Getting ready for a Show!

Rusty McDonald

KNIFE MAKER
Any tips from you old timers about getting ready for a knife show?

Come on I know that one of you has been to one and could pass on some good info to us younger fellas.
 

jmforge

Well-Known Member
Any tips from you old timers about getting ready for a knife show?

Come on I know that one of you has been to one and could pass on some good info to us younger fellas.
Not an old timer, but my suggestion would be to convince yourself that you are going to make maybe 30% more knives that you actually need. That way you will be all flustered, not finish them all and yet still have the number that you need.2thumbs
 

Les George

Admin - Founding Member
Biggest keys to success at a show, if you ask me, is "be cool."

When people walk by, talk to them and give them a reason to stop. They dont buy if they dont stop and they dont want to screw up the flow in the isles for no reason....

Smile

If there is a woman or a child with the man (assuming it's a male buyer) be nice to the family too. They may be bored outta there mind, but they will remember they guy that didnt pretend they where invisible.

Stand up when you talk to people

Have change, look into taking credit cards (that one could go either way)

I'll think of more later............... :)
 

NickWheeler

Well-Known Member
Figure on the knives taking you WAAAAY longer than you normally would. Something's bound to go wrong.

Don't got for numbers, go for quality and variety. I think quality is number one though. I think you can definitely have too many knives. There are always makers at a show that have a table just covered in knives. I think this does two negatives... for one, it makes it look like you can't sell anything you make and they just pile up... two, it overwhelms the customer.

Of course the guys who do that would disagree with me ;) :)

Make sure you have your business cards, and a sign of some sort to mark your table.

GOTTA have something to wipe down your knives.... especially since you're using carbon steel. Wipe them down about ten times more than you think you need to. Somebody will spit while they're talking, and if you're not wiping them down constantly, you'll have spots that have to be sanded out before the show is over.

Have sheaths done and zippered pouches for each knife. I've lost several sales over the years by NOT having that part covered.

Keep in mind that you'll meet some completely awesome people, and some that you want to throw across the room... take it all in stride and enjoy the experience. :D

Dress well. I wear a suit to a show whether the show promoter asks us to or not. If I'm trying to sell a $1500 bowie, I feel it necessary to look the part. A suit isn't necessary (that's just how I roll ;) ) but a dirty Tshirt and jeans that you just wore the other day to grind in is a bad choice! (I know you wouldn't do that Rusty, just throwing it out there for anybody that would).

Take a small cooler with pop and snacks if you can.... it will save you $50 or more over the week-end!

That's all I've got for now :)

Best of luck and have fun Rusty!!! 2thumbs
 

Rusty McDonald

KNIFE MAKER
Figure on the knives taking you WAAAAY longer than you normally would. Something's bound to go wrong.

Don't got for numbers, go for quality and variety. I think quality is number one though. I think you can definitely have too many knives. There are always makers at a show that have a table just covered in knives. I think this does two negatives... for one, it makes it look like you can't sell anything you make and they just pile up... two, it overwhelms the customer.

Of course the guys who do that would disagree with me ;) :)

Make sure you have your business cards, and a sign of some sort to mark your table.

GOTTA have something to wipe down your knives.... especially since you're using carbon steel. Wipe them down about ten times more than you think you need to. Somebody will spit while they're talking, and if you're not wiping them down constantly, you'll have spots that have to be sanded out before the show is over.

Have sheaths done and zippered pouches for each knife. I've lost several sales over the years by NOT having that part covered.

Keep in mind that you'll meet some completely awesome people, and some that you want to throw across the room... take it all in stride and enjoy the experience. :D

Dress well. I wear a suit to a show whether the show promoter asks us to or not. If I'm trying to sell a $1500 bowie, I feel it necessary to look the part. A suit isn't necessary (that's just how I roll ;) ) but a dirty Tshirt and jeans that you just wore the other day to grind in is a bad choice! (I know you wouldn't do that Rusty, just throwing it out there for anybody that would).

Take a small cooler with pop and snacks if you can.... it will save you $50 or more over the week-end!

