The Not So Little Fair proved to be a weekend of laughter, learning and lasting memories
September 30th to October 1st 2023, marked the return of the Not So Little Fair. Held at the impressive Suntec Convention Centre, the trade show offered 25,000 square feet of pure joy and entertainment for families and kids ages between 0 to 12 years old.
Shop, Play, Discover
In addition to the performances, Kidztopia bouncy castle and Minion meet and greets—the immersive event served as a marketplace for premium brands and independent retailers where families can shop for the latest in babies' and kids' products.
Singapore-based fashion brand Gen Woo shone a light on sustainable fashion for kids. The brand's participation in the Not So Little Fair Trade Show marked a significant milestone in Gen Woo's journey within the fashion industry. From the initial design and planning stages at Gen Woo's headquarters to the challenges of transporting the set and clothing items, and finally, the experience of engaging with the community and customers during the event.
Following a successful and, most importantly, fun-filled weekend, we delve behind the scenes and ask Gen Woo staff what it takes to put a show like this on. From the creative to the event aftermath, we explore the highs and lows of this remarkable journey. Let's hear from the Gen Woo team about their insights, accomplishments, and reflections on their first-ever trade show.
Can you describe the initial brainstorming and planning process for designing the set at the Gen Woo HQ? What were some of the key considerations in creating an appealing and functional booth?
Gen: I started by mapping out the dimensions with tape on the floor in our multi-functional space that we have at our HQ. I needed to get a clear visual of the space we had to play with. I then looked at the theme of the show, which was ‘Gardens’, and created a moodboard of ideas for the visual merchandising. I looked at our inventory and selected stocks that would also sit well in the theme.
My warehouse team then picked QTY 3 pieces for each SKU selected, boxed it, and put it in the space. We could visualise how much storage space we needed, how much hanging space we had, and how much space to give to visual merchandising and advertising.
I decided to showcase QTY 1 per SKU and have two rails on either side to allow more customers to browse. We would then keep all of the stock polybagged and give a customer a new piece once a sale was made.
In terms of retail fixtures, we had spare railings from our old consignments at ISETAN. The rest we had to source. Singapore is a very small country and there are no retail wholesalers. You have to risk buying poor-quality fixtures from China, which we have done in the past and the fixtures had to go straight to scrap when they arrived. The other option is to custom make everything, which is very expensive.
Instead, I bought 2 slim fit bookshelves and a drinks bar that would work as a makeshift counter from Forty Two.
To decorate our space, I designed a garden-themed poster printed on vinyl and hung along the back panel. We put a sticker on top of our bar counter/cashier desk, and all the garden-themed accessories we bought were from Daiso, Ikea and Amazon US.
Once everything had arrived, we started playing with different arrangements. We managed to showcase about 80 designs, 40 on each rail and store QTY 2 on the shelves either side of the cashier desk. For our bestsellers, we kept a buffer QTY 1 in 2 suitcases that we hid behind a stand.
Then, I had to think about customer engagement. I decided that I wanted to bring a positive message of our brand values and raise awareness for environmental topics that we promote in the form of a colouring competition. Prizes included tools to extend the life of your clothes, from tie-dye kits to fabric markers, allowing you to customise your clothes and decorative iron-on patches.
Daphne: A lot of Gen Woo designs feature bright colours, and so we incorporated this into our space to create an eye-catching area. To tie in with our garden theme, we chose a floral background. To attract lots of families, we chose quite a crowded area to set up our space.
What challenges did the team face when it came to transporting the set and clothing items to the trade show venue? How did you overcome these challenges?
Gen: As we created a mock-up of our space in our HQ, this needed to be packed and carried down one flight of stairs. We then had the assistance of two drivers and vans to help us move our set to the venue. This was a big effort and required a lot of manpower and stamina! Once we arrived at the convention centre, we had to unpack and set up again. Luckily, tear down was a little easier as we had a lot less stock and were not so precious with our packing.
Daphne: I was scared we bought too much stock for the space, but it turned out we had just the right amount.
Faizal: For me, there were no issues with setting up the booth. Everything went pretty smoothly. My only concern was having enough space to keep all of our stock.
Danny: It's a challenge when lifting things like shelving and clothing from level 2 to level 1. They are not light, and we used ladders to lift things and reach raised areas. We overcame this by taking our time and lifting this one by one. We had a strong mindset that we could carry everything down and set up our space in time.
Can you share some insights into the process of setting up the booth at the trade show? What were the unexpected issues that arose during that phase?
Gen: When we arrived, I had a huge panic as the space looked a lot smaller than I remembered in the office. But luckily, I had measured everything out correctly. We did have to chase down a high ladder to install fairy lights and the vinyl backdrop. The vinyl backdrop was also very heavy to hang, and we could only use cable ties at the corners. We were left with fisherman's string for the rest, which was slippery. They also did not provide any AC, and in humid Singapore, doing any manual labour in the heat isn't particularly comfortable. Next time, I won't wear work clothes and will just go in my yoga kit!
Danny: Due to our extensive preparation, setting up the stall was no problem! We had already mapped out the space and prepared all the goods. The only issue we did not anticipate was the space felt smaller than our HQ. We had to find space to store all the extra stock.
What were the primary goals and objectives Gen Woo had in mind when participating in the Not So Little Fair trade show? How did you ensure that these objectives were met?
Gen: To raise awareness of our brand and get feedback on our clothes. We used this opportunity to meet with our customers to find out what designs they liked and didn't like. The event allowed us to engage with our consumers and learn how to cater to them better.
Nadiah: Our reasoning for attending the fair was, number one, to increase brand awareness and, number two, to generate a lot of content for our social media platforms.
Faizal: Attending the trade show meant more people would be aware of our brand and thus visit the Gen Woo store and online shop.
