The “Grand Designs Live” show was held at the NEC in Birmingham from Friday 12th – Sunday 14th October 2012. The show is based on the hit channel 4 series which is hosted by Kevin McCloud and features over 500 exhibitors from all areas of home improvement.
This was the first time we had marketed ourselves at an exhibition, so the apprehension grew somewhat as the show approached. Fortunately, having a showroom of our own afforded us some indication of the best way to utilise our 4m x 3m stand, in which we managed to accommodate 3 small staircases, 3 miniature pairs of hardwood gates, 1 high performance casement window, 1 sash windows and a 3 door bi-folding system. Obviously we could only fit a certain amount of product into the available space so to provide further examples of our work we installed a flat screen T.V with over 200 rolling images.
The show began at 10:00am on Friday 12th November, and the first trickle of visitors began to work their way to our stand by 10:15am. However, by 11:30am this trickle had grown into a sea of bodies that continued to flow steadily until 3pm that afternoon. People had travelled from all over the UK to source prospective suppliers and get new ideas for their projects, and most were extremely well informed, even opening up sets of plans and folders with sketches and magazine cuttings.
Having a stand full of products manufactured from natural timber proved very attractive. It was amusing to see how many people would walk straight over to our show-pieces and rub their hands on them. Our most frontal exhibition piece was a solid American black walnut staircase which must have been the most touched product at the entire show. It was extremely satisfying and sometimes comical to see the reactions to this modern design of staircase, which for us proved to be a show-stopper.
The following two days proved to be just as successful as the first with more of the same in terms of visitors. Despite the logistics, travelling and many hours spent standing up it was an amazing experience to speak to so many visitors and fellow exhibitors and something we will definitely replicate in the future.