DAY 1 – BUILD UP
The sheer magnitude of the venue (event City Manchester) set the tone of the event. Not being intimidated by size and competition the PonyoSquid team fearlessly immersed themselves in the environment. Awe inspiring athletes representing huge brands were out in force within impressively large elaborate stands fitted with an arsenal of stock with impressive light displays. Smaller standard shell schemes were plain white units topped with pre-ordered header boards with organization titles.
Presentation is a crucial part of trade show success. Creating a friendly and welcoming environment entices customers to a stand; massive brands such as Dare 2 B and Crystal Ski had the most impressive presentation which included neon walls, models, elaborate display apparatus and interactive tech such as an Oculus Rift. Legal restrictions dictated how an exhibitor can use their stand: fixatives, shelves, hooks or product demonstrations etc.; however upgrades were available for an extra fee.
Surrounded by sports apparel veterans like Sports Direct and Chili Factor the team were concerned the PonyoSquid stand may be overlooked. The aim was then to create a shell which demanded attention to contrast with the surroundings; the PonyoSquid display conveyed the tone of the brand by using brightly coloured recycled paper with screen printer logos to create a loud, eye-catching checked design.
All aspects of the display had been meticulously planned in advance to ensure visibility.
DAY 2 – OPENING
Expecting a slow start to the event the PonyoSquid team set expectations low but were met with surprise as sales began from opening! PonyoSquid made a killing on the first day selling around %50 of stock which raised concerns if stock would last; the of people frequenting the stand encouraged more people to approach out of curiosity. Gaining confidence when speaking to the public the crew created simple hooks to invite people into conversation such as: “Have you ever skied in Scotland?”
DAY 3 – PROMOTION
The second day of the event was forecast to have over 5,000 visitors and the busiest day of the event. Saturday kicked off with the arrival of the rest of the PonyoSquid team which helped to share the workload to hand out promotional leaflets and manning the stand. Colin Reid (Glenshee Mountain overlord) made a surprise guest appearance at the PonyoSquid stand; he was delighted at the success so far and compared our budding brand venture to the beginnings of Bawbags.
Saturday was the most successful day for gaining consumer feedback and survey responses however, was not as successful in sales as the previous day. PonyoSquid was offered a large commission of bespoke ski masks and printed t-shirts for a ski school in the Manchester area (details have now been confirmed and order has been booked for October 2014).
The team were also interviewed live by real radio and were kind enough to buy some PonyoSquid merchandise.
DAY 4 – FIRE SALE
Most exhibitors were expecting the last day of the show to be the most laid-back as the majority of visitors would be browsing families and demonstration spectators. Influenced by other stands, PonyoSquid held a fire sale for the remaining stock to encourage sales. The team wanted to use this day to explore the event and speak to exhibitors at their stands which led to the accidental pitching of the PonyoSquid business plan to the investors of Pila Ski. The investors were particularly interested in the cradle-to-cradle aims of PonyoSquid ‘Second-life’ Wax for old neglected apparel. Pila have been in contact with the brand since and are discussing the possibilities of partnerships and collaborations broadening the product range from ski apparel to sailing, these possibilities are on the condition PonyoSquid continues as a viable business.
Overall the show was a sparkling success and resulted in exactly 85% of stock being sold, huge amounts of valuable customer feedback, professional input, networking and the possibility of collaborations in future.
MEMBERS OF THE PONYOSQUID TEAM WERE ON HAND TO FILM PARTS OF THE EVENT AND A MONTAGE WAS CREATED WITH HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE SHOW WITH SPECIAL THANKS TO ALL INVOLVED.