There is no fun like gift show buying fun!! As we settle back into the busy-ness of (almost!!) spring, and with a little bit of time to consider all the activity, fun and networking with incredible product vendors, here’s a little recap of Inspire’s most recent experience at the 2018 Edmonton Gift Show.
This year’s event took place from February 25th thru the 28th at the Edmonton EXPO Centre. It’s a full four days and with so much to see, the vast variety of products to consider and the many wonderful wholesalers and creators to connect with it goes very, very fast!
With so many incredible and talented people showcasing the latest trends in decor, giftware, jewellery, and fashion, it’s such fun to stroll and explore, imagining the variety of products that might populate our shop shelves. It’s also a significant challenge, with SO much available, to narrow down just those products we know will be a good fit for our store and our clientele.
Alita and hubby Jason, along with retailers from all over Western and Northern Canada intent on keeping in tune with upcoming trends, walked the busy and seemingly endless rows of vendors seeking to connect with existing suppliers with whom we enjoy successful partnerships, but also to connect and create new relationships we hope to nurture through the coming months and, hopefully, years.
Events such as the Edmonton Gift Show allow us to see up close, as well as touch and feel potential products to get a much better idea of quality and pricing particularly as it might be received in our market. We also enjoy the event for what it provides in terms of education and networking within, and among, industries.
Alita and Jason have been attending the purchasing show in Edmonton for 12 years. They are also looking forward to attending another event in Toronto early next year that offers an even larger scope and scale of products and suppliers.
These events are our best opportunity to choose the absolute best inventory of products. These opportunities offer Inspire the ability to confirm first hand, and with thoughtful consideration, the quality and value of the items they choose to make available to Inspire’s customers.
It’s also an incredible opportunity to briefly step away from day to day store operations and reflect on what we are doing well, what needs improved as well as complete an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of our business and considering fresh strategies for the continued growth of our business. Additionally, these purchasing shows provide us the means to stay fresh, unique, and interesting, considering a fresh range of products that offer both quality and value, as we work to more intuitively meet the evolving demand of our customers. There are also valuable education sessions that help us identify what we are doing well, but also what we might need to change or perhaps even offer as totally new and ground breaking.
This show, being in Alberta, allows us a special opportunity to visit our neighbouring wholesalers. Working with suppliers within such close geographic proximity makes it easier to maintain and nurture those relationships not to mention savings on shipping!
The show was so much fun… and exhausting! It meant a lot of walking as we chatted, inquired, explored, touched, tested, made decisions, and walked some more! Lunch stops provided a great break to consolidate the vast amounts of information collected as well as put the feet up, recharge, discuss and strategize before hitting the floor and get going again.
A tip to others considering attending one of these events: go prepared! We ALWAYS know what our monthly and seasonal budgets are BEFORE we go so that we don’t over – or under! – spend. We also try to keep an eye on the future having identified certain weaknesses before we head out so we can be on the lookout for solutions to strengthen the business.