As a wholesaler of funny t-shirts, Crooked Monkey has always found creative ways to get our t-shirts into the hands of the end consumer (that's you!).
In the beginning we used to drive around in our Honda Civic--making appointments and delivering shirts on site. Then we started attending tradeshows--really launching our brand further. We started to get recognized at these tradeshows and attending more and more of them. At the height of our love of tradeshows, we probably attended 20 shows/year. Buyers from retail stores all over the country, and the world, came to check out our newest lines and see what new wholesale opportunities were available for them.
Then came the recession. Buyers realized that a trip to Las Vegas, with all the associated costs, was just not in the cards, baby. They decided, and rightfully so, that they'd rather use their money on clothing, and not on frivolous trips. By August of 2008, we decided that Crooked Monkey would significantly reduce its presence at tradeshows and increase its direct contact with stores--either thru road trips (returning to the glory days), phone calls, emails, and other methods.
It is with a bitter sweet feeling that I report that we made the right decision. The Tradeshow is dead. They have become a waste of time. Crooked Monkey has managed to reduce its presence at shows, while still growing during this great recession--proof that quality and awesomeness at the right price is priceless.
Here's one other issue that really irks me about tradeshows. The slowing economy causes less retailers to attend tradeshows. Meaning that wholesalers, like Crooked Monkey, sell less clothes at these shows. The logical progression would be that Tradeshows should drop the price of their shows and offer incentives--yet they continue to charge astronomical prices. How does that make any sense? Not a sermon, just a thought.
Oh and the picture below is from our first ever tradeshow 3 years ago! That's Jon, Della and Me.