It’s a big event – tradeshow, conference, convention, whatever. You made the list. You checked it twice. But you found out you forgot a few things – don’t worry, no one’s perfect. Besides, how are you supposed to remember items you may not have known you needed?

From business cards to table cloths, it’s the little things in life that tend to screw us. Sure, standing banners may not seem like a big deal, until you’re the ONLY booth at the trade show without them (embarrassing…)

Here are 10 items you should have ready in advance of an event, and our recommendations on where to find them.

Tradeshow Booth

1. Signage 

While the Universe will sometimes give you a nudge in the right direction, most people need blinking neon lights to arrive at where you want them to go. Signage is crucial to let any potential, or current, customers know where to find you.

Standing Banners are easy to transport, store, and are eye-catching displays. With 575 five star reviews, VistaPrint is the way to go. They let you choose the quality, but from experience, we recommend “Premium”. Upload your design, or create one yourself on their site, and get it shipped to you (or your show location) in as little as three days.

Cable Banners can hang around wherever they look best whether covering a white wall or blowing in the breeze. BannerBuzz creates inexpensive vinyl banners that over 600 five star reviews claim are great quality. The price is customizable to the templates you choose and whether you need wind flaps, lamination, UV Print, Pantone color match or a two-sided design.

2. Business Cards

Are you really a business if you don’t have your company name, number, and address engraved in ink on a card? If you need business cards quick, Staples is in most cities, can print you 250 for 10 bucks, and if you order before 2 p.m. you can pick them up from the store that day.

3. Business card holders

You could design a self-portrait made of business cards on your table, or you could just place them in a holder and feel accomplished in how organized you are. Grab a holder in the office section of your local Walmart or Target – or place them in a pretty bowl you found in your kitchen. Either works.

4. Table Cloths 

Your mother would be ashamed if you came to a trade show or event with *gulp* a bare table. If you just need your logo on a table cover, Best of Signs offers the lowest price for simple designs. If you want something quick, NextDayDisplay offers next day shipping for simple designs you can upload on their site.

5. Stickers 

We recommend StickerMule for high-quality stickers that look chic on a car’s bumper, summer cooler, or your laptop. We’ve used their amazing vinyl decals to customize a lot of off-the-shelf equipment, too. They typically take three to four days to make the sticker and two days to ship. p.s. Stickermule frequently runs GREAT promotions, we’re kind of addicted.

vinyl decal

6. Buttons

Custom buttons provide tweens with décor for their backpacks (hey, free advertising) but also have become collectibles throughout the years (check out this guy who literally wrote the book on button collecting). SpeedyButton can create magnetic or push pin buttons with a design of your choosing. They also offer same day shipping, so long as you order before 2 p.m.

7. Shirts 

T-shirts = walking billboards. They don’t have to be fancy, sometimes just a bolded title of your event and the date will do. RushOrderTees and CustomInk might be your quickest options for t-shirts with three-day rush shipping. Both allow you to upload your logo and pre-made design or use their clip-art and font selections to make a design on the site.

8. Take-Aways

Flyers, pamphlets, brochures, door hangers, bookmarks or any other promotional items you may need, PrintRunner offers next day shipping and the ability to create your own design online. However, your local Staples and Office Depot offer same day service if you get your design in before 2 p.m.

9. Email Sign-Up Sheet

You’ve wanted emails for your database. Now is the time to get them. Print one out of your computer before you have a tacky handwritten copy at your table later.

10. Lanyards

To spice up the look of your keychain or neck décor, can create customized logo lanyards in 24 hours. They also offer a pay later option that allows you to see and approve the physical lanyards before paying.

Party Bonus: Socks! :)

Cheaper than t-shirts, express your brand with a pair of cozy or sleek socks. You wear them almost every day – even in business formal – and they have become a subtle way we express ourselves. Sock Club has a large variety of sock selections, even for man’s best friend. They also have a sock of the month club, in case you needed another reason to get a new pair of socks.