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Trade Show Basics: Your Emergency Trade Show Kit

Have you ever been on the trade show floor and suddenly realized how nice it would be to have a certain item with you? Did it even occur to you that you might need that item before you left for the show?  A great way to avoid any mishaps and provide damage control when needed is to think ahead and pack an emergency trade show kit.

Critical for any exhibitor, you should always have a show emergency kit (sometimes referred to as Gang Boxes) available in your trade show display.  This self-made kit can contain some or all of the following items:

  • Office Supplies
    • Business cards, pens, pencils, markers, hi-liters®, a variety of tape from duct to Scotch®, scissors, staplers, hand held paper punch, super glue, glue sticks, paper clips, rubber bands, binder clips, and notepads.
  • Tools
    • Flashlight, screw drivers, pliers, hammer, measuring tape, and most importantly any tools specific to your exhibit.
  • Misc. Items
    • Breath mints, Kleenex®, hand sanitizer, small sewing kit, Ziplok® bags, Velcro® – BOTH hook and loop, WD40, batteries.  Basic Medicine – Advil®/Tylenol®, allergy medicine, eye drops, and a small first aid kit.
  • Cleaning Supplies
    • Paper towels, cleaning wipes, adhesive remover, carpet stain remover.
  • Exhibit Part and Pieces
    • Light bulbs, screws, connectors, Gaffers tape and double sided carpet tape.

The great thing about these kits is that they are reusable.  Once you have created one, all you need to do is maintain the few items that need to be replaced as the supplies get low.  Also, keep in mind the size of your trade show booth space.  Larger booths should have more than one kit available in the space to make sure everything is accessible.

Why start your kit now?  Waiting will only increase the likelihood you will forget something.  Not every item listed above will pertain to your space, but odds are good that many of them do.  How many times have you been in a rush finishing items at the office before a show only to arrive and realize that you left your business cards at the office?  Save yourself the hassle and pack these kits early!

This post is part of series in trade show marketing best practices. Visit the others in this series by clicking below: 

What's Working In ExhibitingFor more great tips on how to be the best exhibitor read the What’s Working In Exhibiting white paper.  Request your free 32-page book full of tips, and tricks successful exhibitors are using today by clicking here.

About the Author

Clarissa was a Project Manager at Skyline Exhibits of Central Ohio, located in Columbus, Ohio.

6 responses to “Trade Show Basics: Your Emergency Trade Show Kit

  1. Double sided tape was the best invention ever. I would also add to the list velcro (in case you run out of double sided tape) and sharpies in assorted colors to “fix” a small nick in your graphics.

    1. So true! Sharpies, Velcro and double stick tape have definitely saved me on more than one occasion. You really never know what you will need on the show floor. One year I lost a button off my company shirt, you can bet I was glad that I packed a small sewing kit that year. Be prepared!

  2. In your ‘kit’ many if not most exhibitors need a box cutter. You don’t list one. My company has one that works great, can’t cut the user or the contents, and is SO safe you can carry it on an airplane! I have that in writing from the TSA and I have done it over 30 times. Klever is a registered TM.

    1. Great point! Many times our clients ask us to have the I&D crews open boxes for them because they don’t have the proper supplies. Being prepared with a small item like this keeps frustration and tension down during both setup and prep. The fact that the product you are using is TSA approved is an added benefit as it keeps you from dealing with baggage claim after a flight to the show. It’s amazing the little steps that will relieve big headaches in the long run of your trade show experience.

  3. Thanks for the tip. I think a lot of people remember the office supplies but tend to overlook some of the other items. Whatever the case though, I think quantity is an important thing to consider. Nothing is more frustrating than having a booth run out of supplies before you get there.

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