Lifestyle Trade Fair: Look back on the journey | Phuong Le17 Jan 2020
It is undeniable that when you first start a job, there are no easy tasks. Only by practices and patience, you can improve yourself more and explore new joys at work – things that you didn’t know when you first apply for that job. I found that pure joy here at Viet Trang, working with traditional handicraft products in a sustainable business environment. If you are thinking of joining the Viet Trang Craft team, let me help you with a few starter tips from an experienced company senior. Start with my experiences at Lifestyle Trade Fair.
Hi there, my name is Le Nguyen Anh Phuong. I have been a key member of the Sales Team at Viet Trang Craft for about 2 years. As a fresh graduate, I have been learning a lot since the time I was new to this company. Lots of lessons learned, but the ones that impressed me the most are things I learned at Lifestyle fairs.
1. The very first Lifestyle trade fair
For those who don’t know, here is some basic information about Lifestyle. Lifestyle Vietnam is one of the largest home decor and gift fairs in Southeast Asia that took place annually in HCMC, Vietnam. It provides a wide range of products in different materials such as rattan, bamboo, ceramic, lacquer, wood, metal, embroidery, textile… are designed in both traditional and modern style. This year (2020), the trade fair scale is up to 1,200 booths of almost 600 Vietnamese and international exhibitors from over 30 countries. Despite a smaller scale compared to VIFA, Lifestyle is the main trade fair as it specialized in the handicraft industry. With positive results from Lifestyle, Viet Trang Craft has been participating in this trade fair for nearly 10 years.
In the first time of participating in Lifestyle, due to lack of industry knowledge and organizing trade fair skils, it encountered many difficulties: not knowing how to reply to customers, can not distinguish the difference between natural fibers, don’t know what type of products that are frequently asked. At the same time, it was also difficult to understand customer behavior and demand during communication, and it required a lot of support from company managers. The preparation of the fair also faced many difficulties, but summed up in one word “tired” due to lack of manpower and preparation list, so when it came up to construction, we regularly had to buy more pop-up things. However, when all was set up, everything felt very satisfied as it was one of the most beautiful booths of that year fair.
2. Most memorable memories
The most memorable is probably when having direct contact with customers (probably because I also prefer to work directly with customers). Seeing that the Vietnam handicraft industry was interested and loved by other countries from Europe to Asia, it also widened my view of this industry. There were truly many companies involved and numerous big businesses paid attention to the field. At that year’s fair, because the company had very few employees, we had to do almost everything. After the fair, I was given the tasks to send quotations to our customers. At that time, we had no automatic database system to save the customer information, so we couldn’t send the quotations systematically. As a result, Hoang (an intern) and I had to input customer data to the computers and send all quotations by hand. As there were so many customers with different unique requirements for quotations, so we had to stay up late at night in a coffee shop to finish all that. Although it was tired, that was when I and Hoang get to know each other more, to become friends. Such a memorable one
3. The people I met
I have been working in Viet Trang Craft for 2 years, and as a part of the Sales Team, I have met and worked with many customers. My favorite is two guests of DownEast and Mister BabyFoot. These two guests showed their expertise and their love for the products of Viet Trang. DownEast often goes family-style, bringing their children along on their business trips. This habit is not commonly seen at international trade fairs, so to me, it is a special and precious thing. When they come, I always feel their enthusiasm and passion to discover new product line of Viet Trang. On the other hand, MBF guests will usually be going alone- businessman style. As we speak, there is a lot of useful information is exchanged because he is very willing to share his difficulties as well as his worries and burdens in the handicraft business. That helps me understand more deeply about customer’s thoughts, as well as what they are looking for in Viet Trang’s products.
4. LIFESTYLE versus VIFA??
Compared to VIFA, Lifestyle is more invested in the booth decoration as well as the big idea of making the booth. VIFA is mainly about the furniture interior of big companies, so our booth is a bit inferior comparing to theirs. However, when coming to Lifestyle, I find Viet Trang Craft is pretty strong in terms of product lines and customer attraction. Besides, Lifestyle also gives me a better view of the industry, a chance to meet more businesses in the industry to know where we are and why our customers choose us.
To sum up, I have attended a total of 4 trade fairs, but my first Lifestyle fair is the one that leaves the most impression as my first business partnership was born and friendship was made. They are my first victory in my work, and I am proud of them. Here’s my advice for you guys: It’s no doubt that when you take your first step into the real world, things will get harder than you thought it was. However, things also feel more real and the victory is more satisfying than ever.