david gaunt’s Blog

ABC has been the alpha-buzz at children’s apparel and gift shows over the last few years. There is interest, anticipation and a little mystery among children’s apparel manufacturers about the ABC Kids Expo, September 13 – 16 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (http://www.theabcshow.com) I get asked more questions about the ABC Show than any other. Since JPMA discontinued its trade show a couple years ago, the ABC Kids Expo is currently the only national trade event designed especially for the juvenile products industry.

With the trade show season starting, The Giggle Guide™ will be busy publishing many Trade Show Reports. Co-founder/Editor Leesa Valentino and/or I will be attending the following shows: ENK Children’s in August and October, Bubble NY, KidShow Las Vegas, MAGICKids, ABC Kids Expo, Kids on 6 LA Market Week, Dallas Market, and Vegas Kids at World Market Center in Las Vegas.

A good day is when you laugh. Several times a day, if possible. Or at least a hearty giggle. Since our business is everything to do with children, The Giggle Guide™ wants to start sharing how funny kids are. Children bring joy, laughter and an oftentimes hysterical view of life. Let’s celebrate their sense of humor.

How has a child made you laugh, smile, or giggle today? E-mail your real-life laughs to . I want to start a regular “Giggle of the Day” column!

A giggle from my past, to get started:

Sales are tough for everyone. Voice and e-mail have all but insulated companies from having to talk to sales people. I have been working in advertising and marketing for over 30 years. I’ve built a reputation based on sound advice and honest communication. I’m proud of the strong relationships within the children’s market that I enjoy. When my responsibilities shifted from ad agency principal to ad sales several years ago, my big surprise was how many did not return my phone calls or brief emails. These were not even cold calls, but satisfied customers. I know we are all busy.

I have always heard the advice, “Do what you love!” As a partner in a successful ad agency and marketing director at Earnshaw’s, I often got to do what I maybe kinda liked. At least I knew I was using some of my G-given talents. I have always been drawn to the creative side of marketing, primarily on the word side (since I found out in high school I could not draw well enough to be commercial).

Just a few long weeks ago, I found myself seemingly “without a job!” Was I suddenly one of those people I hear about every day? Visions of bread lines danced in my head. The news clobbered me (“not due to performance!”) on a Tuesday, just before April Fool’s. So, no one was joking. The very next day I got up and went to work on my new job - finding my next great opportunity! I pushed the negativity down that nagged, “What are you going to DO!?” And went to work on selling me and expecting the best.

At the grocery store, my wife and I try to use our own recycled bags for both fresh and frozen foods. But the baggers have not been trained much beyond “paper or plastic?” We’ve been giving them some gentle instructions about putting frozen foods in the insulated bags we provide. On seeing that the teen bagger was not up-to-speed about how to use recycled bags, the checker said to my wife, “What do you expect, they’re teenagers!” And what does she expect we think about her demeaning the young worker in front of a customer? Was she representing the store brand?

Several years ago, I attended a retail association’s meeting prior to the start of a national trade show. The leaders had gotten the names of every first-time exhibitor at the event. Each buyer picked one name out of a hat. They were asked to go to that exhibitor first thing and thank them for attending the show. The idea that retailers thanked a manufacturer for supporting a trade show struck me as a practice that truly recognizes the time, money and effort that manufacturers expend when they participate in a trade show.

Too bad there’s not a GPS system that gives you easy directions on exactly where to advertise to reach your buyers. Or is there? Like in the old days when you had to pull over and ask someone for directions, just ask any children’s retailer! “What trade source do you read or use?.” Ask buyers at shows and make some random calls. Ask your reps and suppliers. Search the Internet. Their first answer is a good indication of where you should put your advertising dollars. Take their direction and get more mileage out of your budget!