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What Is A Trade Show

January 20th, 2013 at 12:30 pm » Comments (0)

There are questions that I get asked fairly often. Or, something I have seen has caused me to think, that ain’t quite right.So, trying to address a combination of questions I often get asked and some other stuff I have seen that has caused me to think, that ain’t quite right. The following is written “mostly” for the Indie PA/T (Independent Yarn Pattern Author/Teacher ) and represents not just my opinion but that of others in the industry I have consulted.

TNNAIf able to meet the TNNA membership requirements, an Independent YARN Pattern Author and Teacher (YA/T), will benefit most by attending the TNNA Summer Conventio Center Show for their first introduction, and if they can, the TNNA Winter show as well.

A Trade Show is where those who Manufacture or Distribute Display and Sell “Wholesale to the Trade” For Yarn, these would be TNNA – The National NeedleArts Association – Winter (Left Coast) and Summer (Mid West usually Columbus Ohio) or CHA – Craft & Hobby Association. CHA is not where I think any Indie PA/T (Pattern Author or Teacher) will be the best exposure for their dollars spent.

Some companies do both, and for accounting purposes, these expenses are considered “Trade Show”. It does not mean that a “CONSUMER/Retail” Event is a “trade show” . Retail events are NOT Trade shows by any professional definition.

Examples of fiber related consumer events would be XRX-Stitches For example all the shows where Crochetville has been participating are “Consumer/Retail” events like the KNIT & CROCHET show or the wonderful Quilt FESTIVALs sponsored by the Mancuso’s and others as well as the international and regional events sponsored by HGA (Handweaver’s Guild of America) and their regional affiliates. Or, Britain’s Braid Society a very very international group.

For the new PA/T Retail Events can be a great way to see what is new, fading and start to meet some of the smaller yarn company folks, especially the hand dyers –

TNNA & CHA are trade shows, sometimes described as “Convention Center” shows as compare with “Suite Shows” like TNNA”s Nashville and other satellite shows. The key is who can attend. The answer is only members and qualified buyers.

TNNA’s can be found at:
If you want to attend the June show in Columbus, and are not yet an affiliate member, you may want to get started – it takes time to gather the necessary endorsements from regular members.



If you feel this article will help someone else, please feel free to provide this link:

Series topics
What Is A Trade Show
Which shows should the Yarn Indie PA/T attend
What is expected – Dress & Etiquette

Started 2003-01-10
Recent Update: 2012-01-20
© 2003-2013 Wheat M Carr

Caveat Auctor: This advise has exactly the value you paid for it. Use your best judgement & Hope for the best

Should a Yarn Pattern Author or Teacher attend “Suite Shows”

January 20th, 2013 at 12:18 pm » Comments (0)

Mostly in the context of thoughts to ponder for someone not yet firmly established and even as one who is to some degree – a more general answer.

No, I don’t think a Yarn PA/T should waste your time or money because there is neither compelling reasons -or- room. It is FAR MORE IMPORTANT for you to find a way to be at TNNA – and to be explained later on Sunday & Monday for the show floor.

First, each exhibitor is in a usually overcrowded with product displays. Add the avid Shop Owners (Needlepoint and Counted Thread with only the tiniest sprinkling of cross over shops)

It would almost be intrusive for a Yarn PA/T to “take up space” Many of the HP(Hand Paint) NP and CT designers do not “also” attend the Winter (Left Coast) and Summer (Columbus Oh most years) so this is one of their only chances to reach the shops. I am NOT saying they will be rude, but by taking up buyer space and time – you are going to be the one who is rude.

And that means EVEN if the LYS shopper “says no I’m fine – you two chat” you need to melt away politedly and leave the exhibitor to devote their time to the buyer. Perion, END OF SENTENCE, Applies EVERY TYPE OF SHOW.

It is NOT a time/place for you to meet with Craft Publishers UNLESS you have contacted them and requested and been given appointment time. Oftern the buyer from Leisure, Annie’s, etc is only there for one day and has to cram enough into their schedule. They don’t, as they do in Columbus, have a booth – they are there as buyers.

Although one or two reps sometimes set up – they are not who you need to meet. Often lovely nice people, but they are independent contractors to the companies they represent, they work on commission, are usually not in a position to give away yarn – and often even those doing a bit of cash and carry are not anxious to wholesale to a designer – in fact some companies discourage their reps from getting involved with designers until they have survived the 3 yr rule. and so are unlikely to be really helpful at this stage in your career

Your time will be much better spent prowling the LYS in your area to see the yarns, new designs and get a feel for what is selling in your area, particularly if you are a teacher.

Looking forward to hearing your questions, comments, opposing opinions?



If you feel this article will help someone else, please feel free to provide this link:

Series topics
What Is A Trade Show
Which shows should the Yarn Indie PA/T attend
What is expected – Dress & Etiquette

Started 2003-01-10
Recent Update: 2012-01-20
© 2003-2013 Wheat M Carr

Caveat Auctor: This advise has exactly the value you paid for it. Use your best judgement & Hope for the best

Mostly Tink On Trade Show Etiquette

January 20th, 2013 at 12:16 pm » Comments (1)

This was originally written by Tink Boord-Dill and has been edited by myself and others “over the years”

We all understand that it tends to tromp on the toes of those who may have an exeragated opinion about the importance of Pattern Authors to the Yarn Business.

