The universal question I’ve gotten since returning from CHA is how do you get through it all? And once you have, how do you choose?
Well I’m no professional buyer, but I did my best at the show to help make good choices for Ellen’s store. I used technology to aid in that effort. My husband lent me his little 2.7 lb. Vaio laptop, on which I created an Access database of all the vendors at the show that interested us. From there, I gathered more data and made notes at each booth on the lines we liked and expected ship dates.
I also took pictures of the lines / products that we were interested in at each booth. These I imported into Adobe Photoshop Elements’ Organizer component. From the thumbnails, I could get a visual reference of the booths we had visited each day. As I marked each vendor a ‘BUY’ in the database, I would filter down the pictures and make sure the color mix was good too. You know, not too many orange/blue combos, not too much ‘grunge’, mix in some graphic lines and some more minimalist ones too.
We spent the better part of each evening, going through this information. We had room service practically every night and worked by the light of the laptops.
And then on the final day of the show, we did most of the buying. Except for a few reorders that had been done on earlier days – all of the buying happened after we had seen ALL of the products and had that visual reference to aid in our selection process. Afterall, one of my favorite products of the show was found in the last booth, on the last aisle. You never know! I sorted my little database by ‘BUY’ and by booth number – and we were off and running.
I also took pictures of the order forms for reference. Very few vendors had scanners, multi-part order forms or copiers on site. I found that surprising.
I will try to make an album for the specific products we ordered from the CHA show. Stay tuned!