Maximize Your Trade Show Experience

Every year, a new crop of tradeshows appears on our newsletters and calendars, and retailers must weigh the costs and benefits of attending, deciding which shows and exhibits are must-sees and which ones they can afford to skip. Each tradeshow varies in scope and target demographic, so it’s important to know what you want to get out of any given trade show before deciding to attend.

There are several other factors—like budgeting for your hotel and transportation expenses and managing your store while you’re away, for example—to consider leading up to the event. While preparing for large industry events might be stressful, we’ve gathered a few tips from trade show veterans to help attendees maximize their time at upcoming industry events.

  1. Make travel and hotel reservations early to maximize on discounted rates. Many shows have event dates posted and registration open almost a year in advance.
  2. Determine your primary, secondary, and tertiary goals you want to achieve by attending an event. Are you going to the trade show to learn more about marketing, to make contacts, or to check out latest trends for your inventory?
  3. Develop a list of “must see” and “want to see” exhibitors, speakers, and events. At a big show, you won’t be able to interact with everyone, so find out which vendors and industry contacts are most important for you to meet.
  4. If you are travelling with colleagues, split sessions to maximize data gathering.
  5. Make appointments with exhibitors with whom you really want to network.
  6. Pack for comfort. Have comfortable shoes and clothing. Veteran trade show attendees have measured that they walk an average of 10-12 miles at major shows in Atlanta, Orlando, and Las Vegas.
  7. Bring your own “carry-all” bag for materials you’ll accumulate at the convention center. Complimentary plastic bags are often uncomfortable, as they cut into your hands and make them sweat. If you’re networking, you’ll be shaking lots of hands, and nobody likes a clammy hand for a first impression.
  8. If available to you, bring your own branded gear. While people expect tradeshow booths to give away swag, you can advertise your brand with a branded shirt, custom pens, or other promotional products.
  9. Tell exhibitors you are on a tight schedule to avoid small talk and get straight to business.
  10. Look for networking opportunities. Introduce yourself to people around you—at workshops, receptions, wherever—hand and collect plenty of business cards and social media contacts.
  11. Be prepared to push for answers to questions that exhibitors are not prepared to answer.
  12. Skip overly crowded booths and plan to come at the end of the day when traffic is slower.

After the show, set out a plan for implementing the information you’ve gathered. Organize and keep in touch with the contacts you’ve gathered, whether it means following up with a manufacturer to buy their products for your store or liking them on Facebook to stay in contact. Of course, these are only guidelines for preparation. Of course, these are only guidelines. Be sure to create your own checklist, tailored specifically to what your need company needs.

Benefits of Products Made in the USA

If you had a dollar for every time a customer said “They just don’t make these things with quality, anymore!” you might be able to close up shop and retire. We utter this expression so often that we lose sight of what it really means: there was a time when a product was expected to last for years, if not generations. We can make that happen again!

As much as 81% of shoppers conduct online research before making a purchase because they know how rare it is to find a genuinely good and safe product. When it comes to products that come in contact with infants, the safety of a developing brain and a weak immune system is of the utmost importance to parents.

Not only are consumers rightfully concerned about the dangerous chemicals in their children’s furniture and clothing, they also want to instill that awareness in their children as they grow.

Because they benefit from closer attention to quality and detail than their imported counterparts, products made by smaller-scale American manufacturers can stand the test of time. A focus on the bottom line might work for some big box retailers and large-scale manufacturers, who outsource jobs for cheaper labor. However those manufacturers they’re also the hardest hit when a big recall due to a chemical hazard is announced. The bottom line should matter, but so should the welfare of your customer.

In an effort to better ensure the chemical safety of consumers and the products they buy, the U.S. Congress passed a reform to the Toxic Substances Control Act. The law, which aims to make products made and sold in the U.S. safer, has been a big topic of discussion in the juvenile products industry lately. The buzz around this issue alone is a signal that American consumers are paying attention to what’s in the stuff they buy and want better, safer products to share with their children.

Patriotism is an especially focal point, and consumers are more aware of their civic duties. When you’re updating your storefront to display your seasonal bestsellers or top picks, highlight the assets of your American-made products.

One of the many traits passed down from parents to their children are shopping and spending habits. When value and safety is emphasized to a customer, they will spend the extra money because they know the product will go a longer way in serving their family’s needs.