Wheat always suggests the first thing you have to do as “advance mental prep” is knock that chip off your shoulder about how “mistreated and misunderstood” the Crochet Pattern Authoring community is. It really is not so. On the other hand the “attitude” of far to many who think they are Professionals is often a deal killer. Those who publish need no prima donas

Tink or Wheat usually make this post just before a major wholesale to the trade show and other times as needed. It is posted in groups like: DesignerBiz and TNNA-Designers

The information is aimed at those folks who may be attending as designers or observers, rather than as purchasing retail members, but it does have some useful info for everybody. ;-)

As always, these are our own views…we all need to make the decisions that are best for our own businesses… ;-)
and then accept the consequences good or bad as part of the learning experience.


Let me start by saying that Trade Show Etiquette can become a heated topic. ;-) These comments are based on my experiences and observations, and I will admit to being a bit hard nosed on the subject…I don’t mean to offend anyone…many of these comments are based on the fact that I, myself, did not understand a lot of the subtleties
when I first started exhibiting. My goal here is to minimize the chances of a newbie committing a faux pas.

Exhibitors have looong memories regarding inappropriate Trade Show behavior (probably not fair, but a reality smile). You don’t want to be remembered for sticking your foot in it, you want to be remembered for your professionalism…

ALWAYS REMEMBER – The Exhibitor is here to SELL not BUY –

Also, a brief reminder, if you have attended a Trade Show in the past as a buyer…the circumstances for Observing and/or Exhibiting are radically different, so tailor your behavior accordingly.

First off : Please remember that ATTENDING a Trade Show is NOT a substitute for EXHIBITING…if you want to gain customers, then put up your $$ and EXHIBIT!

Now that we have that out of the way…VBG

Do take your business cards and hand them out in appropriate situations

Have your business cards ready, but wait for a signal from the other person that they are interested in getting one…

Don’t take your product(s) and expect to distribute them/hand them out… if you talk to a distributor/shop owner/whatever, get their business card and send your materials AFTER the Trade Show with a follow-up letter

Be aware that exhibitors are at trade shows for several important reasons 1)to gain industry credibility 2) to network 3) to make sales/develop a shop list…they are investing many $$$ and MUCH time which may not/probably will not be recouped by show sales and they have a limited time to accomplish the above listed goals.

If you see an exhibitor talking with someone else, don’t interrupt them…you don’t know whether this is someone on that exhibitor”s Gotta Talk To list…

If you are talking with an exhibitor and a shop owner comes up, break off the conversation immediately and remove yourself (no apology is needed)…sales are important… EVEN if there are other Sales people in the booth – it may well be that the Buyer who just walked in is of special significance to the person you are speaking with. So Walk Away graciously.

If you are talking with an exhibitor and someone else comes up (not a shop owner), take your cue from the exhibitor…don’t automatically assume that you are invited to join in the conversation…

Be aware that single booths are VERY small, don’t block others from entering, and try not to block the sightlines from the aisle.

Some exhibitors feel strongly against giving out sales materials to people other than potential customers…be aware of this and tread carefully…

Generally, Cameras and photographing are not allowed at the shows. This includes camera phones!
TNNA is quite protetive of its members so be aware that this type of discourtesy can cost you a great deal. Exhibitors talk among themselves.


Wear comfortable shoes… nice looking shoes if you can manage it, if not, go comfortable, folks will understand..Wear good presentable clothes…think of this as a 3- 4 day long job interview…there are no Fashion Police but you are trying to sell yourself as a professional… Artistic is OK, especially if you are a designer…there are many ways
to do this, even on a limited budget. BTW, Casual Friday is TOO casual if you are selling yourself as a Designer. ;-)


Wear layers…the Convention Halls are very big and it can be difficult to adjust the temperature…
Remove the unoriginal layers as needed and replace with your original.

Hint: If you use an ID holder that hangs from your neck (rather than pins on) you can stash business cards in it.

Keep a pen and paper handy, you’ll want to take notes…and I can tell you without fear of being wrong, you’ll never remember everything you see/observe!

You will be walking miles and miles so try to find a way to carry your stuff as comfortably as possible…sometimes wheeled carts are allowed, and in other venues they are not. ;-(


As much networking goes on outside of the Convention Hall as inside, so be aware of this when traveling on elevators, on shuttles, and in lobbies.

Many times, you may be with folks who are making dinner plans…don’t expect to be invited, and don’t be offended if you aren’t…lots of times, these plans are made months in advance and the purpose may be to have a confidential discussion… these shows are often the ONLY time we get to meet face to face with others in the industry and the
discussion time is important. I have various business cohorts, but we are not joined at the hip during market…1) we have separate businesses and strategies 2) by splitting up for the networking, we can optimize the opportunities available within the limited time constraints…


Approaching companies about their Designer Programs

Remember – they are there to make sales…don’t expect them to drop everything and talk with you about their DP…the reality is, they are doing us a favor by offering product deals…no single designer is going to have an appreciable impact on their product sales….


Again, a reminder that these are my opinions/thoughts/observations… no disrespect is meant and I hope that I haven’t offended anyone. These are issues that can be volatile, but which also need to be considered…. and, as always, we all need to make the decisions which are best for ourselves and our businesses…

If I’ve missed something, I hope someone will step in and say so.

Looking forward to hearing your questions, comments, opposing opinions?



If you feel this article will help someone else, please feel free to provide this link:

Series topics
What Is A Trade Show
Which shows should the Yarn Indie PA/T attend
What is expected – Dress & Etiquette

Started 2003-01-10
Recent Update: 2012-01-20
© 2003-2013 Wheat M Carr with Tink Boord-Dill

Caveat Auctor: This advise has exactly the value you paid for it. Use your best judgement & Hope for the best

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