Trade Show TalesBlog

Archive for July, 2010

Shooting from the Hip — 10.10 (Heading into Fall)

July 28th, 2010 COMMENTS
Shooting from the Hip (trade show tips)

Shooting from the Hip by Reid Sherwood

Well, time is flying. We’re only a few days from August and that means the trade show season will soon be upon us. No more complaining about things being slow. I have had some pretty intense conversations recently with folks saying — “Look out for the 4th quarter, cuz it is going to be a good one!”

At Classic Exhibits and ClassicMODUL, we are seeing an increase in design requests and larger budgets (not like the days of yesteryear but better than what we have seen for two years), and people with seemingly real needs. Many of you have heard the same things from other manufacturers or friends in the industry, so let’s hope it is true.

I want to congratulate a couple of good friends. Dave Brown at Optima Graphics and Alex Hill at Visual Merchandising for having the intestinal fortitude and lack of common sense to swim the English Channel this past week. Nobody is sure why you did it, but we all raised a toast when the email came through that said you finished and set a new age-group record. And a special congratulations to Ray Montague, of Avalon/ArtGuild for having the foresight to tell them “No, I am not swimming the English Channel with you.”

Mel White recently did a webinar on Exhibit Design Search:  Tips, Tricks, and Techniques that was hugely successful. It will be offered again on August 10 and 11. Be sure to register now.

Good luck as the summer progresses.

Until the next time,

–Reid Sherwood

Exhibit Design Search — Tips, Tricks, and Techniques

July 27th, 2010 2 COMMENTS

Exhibit Design Search (EDS):  Tips, Tricks, and Techniques Webinar

Exhibit Design Search Training Webinar

Exhibit Design Search Webinar

Discover How to:

  • Search for Displays Faster
  • Respond to Design Requests Quicker
  • Qualify Budgets
  • Send Renderings, Photos, and Animations
  • Create Design Galleries
  • Find Specials, Quick Ship Displays, and Articles
  • See the Peek-a-Booth Webcams in Action
  • Describe the Differences between Sacagawea, Magellan, Perfect 10, and Visionary Designs

What’s New in EDS and What’s Coming!

Classic Distributors — Join us for a fast-paced Webinar with Mel White, VP of Marketing and Business Development. In this 45 minute session, you will learn how to maximize your results in Exhibit Design Search and increase your exhibit sales opportunities.

Sign Up for One of Two Sessions

  1. Tuesday, August 10 @ 8 am PST (11 am EST)
  2. Wednesday, August 11 @ 10:30 PST (1:30 pm EST)

To sign up, click on the links above and reserve your seat by Friday, August 6. Session enrollment is limited.

Contact Mel White if you have questions (

Word on the Street — July 19th thru July 23rd

July 25th, 2010 COMMENTS
Why we participate in the TS2 Show

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Calgon Take Me Away!

This past week I took a little vacation time.  I worked on Monday and Tuesday and then took off for a few days of camping. Living in the Great Pacific Northwest offers us a lot of options as it relates to locations. You can do anything from true “survivalist” camping in the middle of nowhere . . . where you hike into a remote location that may have never been camped before . . . to camping in a “campground” that has showers and electricity. Something I refer to as “car camping.”

Since this was a family trip for my niece’s birthday, we opted for the “car camping”  option. Of course,  four 3-year olds and a 6-year old in tow had a lot to do with that decision. 🙂

Now, what in the world was I thinking of this being a “vacation”?! Anyone else who has attempted something similar can attest to what I mean.

Please understand. I had a great time! The weather was beautiful, we were right along a river in the middle of the forest, and we cooked great meals three times a day. But, as a parent, this is not exactly relaxing. From the time you wake up until the time the kids go down, you are running in 19 different directions always wondering where the kids are or where the kids are going as I’m sure many of you can relate!

At the end of the day, they all had fun and so did I to be honest (as tiring as it might have been). And I do appreciate that my kids in particular had a good time,this being their first camping excursion. They seemed to really appreciate their surroundings while out in the wilderness.

I look forward to getting back into the swing of things on Monday morning, and I look forward to a busy and profitable late summer and fall for us all.

Hope you had a great and restful weekend.

Be well!

–Kevin Carty

Sacagawea vs. Magellan vs. Perfect 10 vs. Visionary Designs

July 22nd, 2010 3 COMMENTS

Comparing Four Hybrid Display Systems from Classic Exhibits

Are you comfortable describing the differences between the Sacagawea, Magellan, Perfect 10, and Visionary Designs Hybrid Systems with your customers? If not, here’s an excellent summary of each product line.

