We've all been itching to get back to the grind, and after a full year and some odd months, we finally got a little taste of the good ol' days: in-person trade shows. And it feels good to be back! This month, we packed up and traveled to New Orleans for the HQ Event, sponsored by SSE. About a week later, Windship Trading trucked along to Orlando for the Winter Champs Trade Show.
Do pandemic-era trade shows work? Here's our feedback.
These being our first shows post-Covid, we weren't sure what to expect - Will it be safe? Will people show up? Is it even worth it? Before heading to the first show, minds raced with questions, and uncertainty filled the air. Still, the Windship Team was up for the challenge.
As it turns out, pandemic-era trade shows can work and everyone was more than prepared. The event hosts and facility coordinators were accommodating, professional, clean, and operated with hygiene, health, and safety in mind. Yet, no one was overly strict or imposing. As long as you followed a few safety guidelines, everyone encouraged the usual hybrid blend of business and pleasure that we've all become accustomed to finding at these events.
Event Recaps: From NOLA to Florida
The HQ Event – New Orleans
The HQ Event was held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention center for two days. We featured four unique spotlight vendors, heavily promoted the Volcano giveaway, and set up a flagship booth exclusively for Martha Stewart CBD. Knowing that we had Champs the following week, we took a slightly different approach at each show to keep it fresh.
Martha Stewart CBD Booth
HQ Event was the first non-CBD show we've had to promote Martha Stewart CBD, so we wanted to make an impression. Around the corner from Windship Trading's main booth, we featured the entire line for people and pets.
It was awesome showing off product in front of our shop owners and buyers. We were able to give them a better idea of what benefits the Martha Stewart brand has. We got a great reception overall, and by the end of the show, people were coming up to us with a ton of questions about the product.
Volcano Hybrid Giveaway
Because Storz & Bickel was a featured vendor with a spotlight podium, we wanted to sweeten the pot for new customers who came to talk with us. We also wanted to include our existing customers in the deal.
We decided to give away two Volcanos per show- one for any new customer who successfully signed up for a wholesale account and any existing customer who placed an order with us. Anyone who met either criterion was automatically entered to win.
Keep reading to find out who won the HQ Event giveaway!
We feature several Spotlight Vendors at every show to highlight new or best-selling brands. At the HQ Event, we featured Dip Devices, Dr. Dabber, Storz & Bickel, and Dab Rite.
Windship Trading invites our featured brands to join us in the booth. This partnership gives the brand a unique opportunity to collaborate with us in our booth and show to off the product(s) themselves.
The crew at Dip Devices is always down for a trade show. They love being involved with their product and are passionate about selling it, and we love having them at the booth. It's also a unique opportunity for the Windship Team to get more familiar with the product, which will help the brand sell even better.
Dip Devices killed it at the HQ Event by winning Best New Product for their latest release, the Little Dipper. Congrats, again!
Southern hospitality at its finest
They couldn't have picked a better city for the first-ever HQ Event. We helped them kick off the first trade show in the Big Easy in over a year in exchange for a lot of Southern hospitality and some of the best food in the country. Rarely turning down a homecooked meal, it can now be confirmed that the owner of Ra Shop makes a killer gumbo and knows how to host a damn good time (Thanks again!) The Windship Team would love to come to another trade show in the Crescent City. New Orleans is a beautiful city full of kind people, rich culture, and deep history. We're grateful for them to welcome the smoke shop industry with such open arms.
CHAMPS Trade Show – Orlando
This year's Winter CHAMPS Trade Show took place at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Casino in Kissimmee, just outside Orlando, Florida. It was a nice change of pace for those used to going to the winter show in Vegas. It's often the largest trade show of the year, but with Covid, we weren't sure what the foot traffic would be like. We were pleasantly surprised to be immersed with traffic at the booth the entire show.
Here are the highlights and some of our favorite moments from CHAMPS last week, including a sneak peek of an upcoming new product. Don't forget, we gave away two Volcanos at CHAMPS, too. Winners are announced at the end of this recap!
Our latest big hitter is The Dab Rite. If someone didn't already know what this thing was (which many did), they wanted to know. Like, really bad. The Dab Rite bridges the gap between conventional dab setups and electronic nails. Heat your nail with a torch, place the Dab Rite underneath the banger, and the infrared thermometer reads the temperature, allowing for precision dabbing every time. We received a ton of interest, great feedback, and wrote a lot of orders on the spot. The Dab Rite is a game-changer, and we're excited to show it off.
Hanging out with a mermaid at the show was definitely a highlight and a creative way to sneak a peek of what's to come at Windship Trading. MyBudVase will soon be joining our boutique product lineup, and we couldn't be more excited. The brand's lineup consists of beautiful ceramic and glass vases that function as water pipes and come with flowers to give the piece a more decorative look while not in use.
MyBudVase invited the Mermaid of Vero Beach to promote the new Mermaid Pipe. The Mermaid hung out for a while at our booth, attracting curious attendees and even exhibitors with her flapping blue fins and long, flowing Ariel-red hair. It was a fun to join forces with MyBudVase and these beautiful products. We can't wait to get them in! Check back with us in a few weeks for stock updates.
Volcano Giveaway Winners Announcement!
Thank you to everyone who signed up with us or placed an order at the show. Congratulations to the following winners of the Volcano Hybrid Giveaway!
The HQ Event:
Green Light Smoke Shop
C & J Dynamics
How did we do?
Looking back at the past two weeks, after standing on our feet for long days, talking to customers with masks muffling our voices, living out of hotels, eating quick meals on the go, seeing fresh faces at the booth, and catching up with co-workers and industry friends, things began to feel eerily normal. We weren't sure how a post-covid trade show would go with the risk and restrictions. Aside from losing our voices and getting mask-face, we really couldn't be happier with the turnout for both events.
See you at the next show.
We appreciate all the vendors, shop owners, buyers, and customers who came out to see us and all of the new connections we made. Also, a big thank you to HQ Magazine, SSE, and CHAMPS Trade Shows for being amazing event hosts, as usual. We look forward to the next one!
Questions about the show? Forget to order something? Need a rep?
Please feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll get you in touch with your rep and answer any questions about upcoming events or our products.