We have participated in a variety of trade shows around the country over the last few years. Always a mixed experience, design trade shows take a tremendous amount of time, effort and resources but also provide a unique and special opportunity for us to connect with our audience. From building work on spec to designing and fabricating a booth, to transporting and installing the whole shebang, it is a very, very tiring process. Often, while bogged down in the details and work, we forget why we do them in the first place, which is to forge a direct and personal connection with potential clients and introduce people to our work and our philosophy.
We went international for the first time last week, travelling to Vancouver BC to participate in the annual Interior Design Show West. This was a tremendous experience from beginning to end. Every person we dealt with was friendly, competent and helpful. No pretention or attitude, just an eagerness to make sure that the exhibitors were taken care of and happy. When you are paying as much for these shows as you do, dealing with snobbishness or incompetence at any level is very, very frustrating. Not in Vancouver.
We were lucky enough to score a 20’ x 10’ island space in a decent location near the middle of the very large convention hall. Construction of our booth (most extensive we have ever done) came off with out a hitch and we were ready to go. 72 hours later and literally, HUNDREDS of conversations with interior designers, private homeowners, business owners, and general design fans, we were a little tired out…and we still had to break down the booth and drive 1000 miles back to SF!
Despite fatigue, physical and financial, we relish these opportunities to meet new people and spread the word about what we are trying to do at Varian Designs. It is not only great to meet new clients, but also other professionals that are hoeing the same row as us, trying to do something special in their work and in their lives. It is very easy to isolate yourself in the shop or in front of a computer, IDS West reminded us that there are lots of people doing very inspiring work in different places in the world. So, to the IDS West team and Canadians in general a heartfelt thanks from the "Guys from San Francisco."
Well worth the time and effort. Enjoy the pictures.