It’s that time of year again! Every January, the BELLA+CANVAS team gears up for the biggest shows of the year in all industries surrounding the t-shirt universe—decorating, promotional products, and retail. Tradeshows give us a chance to interact with customers, find out all the amazing ways our tees are being used, and last but not least, finally let the world know what we’ve been up to the last year in developing our new line. Check out our schedule here if you’re interested in visiting us.

Whether you are an experienced vet or new to the tradeshow circuit, we figured it’s a good idea to read up on what to expect and make sure you’ve put together a solid game plan for attending the shows.

Read below for tips and tricks of the trade(show):

Plan, Plan, Plan!

Before you hit the show, be sure to plan ahead to ensure things go as smoothly as possible.

  • Pre-register so you avoid any confusion upon your arrival.
  • Make a list of the things you want to purchase, which vendors you want to visit, the seminars you’re excited to see, and the new product lines you’d like to check out.
  • Know what you need before you get there. Knowing exactly what you need will help you stay within your budget.
  • Make any necessary appointments with vendors before you arrive. This will help a lot because it will allow you to create a schedule.
  • Bring a crew that’ll help you navigate the show the right way. Also bring employees with you that you feel would benefit from the show.

Arrange Your Accommodations

Booking a hotel is one of the first things you’ll want to do. We recommend booking at least 4 months in advance if possible.

  • Check the tradeshow website to see if there are any discounted rooms at a nearby hotel.
  • Make your reservations early so you won’t miss out.
  • If you need to find your own hotel, choose one that’s close to the show so you won’t have to spend time traveling.

Dress Accordingly

Dress to impress, but be sure you’re comfortable – you’ll be doing a lot of walking!

  • You’re representing your business, so look the part. Wear business casual clothing that’s comfortable and presentable.
  • Leave some extra room in your suitcase for samples and/or catalogs you’ll be given at the show.
  • Bring a large tote to carry around the freebies and informational pamphlets you’ll receive.

Here are some things to expect while you’re at the show:

  • Keep your badge in plain site while you’re strolling around.
  • There will be some amazing discounts, so take advantage of those specials while you’re there.
  • There will be some serious lines for cabs and buses as the day comes to an end, so try and leave a little early if you can.
  • You’ll meet a lot of interesting people, so be sure to bring a ton of business cards!
  • Educational presentations will be plentiful. Attend the ones you’re interested in!

And last but not least, after the show is over, we recommend:

  • Identifying if the tradeshow was, in fact, worth your time and money.
  • Make a list of the people you’re interested in contacting, and email them within the week. You’ll want to do so when your connection is still fresh.

Want more? Check out more tradeshow tips from our blog here. Are you as excited about tradeshow season as we are? Share what you’re most looking forward to below!