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Trade Shows Are Back!

We never thought we would say this: We had a great trade show. Even before the pandemic hit, trade shows were an obligatory slog to some overpopulated location with high expectations and low results. We consoled ourselves with pumped up versions of how important it was to network with our peers and how it helped us cross-train and bond as a team.

When the pandemic hit, we subtly smirked knowing this was the death knell that would make trade shows a thing of the past.

Wow, were we wrong.

After jetting out to Vegas for the KBIS/IBS/TISE trifecta we were a little surprised by the wall to wall people and claims from exhibitors that they may have “missed more people” than they talked to. Some companies had to call in reinforcements just to have adequate bodies in the booth to cover the leads. We were just attending that show and still did not stand a chance of making all the meetings and hitting all the companies that we aspired to.

Then NY Build happened and we were exhibiting. Surely New Yorkers were about half ready to head into Javits and there were only 300 exhibitors, so it would be a much tamer experience, even if we did have a booth, right?.

Wrong again. It was madness. We were overrun with people who were interested in our materials, wanting to know more, or pulled into our booth which, we must admit, kind of stole the show from a visually appealing perspective and certainly had the broadest range of materials.

Striving for a “pop up candy shop” vibe with an outdoor feel added by the Arbor Wood thermally modified wood flooring, we struck the perfect balance between form and function which drew people in continuously for the two day event.

Maybe we were stylish and colorful in an otherwise hands-on feeling event, but we would do it again. Maybe the trick is choosing the smaller, more local show, where your brand really stands out from the rest. We went to target builders, but we met loads of architects, retail designers and owners.

Maybe people are eager to network and get out and interact. Maybe the shows are scaled back so the attendees have less ground to cover and the exhibitor/attendee ration favored us at NY Build.

Whatever it was, we admit when we are wrong and learn from our mistakes. And our successes. And trade shows are in the latter category. For now.

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