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Are home shows worth attending? We think so. Home shows are great for two reasons. First, they’re a great place to start researching for your next project. And second, they organize everyone you need in one easy spot.
However, if you’ve never been to one, it may be overwhelming to see so many different exhibits. So, it can be beneficial to do some planning before you attend. Whether your project is landscaping, decorating, or remodelling, we’re going to show you the best 5 ways to make the most of your next home show.
If you’re going to a home show just for the experience, we get that. It can be fun to wander and just enjoy yourself. But if you’re attending because you are planning something like a kitchen remodel or finding someone like a plumbing supplier, we suggest taking some time to figure out what you need from this show.
What are you looking for in a specific supplier? Do you want to speak with contractors directly to ask questions—maybe compare them—or do you want to simply collect some reading material for later?
If you want to speak directly with exhibitors, then you’ll also want to attend earlier. Unexpected circumstances like long lines can make access to exhibitors difficult, so you’ll need to give yourself time. And sometimes it’s really easy to get carried away with questions at your first few exhibitors and not leave yourself time to get to everyone you wanted.
And don’t just think about your immediate goals. Consider future projects as well. Think one or two years into the future and save your future self some time. Even if you don’t know all the details yet, it can be beneficial to take a card or a brochure.
It’s easy to miss something, and you definitely don’t want to get home and realize you forgot to talk to someone. So, make a list! What types of contractors are you going to speak to? What types of materials do you need to investigate?
One great way to speed up your home show experience is to bring product details with you. If you have samples of things your project will require (like colour swatches or panelling samples you are looking to source or coordinate with) it can help the exhibitor understand your requirements more quickly. Even something as simple as a picture can help you explain your vision.
If you’re looking for alternatives to a product you’re already using, bringing it along is also useful—as long as it’s not too bulky.
They may also ask you questions about the product you are looking at that you had not considered before. Tile for instance, can be installed multiple different ways. Asking questions helps them determine how to best serve you.
Always grab a card or a brochure. Sometimes exhibitors may be winding down or wrapping up, and you may not feel like bothering them. Don’t worry about that. Just politely ask for a card.
Because the truth is, they may not be there next time. Sometimes business or extenuating circumstances can prevent a business from exhibiting at a home show. So, though you may think, “I’ll just talk to them next time,” there may not be a next time for, well, some time.
Exhibitors put many hours into preparing for a home show, and you should too. It’s not rare for a home show to last just a few hours, a whole day or a weekend. If you know you’ll be there for a while, make sure to wear comfortable shoes. And even if you plan to just pop in, you may end up standing longer than you anticipate. So, dress for utility and not only style (or both).
You should also bring a tote bag or something similar to carry your reading materials or any samples or goodies you may acquire. Sometimes exhibitors will offer gifts or thank-yous, so having a little bag with you is highly recommended.
Sometimes a home show may have food and beverage vendors—but not always. Usually, it will be announced if they do, but if you’re unsure, bring some snacks and a bottle of water. You can carry them in your tote bag!
If you like an exhibitor and they’re offering appointments or consultations—book it right there at the show. As we mentioned before, you may not see them again for some time. But also consider that you may be there with dozens of other people who will also want to set up an appointment, so be sure to ask and get your name in there before it’s too late. And occasionally there may be a “show incentive” to book right then and there.
You’re going to learn a lot. You may learn about products or materials you’ve never heard of before; that sticking point you have might get solved; some tidbit you pick up may have you thinking about your project in an entirely new way.
Home shows have a lot to offer. We always recommend attending, even if it’s just for fun.