Many believe bringning staff to fairs is too expensive. In this article we explain why it is the opposite.
Traveling to buyers fairs is part of the tasks you have as the owner of a bridal salon. An assignment that can be both effective and profitable. Many shop owners choose to travel alone to the purchasing fairs. In this article, we explain why it can actually be very profitable to involve the store staff on these trips. We have had a chat with Åsa Bräck, who previously ran the bridal shop Åsa Design and who has extensive experience of taking her staff to shopping fairs.
Involvement and sales focus
Åsa Bräck has taken her staff to a number of different fairs around Europe. Nordic Bridal Show in Malmö, Interbride in Düsseldorf, BBFW in Barcelona and Harrogate Bridal Show in Harrogate. She experiences a number of benefits by taking some or all of her staff with her to these purchasing fairs.
– One of the advantages is clearly that the staff feel involved in the purchases that are made, says Åsa. Even though as a shop owner I have the final say and the responsibility to buy in creations that can be sold, it is fun to see how engaged the staff become when they get to participate and their opinions are heard. There are many advantages to it. Not least that they feel seen and that they gain trust, but above all it is the staff who meet the customers in the store every day. They may have received requests for dresses that I personally never thought of.
Åsa says that the staff help bring out a complete selection in the store and that the staff, who are quite often the same age as the customers, know what is in demand. Thus, they have the opportunity to influence purchases so that they match demand 100 per cent.
When the dresses eventually arrives at the store, the staff clearly feel pride in unpacking the dresses. They hang up the creations they themselves have helped to select with great joy. These dresses become a little more loved by the staff and unconsciously they speak very highly of the clothes to the customers. This means that they have a great focus on sales and that many of the dresses that the staff have been involved in buying are often sold.
Another advantage Åsa wishes to highlight is the opportunity to socialize and build networks.
– Having the staff with you at procurement fairs means that they make contacts and get to see many of the suppliers’ faces. This in turn means that they later feel more comfortable when they need to call a supplier to make an additional order or if the staff have any questions. – A smart thing I did last during the Nordic Bridal Show was that I went alone to Malmö for the first fair day. That way, I could use the first few hours at the fair to mingle with old and new suppliers. When the social aspect was settled, and this is an important part of the procurement fair, the rest of the staff came down on day two. Together we were able to arrange all the purchases in a very efficient way, says Åsa. She believes this was in many ways an optimal solution.
Who to bring?
Åsa says that she used to alternate who among the staff that gets to join the fair. Occasionally she has chosen to close the shop and invite everyone along. In this way, she combines the business with the pleasure.
– One year I took the whole staff to Manchester. That way we could combine both kick-off and purchases on the same trip. Unfortunately, this trip was unnecessarily expensive because a canceled flight meant that we had to keep the shop closed longer than we had planned, Åsa laughs. She emphasizes that she does not regret the decision: – We had a wonderful time and really got a lot out of the trip.
Are there any disadvantages to taking staff with you to trade shows?
– Not really, replies Åsa – What you should keep in mind is that if the fair falls on a Saturday, when there are most customers in the store, you should have staff at home who can take care of the daily service and sales. You should also focus on who you choose to bring along so that you are not unlucky and invest time and money in a new employee who has no ambitions to stay in the job for a long time.
Important to remember
Many people who go to buyers fairs choose to take a boyfriend or a partner with them. Åsa finds this incomprehensible.
– Traveling to a trade show involves an extremely large amount of work. To invest your time and money in the right way, you should really focus on making purchases at the fair, says Åsa. She talks about the dangers of bringing along a friend who “thinks looking at dresses seems fun” or a partner who comes along because of “lovely outdoor dining in the evenings”. These people are definitely not going to find it very fun at a trade show and are going to want to leave the show floor before you’re done. Feeling stressed during the purchases and having an entourage who wants to leave the exhibition hall is not recommended, says Åsa. She would rather travel alone to the fair to avoid getting distracted.