04 Mar

WHAT IT TAKES TO MAKE A TRADE SHOW

I thought it might be fun for you guys to see what goes into doing a trade show. From the pre-planning and sketching phase to the getting there blank canvas stage to the finished result.

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In the beginning

Gem and I think of a concept. This is the easy part as we are quite cabin obsessed so knew we wanted a cabin but with a glamorous twist. Our concept was a hidden hut, draped in camouflage no less, and furnished with our cool sofas, chairs, accessories and faux botanicals.

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We drill it down with an initial concept sketch, then plot out rough zones – a Wild Bill seating area here, flower shop over there, summer porch zone with tons of plants, Autumn/Winter 2016 preview area etc. Then the organisers need final floorplans and sketches before you are allowed to exhibit.

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The set

Once the organisers have approved we have a crazy week of ordering the set, flying in wooden panels from California to build our cabin, getting camouflage from the army to drape and billow over the set, ordering flooring, lighting, walls, scaffolding, paint – there’s many moving parts, hiring huge trucks, hotels for the team, train tickets – it’s a logistical nightmare!

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The stand

Here’s the stand before we really begun – a big blank empty space. Oddly enough this part never freaks me out. I keep the faith, and tell myself that in two days this will be completely transformed into a beautiful cabin in the woods. Two trucks were unloaded with heaps of our own label products and shoved into the corridor whilst carpet layers are trying to lay carpet, electricians are trying to wire – it’s the hugest craziest mess. This truly is the insanity stage, trying to simultaneously build and style at the same time! There’s always a few tempers and sometimes a broken vase casualty too.

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In Feb when all the huge doors in the hall are flung open temperatures hit sub zero but you literally don’t stop from 8 in the morning till 7 in the evening. After two days straight, every last cactus is arranged, paint touched up, wallpaper and wood cladding complete, live moss arranged across tables, sweeping and hoovering done, price labels finished, rugs laid down, bouquets tweaked and camo draped just so. At which point we all jump in a cab, drive to supper, eat something warm and hit the sack.

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Show day

We all get in early to tweak the final arrangement, plump, fluff, stand back and feel very proud that out of our heads has come the coolest cabin in the world! We’re then open for business, with five days of selling and orders flying off the shelves before the whole thing needs to be packed up and torn down again. Crazy hey?

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The response was overwhelming, everyone loved the camouflage (in fact we kept being asked if we sold it – nope, go to army surplus stores – but if we did we’d all be millionaires by now!) and the vibe and the products were fab. The whole team feels pretty knackered, but extremely proud of what we’ve created. Take a look through the slideshow above for all the BTS snaps of the final stand.

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