(A few days in the life of a designer turned exhibition contractor)
We produced the stand at the Toy Fair for one of our clients Tolo Toys. After an early (4.30am) Sunday morning start we arrived in convoy at Olympia ahead of schedule. It has been a while since I had been to Olympia and had to get my bearings all over again. Ah yes... here was that tiny loading area to get 2 large vans in and transport all the (extremely) large packing cases, exhibition boards, pallets and everything else for the stand in a small lift to the gallery floor. Not that difficult I here you say, but the problem was there were about another 50 exhibition, catering and stand companies all wanting to do exactly the same thing and at the same time as us!! I have never witnessed Lift rage before, and it wasn't pretty let me tell you. Anyway after much waiting, cursing, clock watching and sweating (those crates weren't light) we finally managed to get everything to the site.
The space was 8m x 4m, not a small space but not a particularly large one either as everything we had unloaded took up far more room than the space itself. That famous expression - "I think we need a bigger boat" came to mind. Soon the two of us were well under way moving things around so we could lay the carpet down first, which I must say went down like a dream (note to self - add carpet laying skills to other talents).
Once this was in place the front wall went up and was swiftly followed by the back and side walls enclosing the whole stand - it was beginning to look a lot like an exhibition stand already.
Time check - 9.30pm not bad, only a 15 hour day so far.
Exhibitions are very hard work (I know all you exhibition contractors out there are nodding in agreement) but it is incredibly rewarding when you see all your efforts come together to make something from nothing. All in all some very good work by everyone I think you will agree.
The Toy Fair lasts for just three days so we had to go back and do it all again, but in reverse.
Roll on next year!