9th August 2012

Trade Show Questions

When the NNEP Embroidery Mart in Nashville ended,  EnMart finished its trade show schedule for the year.   There is one more show,  the IFAI Expo in Boston,  but that show is not aimed at machine embroiders or sublimators,  so I tend to put it in a separate category.   We had a lot of fun at the shows this year,  and it was lovely,  as always, meeting customers and potential customers,  trading hugs with friends and helping people learn more about machine embroidery and sublimation.

After every trade show season ends we generally take a few steps back and look at how the year went.  We discuss booth sizes,  what we had in the booth and what we didn’t have,  and how what we had meshed with the items for which people were looking.   Our goal is always to have what our customers want,  but booth size tends to limit the amount of things we can bring.    This brings me to my first trade show question of this post,  if you did see us at a show this year,  was there anything that we sell on our website that you wished we had showcased in our booth?

One new thing we did try in 2012 was handing out sample request cards instead of actual sample bags.  This saved people who visited our booth from the task of having to carry yet another bag around the show,  as we  send the samples right to their homes.    The goal is always to get people the information and samples they want in a timely manner, without burdening visitors to our booth with a lot of extra stuff they may not want or need.   Response to the sample cards has been very positive.   If you did visit our booth at one of the shows,  what did you think of the sample cards?  Did you turn yours in after the show?

Finally we should talk about the in booth demonstrations.   In 2012 we had both an embroidery machine and sublimation printers with a heat press in the booth.   People seemed to like seeing the Iris Thread run and being able to see the printers and the press at work.   For 2013 is there anything additional we should be adding to the booth?   Would you like to see us do more seminar type demonstrations,  or even do a seminar at a show?

As always,  we enjoyed seeing everyone this year,  and sincerely thank all of you who took the time to stop by our booth to say hello or to learn more about EnMart.  We appreciate your interest and look forward to seeing you all again in 2013.

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14th February 2012

Where We’ll Be and What You’ll See

Many of you who are familiar with the decoration trade show circuit know that a whole slate of shows happen in March.   We truly believe in March Madness at EnMart,  because, between EnMart and our parent company, Ensign Emblem,  we generally do about 5 shows that month.   This year is no exception.    If you want to see EnMart at a March trade show,  here is a list of where we’ll be and when:

Obviously, we hope that all of you attending each of these shows will stop by and see us.   If you stop and see us at a DAX or NNEP show,  you’ll find a booth full of product at show special prices.   Our booth design this year gives us even more display space and we’re going to fill it with great EnMart products.   We’ll have sublimation supplies,  printers,  thread,  backing,  accessories,  and other goodies on display and for sale in the booth.   If you want to save on shipping and save a little bit off the regular cost of the product as well,  bring your wallet and come visit us at the DAX or NNEP shows.   It will definitely be worth your time.

EnMart will also be offering demonstrations in our booth.  Nancy Rasmussen of Encore Embroidery Equipment Sales will be co-exhibiting with us, showcasing the Melco Bravo embroidery machine, and running Iris Thread from EnMart.   We’ll also have sublimation printers and a heat press running.  This year we have a combo press in the booth,  so we can potentially do mugs as well as flat goods.   If you have questions about sublimation or embroidery,  stop by and see us.   We have knowledgeable experts staffing the booth and they’ll be happy to answer questions and help you find the right supplies and equipment for you.

We look forward to seeing you all at the shows in March.   If you have any questions about a particular show,  or need information about registering,  please feel free to contact us.

 

 

 

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17th January 2012

Think Outside the Box – Trade Show Samples

Later this week,  EnMart will be doing our first trade show of the year.    In years past,  when we’ve done a trade show,  we’ve loaded up samples of our main embroidery products into bags emblazoned with our logo and that of Iris Threads and handed them out at the show.  In theory, this seems like the smart thing to do,  we all know that one of the reasons people come to trade shows is to collect samples of products.    A trade show is definitely an efficient place to collect samples from many different companies.

When EnMart goes to a show,  we collect scans of the badges of those we’ve talked to and who have received samples.  A few weeks to a month after the show is over  we call those people and ask if there are any questions we can answer and if they’ve tried the samples they received from us.   In a lot of cases,  we’ll be told that people have not tried their samples,  and often receive that same answer when we call again six months to a year after the show.   Based on these phone calls, tt appears to us that handing out bags of samples at the show may not be the best way to get potential customers to try our product.

