Vanessa Antoniuk has more than a couple successful events under her belt so it's no surprise she's started a tradeshow production company, Kingsley Events. Her new company focuses on producing high quality tradeshows for local home based companies and businesses. If you live in the Edmonton area, no doubt you've heard of her Swing into Spring Shopping Extravaganza and upcoming Santa's Helpers Christmas Shopping Extravaganza on November 18th - a great place to get your Christmas shopping done this year!
Vanessa shared with us how she came to produce her own events, what you can expect if you're attending or a part of one and the charity aspect of her shows.
You’ve had several successful craft shows/events over the years – when did you start these events and what made you decide to put on your own?
I have been involved in planning tradeshows since 2009. I had participated in several tradeshows as a consultant with a direct sales company and felt the advertising was lacking to attract customers. I am a stay-at-home mom and decided planning my own Christmas tradeshow would be a great way to meet people and help create interest in shopping locally. There are many talented people in Edmonton.
How often do your events occur and do you have any plans to add more, aside from Swing into Spring Shopping Extravaganza and Santa’s Helpers Christmas Shopping Extravaganza?
Currently the above mentioned events, which occur in November and March/April are the only two that I produce, but there may be more in the future. I am currently trying to work out the logistics of another event or 2.
Is there an admission fee?
Admission to the event is $2, or FREE with a food bank donation. I collect food bank donations at the Christmas event. I will also be collecting the donations at the Spring event as well instead of choosing another charity like I have done in the past.
How many vendors do you typically have at these shows and how do you decide which businesses to include?
Each event has over 100 vendors. I like to combine a mixture of home based businesses as well as handmade companies and crafters. I like to provide customers with a unique shopping experience with vendors they are unfamiliar with as well as the standard direct sales companies. I limit the amount of vendors per category to ensure there are a great variety of items for customers to shop for. The vendors from the previous shows receive first right of refusal for the next show and I do have quite a number of returning vendors. If they are unable to attend the show, then I search for replacements. I have found a number of great vendors through Facebook and Etsy. Word of mouth from past vendors is great as well.
What are the types of vendors you’ll have at November 18th’s Santa’s Helpers Christmas Shopping Extravaganza?
There will be direct sales companies, crafters, artisans, handmade and homemade vendors, as well as local businesses. There will be items for babies and children, beauty products, pet items, home décor, candles, crafts, homemade food- such as pickles, peanut brittle, and cupcakes, jewelry, kitchenware, purses and more. Pinkberry is sponsoring swag bags filled with goodies for the first 100 shoppers (18+). Prairie Gardens Adventure Farm has donated family passes for their Christmas Fest which are in the swag bags as well. The 2013 Turn Up The Heat Firefighter calendar models will be taking pictures and selling calendars for the Burn Treatment society. The Oil City Derby Girls will be selling merchandise and taking pictures. Santa will be there as well. There definitely is something for everyone!
Do you plan on getting some of your Christmas shopping done that day? ;)
Yes, part of the fun of organizing such an event is to support the vendors and get started on my shopping. I try to walk around and talk to every vendor at least once.
I gotta say, I hate the malls at Christmas time – what type of an environment can shoppers expect when they attend your Santa’s Helpers Christmas Shopping Extravaganza at the River Cree Resort?
Shoppers will get a personalized feeling from all the vendors, as this is how they earn a living. It is a great way to meet new people and discover new favorite products. It is a fun atmosphere filled with people who really care about their customers.
What made you choose the River Cree for your event and what are some of the benefits of having it there?
I chose the River Cree based on the modern atmosphere and size of the ballrooms. There is a lot of space and the environment of the rooms is warm and inviting. The hotel is convenient for out of town vendors and there is plenty of parking for shoppers. The hotel also has provided excellent customer service and is very accommodating. The restaurants and casino also make a great way for shoppers to enjoy the day.
Is this a kid friendly event?
Yes, kids are more than welcome to come! Santa will be there and Fill-Up the food bank mascot will be handing out stickers and coloring pages.
How many people do you typically get attending these shows?
Typically we see over 700 people in attendance at the Christmas event, while the Spring event is a little less than that. Advertisements appears in 24H, Metro News, and this year I have radio ads on 91.7 The Bounce and 95.7 Lite FM to attract more customers.
How does a vendor go about being a part of one of your shows?
Any interested vendors can e-mail email@example.com to receive an information package. I am currently full for this event, but for future events, visit www.facebook.com/kingsleyevents
images courtesy of Krystina Repchuk Photography