After the economic collapse in 2008, a lot of unnecessary expenditures were eliminated. And for many companies, trade shows became an avoidable expense that was pushed to the back of the closet like clothes that were a size too small.

But now, with the economy slowly improving, there is a bit more money in the budget, and it may be time to start attending trade shows again. But why should you spend time out of the office and at a trade show? Here are 4 good reasons to make the investment.

 

1. Get inspiration

Seeing striking furniture, art, and new styles will inspire your designs. One of the best ways to learn is through observation and, while you can look at pictures of designs on the internet or in a magazine, there is no comparison to viewing pieces in person. Textures, shapes, and colors take on a vividness that does not exist in an image. It’s the difference between reading a recipe and actually baking the cookies—a recipe can’t really tell you what it’s going to taste like.

After attending a trade show, you will have new ideas and perhaps new furniture pieces for your next design. If you’re having a hard time finding the right sofa for a project, a furniture showroom at a trade show may be the perfect place to find it. And you might even unearth pieces that will set the tone for future projects.

 

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2. Network

Spending time with people that you have something in common with is enjoyable. It’s especially easy to relate to someone that works in the same field; they share the same frustrations, the same passion, and the same challenges. Unfortunately, if you have a small boutique firm or you’re a one-person-business, it’s difficult to find other interior designers during everyday interactions.

Design trade shows are the exception. Besides being a great opportunity to enjoy refreshing conversation, talking with other interior designers is a good way to obtain business and design tips. We attended High Point Market in the fall, and even though we’re not designers, we appreciated the opportunity to talk to some of the people that we work for and with. Through this, we were able to learn more about the trade and serve our customers better.

 

3. Learn

As a business owner, educational opportunities are invaluable. To stay current and to keep your business standards high, it is important to be sharpening your design skill and style.

Trade shows have speakers covering such a variety of topics that you are more than likely to find educational events that cover the exact information that you have been hoping to learn more about. Whether that’s design, style, marketing, or sales, finding value is easy, because the topics are geared specifically to your niche business—interior design.

 

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4. Have fun

But most of all, keep in mind that trade shows are a great way to have fun and do something different after sitting in the office for the past two months. Meeting people that work in the same field as you, sharing the same challenges and difficulties, can be motivating as well as encouraging. And when you do return to the office, you’ll be more productive.

It’s impossible to gain an overall assessment of a house if you just stand in the entranceway. You must view the other rooms. In a similar way, sometimes the most valuable experiences are those that allow us to momentarily leave the routine and view our business and life from a different perspective.
Relaxation and fun are no less necessary to a business-owner than sitting down and getting to work. Our time away from the everyday, mundane business occurrences revive us physically and emotionally. You are your business’s most important asset. Take care of yourself.