Monday, April 30, 2012

Building a Tradeshow Booth - for Activeseam

The evolution of a successful tradeshow booth. Or How to build a cost effective trade show display.

Why this post? We found that  it cost dumb money to have someone produce a booth - So in the interest of democratizing the tradeshow development process, we're going to share with you a quick synopsis of how we built an ass-kicking 10X20 booth without breaking the bank.



After the success of the show in Mexico in March, we decided it was time to introduce Activeseam to the US market, and the opportunity was the Texprocess show produced by SPESA in Atlanta in April.

We had three weeks from the moment we made the decision - Nothing existed to display prior to this show.

Nate Murray was given the task of building from scratch a tradeshow booth designed to show off the new program, while supporting our legacy machines as well.

He also had 100% responsibility for booking the space, the hotels, and travel arrangements for three people.

Here's how we did it.

1. Sketch-up
It's free, and after three days or so of design work we landed on something we thought made sense.

It's not free - but it's cheap. Here's what we used
A. the SLATTEN flooring @ .65/ft
This took about 90 minutes to put in the 10X20 space. It is a two man job...but when you're done, damn does it look good.
B. EXHIBIT for showing off machines and line cards
C. MOBIUS for portable tables

Everything was negotiable (except IKEA and the plane tickets). We were able to adjust booth space price, the hotel price, the freight charges, the posters etc.

These guys - who don't know that we're going to say really nice things about them - were helpful, quick and most importantly, they make a really nice product. Nate and I set it up in 20 minutes. It was a piece of cake. Push comes to shove - i'd call it essential. With all of the other problems you'll have at a show, having this remarkably well built/easy to assemble truss will be like that first chest full of cool fresh air after 10 hours on well over capacity 105 degree bus with busted half shut windows, shoulder to shoulder, non-stop, Guatamala city to Puebla. It will just feel nice.

Order them online - direct ship to the show.
Make twice as many as you need - order the retractable ones, and use them as wall backing to cover the back and sides of the booth. Yeah, it could have been tighter, and the zip ties weren't perfect- however for short money you get a versatile, reusable thing that is very easy to ship. I can't say enough about the stand-up 33"X80" posters. The booth space is always a little different than you expect, and these let you change the blocking of the booth while you're there to better handle traffic.

We blew it on time. Assume you need 6 hours to assemble the booth, and then double it. I think all told, it took two of us 8 hours to put this one up


Get there a day early - and leave a day late. Expect that the union will exact a pound of flesh to deliver your stuff - DON'T PANIC. These are the things to let happen. There is no rational argument that will change the idiocy of union organized trade show organization.

Bring tools - but not too many! You need a screwgun, a hammer, an allen key, a rubber mallot and a couple of large screw drivers. You need Zip ties and lots of packing tape, shrink wrap and packing foam.

Remember velcro with an adhesive backing!

Pack Acrylic stands for Line Cards.

That's really it. With a few tools and the aforementioned display items you end up with:

Unknown Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

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