Journey of an indie brand at tradeshows Part 1

When Loud Silence first started, we knew that events would be a pivotal part of growing our brand. Of course when we first started out we didn’t have the inventory to attend shows, so we had to turn down a few events within the first few months of our launch. We have to give Buddy and DJ Shotgun of Bofresco a huge thank you for “popping our event cherry” this past August by inviting us to Rockin Heat 3(sneaker/indie brand trade show). Once we did that one event it got us hooked to wanting to do more and more events. We prepared for Rocking Heat 3 the best we could but just like anything in life you learn through experiences. Since then we have done more events both indoor and outdoor, breakdancing competitions, live shows, and art walk.

So here are some things we learned:

A little tip I stole from James Watson of Kingdom Clothing Co.…have an easy way to transport your merchandise, i.e. rolling luggage with a handle. Have your tees folded in the luggage and just roll it to your spot because when it’s hot, and your spot is about 100 yards away, it definitely helps with the discomfort of the heat and the transportation of merchandise.

This should be a no brainer, but get there early. Always make sure to communicate with the host(s) of the event about certain times and deadlines for the show/event.

Get every bit of detail you can about the event. For example, are they providing tables, chairs, or canopies if the event is outdoors? Or do you need to provide all of it yourself? Don’t assume anything and you’ll be prepared for any situation.

Presentation is key. Having your tees clean and presentable will grab the attention of your customers and prevent potential sales from being overlooked. Your logo should be displayed everywhere possible. It could be presented in forms of banners, flyers, business cards, or stickers, etc.

Have your product easily accessible. We lost a few sales from making this mistake. Make sure all your inventory is easily accessible and organized.  When customers ask for a specific design and size, you don’t want your them waiting 5 minutes for an answer, while your digging in your bins trying to find the item. This can divert your customers attention else where and possibly lose the sale.  Develop an inventory list that displays all your items and create a method of keeping track of all your materials.  Remember, work smarter, not harder.

Write down everything you sell and giveaway at events. Most events are an all day thing and you will forget how many tees you’ve sold or given away for the day.

-Be prepared to have extra product to throw in as giveaways.
 Most of the time, this is optional but it’s advertising for you and it’s a nice gesture for the event.

-Always be prepared for the transaction. Carry loose change to break big bills, and if you don’t have a card reader for your phone then make it a priority to get one. 80% of our transactions at shows have been debit/credit cards. Square is easy and efficient without a huge transaction fee.
And finally…HAVE FUN!!!. Setting up and preparing for the event might be a little stressful but it’s worth it when the event starts. You get to meet new people and expose them to your amazing brand that you’ve worked so hard to build. You also get to meet fans/supporters that you may only know through social media.
There are many aspects of doing shows that we still have yet to learn. If you have any extra tips or questions, post them below or email us at [email protected]

Stay Loud,

Part 2 of this article can be read here


About Mario Elizondo

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Born and raised in Jacksonville, FL. Loud Silence was birthed from the love of music and urban culture. Run the brand along with being an audio engineer and music producer.

  • Fandabby Apparel

    We would love to do this sort of thing. Cannot wait for part 2!

  • Lemniscate Apparel

    Really good tips. This article could easily be made into a checklist for anyone going to or planning on going to a tradeshow. I especially like the notion of work smarter not harder. Something I personally believe in as well. Just out of curiosity how much product do you normally take to an all day show? I can see how having too little or too much could both be a hinderance.