While trade shows are an efficient way to collect samples for those who attend,  they are also an efficient way to meet a lot of people for those who exhibit.  We do want to get our samples in as many hands as we possibly can,  but we don’t want to be one bag of samples among many,  or a bag with samples that never get tried.  EnMart wants our samples to stand out,   and we want giving out samples to be something that makes economic sense.   EnMart is, after all, known for keeping our prices reasonable, and for having the lowest prices in the industry on some items.  Part of how we keep our prices reasonable is by making sure we get the biggest bang we can for every buck.   Handing out samples that never get tried doesn’t help us do that.

So, in order to make our samples stand out,  and to make sure we’re spending money in as smart a way as we can,  EnMart has changed our trade show sample policy for 2012.    Instead of handing out samples at the show,  we’ll hand out postcards.  On one side of the card will be a list of ways you can request samples,  e-mail, QR codes that lead to a form on our website,  snail mail etc.   There will also be a list of the samples that you can request.  All you carry away from the show is a postcard.   The samples will be sent to your mailing address,  at our cost,  once you request them.    This way our samples stand out and stay memorable,  and people who are interested in trying samples can get them, at no cost,  and without having to carry yet one more heavy bag around a show.

We think this is a more efficient and more useful way of offering samples,  both for us and for those who attend the show.  What do you guys think.  Please leave us a comment and let us know.

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10th January 2012

A Trade Show Question

Any of you who have been following EnMart for any length of time know that we do several trade shows every year.   In the past we’ve packed up tubs of sample bags and brochures and booklets and set up our booth and worked at doing one of the things I think we do best, educating people.    In the last few years,  we’ve also sold product at many of the shows we attend.    Our booths have, in a way,  become a sort of combined university and store,  and we’ve enjoyed that.    Trade shows are fun and energizing and it is lovely to meet our customers.

In 2012 we will be doing 8 trade shows.  They are as follows:

We are planning to have our big booth at each location, and it will be stocked with product.   We would also, however, like to bring some new, fun stuff to our booth and that’s where you come in.   What would you like to see in the EnMart booth in 2012?  What would you like more information about?  Would you like more demonstrations?  Would you rather have literature you can take away and read at your leisure?

Our presence at a trade show is always about helping our customers.  We want to provide the information and assistance you need to get the most from your EnMart products.   Obviously,  we have our own thoughts about what can do that,  but the best people to tell us what is useful and helpful are the people who will visit our booth.   If you have a request or would like to see us do something or provide something at a show,  please let us know.  You can leave a comment here,  or contact us and make a suggestion.

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29th July 2011

NNEP Embroidery Mart South – Day 1

10:01 a.m.  The doors have opened.  We’ve already seen our first attendees.  Here’s to a great show!

10:37 a.m.  First three sales happened within seconds of each other.  How cool is that?  We’re off to a great start in Houston.

11:53 a.m.  I will say this – the booth design means you get your exercise.  You can, and we have, had people on all for sides at once.

1:20 p.m.  So fun having Nancy from Encore Embroidery and her Melco machine here in the booth.  It’s great watching her talk about thread and the machine.

3:24 p.m. A ChromaBlast and a Sublimation system out the door within minutes of each other.  Love seeing those systems go.

4:47 p.m. First day of the show is almost over.  Great first day.  Thanks to everyone who stopped by the show.

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2nd June 2011

EnMart’s Recommendation: SMR Lead Retriever

Anyone who has ever done a trade show knows that you can quickly run up a lot of expenses.  There’s the booth space.  There’s furniture and electricity and carpet and a shipping and a host of other costs.   You also, of course, need some way to track the leads that you generate while you’re working the show and, while trade shows generally offer to rent you lead retrieval units,  they’re often expensive and if you do multiple shows,  the cost can quickly add up.

Since EnMart does somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 – 12 shows a year,  we quickly decided that spending a couple hundred dollars a show to rent a lead retrieval unit wasn’t very economical.    We tried one solution,  but found that it worked erratically and had problems frequently.    Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of relatively inexpensive solutions for lead retrieval out there,  so we thought we were out of luck,  until we discovered the perfect solution for us was right under our nose.

