First international trade fair experiences

What should we expect at an international trade fair? All our preparations to present in front of international trade fair visitors revolved around this very question. We were unsure what to expect from the several thousand visitors, who would frequent the fair in the next three of four days. What questions would they ask? What should we tell them? What would we show them? And, above all,who do we want to see at our stall? On our first three international trade fairs we gathered some experience and are now able to at least partially answer these questions. The Sächsische Aufbaubank (SAB) supplied us with funds to finance our exhibition at the trade fairs.

Insights X – Nuremberg (4th-6th October2018)

Back in October, we attended the InsightX in Nuremberg as an exhibitor. In preparation, we devoted a lot of time to properly setting up our trade fair booth because, ultimately, our setup must be easily reproducible at future trade fairs. We kept our purchases to a minimum, also with regard to maximum possible load of Sanny’s Škoda Fabia (small but powerful!). Additionally, Marwin created a call log template,which includes a section allowing us to directly obtain the visitor’s consent regarding the storage and use of his personal data as mandated by the GDPR.

International visitor at the InsightX 2018
International visitor at the InsightX 2018

So much in advance: the template worked great, but we still received odd looks every now and again, when asking people to sign our form. Eventually, every one signed, which means that we now have permission transfer the data from our conversation protocolls to our database and save them as contacts.

booth at InsightsX 2018
booth at InsightsX 2018

But back to the InsightsX: we arrived by car and were able to set up our booth, decorate it and head to our hotel faster than we had expected. Despite all three of us spending our first night in the same room – snoring included – we started into the first day of the fair well rested. During the following three days we lead some interesting conversations and even had international visitors from Canada. Even Mr Lei, who was on a trip around Europe, stopped by to take a look at our product. Further, we contacted major pen manufacturers, such as FaberCastell, Edding or Staedtler. These three also attempted to outshine another in terms of booth size and design. The fair was over in a flash, so we packed our bags and headed home.

iENA – Nürnberg (01.-04. November 2018)

The second fair was the Inventors’s fair iENA in Nuremberg. Here we had the unique opportunity to meet other inventors and their numerous, useful albeit occasionally bizarre inventions. This year’s featured country, Iran, also presented numerous inventions. But we not only met inventors at the fair: prospective partners also frequented our stall. We took a special interest in a booth that had been erected diagonally opposite to our own and was occupied by the former StartUp vi2parts. Rainer Brehm, the owner, explained to us that they could bring highly stable,fibre-reinforced plastic into any shape imaginable using their 3D printing process. Sanny immediately pricked up his ears and bombarded him with questions. Maybe this will turn into a new corporate partnership, who knows? Moreover, the informal atmosphere of the newly built Messehalle 3c in Nuremberg allowed discussions with potential suppliers, lawyers, and corporate networks to flourish. The Hack & Make fair took place next door and gave Tobias a chance to find out more about the latest 3D printing and prototyping trends.

Interpädagogica – Graz, Austria (15th-17th November 2018)

After a break of only two weeks, we were on the road again, left Freiberg for our first fair in a foreign country: the Interpädagogica in Graz, Austria. Tobias travelled by train and arrived an hour late (“Thank you for travelling with Deutsche Bahn”). But that didn’t matter because Sanny and Marwin arrived late as well. After initial difficulties with the Austrian parking space management – we got a ticket – we finally found our lodgings andwere well rested by the time the fair started the next day. In Austria, the focus was on every aspect of school equipment. Surrounded by boards, whiteboards and smartboards our stall was in good company. Elsewhere, interested audiences were able to buy educational games and textbooks or inform themselves about recent trends in hiking and school trips.

The Interpädagogica was above all an interesting experience on the subject matter of education. We learnt that Austria has a central agency (Federal Procurement Association) that handles the procurement of school equipment and the that use of modern technology in classrooms is steadily increasing. We also lead a very interesting conversations with two representatives of the Austrian firebrigade. They introduced themselves as members of the editorship of the Federal Firefighter Association’s magazine They too appeared interested in our product as it’s sleek design and compact build would perfectly complement the current equipment of their command vehicles. In the end, they suggested we write an article and publish it in their magazine

After the fair is before the launch

Thus,concluded our third and last fair of a very successful 2018. As after every trade fair, we transferred the call logs to our database and are now in proud possession of a broad repertoire of interested parties, potential partners, and other contacts. In addition to all these interesting contacts we gained a lot of experience on leading conversations and designing a fair stall. Laden with feedback and impressions we will plunge back into our “normal” work and drive forward the important subject areas of development and production planning. It is our declared goal to begin the sales of the CompactChart by the middle of next year. We still take on further prospective customers, who will be kept up-to-date with a newsletter and will be informed about the upcoming official launch date.