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Exhibiting Overseas: A Rollercoaster of Challenges and Adventures



Many have asked us about our experience exhibiting overseas. Is it similar to our experiences in Australia? Was it fun, challenging, or just a good adventure?


Well, let me tell you, I think it has been one of the biggest learning curves since purchasing Topargee and really made us realise that there is a lot to consider when participating in cross-border global business.


So where to start….

 

The Lead Up: As an organised team, we meticulously planned months in advance. From choosing the right expos to booking flights and accommodation, we thought we had it all figured out. Little did we know, the real challenges were yet to come.

 

The two most daunting tasks were finding a point-of-sale (POS) system compatible with Canada and the USA and navigating complex tax registrations.

 

Each of these tasks felt like untangling a spider web. After weeks of research and numerous hurdles, we finally found a POS solution (thank you Stripe) and got everything sorted out.


Then onto tax registrations – 2 countries, 3 states  meant 3 different requirements. Thankfully we were pointed in the right direction and after lots of forms, emails, phone calls and faxes  we finally got there.

 

On the bright side, dealing with the event organizers was a breeze. They were helpful, patient, and full of valuable information, making the lead-up to the expos much smoother.

 

Set Up (Bump In): Setting up our booth was an adventure in itself. With only our stock and ourselves, we had to improvise and get everything we needed, from tables and chairs to posters, to make our area business-ready. Interestingly, unlike Australia where most of the Expo’s are set up in a similar way, each of these expos had different sets ups, some didn’t even have walls, so we have learnt not to assume. 

 

Open for Business: Introducing Topargee in North America was like starting from scratch. Unlike in Australia where we are a well-known and trusted brand, we were a stranger to the RV world over there. No one was familiar with our Topargee Water Tank Gauges, nor did they know that there was a product on the market that could measure tank water to the litre (or Gallon). We had to share our story, explain our brand, and showcase our products from square one. However, it didn't take long for conversations to flow and sales to start happening. Building connections and trust was key.

 

Connections: We are grateful to have met so many wonderful people both Attendees, Exhibitors, Distributors and Reps. Our trip wasn't just about sales; it was about expanding our brand and making connections for future partnerships. With each expo, we made more connections and even got invited to networking events, enabling us to speak with key stakeholders in the RV Industry, paving the way for potential collaborations.

 

All Work No Play: For those of you that have crossed paths with us, you would know we like to fit in as much as possible. Despite our busy schedule, we made time for fun. From attending concerts, Ice Hockey & NBA games to exploring iconic landmarks like Niagara Falls, we made the most of our downtime.

 

Behind the Scenes: If only we had a candid camera to capture some of those “what just happened moments”. Our journey wasn't without its challenges, from overweight luggage, cancelled flights, almost missed flights, incorrect visa type, wrong turns and no hot shower for 2 days (it was only 5 degrees outside). We have laughed and learned and have walked away with some very memorable stories.

 

All Done and Dusted: We would just like to wrap up with a special shout out to our friends Pete & Rachel, currently living in Canada – they have been amazing. They have been our mini warehouse, our courier, our collection agent, Stripe tester, plus full of information and advice of what to expect or maybe what not to expect so that we felt a little prepared for all the “adventures” that came our way!!


Would we do it all again? Absolutely. we’ve got this International thing covered 😊

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