Startup lessons learned: What a trade show can teach you about your team

This week we exhibited at, one of the biggest conferences in the retail world. Three years ago Daina and I went to the show and walked the floor, at that time Fashion Metric was just the two of us and along with our first hire, Key. I thought, someday we’ll have a booth here, but it felt like that day was far in the future.

Fast-forward to today and we have a whole team, five of which came with us to the show. I’ll be honest, after we setup our booth and all stood there looking at it, I got goosebumps. Three years ago I looked in awe at the booths, the teams all together showing off their products, it seemed out of reach then, now it’s a critical part of our life.


I’m so proud of the product we’ve built, it’s also an amazing feeling to sit down and walk through what we do with some of the largest retailers in the world. As a founder though, the real thrill for me without a doubt is the team.

It reminded me of my early days at Sonos, when we’d all pile into a cargo van or lug way too many suitcases onto an airplane and together do something different than we do on a normal day. The process of building furniture, setting up the lights, laying down the floor, building “Manny” our mannequins isn’t in any job description. Doing it together as a team and seeing how well we all work together, how much everyone wants to help, it’s the best feeling in the world.


Yes, I want to change the world (and I’m confident we already are), I want us to build the best product, and make a ton of money for our investors and our employees. But at the end of the day, what really brings me the most satisfaction is building an incredible team, a team that everyone once and a while crawls around on the floor laying down a plastic floor, sets up chairs, builds a mannequin (or two), and does an amazing job because we know we’re all in this together.


Sure, you can hire someone to build your booth, but you’d miss out on seeing how amazing your team is when they’re doing something so different from what they do on a daily basis. Some of my best memories at Sonos came from doing these things together and while I look forward to being back at HQ, I have some great memories from this week.

So what’s one of my favorite things about running a startup? Seeing our team come together, doing something as a team completely different from what we all normally do, and seeing how well everyone works together. In my mind, if you have this, you really can do anything, together of course.

Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton