If you are gearing up to attend a baby show this weekend, or any trade show anywhere in Canada, it’s a great way to discover what to buy for your growing family. Trade shows – with so many vendors offering products, services and information, as well as workshops put on by the show’s organizers – can be overwhelming. First time parents are eager to check out baby products and services made for their parenting adventure, but after the third baby food booth, it’s tough to remember the first.
I’ve exhibited at my fair share over the years want to share my top tips for how to WIN at a baby show and get what you want and need out of the experience:
1. Set Your Targets
Attending a baby show, or trade show of any kind, means you can access a whole lot of vendors in one place! But this can also be kind-a overwhelming. It still amazes me how many strollers are out there to purchase, and how many of them have one special gadget-y feature or another! And as a nutritionist helping new parents, I know that the array of formulas on market today can leave your head spinning.
Just as I ask my clients during one-on-one consultations: what do you want to get out of this experience? It’s ok to say “just to have fun” or “to see what’s out there.” But knowing this ahead of time will frame your day. It will allow you to zero in on what type of vendors you want to stop and chat with, and what workshops you might like to attend. There are so many things to do at the Baby Show in Toronto! Knowing what your priorities are will help you zero in on where best to focus your attention.
2. Have a Plan of Attack
You can browse the list of vendors for this fall’s Baby Show Toronto online. And the list of workshops is now available to you, so you can begin to plan your day. Use this information and make a list of your “must see” and “must do” beforehand so that you don’t miss out on something that was actually quite important to you, and so you don’t feel quite so overwhelmed when you step out onto that trade show floor. It isn’t possible to take it all in (at least I have never found this possible!) so knowing your priorities will help make it the best experience possible!
Most shows will offer a map when you arrive; grab one and let this guide you.
3. Pack and Wear “Practical”
Pack water, snacks and maybe lunch unless you are good with fast(er) food. Pizza is a staple at most shows. (It’s not that I don’t support the food vendors at these trade shows, but as a nutritionist I can tell you that not many of the offerings meet my stamp of approval.) Make up a batch of Go Faster Granola bars, and bring a few bars in your purse. (Or pack a handful of almonds with an apple).
Being practical is a skill but at a baby show it is a necessity, especially for pregnant moms. And by practical I mean–what can you do to be your most comfortable? Flats for some, heels for others. Any shoe with the kitten heel that you don’t usually wear or that have blister potential, will make you want to crawl out of the show by the end of the day! As an exhibitor, I have learned this lesson the hard way!
4. Take it Easy
Expectant mothers take note: sound advice no matter what the occasion! Don’t try to do it all, and see it all. This is where your target planning and research will guide you. Most shows have a re-entry option, so you can come back the next day. Filter out what is less of a priority and focus on what you want to accomplish, and making it the best day possible. When you need to, stop and take a break – drink your water sitting down, have a bite to eat, rest your tired feet. Mixing up your day by attending workshops is a great way to find the breaks you need, as is seeking out the areas of the show that the organizers have designated just for this purpose. At The Baby Show in Toronto this weekend, there is the DK Area and Reading Nook, which is perfect if you have young kids with you.
5. Put Fun First
Many of the vendors have exciting contests and special deals on products (I will be running an amazing contest, and offering a special price on my book, as well as The Wean Machine and a 7-day meal plan for baby). Many attendees I meet know going into the day that contests will be on offer and they bring their address, email and telephone number pre-printed on a label. Smart! What a great tip!
All in all, the main objective is to have fun, isn’t it? And to get to learn more about some pretty great products and services… maybe to win a contest! A baby show can be a great way to spend a Saturday or a Sunday, but be sure to put some thought into creating your “plan of attack.”
What’s on your list of who to see?