SMR Lead Retriever is offered by SMR Software,  which is owned by Scott Ritter,  the man who is the creator and host of the DAX shows.    The SMR Lead Retriever consists of the software and a barcode scanner.   The scanner and software can be installed on any computer.   For the extremely reasonable price of $599.95,  which can easily pay for itself in one or two shows,  you get everything you need to record leads,  except the computer.

This lead retrieval system works with most of the trade shows out there.   Unfortunately,  there are a few shows which have designed their badges so that only the lead retrieval software that they rent will work,  so no independent scanner will work for every show.   We do know,   after having used the scanner ourselves,  that it works for the DAX shows,  the NNEP shows and the ISS Shows.

We’ve also found the software very easy to install and use.   If you can send an e-mail or enter a contact into an online CRM, you can use this software.  We’ve now used the software at five shows and it’s worked very well every time.  Downloading the leads after the show is very easy too.   The software is intuitive and it’s easy to figure out how to make things work.

If you do a number of trade shows,  like we do,  you’re probably always looks for ways to make doing the shows more economical.  Eliminating the cost of renting a lead retrieval is definitely one way to do that.   If you’re looking for a lead retrieval system you can own,  EnMart would definitely recommend SMR Lead Retriever.   To learn more about the software,  take a virtual tour on the SMR website.

Update from Scott Ritter: I should mention that version 2.5 of the lead retriever is nearly ready to ship too. It has new features to make it more compatible with Windows 7, a completely re-designed “formats” database to make it compatible with more leads systems, (although the user will never see the difference) and also SHOULD have the ability to re-size the scanning screen  so that it can fill your screen when used on netbooks.  All users will get a free upgrade.

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16th May 2011

Point of Sales System: EnMart’s Recommendation

Lately I’ve been writing about great people or products that we’ve encountered as a result of our trade show experiences.   Last week I wrote about Encore Embroidery and Iris Thread.   This week I want to write about something which no one who sells at a trade show should be without,  a good point of sale (POS) system.

When our IT department went looking for a POS system,  we had a few requirements.   Our ideal system would be:

 

  • easy to use
  • easy to update
  • compatible with any computer or operating system
  • able to deal with a wide variety of product listings
  • relatively inexpensive

Ease of use and the cost of the system were key points.   Our trade show strategy for 2011 was something we’d never tried before,  so we weren’t sure if selling at trade shows would be a viable option for us.  Given that fact,  we needed a POS system that we could set up without an excessive amount of time and effort,  and we needed something that we could put into place without spending thousands of dollars on a product we might not use more than once.

After some research, we found what has become, for us anyway, a great choice for a  POS system.  It’s called Cash Register and, while it’s not all fancy graphics and cool effects,  it does everything we need it to do efficiently and easily.   It also has a great price point,  as the software can be downloaded for free.

This program is a DOS program,  so it looks pretty basic,  but it performs all the functions you would want a point of sale system to perform.   You can store inventory with a 26,000 item limit,  run sales with cash, credit cards or checks,  do discounts, and run reports.  It can also be set up so it opens your cash drawer when you ring up a sale.   You can manually enter items, or create barcodes and use a barcode scanner.  We’ve used this product at several trade shows and it has done everything we’ve wanted it to do.

The website for the site isn’t fancy,  and the fact that it’s DOS based may give some people pause,  but we’ve put this system through its paces and it’s performed beautifully.   We checked out the program and the developer before we downloaded the program,  and it’s all on the level.    If you have questions about why someone would create and offer a fully developed POS system for free,  you can find the answers here.    You can also find answers to a whole bunch of additional questions on the FAQ page.

If you’re looking for a point of sale system for your business,  whether you run a retail store or sell at craft or trade shows,   Cash Register or DHPOS as it’s also known,  could well be the ideal solution.    We’ve now used it for four shows and it has been a great solution for us.   If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to add a point of sale system to your business,  give this software a try.  It may well turn out to be the ideal solution for you as well.

posted in Trade Shows | 1 Comment

5th May 2011

The Proof is in the Running

For those who don’t already know,  EnMart exhibited at the DAX Show in Chicago last weekend.  One of the best parts of exhibiting at those shows is the other exhibitors you get to meet.  Nancy Rasmussen from Encore Embroidery is one such exhibitor.  Her booth had been in the same neighborhood as ours at a couple of shows and we had a few discussions about the Melco machines she sells, repairs and trains people to use and our Iris thread.

