Danzza’s first trade fair was very enriching and interesting for us. Actually I believe is was a challenge for all teams. Before participating, we built so many expectations on it however no one was really sure about how it was going to be.
The day passed by very quick and we although we didn’t present our product to many people, we had the opportunity to talk to the judges and explain our idea. During the day, we received all types of feedback and realized that some people actually love the product and all the idea around the concept of it. Personally I was happy with our mistakes, as that is the best way to learn and therefore improve for the next trade fair.
First lesson learned was that we should not have a mannequin on the table unless we are selling normal clothing. And furthermore, never have such an unfinished prototype exposed on a mannequin that has nothing to do with the idea proposed. That was clearly the worst idea we could have had. I understand though that it was experimental, and once again if we had not tried it we would never know.
As mentioned, we didn’t have a great prototype, consequently it was a bit hard for people to understand what we were aiming for. We had a problem with the sewing machine and the material had to be handmade. On the wall behind the table, we hung a poster with a picture of Kaja dancing. The feedback related to it was that it was too high and far from the stand, and it was not eye catching at first sight. Meaning that the first impression could be anything but a product for dancers, as it was not explicit at first sight.
Another observation was the computer on the table. The purpose of the screen was to contain a Google form for people to submit feedbacks for the project and their contact details if interested in receiving updates on the product. The outcome of it wasn’t very satisfactory, as most people didn’t appreciate the idea of providing their emails. In addition, the position of the screen wasn’t supporting the layout of our table, and we were told that it should have been further back as it was taking too much attention from far distance.
Last but not least, there was on the table a tiny lamp ball with a white flower inside. That actually made us laugh. To explain, we thought our table was too empty when Kaja borrowed the flower from another group. Apparently that was a very bad idea and people kept questioning what that flower had to do with out stand. Oh well, you never know if you should actually decorate your table or not.
Jokes aside, the whole experience was great. With those lessons learned, we were then ready to improve and prepare ourselves in a much more mature way for our second trade fair, which took place in Kingston centre. We were also in the move to decide if we were going to develop our product or stick to a good prototype, as the material needed cannot be found in the UK. But this is another story.
Trade fairs are very important for any business, but especially for startups. It is a place to work on your networking skills, meet interesting and interested people and present to all your idea. While many businesses are conducted over phone or email, trade shows offer you face-to-face meetings with your customers, so you can strengthen your bond with them (BusinessBlogs, 2018).