If you’re obsessed with strollers, carriers and all things baby, you probably have heard of the ABC Kids Expo. It’s one of the fastest growing trade shows in the nation with over 1,000 exhibitors in attendance in nearly one million square feet of exhibit space. It’s massive! And so much fun. 🙂 It’s the time of the year when professionals in the mom and baby industry get to meet with the leading brands and see the new products they are coming out with the next year. It’s also the time of the year that I really look forward to.
I’ve been going to the ABC Kids Expo for a while now and over the years I’ve learned a few things. If you are a baby planner, blogger, doula or any professional in this industry and you plan on attending the expo, here are my tips that will make your visit easier, more productive and better than ever.
1. Notebook & Pens
It’s obvious that you will need something to document all of your notes. At this expo you are going to meet a lot of companies, learn about many different products, and talk with tons of people. It’s impossible to remember it all.
Each year, my team and I have company notebooks that we can take notes on prior to the show and during our appointments. This way we can come prepared and have a designated space to jot down all of the important details discussed. We list out our ideas, ways that we can collaborate and more.
This year we teamed up with May Designs and had them help us create these cute company notebooks for our team. We love them and can’t wait to use them for the expo. Thank you, May Designs!
Tip: I also recommend bringing some double-sided tape so that you can tape each person’s business cards that you meet in your notebook so that you keep them in order. You will be getting dozens upon dozens of cards at the expo and it can be difficult to keep them organized and remember who is who. Having their card taped next to the notes that you take during your meeting will remind you of who you spoke with as well as the ideas that you discussed about collaboration.
2. Marketing Materials
Obviously, you need to bring your business cards with you. This is how each company will be able to get back in touch with you and see your site and social media profiles. I recommend bringing a hundred with you since you will be passing them out left and right.
Tip: You will receive a lanyard with your admission pass when you first check-in. Keep your business cards in your lanyard behind your pass so that they are easily and readily available.
I can’t recommend highly enough creating a media card. This is a small postcard that contains the information of who you are, your stats, and why a company would want to work with you and your company. I feel like this always makes our company stand apart from the crowd. This allows each company to have something to keep (besides your business card) that helps them remember who you are and why you are important. They too are meeting hundreds of people. Give them something so that they can remember you.
3. Cell Phone, iPad and/or Laptop
Bringing your electronics (and their chargers) is a given. Bring your laptop so that you can touch base with all of your appointments the day before the event, follow up with those companies with your full media kits/ links/ any other information that is helpful and useful after the event, as well as sending them a sweet thank you.
Have your iPad or tablet with you at the show so that you can show each company your site, your Media Kit PDF with images, examples and ideas ready to go. Your iPad or smart tablet should also have your Google Doc of your appointment schedule for the show (I recommend that you create one) so that you have everything up to date and easy to find.
Your phone also has become an absolute necessity; not only to make calls, but for social media. You need to Instagram, do Facebook Live, create IG stories, Tweet, and so much more. Document your experience as much as you can.
4. Comfortable Shoes
Did I mention that the Las Vegas convention center encompasses approximately 3.2 million square feet with exhibit space of 2 million square feet and meeting space of nearly 250,000 square feet? That’s a lot of walking, people. You must pack comfortable walking shoes since you will be going and going from the time the show opens (9am) till the time it closes (5pm). That’s not even taking into consideration the company parties that are hosted almost every night!
I have packed my Tieks with me since they are stylish and comfortable. They are the perfect shoes for an expo since I want to be professional, comfortable and cute.
I always bring my DSLR camera with me to the ABC Kids Expo so that I can capture some beautiful images of the show. As a blogger, images are everything on your site and social media. I try to document everything that I can to the best of my ability for our readers and followers. People want to see what you saw, learn what you learned, and watch that story come to life through beautiful imagery. Bring that nice camera of yours!
6. Small Business Suitcase
With all of the companies at the show, you will be collecting company packets, free swag, samples, pricing lists, products, business cards and more. If you were to only bring your purse and use the tote bag that they give you at the front door, your shoulders and back will be killing you by the end of the show. (Remember, that’s eight hours of being on your feet as well as carrying all of that information with you.) I learned this the hard way. Don’t make the same mistake that I did.
Purchase and bring a small business suitcase that you can easily store your company materials. This will also allow you to have a space to organize all of the items that you collect from each booth. You will be incredibly grateful that you made this investment. Here’s the one that I purchased.
7. Comfortable, Professional Attire
You are representing your company and your brand so wear it with pride. My other teammates and I make sure every year that we are wearing the same company shirt each day and that we style each of our outfits similarly. One day we may dress it with cute jeans and a blazer, the next day maybe with a nice skirt or slacks, but never wear heels. Flats are your best friend at expos.
We always receive such wonderful compliments from companies saying how professional and cute we look. First impressions are everything so leave a good first impression on people with your overall look and a smile. 🙂
With all of that walking you will be so hungry for quick snacks. And if you’re like us, you have appointments scheduled back-to-back so you won’t have enough time to run to the cafeteria and wait in line to get some food. That only happens during your lunch break. (Don’t forget to schedule that lunch break for yourself when booking appointments.) Pack some snacks with you in your bag so that you can keep up your energy! Nuts, bars, or anything small and easy are the best ways to go.
9. Water/ Hand Sanitizer
Hydration is key when at such a massive expo. You need to keep your mind and body going so water is essential. Have that water bottle ready to go with you in your bag each day. You don’t want to be dehydrated after standing and walking all day.
Also, with all the hands that you are shaking, products that you are touching, business cards that you are collecting, etc. you should also have some hand sanitizer on you to keep your hands clean. There are so many germs everywhere and we want to avoid getting sick during the show or when we get home.
10. Go with Your Team
I know that this isn’t something that you can to pack, but I needed to include this last point. If you want to remain sane and have a productive show, don’t go by yourself. Bring a teammate, colleague, family member or friend to go with you. Remember, you need to Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, talk to booth after booth, and walk the entire convention center day after day. That’s too much to do alone and you will have a hard time remembering or finding the time to do it all. I always have two ladies go with me. It makes it so much easier to split appointments with them and share the load. It’s also nice to have them to share your hotel room with you and go to the after parties.
There you have it! My top 10 tips of things you need to pack for the ABC Kids Expo. I hope this helps you prepare for the big show coming up this October. If you have any other tips that you would like to share, please include them in the comments below. Anything that can help us all succeed is so appreciated. 🙂