We've been traveling to tradeshows for over 7 years but we've never gone over seas. I almost shut shows down altogether two years ago. They're extremely expensive and exhausting. I would bend my back getting all the products to NY or LA or LV, crash on people's couches ... counting every expense hoping to offset them with a sale. The traveling and constant breaking-even (or worse) over 5 years was beginning to wear on me and I was about to shift all my energy towards selling more online when out of nowhere we had a miraculously successful tradeshow. Instead of abandoning shows we decided to double down and that's been a big part of our growth and why we're able to do our first international show.
Tradeshows gather the most intriguing brands in one place, giving buyers and shop owners the best opportunity to meet and do business together. I've had the opportunity to meet buyers from some of the most influential stores in the world. We're currently in conversation with a huge retailer and hope to send them a big order in October. If it all works out, then we'll share details as soon as we can.
Another benefit of going to shows is meeting other designers and people who have built businesses like mine. Connecting with others in this small community often leads to encouragement, sharing of ideas and resources and sometimes collaboration. For instance, our friends at Studebaker Metals, whom we met at a show in Las Vegas have been coaching us through how to best sell things in Berlin.