For our second instalment of our Eighty6 Journey series that takes a look behind the scenes of running a streetwear business, we thought we’d share our experience of prepping for our first-ever trading event.

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On Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th March Eighty6 Clothing will be exhibiting at Tattoo Tea Party at EventCity in Manchester. Although this is Eighty6 Clothing’s first exhibition, we are lucky to have people on the team who have worked exhibition style events before, because there’s a lot of planning involved.

  1. Make a List, then Check it like a McDonalds Drive-Through Order

The best tip we could give is to not overlook even the smallest detail when it comes to working an event. You are likely driving miles from your normal set up so if you need anything you need it to be with you. Eighty6 is based in Newcastle upon Tyne so we’re driving 150 miles and we’ve gone over that ‘to pack’ list a few times!

  1. So Fresh and So Clean

If you want to come across professional, you’ll need to ensure your stand looks slick each day – that means taking cleaning products. Yeah – a can of polish and a mini hoover will become your weapons of mass destruction.

  1. The Rehearsal

You need to be practical – trial a set up of your stand beforehand and see if the layout you have in mind works. You can tape out the size of your on floor and place your furniture / stand set up inside.

  1. Transport

Don’t take anything that’s heavy or if you do then bring a trolley (you can get these atIkea for £9). You might also want to trial getting everything in your car – if its not going to fit, which is likely unless you drive a 4×4, you need to rent a van. Book this early, you don’t want to end up with no way to get there.

  1. Accept Ikea is your Friend.

Don’t try to fight it – find an inner peace with Ikea. Our stand is literally the stand that Ikea built. There’s nowhere more accessible in terms of locality, cost and style than Ikea for a first time exhibitor, you can literally get everything you need there.

  1. Little Extras

As an online retailer there are a lot of things we don’t have that you need to have if you’re trading at an event – things like bags. What are your customers going to take their purchases home in? We also had to get swing tags printed and made – this was an investment for post-show though as we will need these if we ever want to sell through other retailers… more on that another time.

  1. USP – What Makes you Special?

In terms of the stand concept we wanted it to look like a store – as an online retailer we’ve treated the event as an opportunity to create a live experience with a popup shop. It’ll be small at 3m x 2m space but it should give people a taste of what Eighty6 is all about, with rails filled with clothing and shelves filled with art. We’re also taking the opportunity to launch our second collection at Tattoo Tea Party so we hope this will draw some more attention.

  1. Promos – Give the People What they Want!

We’ve got promos running too – you can actually get money off your purchase with a social share. So if you get a photo with our good friend Homer the Homie, who will be hanging out at our stand all weekend, tag us and #eighty6crew in it and we’ll give you £5 off your purchase.

Social media currency is a great concept we’ve been keen to try out. There’s actually a class hotel in Stockholm called the Nordic Light Hotel that accepts social media as currency – you can get money off the cost of your room if you share some posts on social media. The percentage you get off depends on how many followers you have – but if you have over 100,000 you stay for free.

  1. Free for All

We’ll also be running a giveaway on each day of the event. This will be tied in with Tattoo Tea Party event organisers – this is also another great tip; offer the organisers a prize that you are happy to offer for free. Running a competition in conjunction with the event itself opens your brand up to a wider audience – they will be sharing it on their networks and you will to. It’s also great brand association and helps people to take you more seriously as a new player.

We give away stickers with every purchase online and will be doing this at the event too. Plus, we’ll also have a bowl of free sweets which is standard but we’ve gone for retro Happy Tattoo Bubble Gum – fits with our brand being around in ’86 and the event being a tattoo convention.

So, if you are attending the Tattoo Tea Party at EventCity on the 5th or 6th of March you can be the first to get your hands on the second collection. It will all be going live on Monday 7th March with free delivery.