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Posts Tagged ‘TS2’

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


Why I Attend Trade Shows — Love on Aisle #600

May 21st, 2011 8 COMMENTS
Love on Aisle #600 -- Trade Shows and Events

Love on Aisle #600 -- Trade Shows and Events

Shame. Shame, Shame. Get your mind out of the gutter. This is neither a steamy romance nor an even steamier fantasy. This is about the love of trade shows and why you, me, or anyone else attends them.

Over the years, I’ve read more articles than I’d care to admit about why trade shows are important, why exhibit marketing is effective, and why we MUST attend them. They make sense, in the same way that taking vitamins makes sense. On some level you know it can’t hurt and it’s good for you, even if you can’t always measure the results. I could give you the typical sales and marketing reasons to attend, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll share nine reasons why I attend trade shows. It may not be as informative, but it will be a lot more interesting.

Reason #1: I have to. I work for a trade show exhibit designer and manufacturer. Even worse, I co-manage the business so I can’t even pretend to hate trade shows, even if I did. Which I don’t. (Just in case my boss reads this, let me repeat, “I enjoy attending trade shows!”)

Reason #2: I get to see family, friends, and acquaintances. That’s a big deal to me. Until about two years ago, my brother lived in Las Vegas. Attending a trade show in Vegas was an excuse to see my brother. When TS2 was in Philadelphia, I had dinner with my old college roommate. Mostly, I get to see colleagues and industry suppliers whom I’ve known for years. Since I don’t travel quite as much as I used to, the shows are an excuse to chat about business and politics, to have a drink or two, and to gossip, learn, and enjoy.

Red vs. Blue

Reason #3: Competitors. They are there, just like you, with the latest and greatest. Even if you don’t get to see all the whiz-bang cool stuff, you get a sense of what direction they are headed. Are they moving upstream? Downstream? Are they investing in R&D? Who’s hanging out in their booth this year? Who’s not? I never understand why companies forbid their employees from chatting with competitors. Obviously, you have to be smart about what you do or do not share, but from my experience, most competitors are friendly, and the stories, observations, and lies you share are at worse harmless and at best enlightening. And to those not so friendly competitors . . . your paranoia will shorten your life by about 10 years.

Reason #4: I love walking the show floor because there are so many folks with encyclopedic knowledge about an industry. I attended my first trade show in 1994, about a month after starting as the marketing director for an exhibit manufacturer. The owner, a man who knew everyone at the show, introduced me to what seemed like hundreds of people. As we walked the show, he shared his knowledge about the industry, the history of the various companies, and the benefits and features of the products. What I learned by walking the show, both on my own and with him, compressed my learning curve by a good year. I could have never gotten the same information without attending the show.

Reason #5: Ink pens. My wife is a writer. She loves pens, all kinds of pens, but mostly fat pens. I score major points whenever I bring home 3-4 cheap trade show pens, especially if they have some kind of gimmick (and are fat).

Reason #6: Trade shows are an amazing buffet of new ideas. How can you not be impressed by the collective creativity? Whether it’s EuroShop in Germany or the local Business-to-Business show by the Chamber, I always discover new products, services, presentations, trinkets, and people. Even if I’m not looking for something specific, I usually find something worth pursuing after the show that will benefit our business or our customers. Would a virtual trade show offer the same experience? Perhaps, but I doubt it.

Reason #7: Customers. Trade shows are a lot like annual employee performance reviews. There should be no surprises, unless they’re positive. If you dread attending your annual industry trade show because of customer complaints, then your company is in serious trouble. I attend for just the opposite reason. Like Reason #2, I really enjoy meeting customers, talking about their businesses, learning about the challenges in their markets, and hearing about their lives. I know it’s a cliché, but shaking someone’s hand and looking them in the eye changes everything. Sure there may be a negative here and there, but it’s mostly all positive. Over the years, I can only count a few times, working with various companies, that I haven’t left a show feeling upbeat.

What? No Sewing Kit!

Reason #8: Hotel/Motel Toiletries. Actually, I don’t really care about the shampoo or the conditioner, but I hoard the little soaps. I am cheap, but that’s not the reason. I can’t stand the liquid soap at the gym where I am a member, and over the years I’ve probably left over a 100 bars of soap at the gym because I’m absent-minded. The mini-motel soaps are perfect. I don’t care if I leave them, and I don’t care about the brand.

Reason #9: Potential Customers. Next to chatting with existing customers, potential customers are my favorite reason to participate in trade shows. You get to see your company and your booth through their eyes. Is your product and service relevant to them? What interests them? What have they seen at the show that appeals to them? What does the future hold for them? For you? Far too many exhibitors are simply carnival barkers with more teeth and less visible tattoos. They want to close the sale, not create a relationship. That’s unfortunate because no one wants to be assaulted at a show. “Listen and Learn” is my mantra at every show.

Reason #10: For purely selfish reasons, I need a #10 to complete the list. Please take a moment and share your reason for attending/participating in trade shows. Why do you love to stroll down Aisle #600?

— Mel White

Additional Blog Entries:
10 Quick Tips for Any Trade Show Novice
Trade Shows as First Dates

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

Word on the Street — July 12th thru July 16th

July 18th, 2010 5 COMMENTS
Why we participate in the TS2 Show

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Post-TS2 Review and Highlights

This past week I was in Boston attending TS2  — a show that, to be honest, has had questions attached to it lately.

Questions like — What is the show’s direction? What is the show’s future? What is the motivation and/or reason for attending the show?

