Rolling the dice December 04 2013

I made the decision to attend the ABC Kids Expo in Louisville which took place in September of 2011. This was the first trade show for The Quick Split. I had no idea whether I would pursue manufacturing after the show, so I was determined to build my booth on a shoestring budget. I needed to attend in order to determine if there was enough market interest to take the next step, but I was paying out of pocket for every expense related to the show. And there were many...

There is of course the basic booth expense. Plus added fees for electrical in the booth (to power the lighting + laptop) and a nice carpet pad since you are on your feet for four days straight. I had to carry liability insurance for the show, plus I needed business cards, flyers and banners. In an effort to save money, I took a table, chairs, and lighting from home. My booth was not the high end space that I would have liked for it to be, but it certainly worked. 

My hubby took vacation days so he could work the show with me, and my parents kept the kids. I went to the show with the goal of determining if anyone would buy The Quick Split, and if so, how many would they buy? This show is attended by large and small buyers from across the U.S. plus several other countries. Some of these buyers own tiny little boutiques; others work for large companies like Toys R Us and Target.

I did not have any manufactured samples to sell; I only had one working prototype to demonstrate with and flyers and business cards to hand out. And let me tell you – I offered a flyer to every single person who walked past my booth. Lots of them stopped to talk. Many left business cards and told me that they would like to order if I ended up in manufacturing. It appeared that The Quick Split would be well received in the market, but was I ready to take the risk?

My husband and I are not big risk takers with our money. We don't play the stock market, and we are very conservative. Over dinner on the last night of the show, we discussed our options. I was torn about what to do. I truly believed in this product, but the thought of investing thousands of dollars on tooling and inventory that I hoped to sell and thought I could sell was very scary. My husband had a great analogy – he said we should look at this opportunity like our own little stock market. If we invested, we may not see a large return immediately. But if money trickles in for 5, 10 or even 20 years it will have been worth it in the long run. And wouldn't we regret it if we didn't at least give it a try? 

So we agreed – we would roll the dice. The show wrapped up the next day and I came home ready to plunge into manufacturing and with a mountain of contacts to follow up with.