It’s actually fairly straight-forward (and it makes a lot of sense). Please understand (which translates to me CMA) that these distinctions are broad-based, and there are always exceptions.

In order, from the lowest to the highest starting prices . . . .

Sacagawea VK-1222

Sacagawea Portable Hybrid Displays

Starting Prices:  $3100 (10×10) | $6225 (10×20)

Sacagawea is the entry level portable hybrid line for Classic Exhibits. Introduced about a year ago, it is our most successful product launch ever. The reasons are obvious:  three attractive design series, compact and versatile displays, and terrific price points.

  • Sizes: Table Tops, 10 x 10, 10 x 20, Pedestals, and Workstations.
  • Kits: 65 standard kits.
  • Straight Extrusions:  Mostly straight extrusions with MODUL S40 uprights and Z45 horizontals.
  • Graphics:  Primarily one large tension fabric graphic @ 7.5 ft x 6.75 ft with a smaller tension fabric graphic and/or direct print graphics. Velcro tension fabric.
  • Assembly:  MOSTLY attached knobs with some hex key connections. Individual numbered parts with setup instructions.
  • Colors:  (9) Sintra/Plex Wing colors. (1) Standard extrusion color:  Silver (clear satin anodized).
  • Packaging:  LT-550 Portable roto-molded case(s) with die-cut foam inserts.

Bottom Line:  Least expensive, mostly straight extrusions, primarily knob assembly, medium-large graphics. Ideal for anyone considering a pop up display.

Magellan MOR VK-1077

Magellan Portable Hybrid Displays

Starting Prices:  $4500 (10×10) | $8745 (10×20)

Magellan Hybrid designs vary from straight-forward to complex. Anyone who loves curves, loves Magellan because the kits are all about curved metal and large tension fabric graphics. The most popular have been the Miracle and MOR, which not surprisingly are also the most affordable.

  • Sizes: 10 x 10, 10 x 20, Pedestals, and Workstations.
  • Kits: 62 standard kits.
  • Curved and Straight Extrusions:  Curved and straight extrusions using MODUL Z45 and S40 for horizontals and verticals.
  • Graphics:  One, two, or multiple large tension fabric graphics. Example: 7.4 ft x 7.8 ft and 2 ft x 7.8 ft (Magellan Miracle) with possible direct print graphics. Velcro tension fabric.
  • Assembly:  MOSTLY attached knobs with some hex key connections. Individual numbered parts with setup instructions.
  • Colors:  (9) Sintra/Plex wing colors. (1) Standard extrusion color:  Silver (clear satin anodized).
  • Packaging:  LT-550 Portable roto-molded case(s) with die-cut foam inserts.

Bottom Line:  Inexpensive, mostly curved extrusions, primarily knob assembly, large graphics. Ideal for anyone upgrading from a basic display system such as banner stands, pop ups, or curved pillowcase graphics.

Perfect 10 VK-1507

Perfect 10 Portable Hybrid Displays

Starting Prices:  $5200 (10×10) | $12,840 (10×20)

There is nothing on the market remotely close to the Perfect 10 and Perfect 20. It defines sexy for a portable hybrid display. It assembles without tools and comes in a mind-boggling assortment of color and shape options, all included in the standard price. The P10 is protected by multiple design and utility patents.

  • Sizes: Table Tops, 10 x 10, 10 x 20, Banner Stands, Pedestals, and Workstations.
  • Kits: 38 standard kits.
  • Curved Extrusions:  Mostly curved extrusions using MODUL S40 for verticals and custom Z33 horizontals.
  • Graphics:  One or two large tension fabric graphics. Example: 8 ft x 5.8 ft and 8 ft x 2 ft (VK-1507) with possible direct print graphics. Velcro tension fabric.
  • Assembly:  ALL attached knob assembly and hinged components. Individual numbered parts with setup instructions.
  • Colors:  (9) Sintra/Plex wing colors. (7) Powder-coat extrusion colors.
  • Packaging:  LT-550 Portable roto-molded case(s) with die-cut foam inserts.

Bottom Line:  Competitively priced, mostly curved extrusions, all knob assembly, large graphics, more options. The Perfect 10 System epitomizes high design and offers the most standard options of any portable hybrid in the world.

Visionary Designs VK-1900 SEGUE

Visionary Designs Hybrid Exhibits

Starting Prices:  $7788 (10×10) | $14,826 (10×20)

With Visionary Designs, anything is possible – portable, modular, custom, and custom-hybrid designs. As the saying goes, “form follows function,” and the amorphous design capabilities of Visionary Designs allows you to create simple, complex, large, or small displays.

