This weekend, we are very excited to be going back to the Seattle Gift Show at the Washington State Convention Center. Six Ventures entrepreneurs will be presenting their wares, and we will be there to support them every step of the way.
The Gift Show presents a number of challenges and opportunities for our clients. It offers the opportunity to develop relationships that could lead to wholesale orders and increased exposure for their business, but also requires small business owners to face the challenge of presenting themselves and their businesses in a new and different way.
Because most Gift Show attendees are buyers for companies of different sizes, Ventures entrepreneurs must go through the process of preparing for a very specific kind of customer – and often must do so for the first time. Clients must be able to answer questions about increased production, maintaining quality control, and the effect of wholesale pricing on profit margins. We also encourage them to research industry trends and market segments, which will allow them to pitch their product to specific audiences and stand out in a crowd of other sellers.
For Luisa Linares, jewelry artist and owner of Bella Lulli, getting ready for the Gift Show is a part of the learning experience that Ventures offers. “Even if I don’t make any sales, I challenge myself to be prepared because I used to be more relaxed about doing my jewelry, and now I’m doing inventory, doing coaching, prices too…I’m more organized in everything.” Luisa had been hoping to do gift shows for some time, and her participation in Ventures programming helped her accelerate the process from a year or more of preparation into just three months.
The process can also be valuable for business owners with more experience. The six Ventures clients featured at this year’s event include a variety of experience levels, including Becky Morette, an experienced entrepreneur and now a Ventures board member.
For Becky, the Gift Show is just one part of her involvement with Ventures. In recent months, Becky tested several unique designs for her business, Sunday Drive Designs, in her display at the Ventures Marketplace, our retail store and business incubator in Pike Place Market. During preparations for the Gift Show, she has also focused on creating a display that is “simple, clean and cohesive.”
For Becky, this includes personal preparation as well. In addition to having several products tested, Becky is thinking carefully about her personal brand – from her outfit to the designs that she is hoping to sell. This is very important to her strategy – as she says, “I want to make sure I fit my brand.”
Luisa and Becky’s perspectives demonstrate the diverse array of businesses that can benefit from participation in wholesale events like the Seattle Gift Show. At Ventures, we strive to pilot innovative ways to help our clients access new markets, and opportunities like these are invaluable. We wish our incredible entrepreneurs the best of luck this weekend!