Happy Summer to All!
Kevin Carty, VP Classic Exhibits
I am writing this a few weeks late, but in fairness, there’s a lot going on at Classic Exhibits.
It’s been an exciting 2015, thanks to you, our loyal and creative distributors. Your projects have been ALL ACROSS THE BOARD — so let’s review the highlights, identify some trends, and share a few stories.
The year started with a bang. January set the tone after a busy late December. It was clear we were going to be in for a wild ride filled with growth, unique challenges, and a mixture of tradeshow, event, retail, and permanent install projects.
SuperNova is Shining a Bright Path
Lightboxes have been a shining star whether for tradeshows or retail! Our SuperNova LED lighting solutions have been designed into everything from freestanding lightboxes and iPad stands to comprehensive tradeshow builds and retail store interiors.
Lighting has been one of the growing pieces of “jewelry” in many designs that pass through Classic. It’s cost-effective and impactful on every level. And in 2015 it has been used to backlit and create dynamic graphics and as a featured design element. There’s a lot to know to do it right, and after four full years, we’ve got it down to a science. In short, we’ve gotten good with the glow.
After the release of five new charging stations at EXHIBITORLIVE, our Designers and Project Managers have been inundated with charging station requests like “Can I add charging capabilities to that…or that…or that?”
In many cases — YES. We clearly struck a chord with the units shown in Las Vegas. Many of you took advantage of our charging station showroom promotion and are now reaping the benefits. We have seen a HUGE increase in the number Coffee Table Charging Stations and Bistro Height Charging Tables ordered. In addition to other creative new changing station opportunities.
It’s easy to see why. They are practical, brandable, and of course functional. And a surefire attendee draw to any exhibit space.
“Other Stuff”…All Things Outside the Tradeshows
Over the past few years, we have shown you more retail, corporate environment, and permanent installation work. So far in 2015, this trend only continues on an accelerated pace. We have seen everything from full pop-up retail shops, to mall kiosks, to complete visitors centers, backlighting, and everything in-between.
Your ability to tap in the ClassicMODUL profiles, SEG graphics, and custom millwork has led to some amazing work. If you asked me 10 years ago if Classic would be doing these specialized projects, I would have said “probably not.” However, it all goes to show that those manufacturers and distributors who have been willing to adapt are growing and expanding their client bases.
This work has become a segment with its own Project Management team and Production Engineer. And its FUN! In September, we hope to share pictures of an exciting Interactive Visitors Center we are building. It’s a marvelous collaboration of Exhibit Design, Graphic Design and a Custom Built App to drive the user experience.
More Pyrenees… Less Cobble Stones of Paris
Pardon the Tour de France reference, but it is that time of year.
I am speaking about the seasonal sales cycle in our industry. Historically we have always been able to identify the flat or slow times of the year — June, July and November.
With more business coming from retail, event, corporate environments, and of course tradeshows, we have enjoyed a more predictable sales experience month-over-month. Great peaks still but no real valleys (which are now mid-sized peaks). June is a great example. It was one of our largest months ever. In JUNE no less!
The diversity of tradeshow exhibit orders has been a joy.
The bread and butter orders — 10 x 10, 10 x 20, island kits, Sacagawea, P10, Magellan and Visionary Designs are all there and increasing. But the mix of custom hybrid islands, inlines and traditional custom wood builds is growing by leaps and bounds.
We often joke that Classic is the “Largest, Most Invisible Exhibit Builder” in the industry. And that’s not by accident. Our labeling program strives to build on your brand, not Classic’s. At your request, we brand the cases or crates, the setup instructions, etc. with your name. When I look at the shipping department at the end of the day, I see more and more exhibits leaving with your brands… not ours.
As you know, we encourage this practice. It’s one of our marketing strategies, i.e., helping you build your brand with our products in your markets. Shared Success!
Thanks for continuing to trust us with that.
Can I Borrow That?
Jim Shelman and his talented team in Classic Rental Solutions continues to amaze with their growth and resourcefulness. They design the most customized rental offerings we have ever seen.
Rentals are no longer an afterthought or driven by exhibitors with tight budgets. They are a viable and valuable marketing option for clients who want a unique look without being locked into the same structure or graphics from show to show. Rentals give them the biggest smooches for their marketing buck.
Internally, we often joke that we are now competitors on larger builds — Rentals vs Purchase. Which is a fun place to be. We are happy and proud to be able to offer your clients fresh, custom options whether your client chooses to own it or rent it.
The Nuts and Bolts
So much of what we build, our design palette so to speak, relies on ClassicMODUL Engineered Aluminum Profiles. That includes 10 x 10’s to Double Deck structures and all designs in the middle.
ClassicMODUL is experiencing an uptick in their raw metal sales to distributors who build in-house or manage retail, graphic frame, or architectural accounts. These clients need metal, mostly cut-to-length, along with connectors. They don’t need assembly instructions or reusable packaging.
Tom and his team have done and will continue to do a great job delivering new and unique extrusion offers to meet the design changes we all face. With a great emphasis these days on creating solutions for SEG graphics.
Keep a close eye out for new exciting stuff from ClassicMODUL.
For me, well what can I say. The mid-year point bring two things to mind. In the Great Northwest, it has been exciting, but so hot! We have stolen all the 90 plus degree days from other parts of the country. And while it is nice, I have to admit I am eager to get a little Oregon Sunshine back… also known as RAIN.
The other is… the 1/2 year point always brings another anniversary for me at Classic. This year is 21 years! Thanks to those who sent me personal and LinkedIn messages of congrats. They’re greatly appreciated. An of course I enjoy the jabs and jokes as well, like having Beth from Accounting point out that when I started at Classic, Trina from Design was not yet even in elementary school. YIKES!!
It’s been a great first half of the year. And while we enjoy it, we don’t ever forget that it’s largely due to you. You are the ones who put food on our plates. So thanks as always for your partnership and confidence in our team/family. We greatly appreciate it!
Have a wonderful weekend with your families.