“Consider the topics that can improve your business or inspire you as an artist. Select four or five classes, and using the show program, map out your schedule prior to the event,” says John Galietti, owner of Xena’s Beauty Company in New York, New York. “Shop the show floor early before the crowds. After two or three hours of shopping, have an educational class scheduled, and take a break from the floor.
“Next have lunch and network with other stylists in the convention center café. After lunch attend another educational class or performance on the main stage. Take a final lap around the show floor to pick up all the tools, DVD’s, etc. that inspired you. If there is a second day, repeat the process adding one more educational class, having covered the show floor on day one. Finally, pick up any last minute items, your final chance for any show specials.
“What are my six tips for show-shopping success? Get a good night’s sleep—you will need your mental and physical energy. Look fashionable but be comfortable so you can cover the convention hall floor. Bring business cards to leave with manufacturers—so they can send you follow up information on their products or a representative to your salon. Bring cash, checks, credit cards and a Tax ID# in the event you want to purchase products and tools at the show. Gather literature and business cards from companies you may consider ordering from in the future. But most of all, have fun!”
“‘I wish I would have known about that class and now it’s filled up…’ If that sounds like you, and you want to get the most benefit out of a trade show, make sure to plan ahead and formulate a quick game plan of what you want to see and do,” says Damien Carney, Joico International Artistic Director. “Major shows are filled with great beauty manufacturers, platform artists, and education to take your career to the next level.
“If you are investing the time to attend a show, take a moment to look at the show’s website beforehand and see who is coming and what classes/events you want to hit. This will save you so much time and allow you to shop and experience the show floor without having to worry about where you should be next. Additionally, attend a class beyond how to cut, color or style hair. Shows now offer so many other education options ranging from marketing to using the latest technology. You will be surprised at the things you learn and can incorporate into your business. The additional money you’ll make will be a nice benefit. Lastly, make sure to have fun, smile and remember what a great industry we work in.”
“Lots of people travel all over the U.S. and the world to attend a hair show. They leave exhausted and disappointed wondering why they just spent so much money and time to go to a fl ea market. That’s because they didn’t do their homework,” says Vince Smith, owner of Vince Smith Hair Experience in New York, New York. “In order to get the most out of a show, there are things you must know and things you must do.
“Plan your day! Most trade shows get packed, and most convention centers are huge, so planning is important. It takes time to get from one place to the next.
Also, get there early! Most hairdressers I know are not morning people. So the early classes are less crowded. There are also usually free performances on the ‘Main Stage,’ which is on the main exhibit floor. You could grab a seat, stay in one place all day and let the education come to you.
“Study the website for the show in advance. There is usually a lot of free education available that is not on the main floor of the show. There are also classrooms where excellent free classes are taught by some of the industry’s best and most famous talent. One class with any one of these people costs way more than the admission to the show for all the days combined. Registering online will save you money on your entrance fee.
“Wait until the last day to buy products and supplies. The vendors and exhibitors are exhausted by then and they don’t want to have to pack up and carry a lot of inventory back with them. It’s the best day to haggle and get bargain prices.
“Most convention centers are kind of isolated with no restaurants nearby. There are food vendors inside but they are a usually expensive, crowded and limited in selection. Make sure you bring your bottled water and snacks, so you can keep your brain working while you absorb all the great education.”