So I wanted to spend some talking about my National Stationery Show Budget. (Read my first two NSS recaps HERE and HERE – read all my NSS related posts HERE) Now, the budget here is based on my own experiences, I’m sure there are people who spend less (let’s say, small NYC based companies) and there’s much bigger budget booths with elaborate set ups and lots of helpers, like Crane and American Greetings.
In 2012 (my first year exhibiting) my only budget plan was to make everything as awesome as I could and spend as little money as possible. I only very roughly kept track of my expenses and at the end of it, I estimated I spent between 5-6k.
This year, I was much more organized about tracking my spending. First off, I knew I would spend somewhere between $6-$10k. Of course I wanted to keep it closer to the low end, but I was willing to spend more if it seemed worth it.
Based on last year’s experience I made a list of all the things I needed and approximated the cost of each item. I included everything from pre show mailers, booth give aways to booth furniture, meals and travel expenses. The purpose of the list was to get a sense of where my money was going so I could assess moving forward what was worth the cost, and how I would best spend my money on future shows.
I categorized my spending into 4 major categories – Booth Expenses, Travel Expenses, Marketing Materials, Misc – and itemized each cost. Each time I actually purchased an item, I would input the true cost into my spread sheet. This made it easy for me total and organize everything and have an accurate number at the end of the show. There may have been a few expenses that slipped through the cracks, but I really tried to account for everything.
Here’s how and where I spent my money:
1) Booth expenses
booth fee (the cost javits charges to rent the space, I had one of the smaller booths at 6×10″) – $1782
walls(materials) – $325
walls(labor) – $300
wall(paint) – $120 one time expense
floors – $300 (this price is higher than it should have been, since I first ordered the wrong color, then had to spend an extra $60 to ship them back for replacements) one time expense
lighting – clip lamps + bulbs – $185 one time expense
Electric @ Javiz (what they charge for an electrical plug) – $150
furniture – $265 one time expense
vinyl – $130
storage for walls – $25
freight for walls – $450
flights lisa – $95
flight chad – $133
gas for car – $150
pay lisa – $400
parking in NYC – $120
NYC – Hotel
RoadTrip – hotel (both ways) $150
meals in NYC $500
food and booth snacks (target) $80
packed lunch $40
mailer – $200
press kit – printed blurb $40
press kit – envelopes – $57
CDs + labels $40
order form $50
business cards $100 (I print my own)
stickers $116 (this was a big waste as I first ordered them to small, then ordered replacements that didn’t arrive until after the show)
booth give away (Pens) $125 one time expense!
booth give away (cards) $50
tools, extension chords + power strips $120 one time expense
misc errands, tools, pencils, clip boards etc $50 one time expense
new outfits $200
nails done for show $75
Show total = $7,390
**This show total does not include the hotel, since I used my credit card points to book the room. It would have otherwise added an extra $1250 for the room for the week to total = $8,636
Next year my booth costs will definitely go down, as I’ve already paid for many of the items (floors, lights, some furniture.) I also plan on cutting down on my travel expenses. Packing a lunch helped cut down meal costs, I’m also not sure that paying a booth helper was entirely worth the extra money either.
I was hoping that I would be able to re-use my walls for future shows, but unfortunately I was not happy with their quality and am looking into building new walls again for next year. Even with paying someone to build my walls, it still ended up cheaper than the alternative (hiring Manny Stone to build temporary walls)
Overall I felt pretty good about how the whole thing went. I would definitely make some changes for next year, and I plan to continue to learn, grown and change based on my experiences.