An Ever-Changing Marketplace

It's impossible to deny that old-fashioned marketing tools aren't enough to keep your business afloat and prospering in the rapidly, and ever-changing marketplace that is the context of the times. What's hot and current today is old news and obsolete in six months or less.

By no means am I saying that you can't use marketing principles from times gone by, as these can often be adapted and successfully incorporated into your current marketing strategy, but as a rule, the aim should be to stay on top of the latest trends in creating brand awareness and marketing.

This article proposes 3 key tactics to help you to get ahead, and stay ahead of your competitors. So here goes...

Top Tip 1:

Be on the Lookout for New, Improved, and More Relevant Advertising Methods

It's commonplace to find a comfort-zone, and to stay there... and this applies to marketing methods and strategy as well. We tend to stick to what we know, and utilize a few of the same marketing techniques over and over again. If this is you, I urge you to PAUSE and REASSESS. Have a little scout for other marketing methods, speak to people in the marketing arena, and test something new.

There are some strategies that you know straight off the bat won't work for you, but other are a definite 'maybe,' so go forth and experiment! While testing new methods it's not necessary to put a halt on marketing methods that are tried, true and work for you, but instead, aim to test others in parallel to determine their effectiveness. You may find that some methods work in attracting a different demographic and while they may not generate the largest proportion of your leads, they do increase your market share in the industry. It's recommended that around 20% of your marketing budget is spent on testing new marketing methods, and to keep it ahead, it's key that you go through a constant cycle of testing and assessing. This will leave you best placed to choose the methods that fit best with your company direction and growth strategy.

Top Tip 2:

Spruce Things Up

This is about that comfort zone that I mentioned earlier... Aside from just getting comfy with your marketing, you may feel that you're comfortable that your products and services 'speak for themselves,' have consistently performed well, and brought in enough income to keep you comfortable without much effort. My suggestion... 'Do More!' Consider the benefits of a little effort, even just in terms of giving your brand a 'facelift,' or launching the 'new and improved.' These are ways of re-attracting old and loyal customers, but also enticing new. You'll be surprised at what a little bit of 'refreshing' can do you for your product and services! Give it a try...

To Tip 3:


In a time when versions of products are outdated almost as soon as their off the shelf, and there is an increasing influx of services to the market, with social media and online advertising giving the customer base easy access to a wide variety of choice... one of key ways of keeping your current clients engaged and drawing in new ones, is through diversifying. The more you have to offer, the greater your insulation against the effects of a decline in sales of one particular product or service. A good way to expand on your product or service line is to look at the popularity of what you offer, and if you have a pretty good thing going, branch out to products and services that compliment your offer.

Try not to feel overwhelmed by the pace at which things change, and everything that is new both in terms of offer and strategy. Just take a step back, consider the 3 top tips above and develop a strategy and timeline to put them into action. Do this, and the odds are stacked in your favor!

P-flector®: Introducing PottyTraining Without the Mess

The P-flector® was created by For Kids By Parents®, Inc.’s CEO, Joseph M. Conrad III, out of the need to solve a particularly annoying parenting problem - his oldest son, during his potty training phase, was peeing through the gap between the toilet seat and bowl.  Cleaning up the mess and changing their son’s clothes was very frustrating for both parents.  Our CEO’s determination to solve this problem resulted in the P-flector®, our 1st product contribution to the juvenile products industry.  

The P-flector® attaches to the underside of a toilet seat and blocks the gap between the toilet seat and bowl, preventing seated potty training kids from peeing through the gap.  It’s made of a flexible material that allows it to conform to the curvature of both standard round and elongated toilets seats.   It can also attach to some curved bottom seats.  It’s attached to the seat with pressure sensitive double-sided tape and once attached, it can stay in place for extended periods of time.  While the tape is not permanent, additional tape is available to reapply it as needed.  

The P-flector® keeps potty training kids’ clothes and floors dry, reducing the need for parents and caregivers to have to clean up the mess.  Say goodbye to cleaning up urine puddles, yellow stains down the toilet’s front and yellow stained floors at the toilet’s base.  The P-flector® is easy to attach, can be cleaned in place, saves parents and caregivers time; and avoids the frustration of cleaning up the mess associated with this type of potty-training accident.  

