It takes months to plan the perfect show, an endless cycle of stand design, staffing schedules, logistics management, visual merchandising design, brochure orders, stock orders...I could go on (but I won't divulge too many of the mundane details).
And in a blur, it's been and gone, just like that!
We have just broken down from the Ideal Home Show at Olympia, London, and what a show it was 17 days, 15 members of staff, 3 vans (1 motorway break-down), 40 boxes of brochures and many man hours later, here we are!
If you have never been to a retail show as an exhibitor (or even a customer), we wanted to give a brief glimpse into the life of a show.
For those of us here at Kadai Firebowls, it's a mission to get down to our capital city, being country folk (and proud of it), it involves lengthy train or car journeys. Luckily we all get on very well so it doesn't matter who you travel with, but 3.5-4 hours can drag somewhat.
Arriving in London, we normally make our way to our accommodation to drop off luggage and settle in for the night (anticipating a long day ahead). As for Josh and me, we set off from Shropshire at 5am, to arrive at Olympia at 9.30am, just in time to unload stock, park the van and open the stand in the nick of time.
Sunday 20th March - A busy start, and it only gets busier as the day goes on. My first sale is to the wonderful Mr George Clarke (Amazing Spaces and Shed of the Year), he bought an Original Kadai Firebowl and one of our great new Wood Fired Ovens, I can't wait to see the pictures from that barbecue!
The day gets busier, an endless stream of happy shoppers and four hours go by, I haven't stopped talking the whole time! We are joined by the lovely Charlie, who helps us at shows and is a valued member of the team, always ready with a smile and a head packed full of information. We all find a moment to indulge in a selfie :-)
Not for long though, more shoppers, people everywhere keen to know more about the Kadai Firebowl, stock is flying out (once you see them, you simply have to have one). I can feel myself getting dramatic as I talk about how much I love my Kadai, 12 years later and still using it at least once a week. It's a great life here for us country folk, I spend my weekends gardening, walking and cooking outdoors, it doesn't get much better than that!
It's 3pm, three more hours to go but we've had to have a little sit down, all day on your feet can be tiring. More brochures needed, we fetch more boxes, and more and more...people are really interested which is fantastic! There are so many comments about how great the stand looks, how great the products are, and we have to say, we are inclined to agree.
I spot an opportunity to embarrass Josh and also a great photo opportunity, as the fabulous Dolly Girls walk by (a singing trio featured on TV, they perform harmonies in a 1920's/1930's style). Josh gets pulled in for a picture, which he looks embarrassed about but I can tell he loves it really
The afternoon is slower, still constant, but calmer. Our enthusiasm hasn't dampened (even if our legs have), but speaking to people is what we all love about these shows. Having a genuine interest in people is essential, I had a conversation with the most fascinating gentleman about his travels through India as a young man, and a lovely lady who gave me tips on which train journeys through the Himalayas would be best.
In his downtime Josh liked to make the most of our exhibitor neighbours, the brilliant Rolands digital pianos and drum kits:
Thanks to the lovely Dean and Richard who accommodated us and our banter, kept us entertained with their piano playing and generally cheered us up from start to finish!
6pm arrives, the show closes and the customers tail off, bags and brooms in hand (the Australian guy selling the Sweepa rubber broom was a sales genius, he sold out each day by about 1pm). We start to clear away, packing up, turning off our fake fires, making sure all electrics are off and hanging around to see if any stragglers need assistance:
As the show closes for the day, we make our way to the tube, three stops and then off at Clapham Junction, 15 minute walk, up a flight of stairs, through the front door of our rental apartment, shoes off and relax! Dinner calls for one of two things, a take-away or good old pub grub, we opt for the latter. We find ourselves falling asleep at the table, how exhausting that day was, one pizza and a rum and coke later and it's time for bed (9pm - how rock and roll).
A great day and only another 13 to go...
That's a day in the life of the Ideal Home Show, we had a good run and now on to the Chelsea Flower Show, stand designs are in progress and the hard work will continue for the rest of the year. We look forward to the Ideal Home Show at Christmas to finish off our year and a well earned rest. It's a good job we love what we do, and we hope that you love what we do too.
Stay tuned for our next installment, a day in the life of Team Kadai here in Shropshire. Find out what we do here in the beautiful countryside and take a sneak peak inside Kadai HQ.
Until then, take care and enjoy those Kadai Firebowls :-)