Story Time: The Hottest Company at the Tradeshow

tradeshow floor with booths

Plastic Smiles and Booth Babes

Several years ago, I was working in marketing for a recruiting company. One part of my job was going out to tech conferences, setting up our booth, and trying to get as many email addresses as I could. All around me were other companies trying to do the same thing. The shticks and spiels varied from elaborate booth setups to even hiring stunning women to borderline-flirt with the software developers as they perused the floor. (We called them “booth babes,” by the way.) Still, there was one company that was absolutely raking in the attention. I actually heard about them before I ever saw their booth. I had to see what all the fuss was about.

The Most Unassuming Booth

Taking a break from my booth, I strolled the conference floor to see what all the hubbub was about. Coming around the corner, I saw the booth. There was nothing spectacular about it. Two fellas sat at a folding table that was draped in a table-cloth that had their company’s logo on the front of it. The two guys weren’t polished salesmen in suits — actually, they looked your garden-variety geeks in t-shirts. They weren’t standing up, greeting people as they came around the corners. They were literally sitting on their duffs, waiting for people to approach them. And boy, they were.

Lining Up To Give Contact Info

Stacked in front of them were their company’s t-shirts. These t-shirts were not the tradeshow usual suspects. They were buttery-soft, stylish, charcoal gray, with the company’s muffled-chuckle-evoking catch-phrase on the front — not even a logo! The logo was on the back — just a small badge-style logo right above the shoulder blades. No website address. They were trading email addresses for t-shirts and there was a line of software developers and project managers lined up to do so. I did the same, and even gave them one of my own company’s t-shirts in exchange just because I was so impressed with their t-shirt. I kept that t-shirt and wore it regularly. To this day, I can tell you the company name. Ultimately, my wife became pregnant and I put on some sympathy weight, making the t-shirt a touch too snug for comfortable wearing, so I donated it. I’ve lost weight since then and wish I still had it in my rotation.

Leave your brand and leave your mark.

While not simply limited to t-shirts of this variety, branded apparel is a powerful way for your target demographic to take your brand with them. When items are useful, they will remain with a consumer long after your pitch has evaporated. The higher the quality of the item, the longer your brand will remain in your target demographic’s life — emitting a sense of usefulness associated with your company. It may be a few days after receiving the product to even years down the road, but as they repeatedly see your brand on one of their favorite items (favorite because it was free and remains useful), they are more likely to determine if your brand can solve their particular problem as it arises.


If you can dream it, there’s a good chance that JD Young’s Corporate Apparel services can brand it with your company’s slogan, logo, website, or much more. Let your creativity be your guide and JD Young can handle the rest.