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Thank Goodness for Vintage Rentals!

May 8, 2014

Happy Thursday! For the past couple months, I have been preparing to exhibit at a conference in Anaheim, California for my design and accessory business. Besides helping Tall Guy out with a couple of one-day events, I’ve never really had any experience with the trade show format. When I got my exhibitor packet I was totally overwhelmed, even though I only got an 8′ x 10′ booth. There are just so many things to consider, especially when you live in Wisconsin and are flying to site.

The first thing I’ll tell you is that exhibiting is $EXPENSIVE$. The cost of the booth itself is only the start. At this conference, all that was included in the cost was the draping that separated me from the other exhibitors and a paper sign with my company name on it. Tables, chairs, shelving, internet, power, and even getting your garbage changed out all cost money. Just to give you a taste, it would have cost me $75 at the discounted rate to get a padded folding chair to sit on for 3 days. Clearly I’m in the wrong business! Not only that, if you want to ship boxes of display items ahead of you, you have to pay for them to be received AND if you ship things that need to be set up you may need to pay for labor. I was starting to sweat as I saw the dollar signs.


Lucky for me, I am a resourceful girl:) I tried to figure out how I could do this booth as inexpensively as possible. I knew I had to set up my booth in a way that showed some of the accessories I sold, as well as look put-together so potential clients would trust my design skills. The furniture options from the exhibitor packet were either very plain or modern, and just not what I was looking for. I decided to search online for rentals, and I happened upon a little gem of a family business called This and That Vintage Rentals in nearby Costa Mesa California. Shanda, (who owns the company with her dad), was super helpful in pulling together a list of what I would need and worked with my tiny budget. I also had the issue of how I was going to get two boxes full of accessories to Anaheim (putting all that stuff in suitcases was out of the question). Shanda graciously offered to let me send the boxes to her and to deliver them with the furniture. Talk about amazing customer service! I got lots of comments on the adorable furniture, and was so happy to work with another creative small business!

20140506_104835Then I needed something other than that tiny piece of paper with my company name on it, so I asked Mel to design a vertical banner to put in my booth. I chose the vertical banner because it comes in its own carrying case and wouldn’t get creased in shipping. And I wouldn’t risk falling trying to hang a traditional banner:)

Lastly I needed something as a take-away. I have been told that a take-away should have a purpose and a call to action, so Mel created a 4″ x 6″ postcard with my info and a free shipping code on one side, and a scenic image on the other. A coupon and a 4″ x 6″ photo frame filler! Even the guy at the print shop commented how incredible they looked-great job Mel! Oh, and I also made sure to give away GOOD chocolate. Dove Dark Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt Promises were a hit! I mean, how many people aren’t going to stop when you ask if they want chocolate?



I was a little nervous about setting up and breaking everything down all by myself, but luckily I had really nice (and tall and strong) booth neighbors that helped me carry boxes and get my banner up. I’m still beat after a long trip and happy to be home. Time to get back to some re-deuxs!


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