  • Sizes: Table Tops, Inlines, Islands, Counters, Pedestals, and Workstations
  • Kits: Over 300 standard kits
  • Extrusions:  Hundreds: Depends on the design and the function.
  • Graphics:  From one to multiple tension fabric and direct print graphics.  Velcro and silicone edge tension fabric.
  • Assembly:  Hex key assembly. Individual numbered parts with setup instructions.
  • Colors:  Standard Sintra/Plex colors. (1) Standard extrusion color:  Silver (clear satin anodized). Powder coat and anodizing options available for an addition cost.
  • Packaging:  Roto-molded cases, tubs, and jigged wood crates.

Bottom Line:  Extensive extrusion options, hex key assembly, small, medium, and large graphics (including SEG), unlimited designs, inlines, islands, and table tops. Visionary Designs includes the new SEGUE line of Silicone Edge Graphic displays, which maximizes graphics and minimizes visible extrusion.

Let me know if you have any questions or would like an in depth review of these systems. I would ask that you forward this link to anyone in your organization who would benefit from this comparison.

Also, please let me know if you would like to participate in the webinar Exhibit Design Search:  Tips, Tricks, and Techniques in September, along with a webinar about the basics of blogging.

–Mel White
Classic Exhibits Network (LinkedIn)

Shooting from the Hip — 9.10 (TS2 and LeBron)

July 21st, 2010 COMMENTS
Shooting from the Hip (trade show tips)

Shooting from the Hip by Reid Sherwood

TS2 and LeBron

Well, a couple weeks have passed since I posted. I think Mel thought I had given up on the blog, but the reality is the 4th of July, a couple vacation days (if you call working a charity poker tournament in Detroit vacation), and TS2, and you are into late July.

Not much happened in late June and early July so I will catch up very quickly.

One interesting business tidbit has been the resurgence of island opportunities in the dead of summer. It is hard to fathom, but we have quoted more 20×20’s and larger islands in the past 6 or 7 weeks than we did in the past calendar year (That may be an overstatement, but not by much). In fact, we have closed several larger projects this summer, and as someone with almost 25 years of history in this industry, I can tell you that this is very out of character.

On to the BIG NEWS! LeBron James has signed with Miami. The Heat are fortunate to have him. I LOVE ESPN, but the charade they put on over his “announcement” was too much for even the most avid fan. If you couldn’t tell when he took his jersey off on the way to the locker room during the playoffs that he was leaving Cleveland, then you had your head in the sand.

Here is my real problem with the situation (not that anybody cares about my opinion or LeBron James), but the guy has never won. He has an ego that makes Texas look small. Those who paved the way for his multimillion dollar contract (Bird, Magic, Isiah, Kareem, Doctor J, David Robinson . . . the list can go on and on) all have something in common. They won championships. They put their team on their back and WILLED them to win. They were at their absolute best when their back was against the wall, and it was do or die. Bird won championships with back spasms so bad he couldn’t walk, but he could play. Michael scored 30+ points in Salt Lake City with a 104 fever and throwing up prior to the game. Isiah was able to score 25 points in the 4th quarter of a game 7 with a broken ankle. Kareem played through severe migraines to help his team win a championship. They all had something in common:  INCREDIBLE MENTAL TOUGHNESS. LeBron, at this point, you have the mental toughness of a marshmallow. OK . . . my rant is over.

Magellan Portable Hybrid Display at TS2

Magellan Portable Hybrid Display

Last week was TS2. Kevin has already done a great job of evaluating the show on his blog. The venue (Boston Convention Center) was friendly for an exhibitor. It was attached to the Westin and a reasonable walk, unlike at Mandalay Bay or LVCC or Orange County where you can walk a mile and a half just to get to the hall entrance. The show was small. There were not a lot of exhibitors, and even fewer attendees. However, we got over 50 leads, so the results are not bad. Sometimes it pays to be a big fish in a small pond. Tell me where we could gather 50 solid leads in the dead of summer anywhere? Many people had never seen our portable hybrids like Sacagewea or Magellan and were pleasantly surprised to find so many portable solutions for less than 10K.

We were also able to see several of our distributors. Thanks to Mike’s Pastry I have a new love for cannoli like never before. Mmmmmmmmmmm!

Now back in the office and hoping for the fall sales to start any day now.

Talk to you next week  . . .

–Reid Sherwood