That's all I've got for now :)

Best of luck and have fun Rusty!!! 2thumbs

I've been to shows before just trying to get the forum going a bit. Sold out my first show and I was shocked at myself. The show's I've been to usually have a room just for seller/table holders to get refreshments like fruit or donuts (I know you wouldn't eat them fat pills would ya Nick?) coffee and water.
I always have my table set up before the start of the day with a clean table cloth and my cards. and I make sure to have some oil and a cloth to clean the blades after they have been handled. I try to have something like lifesavers on the table too kinda draws people to the table and even if they don't stop and ask about the knives it's a nice thing to do. I don't wear a suit, but I won't go in my Carhartts either.
I always have the sheath and cases covered, Kenny Rowe lives down the road from me (10 or 15 miles) he gets the job done. not only that but he is usually at the shows I'm at.
One thing I'd like to add is don't be a but head and think that just because the guy in front of your table is wearing a dirty t-shirt and jeans that he/she isnt gonna buy something. Be nice and talk to the kids as well. Watch talking to the wives too much and have a good time.
Rusty
 

Les George

Admin - Founding Member
Dress well. I wear a suit to a show whether the show promoter asks us to or not. If I'm trying to sell a $1500 bowie, I feel it necessary to look the part. A suit isn't necessary (that's just how I roll ;) ) but a dirty Tshirt and jeans that you just wore the other day to grind in is a bad choice! (I know you wouldn't do that Rusty, just throwing it out there for anybody that would).
I like to wear a t shirt with a huge logo on it. That way when people say they couldnt find me, I know they just didnt want to talk to me..... :rolleyes:
 

BossDog

KnifeDogs.com & USAknifemaker.com Owner
Great topic Rusty.
Be on the job.
I see a lot of knife makers get a 50 yard stare early in the show and do anything but engage people when they are walking by. Knife makers are rock stars to some people and if you visit with them and be interested in them maybe you won't sell something today but they will remember you.

The last Blade show was slow by anyone's standard. The space was down 25% and by all estimates so was the foot traffic. Normally you hear a bunch of stories about how this maker sold out and so did this one after the show. You didn't hear much of any of that this year after the show. Most went home and took stock of what they made and re-considered being in the knife making business.

I can tell you about a couple exceptions. Michael Burch sold out in a hurry. He is a sincerely nice guy that takes an interest in people.

Another story is Les George and his lovely wife Bianca. It was 3pm Sunday afternoon and the vendors and makers were tearing down and leaving as fast as they could. Les and his lovely wife had already sold out 2 days ago. They were still standing up, smiling and greeting people walking by, meeting and visiting with customers. He had one Tshirt out on the table for sale and could have left but he was there on the job taking care of business. Always a Marine I guess.
 
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NickWheeler

Well-Known Member
Doh! Sorry Rusty. huh1

I agree with that Hawaii/Texas/Marine guy... His method is proven effective!!! :eek: :eek: :mad:

:D

Another one.... be clean and don't stink!!! I've been to a couple shows where there were makers that smelled like they'd just come in from putting up a couple thousand bales of hay.
 

Les George

Admin - Founding Member
Dudes that smell like they want to be alone? :)

The whole leaving early thing blows me away. I however dont mind when makers do it. ;) If I still have knives, I dont mind being the last one in the room with them on the table. I paid for that table for the whole time, they gonna have to run me off it!
 
A

Al P

Guest
If you're not an established maker, first impressions are everything.

Dress for success, stand up, and look them in the eye.

Good luck,

Al P
 

Sean Cochran

Well-Known Member
Im really new so I havent done a show, however I have been in sales a long time. The one thing that holds true no matter what you are selling, people are going to have to buy you before the product. You can have the best product available but if your customer does not like or trust you they will buy elsewhere.
Dress for success (this depends on your target market), be friendly and engaging (find common ground with the customer, yes this means you actually must have a conversation with them), you have to show genuine enthusiasm and excitement, but most of all smile no matter what. Just my .02. cool 1
 
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DC KNIVES

Guest
I am fortunate to have a very organized wife that handles alot of the show prep chores so I can make knives.Number 1 on her list is making a complete checklist of things to bring.She keeps it on the comp and downloads for every show.We have a dedicated travel case jsut for shows and keep all our show stuff together for less packing.Get a small folding table(patio size 18"x18") to keep under the table for notepads, reciept books, sodas, helps keep the table from being cluttered.+1 on the small cooler too.We have our own tablecloth and you should have a sign saying who you are and where your from.Try to make a nice looking table and as said have the knife blades facing you not the customer.My wife makes up small plastic plaques for each knife stating specs and price.Many years ago we started putting quality individually wrapped candy on our table, and the customers loved that( just don't do M&M's loose, have seen it, and beware if the show is slow, you'll have a mess of knifemakers over eating your candy:D). Like previous posters have said, be engaging, polite,and have fun.Customers don't like grumpy makers complaining about poor sales or whatever.Dave2thumbs
 
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