To be precise, here I come.
I have exhibited at trade show before for companies where I have worked, but this is the first time it is my own business.
Kosherfest is considered the largest trade show for kosher food in the world and it attracts over 5,000 visitors, all of whom have to be in the business. It is not open to the general public. The tickets cost $100, and trust me the booths are much more expensive.
Importing Beer in the US
Immediately after booking the booth I investigated how to ship samples of Ginger Tipple to the US. I am entitled to import into the US bottles of beer which will not be for sale and only for use at a show. It is called a COLA exemption. Sounds simple, until your bottles arrive the the port of entry.
None of the shipping companies can estimate the cost of customs clearance, and a missing logo, symbol or warning will mean that you goods are stuck there. Then you have to pay for storage at customs and even more to the customs agent who now has to do more work to sort out the labels.
I would also have to find an importer to be the FDA importer of record, not too difficult, there is a company in France which will arrange it for $650. But once they are on record, if you want to change to a different importer they have to be willing to relinquish the honour. I was warned that there have a quite a few cases where they charge you a lot of money for the privilege.
Belgium in a Box
Kurt from Belgium in a Box specialises in shipping beer to the US and he advised shipping the beer by parcel post. It was quite expensive, but he has a very high delivery success rate. There are the big advantages of neither customs nor the FDA getting involved.
The bottles have arrived at the logistics company for the show – they charge an arm and a leg for receiving the boxes, holding them for 2 weeks and bringing them to the show. And if your boxes arrive after a certain date, they will charge even more. But, for that price you are guaranteed that your boxes will be in the right place on the right date.
To date, all of that has been arranged and now I have to finalise the marketing materials and an assistant for the show.