Now buying season is upon us it feels like the perfect time to share some tips on how to prepare for buying at a trade show like Bridal Week Harrogate.
The venues can be huge and the choice overwhelming so it is always best to go with a plan which brings me to my first tip...
1. Work out your game plan!
It's so difficult to find extra time while running your own business but in this situation making a rough schedule can make your trip so much more successful.
Writing a list of all the exhibitors you want to visit can be a good place to start and then try and book appointments with them evenly spaced apart across however long you have. Remember to be realistic about how long you are likely to want to spend with a supplier and try to add on some extra time if possible incase you over run or want to take a (champagne) break.
Write a list of questions for all the exhibitors you have booked in to see. Even if you are sure you know what you want to ask by the end of the day you might not be feeling so sharp so make it easy for yourself!
2. Work out your company
Are you a lone wolf that feels confident making decisions alone, do you prefer the support of a business partner or use it as an opportunity for a day out with your Mum. Everyone works differently so figure out the best company for you and invite them along. It can be a long (boring) day for little ones so you may find it easier to leave them behind or make sure to bring some entertainment if this is not possible.
3. Complete an analysis of your inventory and best sellers before attending
With so many beautiful gowns and accessories in every direction it is easy to get overwhelmed and trigger happy with the credit card. By completing an analysis of your inventory before you attend you can write a plan of exactly what stock you are looking to purchase so are less likely to get lead astray *see's beautiful sparkly veil and immediately purchases*
Mybridals Inventory Report feature makes this super easy. You can use this to calculate your existing total stock value and divide this down into categories such as Bridal Gowns, Veils, Bridesmaids etc to see which areas you already have enough stock in or where is lacking.
Using our Sales Analytics you can check your best performing styles, suppliers, colours or sizes for any give period of time, giving you a good idea of what to reinvest in or styles to avoid!
4. Set a budget and divide that between your designers or stock
Now you know what inventory you are looking to purchase you are able work out your budget and then divide this either between your designers or even take this a step further and work out what you want to spend per product category. £X on wedding dresses, £X on accessories etc. This will help you to stay on track at the event and not waste time pining after a beautiful A-line dress when you already have too many of this style and haven't allocated any funds to this.
You also may want to consider space in your boutique, you may be limited to a certain number of dresses due to your available space for samples not just due to budget.
5. Work out what to bring with you
We all know the stilettos look beautiful but unless you are practised and confident you can cover some serious mileage in them I would recommend either wearing some comfy shoes or at least bringing them in your bag so you have an option to swap into at lunch! A power bank can be another life saver as your phone will be sure to quickly drain battery when you are taking so many pictures of new stock or the beautiful aesthetic decorations for your socials.
If you have luggage or large coats then try stow them away, your hands will be full and stands can be busy so lugging a suitcase round all day is not the one!
6. Don't buy straight away
If you have the luxury of time then visit your suppliers, take lots of pictures and make lots of notes to reflect back on later. If you are attending for more than one day then go back on day 2 after you have had time to consider and see all of what everyone has to offer and do your purchasing then.
Don't be afraid to walk away if the price isn't right for you or the style just doesn't fit with your brand.
7. Have some fun
It doesn't have to be all work, enjoy some free champagne (although not too much until purchasing is complete!), grab some freebies, attend the catwalk shows, meet up with other boutique owners you have virtually met on social media or attend an evening event which lots of suppliers or even the expo itself may put on.
Mybridal will be attending Bridal Week Harrogate on stand M32 10-12th September 2023. Be sure to stop by to say hello or book an appointment here.