When we first got started with just couple of styles of leather belts, 2 style of phone cases, and 2 colors of our sheepskin Tasca Bag, we went to the NY Accessories Show. Due to the new and limited nature of our "line" we rented a booth in the New Designers section of the show. We spent a fair bit of money for the show and came away with a few sales and lots of great advice.
Next up was the Las Vegas Accessories Show. This time we were ready with 15+ different colors of our Tasca for a much bigger display. The result was a step up in sales but still not to breakeven. In addition, we found sitting in a booth all day hoping some bypassing buyer would give us a look to be boring to say the least. As we packed up to head home we said, "there's got to be a better way."
....and there is. Now we travel the country and intensely cover major cities as we go. This week we've added 4 stores in Dallas/Houston with a few more prospects to call on today before we head home. In addition, we get to see and learn from store owners which is having a dramatic impact on our new product designs. We also get to reconnect with family and friends and spend lots of time thinking about the business together as we drive from store to store. All in all, lots of benefits and lots of fun.
So, if trade shows working for ya, you might give the traveling visits approach a try, especially if you have a great friend and soulmate to do it with!