Danny: Our goal was to introduce our brand to people who don't already shop in our stores. We wanted to meet new customers to visit our shop and e-commerce website. We also wanted consumers to see how products and the quality of our goods. We wanted to sell as much stock as possible and better understand our customers.
Can you describe the experience of interacting with the community and customers during the trade show? What kind of feedback and reactions did you receive from them?
Gen: Everyone was super friendly! We enjoyed meeting our neighbours and chatting to customers. Everyone was very positive with their feedback, which was nice to hear. It was also very useful as it gave us a lot of direction for next season.
Daphne: We met several parents who said their kids really liked our clothes. A lot of the customers said they would re-purchase from us again!
Were there any standout moments or memorable interactions with customers or other exhibitors at the event that you would like to share?
Gen: My standout moment from the fair was meeting all the creative kids and parents who got involved with our colouring competition. Arts and crafts are a little undervalued and under-serviced here in Singapore. As an art school graduate, it is important that we support creative children and inspire them to work in the creative sectors. I definitely want to do more of this in the future. I have all of the applicant's mailing lists, and I am hoping to get them into our HQ next year with some creative workshops revolving around textiles. I am in this industry today because I had teachers who saw something in me that I did not see in myself and guided me in the right direction.
Nadiah: I met a few of our regular customers at the fair. I felt touched that they came to support us at the fair.
Daphne: One of the customers who bought from us came back to tell me how much her child liked it. That made me very happy.
How did the team prepare for the two days of selling clothes at the trade show? What strategies did you use to engage with potential customers and make sales?
Gen: We ran a small social media campaign leading to the event. We also had promo codes with NSLF, and our stock was marked down to make way for our 2024 lines. My daughter and her best friend came for the day and were our on-site brand ambassadors, wearing our clothes around the fair.
Nadiah: To prepare for the event, the team did a mock-up of how the booth would be set up at the fair.
Danny: Leading up to the event, we promoted and reposted our attendance at the trade fair on our social media channels, such as Instagram and Facebook.
Did you have any marketing or promotional tactics in place to attract attendees to your booth and drive engagement in Gen Woo products?
Gen: We ran the colouring competition to drive engagement and connect with customers. Our marketing campaign was small, with IG and FB posts leading up to the event. NSFL also promoted us as exhibitors.
Nadiah: We approached customers to visit our booth and organised a colouring contest for their kids while they browsed.
Daphne: We asked customers to join as a member and then provided them with a discount code or vouchers. Signing up for our mailing list also ensured they stay up-to-date with future events.
Danny: To attract customers, we promoted and reposted our booth at the trade fair on our social channels, such as Instagram and Facebook.
What do you feel was your biggest contribution to the project?
Gen: To stay on top of all the moving parts and ensure deadlines are met. I made sure the team worked together and had all the tools they needed to do their job efficiently. At the trade fair, I realised I'm not a very good retail assistant when it comes to running the till! Instead, I left that job in Daphne and Nadiah's very capable hands and got on with running the colouring competition and talking to parents.
Nadiah: My biggest contribution was answering any queries and helping customers to understand our products better.
Danny: I prepared the stall with enough time to ensure everything was neat, tidy and ready for customers.
In retrospect, what were some of the key takeaways and lessons learned from this first-ever trade show experience? Is there anything you would do differently?
Gen: Yes, lots. Upon reflection, our location was poorly chosen. I did not realise that the stage and the number of people sitting on the floor would block off all footfall from the top down, and our traffic suffered a lot because of this. Next time, I will pick a central position away from the stages and stay on the main entry and exit isles. We need to find better ways to store more stock as our best sellers sold out quickly, and we could have doubled our sales with more storage space. This show was geared at babies and infants—even though marketing said -0-12 years, it was more like 0-6 years! To capitalise on sales, I wish I had brought more products targeted at this age group and dropped teenage clothes completely. After meeting many families, my Mummy & Me collection would do very well there.
Nadiah: We achieved our goal for the fair, which was to make our brand recognised within the community.
Faizal: Participating in the event was a learning experience. It was great working as part of a team alongside colleagues and my boss.
Danny: Being my first time at the event, I definitely learnt a lot about trade fairs.
Looking ahead, how does Gen Woo plan to leverage the connections and insights gained from this trade show to further grow and succeed in the Singapore fashion industry?
Gen: We were happy with the connections made at the fair, and it will help us as we are currently focused on designing and making our next collection, which is due for release in early 2024.
Nadiah: We hope the attendees and our newfound network will help our brand grow through word of mouth.
Daphne: We got to hear a lot of feedback and see what kids like to wear. From there, we can design clothing that is perfectly suited to them.
Danny: We would like to use the connections and collaborate with other fashion brands to compete with better marketing methods on social media platforms.
Gen Woo's participation in the Not So Little Fair was an exciting endeavour that allowed our brand to connect with customers in a unique and personal way.
From valuable insights into our brands' creative design process, the challenges faced in preparation, and the rewarding experience of meeting the community and customers—it was truly a weekend of laughter, learning and lasting memories.
The Not So Little Fair provided us with the opportunity to engage with the community and meet customers face-to-face, which was a source of great joy and fulfilment. The interactions and feedback received from attendees were invaluable, and they look forward to building on the relationships forged during the event. The team's passion and commitment to delivering quality products and experience were evident throughout the experience, making it a memorable and rewarding chapter in Gen Woo's journey.
We hope you gained a deeper understanding of the dedication and hard work that goes into crafting Gen Woo fashion products. It's not just about the final product; it's about the journey that led to it.
To read more about our diary review of Not So Little Fair, please click here or follow this link to find out more about what community events we are getting involved with. Why not sign up for our newsletter to get first-hand access to our latest news, upcoming events and exclusive offers and deals to subscribers?
Gen Woo x