me directly about questions or comments, visit our contact page.