Adventures of a Healthy Lifestyle Start Up—Tradeshows and the TODAY SHOW

Friday, April 7, 2017

For a young start up one of the biggest decisions you have to make is how to market your product. What is the best way to introduce your product and to what audience? And, of course, as a young company, how you spend what money you have to market helps determine those priorities. Sometimes, with a lot of hard work and a little luck, you can reach a much bigger audience with one email and one TV show. Here is some of what we have learned.

Where to Market Your Product. Livliga lives in two worlds-- the world of health and wellness and the world of housewares. Even our patented design is both esthetic and scientifically based. Just looking at our product you would not necessarily understand all of its benefits, much less what its real purpose is because it is subtle and beautiful. We discovered early on that we needed to get out there and introduce professionals and retail buyers to Livliga in person to explain first hand all of Livliga’s built in benefits.

How to set priorities. In order to get in front of these key people we do a lot of tradeshows each year. It has been an important part of our marketing strategy. We mainly go to professional conferences related to specific diseases as well as health & wellness. It is the professionals in the fields of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and obesity that instantly “get” our product and how it can make a difference to their patients and clientele long term as they embrace a healthy lifestyle.

Not being afraid to try new things. In addition to the professional conferences we do a gift/housewares show to get in front of retail buyers. For the past few years we went to the NY NOW gift show at the Javits Center in New York City. The exposure was great but our retail sales did not significantly increase. We decided it was time to try a new venue. We are really glad we did.

Leverage all opportunity. Because of great advice from other vendors we have gotten to know, we decided to try out the International Home + Housewares Show (IHHS) in Chicago. From the beginning our experience was very different than at the NY NOW. They want you to get exposure and introduce yourself to buyers and media. They provide an online platform for you to upload product, media kits and videos. There are mailing lists for both buyers and media you can access and use. They even offer special opportunities for those who are new to the show, have new product or want to get an innovative design recognized. By participating in all of these opportunities we were able to display our product in different ways and in multiple locations. With 62,000 people attending it is key to get as much exposure as possible beyond your booth. We took advantage of it all.

Believe in the worth of your hard work and the luck it can bring. Violà the TODAY SHOW! Something really wonderful happened because of reaching out and making sure as many areas of the show knew about us as possible. Livliga was picked to be part of the TODAY SHOW segment on the latest housewares gadgets trending this year at the Chicago IHHS. We were among just a few products showcased. The email I received said “Hi Sheila-Livliga MADE THE CUT for next Thursday Hoda & KLG.” We didn’t even know we were being considered. What a dream come true!

Put your best booth forward. Unlike the professional conferences that are filled with drug and equipment companies and have typical pop ups and table displays, the Housewares Shows are much more about looking like a storefront. It is all about the look and display. We spend a lot of time and money on the design of our storefront. This year our theme was Farm to Table. Since our product is all about good, healthy food in right-sized amounts we thought this theme was a perfect fit to help tell our story. It worked. We got a lot of great comments and many visitors to our booth.

The importance of lead retrieval. One of the hardest parts of a show is managing contacts, information from those contacts, and the follow up needed to land a new piece of business. We have found this is nearly impossible to do with out using a lead retrieval program offered by the show. Sure its not cheap but we find it saves a lot of time and headache after the event. It allows you to follow up in a timely manner. We think they are worth the investment.

Get to know the other vendors and form partnerships. We have found one of the most helpful parts of a show is the information we receive and connections we make with other vendors. We have made so many friends from all of the shows we have attended. We have learned so much from other exhibitors. They are an incredible resource of information and knowledge. As an example, we decided to go to the International Home + Housewares Show this year because of feedback from other vendors. We have also partnered with other vendors for cross promotions and giveaways through our various social media platforms. It’s a great way to engage new audiences and introduce them to each other’s products. We plan on doing the same from the IHHS show.

Its not just one thing, it’s the package.  The more we have done this the more we realize that detail and taking risk, really meaning sometimes getting out of our comfort zone, pays off. We reached out to media and buyers. We took the chance and signed up for the special events. We boldly talked to people walking by our booth and tried to engage them in our story, sometimes succeeding. And we are flexible in how we work with buyers, providing show specials, and no required minimums, as examples, so we can develop business and make sales. As a result of this show we will now be sending product to Canada and Kuwait and bringing on new retailers in the USA. And let’s not forget…we also got to have our product appear on the TODAY SHOW!

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