I'm back home and ticking off, one by one, all of the things I do when I return from out of town. I want to get this first blog post done so I can get to the one about the book giveaway.....so I'm keepin' this short & sweet!

The photos here show the displays I created at the SFIGF. Above is a shot of the location: main entrance to Moscone South Hall. The one below is of my buds, the GES guys, whom I called Ben & Jerry, working for .....oh, about NINE HOURS to put together the fixtures I was to build the displays on.
They made repairs to broken parts, fashioned new parts for those that were missing altogether, and jerry-rigged some solutions to big problems. My kinda' guys, ya know? (Like I always say. "With a roll of duct tape and some hot glue, you can hold the world together!") In their case, it was duct tape, wood putty, and a boatload of screws, but they got the job done, bless their hard-working macho hearts & muscles! Then I got to paint it after they bashed it with hammers and mallets and such.

I got my hands on the fixtures at eleven AM and noon, respectively, on Friday. I cleaned & painted them, then continued sorting all of the incoming products and tent cards (which I started at 8 AM), and finally arranged the displays all. in. one. day. I finished at 9 PM. I ate trail mix and drank Starbux all day to keep going, fueled by Brian Setzer, the B52's, and the GoGo's on my MP3 player. When I finally hobbled back to my hotel by 9:30 PM, I fell into bed and rang room service. At 10:30 I called to ask about my food, since it had not arrived yet. They lost my order. OY. I finally ate at eleven fifteen PM. Okay, rant done.

So this is what the assembled fixtures looked like:

I'm a nice person, I really am. I don't like to pick on people or bash their ideas. That being said....

THIS fixture? What a complete disaster. On so many levels, it just does not work. Nine hours of assembly was the first problem....not exactly cost-effective. Then there is the unstable construction, which Ben & Jerry tried to stabilize but it still wobbled to high heaven when I touched it. There is a REASON I placed no product on the top tier. I couldn't reach it, even on a 12 foot ladder. It sits back too far from the edge of the base. And you can't place a straight ladder on the base, against the uprights - because of that wobble. (DivaDeb is not willing to break a leg for her craft. No way, no how.)

I also have an issue with the huge amount of vacant space on the bases - behind that big horizontal shelf, there is probably ten cubic feet of wasted area. And blocked space - those uprights just totally block the view of merchandise on the shelves, with little tiny spaces inbetween them that are totally unusable.

Now, maybe the person who designed these didn't understand the nature of or sheer quantity of the merchandise that would be placed on them. Clearly, they weren't familiar with the incredible beating that fixtures like this get between shows, or that these were intended to be used more than once. The MDF construction blew to smithereens after the last show (which was the first show they were used at), and the 4X4 uprights warped. So, I talked with the show director, and we will be redesigning these for maximum efficiency.

Here is what they ended up looking like with exhibitor product on them, one for Fall themes and one for Winter themes:

(You can see the space problem, right?!) I'll add some pedestal units like those we use in Seattle, plus plexi cubes, for flexible-use surfaces in several configurations on the base unit - especially in that back 'wasted' area. Those uprights will be chopped off above the second shelf, with a platform attached atop them to hold more plexi cubes. And a hidden stabilizer for the uprights will be added, to keep them from wobbling. I'll also order signage, backdrops, and overhead lighting for this at the next show, just to really set off the products as they should be.

It's never too late to fix a mistake like this. It may be expensive and time consuming at first, but it's still not a mistake. The mistake would be doing nothing in this case, trying to work with this fixture as is and investing hours of time repairing it for each show setup. Not under MY watch!!!!

((Okay, so now I sound like a complete and utter Diva, baggin' on the design that some other display stylist came up with . Sorry. I just know what works, and how it has to work for this use. This doesn't, so now I have to fix it because that's what I've been hired to do: make it work the way it's supposed to. By sharing these thoughts with you, I hope it helps you see solutions to some of your own dilemmas!))

Next post: My comments on YOUR comments, and a winner is announced!

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