Overkill at SEMA 2016

Written by Joshua Howard (also Photographer).
Edited by Nica Lu.

To understand the scope of how big SEMA is, let this this little fact simmer: this year’s show drew in 70,000 domestic and international buyers. If you were having doubts about this event before, don’t. We fully support and encourage the decision to go if you’re involved in the automotive industry. It is well worth the trip to Vegas.

To quote from the SEMA website “The displays are segmented into 12 sections, and a New Products Showcase featured nearly 3,000 newly introduced parts, tools and components. In addition, the SEMA Show provides attendees with educational seminars, product demonstrations, special events, networking opportunities and more…” If this sounds like a jam packed handful of days, that’s because it is.

What can you expect from the show? A lot of damn good ideas and time to connect with vendors. We can’t tell you how cool it was to find inspiration down every aisle and corner we walked through. But we’re also grateful for the opportunity to meet with some of the brightest minds in the industry.


Our top 10 tips for this show:

  1. Wear comfortable clothing. You will be walking.
  2. Bring your business cards. This is silly advice until you find yourself having to explain, to hundreds of people, that you forgot your business cards at home. Lame. On a side note: Invest in nice business cards. Real talk, this is not the time to cheap out and buy the worst (thinnest) cardstock available. Get something professional, up-to-date, and memorable if you can.
  3. Take care of yourself – Eat and drink water.
  4. Download the app or print out a map. There are also pocket guides available at the show, so take one if you see them.
  5. Now use the tools from Step 4 and plan out your day. If you’re walking the floor, make sure you invest the time in planning out your day. There is so much to do and see at SEMA, it’s easy to become distracted and miss out on an event because you lost track of time.
  6. Go to any of the education sessions that applies to you. You can find some gold nuggets here and there.
  7. Bring a camera and snap shots for ideas.
  8. Meet your vendors. Set aside time for business talk if you need it. You have their face-to-face attention.
  9. At the very least, ACT as if you’re an extrovert; if you’re naturally like this then you’re in luck. SEMA is not the time to be shy and keep your head down. You will meet some wonderful people here, but you have to be open to it. Ultimately, what will it hurt if you make some connections?
  10. If you can stay longer, attend SEMA Ignited!

We hope to see you there next year!

Remember to keep an eye out for our in-depth SEMA show recap.