As the TS2 Exhibitor Advisory Committee (EAC) Chairman, I have fielded many questions about what is TS2 and where is it headed. As a long time attendee, 13 years to be exact, I can tell you that I agree the show has been (from the outside looking in), maybe a little lost. However, moving forward from Boston, I would suggest that the show has come full circle and has found its place and direction.

The Tradeshow for Tradeshows

Those of us with a long history with TS2 revere the show as the “Tradeshow for Tradeshows.” And in recent years I am not sure that has been true. Not to any particular person or groups fault, rather due to a desire to better differentiate the show from other industry shows. However at the end of the day, TS2 is and needs to be the “Tradeshow for Tradeshows” in my humble opinion.

We need to look at this event as an opportunity to gather good regional leads as well as an opportunity to forge business relationships and to reconfirm existing partnerships.

Having said that, I feel the show has gone a bit astray over the past few years by aligning itself with other associations that may not make the best sense. But at the same time, I understand the attempt to broaden the show’s reach beyond Exhibit Marketing Managers.

The education this year was well received and was a positive topic of discussion. Along with that, the floor, while somewhat small compared to EXHIBITOR, seemed to really speak to what the industry has to offer. The show floor had a real “pulse” for the first time in many years. There was a great deal of enthusiasm, and people wanted to see this show succeed and have a purpose.

I am curious to hear from those of you who attended. What were your thoughts after attending and/or exhibiting?

TS2 2011 Location

There have been some questions raised about the show’s location next year. A location has yet to be announced,  and not for a lack of trying. Much to the contrary. There are actually three locations on the table currently, and we hope to make an announcement by the end of August.

TS2 in Boston

Taking off my Exhibitor Appointed Committee hat for a moment and just address this as an exhibitor, I feel that TS2 has started to fit more as a “boutique” show. Meaning, not a major hall type of show. Rather a show that can place itself in a “destination” city. One  that offers exhibitors and attendees the opportunity to bring their families for a summer vacation as well as conduct work.

To me, the EXHIBITOR Show provides a broader spectrum of offerings to attendees and exhibitors. However, it does not always capture the whole country. Meaning, I believe that we need a second show each year for people who can’t or do not want to travel west to Las Vegas and who still want an opportunity to see the trade show industry’s latest and greatest.

Smaller is Not Always a Bad Thing

Smaller is not always a bad thing. Sometimes, a more direct and regional objective makes more sense to those who do not want to wade through a national show.

Boston, was a great case study in this. Many people were pleased and thankful to see the show in Boston — an area rich with customers and trade show-related businesses. We heard from  many of you that it  was exciting to see the show come to the NE corridor. It gave you an opportunity to catch up on what is new while not having to leave your back yard.

Classic Exhibits Island Exhibit

At the end of the day, Boston TS2 was a very successful show for Classic Exhibits, Exhibits NW, ClassicMODUL, and Eco-systems Sustainable Exhibits. Does that mean that next year we plan to have the same presence as we did this year? We’re not sure. But we’ll be there without a doubt.

As part of the EAC, we still have more work to do to get the focus of the show back to being the Tradeshow for Tradeshows. But I really feel like this year was a step in the right direction.

For those of you who did attend and/or exhibit, what did you think? Was it a good show? Would you do it again? Where would you like to see the show next year.

Great seeing so many of you last week. Especially our great vendor partners, distributors, and competitive friends.

Be well!

–Kevin Carty

Word on the Street — July 5th thru July 9th

July 10th, 2010 COMMENTS
Why we participate in the TS2 Show

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Who’s Headed to Beantown?

And Have You Voted for the TSEA Awards?

Classic Exhibits Inc. will of course be at TS2. We are in booth #315. Be sure to come by and see the beautiful 20 x 20 island we have designed. It highlights many of the new TSP profiles from ClassicMODUL which accept Silicone Edge Graphics, most of which are “backlit”! We are also showing one of the newest Sacagawea PS kits and a totally redesigned Magellan kit that will look somewhat familiar but much improved.

You will also notice the “frosting” to our booth, meaning the parts that make it shine. We are showing off SEG graphics from Optima as well as a custom-cut FlexFloor from our partners at Brumark. And last but not least, big thanks to Cort Furnishings for your assistance on the furniture!

As I have said before, TS2 is a unique show for Classic in many ways. Not only is it an opportunity to show off new products and designs to the attendees, but it is also an opportunity for Classic to spend time with many of our Custom House and Portable Modular distributors — whether they represent ClassicMODUL metal or Classic Exhibits designs and kits.

TSEA Awards

This year is a very special year as we have been nominated for The Best Exhibit House Award that will be announced at the TSEA Gala on Wednesday night. If you have not gotten your tickets for the event, please do. They are only $20 if you purchase now or $30 at the door. AND . . . please remember to vote as well!! You do not have to attend the gala to vote. Shameless I know. 🙂

Exhibit Design Search Webinars

As you may know, Mel White hosted two very successful and well-received webinars this past week on Exhibit Design Search:  Tips, Tricks, and Techniques . Make sure you come by and let him show you in person what he was able to share with nearly 70 distributors this past week: namely all the exciting new features of Exhibit Design Search. Mel will conduct another EDS webinar in August, so if you missed the webinar last week you will have another chance.

We hope to see you in Boston and that you take the time to come by and say “hello.” If you’re there during setup, please bring me water. The NE summer humidity is not something a native Oregonian is used to.

I look forward to seeing you all.

Be well and have a great weekend.

–Kevin Carty