The P-flector® won the 2021 Mom’s Choice Award, Creative Child Magazine’s 2020 and 2019 Product of the Year Award in their Potty-Training Category; and was nominated for the All Baby & Child 2018 New Product Award of Distinction in the Parent Helpers Category.

Taking Learning to a New Level!

The Learning Journey International has been on a mission since 1995 to produce high quality educational products for children of all ages all around the globe! Today more than ever, parents are searching for educational toys that are fun, affordable, and effective for their children. Learning Journey products satisfy all of these needs, with each product designed to equip children with a specific skill set to help them succeed in school – from critical thinking and learning to mathematics and reading, to creativity and imagination! Additionally, a wide range of interactive products have been designed specificallyto enhance the development of STEM & STEAM learning in young children!

STEM education is a core focus for The Learning Journey. The LearningJourney believes products that build on STEM inspire young minds to be curious and inquisitive about everyday life. Through hands-on learning and fun interactive themes, children experience and learn the fundamentals of STEM withour entire line of STEM-series products! The Learning Journey is looking forwardto the next 25+ years as we expand our ever-growing product line while staying true to our core directive of providing children with products that help them reach their full potential and beyond!

Our vast product offering spans five distinct product categories: Electronic Learning, Sensory Play, Constructive Play, Puzzles and Games. With The Learning Journey's complete range of interactive products, children can have fun while learning and parents and educators can know they have the right quality educational products for their children!

Join our journey today!
(602) 787-1115

Echidna Shuffle Marching Worldwide!

Introduced to the pages of this magazine in 2022, Echidna Shuffle is seeing its popularity and accolades continue to grow worldwide. Most recently, the game had a mass market release in Hong Kong, then through out China, with a special upgraded version of the game pieces. Wattsalpoag Games has also secured warehousing in both England and Germany to deal with the expanding demand for the game across all of Europe.

Discussions for a reprint are expected soon. Echidna Shuffle still has its charming pieces, outstanding construction and intuitive game play. Functioning as a fun pick-up and delivery game, players roll the dice and move any of the echidnas to get their bugs back home. The first to get all three of their bugs to their matching stumps wins. With beautifully-crafted echidnas that are nearly toys in their own right and a unique two-sided board, game play is kept fresh and exciting. The game has been a huge hit with players of all ages, with much ofthe popularity coming from its kid-friendly pieces. Everything is designed with smaller hands in mind so the whole family can enjoy playing together. There’s also an easy to use dice modification board to balance out dice rolls for younger players.

Echidna Shuffle is for two to six players, ages six and up, and an average game takes about 15-minutes to play. With its rock-bottom price and award-winning design, this game hasn’t failed to please. So, isn’t it time to join the shuffle and find out what you've been missing? Echidna Shuffle – it’s quite possibly the best game you’ve never played!

Le Château Frontenac 3D Puzzle

Le Château Frontenac is a historichotel situated in Old Quebec City overlooking the Saint Lawrence River. It was anatural choice to celebrate the 30th anniversary of a true Canadian invention toselect such an iconic Canadian landmark. It is one of Canada’s grand railwayhotels opened in 1893 and built by the Canadian Pacific Railway. Its châteauesque architectural style was partly inspired by medieval castles found inFrance’s Loire Valley and is rendered here in all its splendor in 865 jigsaw puzzlepieces.

30 years ago, Montrealer Paul E. Gallant came up with the idea to bringthe 3rd dimension to the puzzling experience. To achieve his vision, hedeveloped the foam-backed puzzle pieces combined with the use of mortise &t enon joints for a sturdy 3D assembly of different puzzle sections... Brilliant!

To commercialize his new concept, he founded Wrebbit, a name inspired by thesound of the frog’s croak. The success was instantaneous and phenomenal.Since then, millions of three-dimensional puzzles have been sold worldwideevery year. The term “3D puzzle” is now part of the toy industry vocabulary, but no other brands have achieved Wrebbit’s quality standards.

This year, Wrebbit is celebrating 30 years of this Canadian made product by continuing to expand and develop this unparalleled foam backed pieces technology that allows us, even after all these years, to be the only one delivering THE REAL 3D PUZZLE EXPERIENCE.

For more information on Wrebbit3D’s history and spectacular marketing stunts email