It’s kind of a given that, in my Marketing role, I will spend all my time working in the office. So imagine my surprise when I was asked by the CEO, Chris Murphy, to be part of the team that would help exhibit our products in Cologne (or, as it’s known in Germany, Köln). For those of you not aware of Spoga + Gafa, I know I wasn’t, it is the world’s leading garden trade fair where over 2,000 exhibitors come to show their products to the 40,000 + visitors. Over the week of 31/08/2016 – 07/09/2016, I travelled with five other colleagues. I have learnt a lot about the products, our export department, about my colleagues and our competitors.
Our first day
We spent the first day with travelling. We left Dunster House headquarters in Bedford at 5am, not quite bright eyed and bushy tailed but raring to hit the road. From there we drove straight to Dover to catch a ferry to Calais. Along with some out of tune singing and coffee stops, we discussed the products we were taking to the exhibition: the Vantage 250 Summerhouse, ManorFort Stronghold and an Erin Gazebo customised with all the different available options (open, plain timber wall, louvre blinds and 4mm toughened glass). These are obviously not all of our products. Probably we would need the entire hall to bring all of the products we sell. We arrived at our hotel, tired and in desperate need of rest. So relaxed a little while we waited for the rest of the team arrived.
Hard work began
The next day, the hard work really began. We arrived at the exhibition around 7.30am and began unloading the van. When the van was empty and I took a look at the amount of timber and metal in front of me, I was a little overwhelmed.
Me and Liam, a member of our Bedford sales team, were designated the ManorFort Stronghold Climbing Frame. As my DIY experience stops at building IKEA flat pack furniture. I was a little nervous but I can now confidently say that you can build our Climbing Frame in as little as a day. All you need is the tools listed in the instruction manual. We provide all of the fixings. It takes a little bit of elbow grease but, in approx 3 hours, we had it completely built. Ziggy, who runs Dunster Polska, had built the Vantage Summerhouse in just over an hour (we don’t know how he did it).The rest of the team built the Erin Gazebo. To finish the display we, like many of the exhibitors, built our own gantry. This required a lot of teamwork and when we finished, we felt exhausted but happy with ourselves.
It was a great experience
Before long, the day of the exhibition arrived. I never, in my wildest dreams, could have imagined how big the exhibition hall was. There were ten huge halls over three floors, each crammed with exhibitors and displays of all shapes and sizes. The team went to work straight away, answering all the queries and questions that visitors had – our Eco UDS Composting PlasticToilet seemed very popular with anyone in the agricultural trade. Utilising Ziggy and Owen’s knowledge, I learned new things about how our timber goes from tree to product. After three very successful, albeit very long (10 hour) days, the exhibition was over and it was time to bring the display down. This wasn’t as quick as the construction but, in around four hours, we packed it all to a van. In the end, after a little celebration, it was time to come home…