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True Cost of a Trade Show

August 27, 2013


Ever wonder what is the true cost of exhibiting at a trade show?  If you only consider booth rental fee, you will be in for a big surprise!  We recently exhibited at the Chicago Gift Market wholesale trade show at the Merchandise Mart in downtown Chicago (Beckman’s Handcrafted section).  Exhibiting at a trade show is a big deal.  The time, money, and energy required are so high that one must really be committed.  Below is a sample itemized list of trade show expenses:

Booth  Rental, 10′ x 10′  = $1500   (Some shows charge $2000 + for a 10′ x 10′ booth)

Show Upgrades (i.e. lighting) = $200

Displays & Supplies = $1200

Show Advertising = $500 – $1500

Pre & Post Marketing = $400

Order Forms = $40

Show Parking = $250

Mileage = $105

Lunch Expense = $75


These expenses are somewhat subjective, and depend upon the following:

– type of displays & fixtures

– trade show directory advertising

– upgrades (lighting or vacuumed carpeting, etc.)

– type of pre & post marketing

– travel expenses (mileage, hotel, airfare)

Using this example, one must make $4200 in sales to break even.  However, publicity and exposure, though not quantifiable, must be factored into the equation…the exhibitor must put his / her own value on this.

At Sourcing Handmade, we have added trade show participation as an add-on service.  For a nominal fee, 23 handmade artisans participated with us in this past July’s trade show.  We shared a 10′ x 20′ booth and shared the expense.  We are likely going to participate in the Chicago Gift Market wholesale trade show in January 2014.  Once a decision is made, the details and registration will be posted to our blog and Facebook.  However, if you feel that you would be interested, please let us know by commenting on this post, posting to our Facebook, or emailing us at info at sourcinghandmade .com (no spaces).

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