Trade Show TalesBlog

Archive for January, 2013

What Not to Wear (at a Trade Show)

January 31st, 2013 23 COMMENTS
What Not to Wear (at a Trade Show)

What Not to Wear (at a Trade Show)

No blog post over the past three years has gotten more hits on Google or more comments than this one. In fact, it’s not even close. We’re not shy about recycling, even when it comes to content. Enjoy.

I’m no fashion expert. The yellow sweater I wear all winter is a dead giveaway. But you don’t have to be a member of the fashion police to spot these faux pas. Wear what you want if you’re an attendee, but as an exhibitor, you may want to consider these suggestions.


  • New Shoes – Who hasn’t made this mistake and regretted it? After all, you want to look your best so you purchase new shoes. They look great, but they hurt like hell after Day 1. By Day 3, your blisters have blisters. Shoe Rule #2 – Take a little initiative sport and shine those puppies. Or at least get them shined at the airport while you’re waiting for your plane. It’s cheap even with a generous tip. Shoe Rule #3 – The belt is supposed to match the shoes guys! A brown belt with black shoes? Your mother would be appalled.
  • Golf Clothing – Here’s the easy way to decide on golf clothing. If it looks great on the golf course, it looks silly at a trade show. I don’t care if it’s the latest high-tech, super-duper sweat-wicking material. It’s still golf clothing. Now there are exceptions to every rule, such as a sports-related show, but in general, just remember there’s a reason why Fortune 500 executives don’t wear golf shirts and slacks to negotiate multi-million dollar deals.
  • Slacks — If your pants have a drawstring and elastic ankle cuffs, DON”T WEAR THEM. You can pretend they’re fashion fleece or casual Sansabelt pants all you want. Everyone else knows they’re sweats.
  • Slacks (cont.) – We all pretend we haven’t gained weight. But we have. Don’t wait until 7 am on the first day of the show to discover your pants don’t fit or they have that telltale “V” pucker between the waist and zipper. Unless I missed something important in Biology class, blood flow is important.


  • Shoes – For some reason, which I’ll never fully understand, women love to punish themselves. Even more than men, they wear new shoes to the show, and then do the unthinkable by wearing high heels with pointy toes. Ladies, and I say this with all seriousness, you’re beautiful. High heel shoes do not make you more beautiful. If you are angling for a freak with a high heal foot fetish, take out a personal ad (SWF seeks MHHFFF).
  • Pantyhose – Another medieval torture device invented to punish women.
  • Perfume/CologneDo you remember the dirt cloud that surrounded Pigpen in the Peanuts cartoon? Some women (and some men) wear the fragrance equivalent by dousing themselves in perfume. Perfume should be alluring, not painful. Here’s a tip for applying the proper amount:  rub on only one free sample from the magazine.
  • Undies – Let’s just say that if you feel the need to make “adjustments” more than twice a day, you are probably wearing the wrong underwear.
  • Earrings – I’m going to catch some heat on this one. Let me be clear. Earrings are fine, but if your ears look like a Claire’s Accessories rack, you may want to remove 6-8 pairs. Lips, tongue, nose, eyebrow, and skull piercings are a matter of personal preference, corporate policy, and cult affiliation.
  • Pockets – Just the opposite actually. Men always have pockets. As an exhibitor, you need pockets for business cards, pens, trinkets, breath mints, etc. I’m not talking about a safari jacket with 37 pockets, but a dress jacket or skirt with two pockets will make your life much easier in the booth.

My sincere thanks to the fashion forward exhibitors for their suggestions, some of which cannot be printed without an R or X rating. Suffice to say that the term “cleavage” was a contentious topic between men and women.

What did we miss? Add your “What Not to Wear” suggestions and comments .

–Mel White

Additional Articles:

What Smells? The Top 10 Trade Show Odors
Love on Aisle #600 — Trade Shows and Events
Trade Shows as First Dates

Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or


The Classic Exhibits Facebook Page

January 30th, 2013 COMMENTS

You’re a regular reader of Classic’s Trade Show Tales blog, and you joined the Classic Distributor Network on LinkedIn. But, you’re still not getting enough “Classic Time.” Well, who can blame you. Tune into Facebook. The Classic Facebook page shows a more relaxed view of Classic Exhibits and Classic Rentals.