We’d talked before about having Nancy run the Iris Polyester Thread on the BRAVO  machine she had in her booth, but in Chicago we finally made that happen.   She pulled the thread she was running off her machine, and we pulled cones off our wall display and gave them to her to run.  Let me stress these weren’t special cones,  or pristine cones that had never been taken out of the box.  These cones had been to a couple of trade shows,  had been bounced around in a truck, and had been used as display thread.   If any thread would show fractures or stress points or have weaknesses,  this thread would be it.

Nancy loaded all the thread onto her machine and started it running.   That machine,  and the thread on it,  ran for the next two days without a thread break.  Both the machine  and the thread just kept going and going and going.  It was an amazing,  in person, demonstration of the strength and durability of the Iris thread.  Even thread that had been roughed up and bounced around ran beautifully.  If that thread ran well, can you imagine what Iris thread fresh off the warehouse shelf would do?

You can see a short video of the Iris thread running on Encore Embroidery’s Melco machine on EnMart’s Facebook page.   If you would like a sample of the Iris UltraBrite Polyester thread so you can do your own run test,  please contact us.   If you own or are thinking or purchasing a BRAVO Machine  give Encore Embroidery a call.  Nancy knows her stuff.

posted in Hilos Iris, Thread, Trade Shows | 3 Comments

2nd May 2011

DAX Chicago Wrap – Up

We’re back in the office today after a wonderful appearance at the DAX Show in Chicago.    We so enjoyed seeing everyone at the show.  It is always fun to see our current customers and to meet new customers.     There is always a thrill in helping someone start off with embroidery or sublimation as well.    It was a great show,  and I’d like to take a moment to say thank you to a few people who helped make it that way.

First of all, Scott Ritter.  Scott and his wife Margie are the ones who run the DAX Shows and they do a great job.  Exhibitors are treated well,  venues are nice,  registration runs smoothly,  the shows are a pleasure to exhibit at and, judging from the smiles on the faces of the attendees and the comments we hear,  a pleasure to attend.    Scott’s company,  SMR Software, also makes a great lead retrieval system,  which I will be writing a post about later in the week.

Second,  Jimmy Lamb and the Sawgrass team.  Jimmy has always been a supporter of EnMart,  and the Chicago show was no exception.   He also gives great seminars and webinars,  and educates a lot of people about sublimation and how to be successful with a sublimation business.    We also appreciate Sawgrass lending us sales help for the busy times in our booth.

Third, we have to thank Encore Embroidery.  We’ve met Nancy from Encore at a couple of shows,  where she’s had a booth in the vicinity of our booth.    In Chicago,  she ran our thread on the Melco machine she had in her booth,  and the result was terrific.  I’ll be writing a longer post about that later this week as well,  but I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you to Nancy here.

Finally, of course,  we have to thank all the people who stopped by our booth to learn more about EnMart,  or to tell us how great the products they already purchase from us worked.   Meeting current customers and talking to new potential customers is one of the best parts of working a trade show.   We appreciate  all of you who made EnMart a stop on your trade show circuit.

posted in About EnMart, Trade Shows | 2 Comments

30th April 2011

DAX Chicago – Day 2

10:15 a.m.  I love it when the day starts out strong. We had people making a beeline to our booth as soon as the show opened.  Our bobbins. backing and thread are a hit!

10:55 a.m.  First two systems of the day are out the door.  One Sublimation package and one ChromaBlast package, both based around the Ricoh 3300 printer.  We still have packages left, but they’re going fast!

12:00 p.m.  Badgemaster, tearaway, cutaway, poly mesh,  whatever sort of backing you need,  we have it all.  I love helping people figure out what sort of backing they want.  It’s always nice to see how happy people are when they find something they’ve been looking for and haven’t been able to find.

1:27 p.m.  Thread conversion is never something an embroiderer wants to do, but we make it easy.  We’ve converted thread colors for people on the show floor.

1:54 p.m.  Have to do my plug for Scott Ritter and the DAX Shows.  Not that I want to encourage other exhibitors,  but Scott does a great show and he takes great care of those who exhibit with him.

2:53 p.m.  Show is almost over.  It’s been a great one.  Thank you DAX and thank you Chicago!

 

 

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