Trade Show Update

As you can see, I haven’t posted in awhile.  Eliz and I went to a trade show this past weekend up at the Sheraton Meadowlands.  We missed last years show because we were both sick, so I was looking forward to going this year.  I always enjoy listening to the sales pitches on why we should be carrying the company’s product or line of products.  I was especially looking forward to speaking to companies about getting their products on – Professional Beauty Supplies and Salon Equipment For Your Salon.

Many of the companies we met with are ones that we’ve done business with in the past and have  currently on, like Zotos, Marianna, and Satin.  For them, we just needed to order their new products and get artwork so that we can put the new stuff on the site.  Other companies we met with were those that we have some inventory, but haven’t gotten the products up on the site.  China Glaze, Fromm, and Mona Lisa Hair Accessories come to mind.  Then there are companies like Wm. Marvy Company.  We may have sold some of their items in the past, but we don’t have an inventory, but they have a product line that they will drop ship for us.  I love companies like that.  Their product line that I’m adding to is barber poles.  It is a quality product that I don’t have to inventory.

It is nice talking business with manufacturers reps and other distributors, most of whom have been in the beauty biz for a substantial amount of time.  I always seem to learn something from these people.  Even the gung-ho, there-is-no-escaping-our-booth-without-learning-about-our-products sales peeps have tidbits of very useful information.  My favorite booth is always the Mona Lisa Clips booth.  The sales guy, who’s name I can’t recall at the moment, should be doing infomercials.  This year, he shared some ideas on selling his products and other similar products online.  He talked of calling the category Hair Management.  Hmmm, I thought. is just way too long, but isn’t.  It was a lightbulb moment.

We went back to our room and fired up a PC Margaret lent us and tried to get online.  One minute we were on, the next minute the page wouldn’t load.  We had enough time on to download FireFox, since the only web browser was the dreaded Internet Explorer 6.  It is not friendly to people like me with vision issues.  When we tried to run FireFox, we couldn’t get online at all.  After dinner, we called tech support to try and resolve our problems.  After an hour and a half, they told us there was nothing more they could do.  Turns out, it could have been the weather that night, but I’m not 100% on that.  The hotel refunded our money for the “high-speed” internet connection.  We then tried to use the complimentary computers the hotel has in the lobby.  It was like being back in the mid-80’s and on CompuServe with my 300 baud modem and my 8088 IBM-compatible computer built by Jim Conallen!  Each page load took between two and three minutes.  Eliz got as far as adding the domain to our cart and inputting the GoDaddy coupon code OYH7 to get the domain for $7.67 before the service went down.  (The next morning, I called Margaret — who stayed at our house with Meghan and our kids — and she completed the transaction.)

The only bad part about the show was my sight.  Eliz would tell me what booths we were passing and the items they had (if I didn’t know.)  She would also tell me if a person we knew was coming over to talk to us.  I can’t tell you how many times she had to tell me to shake a person’s hand because I didn’t see it extended.  That was the worst.  A close second was being in the hotel room.  Without a computer I could see (I don’t know why I just don’t say Mac) and the internet, I couldn’t research the items we saw on the show floor.  I couldn’t see what sites sold what products for what price.  It was like flying, uh, blind.  Eliz would go through the brochures and read me some of the things she felt was important.  I was so miserable, I’m surprised she didn’t throw me out of our eighth floor hotel window (with the wind that night, I would have had greater hang time than a Sean Landetta punt across the street at what was Giants Stadium.)

My sight continues to worsen.  By the end of the day, it is so bad I hate to write emails to customers for fear of embarrassing mistakes (forgive any typos here for 24 hours, please.)  I have also hesitated adding products to  I don’t want to sell one of those new Marvy barber poles for $4.99 instead of $499…  Surgery is only 27 days away, but I wish it was tomorrow.  I’ve always been told to be careful what you wish for, but I’ll take my chances on this one.