On Classic’s Facebook page, you’ll see photos of Classic employees working hard, pictures in our facility, and Kevin sitting around in meetings. Compromising photos of Kevin are a specialty since he doesn’t have a Facebook account so he never sees them. Sweet!

Be a Classic Facebook regular. Heck, you’re on your Facebook page at this very moment. Please like us. It’s embarrassing when we beg.


–Mel White


Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or


March EXHIBITOR Magazine Ad — Sneak Peak

January 28th, 2013 COMMENTS

As you know, Classic Exhibits traditionally doesn’t advertise the “Classic Exhibits” brand. ClassicMODUL yes, but rarely, if ever Classic. This year, we decided to prime the pump for iPad Kiosks in preparation of EXHIBITOR2013. Below is the 1/2 page ad for EXHIBITOR Magazine. We’ll also have a similar full-page ad in Exhibit City News.

Several iPad kiosk models are in the New Product Showcase for EXHIBITOR. We hope this visibility will drive sales to the Distributor Network, both before and after the show.

Registration for EXHIBITOR 2013 is now OPEN! Click HERE for FREE Access to the show hall courtesy of Classic Exhibits. Enter Promo Code 4044 for the FREE Pass (waiving the credit card fee).

–Mel White


Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or


Mi Casa es Su Casa: Word on the Street — Jan. 21st thru Jan. 25th

January 27th, 2013 COMMENTS
Mi Casa,Su Casa: Word on the Street -- Jan. 21st thru Jan. 25th

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

What It’s Like to Visit Classic Exhibits

While many distributors have visited us over the years, to review projects, for one-on-one training, for Shared Knowledge University, it sometimes slips my mind that many of you haven’t been to our facility. So, if you have haven’t been to the Classic shop before, you’re probably wondering what it’s like. Well . . . it’s impressive and it’s weird. And when I say weird, I don’t mean “hellhole weird” with chains, dungeons, and pits with spikes .  .  . or Portland Weird (cause let’s face it, that’s a given), I mean the office layout and the entrances can sometimes be jarring to new visitors.

I’ll use the entrance as an example. Those of you who have been to our place know what I mean when I refer to the Little Red Door. If it sounds like you need a special knock or code word to get in, you don’t.  But we do have a Little Red Door that lets you into our world. And when you open it, it’s clear what we do. We are a manufacturer. You walk right into Production. What we often refer to as our “Showroom.”

It’s always a kick for me to see the reaction of our customers when they enter the building. They are expecting to walk into a big beautiful showroom. And I would argue that they do. Just our version of a showroom.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently because Mel and I have been looking at other buildings, buildings that would accommodate our growth over the next 5-10 years. We’ve seen some impressive facilities, with extensive offices, formal entrances, and flexible production floors. It’s hard not to drool. Mel has slipped on mine couple times already. It doesn’t mean we’re moving. Our landlord is really interested in keeping us and is hard at work on plans to expand our current site.

That said, allow me take you on a tour of Classic. I’ll include an informal video we shot a few years ago which will (hopefully) fill in some of the blanks. The shop has changed some, but you’ll see the overall organization. We’re proud of the Classic facility. It’s designed to be efficient and to maximize our flexible manufacturing capabilities.

For those who have been here, bear with me while I explain the layout. When we moved into our space over 10 years ago, our Ops Manager at the time had been a Process Engineer with Boeing in his previous life. And if you have ever seen the Boeing plant on TV or in person, then you know the process is laid out so that at one end of the building you start with raw materials, parts, and pieces. Then at the other end of the building a plane rolls out fully assembled.

Milling Department

Now I know we don’t build planes, but the overall thought process is the same. Nearly everything we build starts with one common denominator — aluminum extrusion. Whether it’s pop-up extrusion for a Quadro S, internal framing for a Euro LT or Intro panel, or exposed engineered extrusion for the Visionary Design Hybrid Exhibits. Extrusion is the starting point.

Video from November 2011

The metal gets cut, then either milled (CNC or by hand), then CNC bent (if necessary), then customized and assembled with connections, inserts, etc. Once done, the metal for hybrids moves all the way to the Set-up Area and then to the end of the line. The metal for Euro LT and Intro moves into the Panel Building Department where it is married with the CNC cut infill panels.

