Trade fairs are like the Grammys to small businesses, particularly those located in Nigeria. With the current harsh economic realities small business owners face on a daily basis, the opportunity to boost sales and increase visibility is welcomed with open arms. So when we received the highly-anticipated email confirming our admission to exhibit at the 2022 GTCO Food and Drink Fair, you can imagine our excitement.
This was more than a big deal. It was a HUGE one! And not just because this was going to be our first trade fair exhibition since Kasa Greens launched in January. The GTCO fair which is organised by one of Nigeria’s most prominent banks, Guaranty Trust Bank PLC is not just the most popular fair in Nigeria, it is also one of the most attended. Securing one of the highly coveted exhibition slots is every small business's dream.
Road to GTCO Food and Drink Fair
The excitement was quickly followed by feelings of nervousness brought about by unspoken questions like “Will people buy our juices?” ‘What if we don’t even break even?’ Thankfully, these feelings were overshadowed in the frenzy that followed as preparations for the fair went underway. With less than 3 days to the exhibition, the days that would follow would be a dash to secure over 300 fresh pineapples, ginger and other fruits needed, equipment such as coolers, dispensers, plastic cups, bottles, stickers, balloons and recruiting extra hands to man the stand at the fair among other things.
Finally, the D-day arrived and we set off bright and early, 150 bottles of juices (which we later poured into the dispensers) in tow, eager to achieve our 3 key goals which included selling our juices, gaining visibility for the Kasa Greens brand and networking with other businesses.
The nerves were soon dissipated by the steady stream of people stopping by our stand. Curious children tugging at their mother’s dresses and pointing longingly at our colourful display of juices, young and middle-aged ladies and men, eager for a taste of our 100% natural cold-pressed juices, even the elderly folks were not left out. Sunshine, our special mix of pineapple and ginger won the most hearts and wallets at the fair, although Rosé and Stranger were a close second loved particularly by the fit fam crew.
By the end of the first day, the question was no longer whether or not we would sell out but whether we had enough fruits in our inventory to last us the 3 days. Selling out was done and dusted!
Each day at the event offered a unique experience for both shoppers and vendors, however, selling out of our juices was a constant for us. By the end of day 3, we had made over 1 million naira in sales from selling over 600 cups of juices, far exceeding our expectations for the fair.
They say first times are hardly ever perfect and this proved true for us at the GTCO Food and Drink Fair. Many of the pineapples purchased for the juices went bad and had to be thrashed. We learned albeit the hard way that storing such large quantities of pineapples under room temperature was a faux-pas. A cold room was the ideal way to go.
Another takeaway was the fact that our sales were limited only by our production capacity. If we had more juices in supply, we would have easily sold a lot more at the fair. It was inspiring to see how powerful such a platform can be, as businesses were recording sales that they hadn’t achieved since the year began in just 3 days.
The inspiration to expand our product offerings to include popsicles and juice catering for parties and events was yet another takeaway from the fair as we got so many requests for popsicles and the high interest in our juice cups proved the catering idea promising.
In summary, our experience at the recently ended GTCO food and drink fair was phenomenal and we can truly say that the expenses incurred were worth it in the end. We remain grateful to Guaranty Trust Bank and its partners for this amazing platform created for entrepreneurs in Nigeria and we hope to see many more of these fairs spring up not only within Lagos but in other states as well. As you can probably guess by now, for us at Kasa Greens, this is just the first of many exhibitions to come.