Here at Retro Stylist Wear, we are experienced groomers ourselves, which gives us a unique insight into the needs of grooming professionals like you. Our mission is to provide high-quality outfits and accessories that not only endure the demands of your daily tasks but also exude style and flair. 

Recognizing the importance of maintaining a polished appearance for your clients, we continuously refresh our inventory with trendy designs and vibrant patterns. After all, why compromise style for comfort? As pet groomers, you play a vital role in enhancing the well-being of pets, and we believe you deserve to look and feel your best while doing so. To introduce our brand to new clients and bring awareness we participate in trade shows throughout the country. 

In this blog we will go over the importance of attending trade shows, how to prepare for these shows, our setting up for Groom’D, what happens during a trade show, the tear down and reflection of the event. 

Importance of Attending Trade Shows 

Reach, Connection and Networking 

Participating in trade shows with Retro Stylist Wear holds immense significance for us as a business and as a business owner. Firstly, these events provide pivotal opportunities to showcase our products to a broader and more diverse audience, including those who may not yet be acquainted with our brand. Secondly, trade shows serve as a way to facilitate face-to-face interaction and relationship building with our clientele. As an e-commerce business, establishing genuine connections with our customers can be challenging, which makes trade shows invaluable in fostering trust and loyalty. Thirdly, these events serve as fertile ground for networking, enabling us to forge connections with industry peers and explore potential collaborations. 

Building Credibility 

As CEO of Retro Stylist Wear and the VP of Operations for Smoochie Pooch, a chain of grooming salons, my role extends beyond mere representation; it affords me the chance to impart insights and expertise through business classes and technical demonstrations. I always feel excited to share my expertise and insights on grooming and business practices to help educate my fellow groomers and industry professionals. These engagements not only bolster Retro Stylist Wear’s credibility but also solidifies our authority within the industry. 

Preparing for the Show 


Preparing for a trade show requires meticulous planning and foresight, a process that often begins nearly a year ahead. We understand the importance of this lead time, especially when introducing new styles to our inventory, which can take between 8 to 12 months from inception to availability. Our commitment to offering fresh, innovative designs is unwavering, even if it means adhering to strict timelines. 

Choosing the Right Products 

One of the challenges we face is deciding which products to showcase at each event. While we’d love to bring our entire inventory, practical considerations such as booth space and weight constraints make this impossible. To make informed decisions, we analyze sales data from previous shows. This approach helps us tailor our selection to ensure maximum impact. 

Hotel Accommodations, Signage and Handouts 

Preparing extends beyond trade show inventory to include promotional materials, signage and securing accommodations. With hotel bookings often filling up months in advance, proactive planning is essential. Utilizing signage effectively draws attendees’ attention to our booth, while distributing handouts serves as a memorable way to ensure individuals retain our information and brand identity. 

The Problem of Sold Out Inventory 

Running out of inventory during a trade show is always a concern. However, we have found a solution to this issue: additional items are shipped from our office once we return. While it’s disappointing to be unable to accommodate every request onsite, this plan allows the attendees to still access their desired products in a timely manner. 

Setting up at Groom’D 

Navigating the varied booth spaces at each trade show, like Groom’D, can present a unique challenge for Retro Stylist Wear. With space sizes often fluctuating, even by a mere two feet, we find ourselves constantly adapting our booth layout. Our strategy to optimize our presence no matter the space, we employ a makeshift approach in our warehouse. Using tape outlines on the floor to represent our booth walls, we experiment with different arrangements. With attention to detail, we craft an eye-catching booth display designed to captivate attendees from afar and up close. Every product is strategically arranged for easy viewing and accessibility, ensuring that visitors can effortlessly explore our latest designs and innovations. 

Once satisfied with the layout, the daunting task of packing ensues, requiring careful consideration of the sequence in which racks and shelves need to be assembled upon arrival. Efficiency is key, especially when fitting the entire booth into a minivan like we did for Groom’D. 

During the Trade Show 

Customer Engagement 

During the trade show, focus shifts towards engaging attendees and maximizing our impact. In an industry where bright and fun uniforms are a rarity, Retro Stylist Wear breaks the mold and provides professional yet stylish dog grooming clothing. It’s a joy to engage with both new and returning customers and offer them a glimpse into our vibrant and innovative grooming attire. 

Gathering Feedback 

We place great emphasis on listening to our customers and their feedback. Keeping a dedicated notebook of suggestions allows us to capture both positive remarks and constructive criticisms, which in turn, guide our product development process. For instance, our latest addition, the cargo grooming scrub pants, was inspired by requests from our fellow groomers seeking versatility and comfort in their grooming pants. 

Giveaways and Contests 

To infuse excitement into the trade show atmosphere and to create an opportunity to gather emails, we host giveaways and contests at our booth. This entices attendees to participate and engage with our brand. These interactive activities not only draw attention to our booth but also creates a memorable experience that leaves a lasting impression. 

Social Media 

Furthermore, we leverage the power of social media to provide real-time updates and behind-the-scenes moments, allowing our online audience to feel connected and involved in the trade show experience. By sharing highlights and glimpses into the event, we extend our reach beyond the physical confines of the venue. 

Tear Down and Reflection 

As the curtains draw to a close on another successful trade show, we embark on the task of tearing down. We dismantle our booth, carefully packing up inventory and display materials to ensure their safe transport back to our warehouse. We used a compact setup at Groom’D and with the assistance of our team it took us only 30 to 60 minutes to have everything packed up. However, our work doesn’t end there. Post-trade show analysis is a critical step in our process, allowing us to evaluate the success of the event and gather insights for future endeavors. We review feedback received from attendees, taking note of their suggestions and comments. We find this process both rewarding and essential in refining our approach and strategies to elevate the Retro Stylist Wear experience and better serve our valued customers. 

Trade Show Success and Commitment 

Participating in trade shows with Retro Stylist Wear not only offers us the opportunity to showcase our high-quality grooming attire but also allows us to engage with our customers, gather valuable feedback and forge meaningful connections within the grooming community. From planning and setup to customer engagement and post-event analysis, each step of the trade show experience contributes to our ongoing commitment to providing stylish and functional grooming wear. As we reflect on our journey from our journey of preparation to teardown at the Groom’D trade show, we are reminded of the importance of listening to our customers, adapting to their needs and continuously striving to improve.


Elli Bultemeier NCMG, CPAe, PTI 2592