Fairs & Festivals

Written by Susan Ratliff on July 4th, 2008. Posted in alternate exhibiting opportunities, Uncategorized

All across the country there are hundreds of really fun craft fairs and festivals that take place on holidays like the 4th of July. They offer multiple opportunities for exhibit marketing and are a great way to make a living or a quick buck.  I know this because  I started a home-based business after my son was born and quit a real estate career to stay at home with him.  I learned my exhibiting skills from the trenches selling personalized children’s books at swap meets and craft fairs.  The books were made on a computer in four minutes and had the child’s name, family and friends in the story.  I would cart around the books, computer and Garrison in his playpen.  The first time I exhibited was in a lady’s backyard craft fair.  I registered late and because the yard areas were full, I got stuck out in the front driveway.  That actually turned out to be the best spot because everyone had to pass by me to get in.  Every mother or grandmother stopped by to see my baby, then ordered books.  This was perfect because it gave me time to make their books while they shopped and then they picked them up when they left. I think I made about $1000 cash in about 6 hours.  That was pretty good at the time. I loved those days learning the secrets of selling in a booth by hit and miss.  Everything I learned at that backyard marketplace about selling on the fly, decorating my table display and drawing people over to see my products formed the basis for my career in the exhibit industry.  If you are a crafter,  hold regular yard sales or drag your treasures to the swap meet every Sunday you could improve your profits and skills by studying what business owners and corporations have learned from exhibiting at tradeshows and consumer shows.  There are a few great authorities out there to study.  I am one of them, www.exhibitexpertsaz.com or www.susanratliffpresents.com .  The others that come to mind are Susan Friedmann, www.thetradeshowcoach.com, Matt Hill, www.hillgroup.com and Julia O’Connor, www.Tradeshowtraining.com  Check everyone out for the latest tips and tricks to make you a better exhibitor.


Reflecting on life

Written by Susan Ratliff on July 3rd, 2008. Posted in Uncategorized

Ok, so this is not about exhibiting.  It’s 10:44 PM on July 3rd.  Thirty one years ago my younger sister died in a drunken driving accident.  Six kids in the car.  Three lived, three died.  She was 15 years old.  I called my Mom today,  as I do this time every year, to reflect on life.  You never get over the death of a child.  She still cannot look at her picture.  Tomorrow will be one year ago that my husband Carey’s Father died.  He was 83.  A Marine.  (you’re never an ex-marine)  I used to love this holiday. Now it holds new meaning.  I wanted to keep this post short so I will end with a wish:  May our soldiers be safe, thank you for your service and God Bless America. 


It’s a Blog-a-thon

Written by Susan Ratliff on July 1st, 2008. Posted in Uncategorized

I am excited to tell you that I will be blogging my little heart out for a while because I agreed to participate in a blogging marathon.  If that’s what it takes to kick start my posting then I’m ready.  What’s really cool is that there is a list of terrific experts, speakers and authors below who will be joining me in this effort.  We will all have something wonderful to share and I encourage you to check out all their sites for interesting, valuable viewpoints on a variety of topics.  Here they are and a taste of what they know.

Jackie Dishner, is a freelance writer and speaker with a unique value proposition.  She has two blogs and is the instagator of this event. She has this blog: BIKE WITH JACKIE. And is a week away from launching this new travel blog, The Phoenix Traveler.

I am Susan Ratliff:  I am known as The Exhibit Expert on topics of tradeshows, consumer shows and events and a speaker and author too.  This is my blog you are reading.

Andrea Beaulieu is a highly creative woman who teaches you how to find your authentic voice. She also encourages you to live your life at its best at Conspiracy of Love.

Mimi Meredith inspires you to create better lives, workplaces and communities. The Blooming Blog helps spread her message.

Beth Terry is a maverick in the speaking industry.  A true sharer of knowledge and an expert on employee relations and avoiding toxic people. Reach her at Corporate Cowgirl.

Vickie Mullins is an amazing business women and owner of Mullins Creative.  She has a staff of unbelievably talented graphic designers who can creates things like office collateral, your newsletters, and really special books. She talks about it all at her two blogs: Mullins Creative and Vickie Mullins.

Michelle May, a physician and author helps you eat for the right reason–because you’re hungry. She talks about diet and food and how consumed we are about all it at at her blog in the East Valley Tribune newspaper.

Arlene Rosenberg helps her clients achieve personal and professional rewards. Her blog, Leading Achievers, shares inspirational stories behind her work.

Stanley Bronstein is a motivational speaker who helps businesses perform at their best. Click on his name to check out his words of wisdom.

Suzanne Holman is the million dollar productive coach. She helps you achieve the millions that you deserve. Learn more at Lessons for Your Million Dollar Life.

I will have four more blogs for your review in another post. Please check them all out and let me know what you think.   We want to hear from you.

What’s bugging you about your booth?

Written by Susan Ratliff on April 22nd, 2008. Posted in Uncategorized

Here’s your chance to tell me exactly what’s driving you crazy about exhibitng and ask me your most pressing questions about booth design, selling or marketing at the show.  I know that there is very little exhibitor training going on in most companies. Many associations that exhibit have no clue what to do with their booth to maximize their investment or their time.  Are you unsure about where to put your table?  Confused about why your service bill is so high.  Maybe you can’t figure out just how many brochures or freebees you should bring to the show.  Do you know how many people should be in a 20′ inline booth?   I want to help.  Ask me anything. If I don’t have an answer I know I can connect you with someone who does.  The ball is in your court. Talk to me.


What’s new in the exhibit industry?

Written by Susan Ratliff on March 24th, 2008. Posted in Uncategorized

I had a great time at this year’s Exhibitor show in Las Vegas. This is the premier tradeshow for the tradeshow and consumer show industry.  Manufacturers of exhibit properties, from all over the world, present their wares to end users, distributors and interested parties.  It offers an entertaining presentation of what’s new and exciting to help you market your business and present your products and services.  Everyone is jumping on the “Goin’ Green” bandwagon.  There are some pretty creative marketing strategies being used to capitalize on the green buzz.  Some of the innovative new products available for your exhibit booth are carpeting made from recycled tires, counter tops created from crushed plastic milk bottles, fabric replacing hardwalls and lots reduced energy lighting options.   

In theory, manufacturing exhibits from sustainable materials is a great idea, but the reality is that many companies are not quite ready to pay the higher costs required for environmentally safe exhibit products.  I am sure acceptance will increase as manufacturers discover more cost effective engineering materials and systems. 

It is pretty exciting to see America heartily grasping the benefits of helping the environment.  There are so many small things each of us can do that will make a difference to the health of the planet.  Now, I am not a tree-hugger by any means, but it seems that we can all make small contributions to this cause, for the good of us all.  We all have to remember that it is not just the materials something is made from, but the energy exerted to manufacture, transport and discard products too.  By using fabric graphics in your booth you save the energy it would take to construct laminate or wood walls. You save gas that would be burned transporting the heavier exhibit to a show.  Where we waste, as well as where we can conserve,  encompases a very wide area.

What have you seen out there that is energy efficient for exhibitors?  How are you doing your part to conserve?  Let me hear your views or questions.

Till next time,