I did a bridal show last April and I have really mixed feelings about it.
There's pictures of my set up on my Facebook page. I only had 5 display cakes but my booth looked really nice. I had 2 helpers. For samples, I offered 3 flavors in little covered 2 ounce cups. Each cup had a little square of cake and a squirt of buttercream. We had baskets that we kept filled with the samples that we gave out along with a cute little tasting fork and a napkin. I was in front of the booth the whole time, talking to people and handing out the samples. I did NOT want to be cutting cake there and I'm SO glad I did it that way. It was extra work the day before but so much easier (and more sanitary) the day of.
The good: I love planning those types of things so that was fun. I got TONS of positive feedback from other vendors, brides, even the show promoters. They loved my booth, my aesthetic, how we were dressed (me in a chef coat, my assistants in matching aprons, all of us in black pants), how friendly and interactive we were, my display cakes, how my samples were packaged, how my cakes tasted, etc. I left there on cloud 9! I have booked 3 weddings from it, which was my goal, but I would love to get a couple more.
I got a list of all the participants with their contact info. I’ve done 2 rounds of emails so far and plan on another soon.
Some cons... Doing an expo is expensive! Not only do you need to pay for your booth space, you need the samples, plenty of business cards, brochures, tasting forks, covered cups and napkins, the cost of your dummies and decorating them, booth decor, signage, attire and I paid my assistants. Of the first 5 consults I scheduled from the show, they all cancelled at the last minute or were no-shows (yes, I was left sitting at Panera with all my cake stuff). You can't really trust the promoters...I was promised they only book 2 of each kind of vendor so there would be just one other cake company there. Not so, there were 2 other cakers and when I asked about I was told that one of them does CUPCAKES so doesn't count as a cake decorator.
I ran a "special" of sorts. If the wedding couple booked a consultation while at the show and then booked a cake, they would get free delivery. It was too much on top of everything else. Plus, even though I confirmed with all of them ahead of their appointments, those were the ones who cancelled or didn't show. I would not do this again! I would, however, consider doing a drawing for free delivery or something like that. I’m also glad I didn't donate for the door prizes. It was so loud you could barely hear which vendor names they were reading/promoting.
Something I was REALLY glad I did and would do again: even though I didn't have a lot of display cakes, they were absolutely pristine. The other cake decorator had a lot of display cakes but they were getting old and tired looking. Dusty, chipped, etc. The cupcaker's sample cupcakes had peeling liners which I'm sure was unappealing to potential brides. That being said, in a way I was lucky in that because I know there are better decorators here in my area. Also, the interacting I did with everyone seemed to be really appreciated. I took 3 walks around the show and every time, both of the other cakers were just sitting behind a table at their booth waiting for people to approach them.
I know this was long…it’s pieced together from a few posts I’ve done about the experience (I didn’t just type all this ). Honestly, I’m on the fence as to whether I’d do another. Maybe every 3 years or so…