Wood Fabrication Department

Next you have the Wood Fabrication Department. This is where all soft materials, such as acrylics, wood, foam, etc. are CNC cut and assembled. Because everything is built off the CNC, it allows us to work right off the detail files. We cut parts and then the guys “assemble.” People are often amazed at our approach. We have two master cabinet makers on staff, but we have ten assemblers who are guided by the cabinet makers on how to assemble the parts that come off the CNC, including laminating, routing, and finishing.

Once counters, panels, custom components, and jigging for packaging or acrylic work is completed in Wood Fab, it is moved to the Set-up Area to meet up with any metal components.

Set-up Department

The next step is where we create the biggest difference between Classic and our competitors. The Set-up Area. It’s the place in the process where our true transparency shines through. The Set-up Department also acts as our ultimate quality control system. Everything is fully assembled, setup, and photographed regardless of size. Meaning, if you ordered an Intro 3-panel fabric table top, we set it up and take a photo of it just like we would with a complete Double Deck exhibit. And to prove it, we have three webcams in our Set-up Area that you can log into at any given time to check the progress of your booth. The Peek-a-Booth webcams have become a very familiar tool for many of our distributors.

So once the booth is setup, your Project Manager at Classic reviews the exhibit. At that point, they are your eyes and ears on our floor to ensure that the exhibit meets your preset expectations. If it does, they sign the order prior to tear-down and packaging.

Once the exhibit is torn down, it is packaged, most often in die-cut foam inserted into jigged cases or crates. The PM is then called out once more to review the packaged exhibit. The PM reviews the packaging, including anything you shipped to us to include such as monitors, graphics, etc. If it passes the review, they sign the order one final time.

At that point, our production process makes its only “non-linear” move. It makes a hard right turn into Shipping and into the waiting truck.

Now I understand that this is a really brief explanation and does not do justice to what our facility is like and how it functions. You don’t see the offices, the Rental Division, or Inventory Storage. So please don’t hesitate to schedule time to see us. We welcome client reviews, always a great time to come see the exhibit with your client and see our place. And since we stage everything, you should take advantage of that, rather than shipping it to your location for a client review.

We welcome onsite training as well, whether one-on-one or during Shared Knowledge University, our semi-annual training program. Plus SKU offers you the opportunity to be with distributors from other markets and share ideas during two days of comprehensive group training.

We hope your January is off to an amazing start. And hope to see you here in Portland sometime soon. We may be a little weird, but we are happy to share that weirdness with you. 🙂

See Classic’s Facebook page for daily photos and posts.

Kevin Carty


Recent iPad Kiosk Trends

January 24th, 2013 COMMENTS

Let me share iPad Kiosk sales from an unnamed Classic Distributor. Last week, I ran a report on this distributor focusing exclusively on iPad kiosk sales over the past four months. This distributor is primarily online, but one I suspect you don’t know. They fly under the radar.

On their website, they created a category/menu for iPad Solutions. They also have Exhibit Design Search, which shows iPad kiosks in the Workstations and Counters Galleries. And, they’ve done several email broadcasts to their customers on iPad options. What are the results over the past four months?

Not bad. When you consider that they focused on MOD-1312/1314 until recently, it’s even more impressive. Just this afternoon, I was told to expect an order for 10 more. Nice.

What about Other Tablets?

Although iPads represent the vast majority of orders we’re getting, we have gotten a few requests for other tablets such as the Galaxy Tab and ASUS. It requires modification to the clamshell frame ($100 retail modification price), but the solution is sweet. Same anti-theft locks. Same clamshell frame. Same Swivel Stop feature. For cord management purposes, it works best in landscape mode, but if your client intends to use it in battery mode (9 hour battery), landscape or portrait is fine. We may not be able to accommodate larger tablets, but if you have one you’d like us to explore for an order, please let us know.


Samsung Galaxy Tab and Note in Clamshell Frame

Unbranded Literature

Download the Unbranded iPad Kiosk Sheet
Download the Unbranded MOD-1312/1314 Sheet (promotional price)
Download the Unbranded MOD-1312/1314 Price List

MOD-1353, MOD-1355, and MOD-1357

Finally, just in case you haven’t seen the Newest iPad Kiosk / Brochure Stands from Classic Exhibits, I thought I’d share. These were all designed by Katina Rigall. The details are available in the Workstations Gallery. All include the exclusive Portrait/Landscape Swivel Stop Rotation feature and internal wire management.

iPad Kiosks MOD-1353, MOD-1355, and MOD-1357

-Mel White


Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or