Cody is my first interview partner and I'm excited to have her on my blog! It was Cody's first time exhibiting at Surtex, but she has previous experience from attending as an art buyer. Read about her experience and see what she has to share:
Which Trade Show did you attend?
Surtex, 2023, New York City, USA
What’s the show's main focus or theme?
Surtex is a premier trade show in the surface design industry, bringing together surface pattern designers, artists, and manufacturers to showcase the latest trends and foster creative collaborations.
In what role did you attend the show?
Why did you decide to participate?
I decided to participate in Surtex as an exhibitor because I saw it as a valuable opportunity to showcase my surface pattern designs to industry professionals and potential clients. By participating in Surtex, I expected to establish connections, secure licensing deals, and gain recognition for my work, ultimately expanding my client base and generating new business opportunities in the surface design industry.
Cody in her booth at Surtex 2023
What did you gain from participating?
Participating in Surtex as an exhibitor yielded several significant outcomes for me. Firstly, it fulfilled a long-held dream of showcasing my surface pattern designs to industry professionals, a goal that was sparked during my initial attendance at Surtex as an art buyer and my subsequent discovery of the art licensing world. Moreover, the experience enabled me to establish valuable connections and collaborations with potential clients, reaffirming the importance of face-to-face meetings in opening doors to unforeseen opportunities that may not have been on my radar initially. While I initially had high expectations regarding the number of leads I would generate from the show, I was somewhat disappointed with the quantity. However, I found solace in the fact that the leads I did acquire were of high quality. Ultimately, only time will reveal the true measure of success and whether the effort and financial investment I put into the show were justified, but I went into it fully aware of these factors.
How did you prepare for the show?
I invested considerable time and effort into perfecting my portfolio, ensuring its relevance and impact in the marketplace. In order to make a lasting impression on potential clients, I secured an appointment with an art representative to gain valuable feedback on my work. Prior to the event, I conducted extensive research to pinpoint target clients and industry professionals, proactively reaching out to them through personalized messages to forge connections. Additionally, I devoted substantial time to meticulously crafting my mockups and ensuring the production of high-quality materials for my booth, with the goal of effectively showcasing my work. Recognizing the magnitude of the tasks at hand, I created a comprehensive calendar with essential deadlines to maintain organization. It was an arduous process, requiring me to prioritize and temporarily set aside certain marketing tasks in order to accomplish everything in a timely manner.
Cody and her mum, who helped out as a booth buddy
What's your must-have to bring to a show?
My must-have item to bring to the show would be a well-curated and visually impactful portfolio. Additionally, having business cards would be essential for networking and establishing connections during the event.
Did you notice any trends at the show?
I noticed a prevalent motif of cats throughout the show. Additionally, there was a notable abundance of abstract and geometric designs, with tetra-like patterns standing out in particular.
Have there been any challenges you had to overcome?
Prior to the event, my primary challenge was refining my portfolio to ensure its relevance and impact in the marketplace. I dedicated considerable time and effort to curating my portfolio, and I aim to receive regular feedback on my work throughout the year moving forward to avoid having to make a lot of adjustments for future events.
In addition, another challenge that caused significant anxiety before the show was the logistics of shipping my booth banners. I made a costly mistake by opting for the company affiliated with the show to handle the shipping, disregarding more cost-effective alternatives. Due to the large size of the banners and my anxiety, I didn't explore options such as printing them in smaller pieces to fit in my suitcase or shipping them in a box instead of a large, unwieldy cardboard tube that measured over six to eight feet tall. In hindsight, I realize that shipping the banners in a box to a local UPS store would have saved me a significant amount of money.
During the show, my challenge was to attract buyers to visit my booth. It appeared that the show had a slower pace, and I observed that established exhibitors who already had existing clients seemed to perform better.
Cody showing her portfolio to attandees and buyers
How much did you invest?
Based on my research and conversations with others who had exhibited in the past, I estimated the overall cost of the show to be around $10.000, and I came close with a total of $8.970. Here's the breakdown of my expenses:
1. Tickets (for myself and my booth buddy, my mom): $640
2. Hotel: $1.368
3. Shipping: $910
4. Booth: $3.695
5. Liability Insurance: $67
6. Printed Materials: $1.100
7. Transportation (while in NYC): $485
8. Food: $341
9. Booth Materials/Miscellaneous: $364
What's your résumé of the show?
The show provided valuable opportunities for me to showcase my surface pattern designs, establish connections with potential clients, and gain exposure within the industry. It allowed me to fulfil a long-held dream and expand my network of industry professionals. Additionally, the show served as a platform to receive feedback on my work, observe industry trends, and gain insights into the art licensing world.
As for whether it was worth it, it's hard for me to say. While the show presented some challenges and the number of leads received did not meet my initial expectations, I am satisfied with the quality of the leads obtained and I believe time will be the ultimate judge of its success. At this point, I am glad I exhibited because it was a great experience, and I thoroughly enjoyed sharing the experience with my mom. However, I still have reservations about its overall worth due to the high cost involved.
Client flipping through Cody's portfolio
Are you considering attending again?
At this point, I am open to the possibility of exhibiting at the show again in the future. While there were challenges and uncertainties surrounding its overall worth, I recognize the valuable opportunities, connections, and experiences it provided. I would conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis, considering factors such as growth potential, future collaborations, and industry trends. However, due to the high cost alone, it will likely be at least a couple of years before I can consider exhibiting again. In the meantime, I would be more inclined to explore attending other shows such as Atlanta Market or Licensing Expo, which may offer a more cost-effective option, especially since I haven't attended those shows before and would be interested to see if they would be good options to exhibit at in the future.
Client looking at Cody's illustrations and pattern designs
Anything else you want to share?
I appreciate the photos you took and shared with me! (The images showing Cody interacting with attendees)
Written by Nina Schindlinger
Interview with Cody Alice Moore
I am an experienced surface pattern designer with a distinct style that blends graphic elements and whimsical flair. My passion lies in creating vibrant and captivating patterns that bring joy and creativity to a variety of products.