Bariquins & Our Very First Exhibition: The Outcome
Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Bariquins & Our Very First Exhibition: The Outcome
By Chris Jarratt of Bariquins (October 2016)
Well we did it. And we didn’t just survive, we made a great impact. A BIG thank you goes to my team, Carolyn, Leah and Michael, for their great work at the Emergency Services Show. This was held on 21st & 22nd September at the National Exhibition Centre (or NEC) Birmingham, England. I mustn’t forget Barry and Benny either. They were the centre of a lot of peoples’ attention.
Although we were a first time exhibitor, you’d be hard pressed to tell us apart from the veterans as I think we did a very professional job. Our stand didn’t look out of place and there’s no way you’d have thought we were novices. That’s not just down to the appearance of the stand but my team’s conduct too. They engaged well with the delegates and organisers. And during the quieter moments (not that there were many at all) they kept their focus or they would go and introduce themselves to other exhibitors at the show. On one occasion when it was quiet, I went to visit the stand of a company that I wanted to make aware of Bariquins. When I returned to our display, I was amazed to see that there were 8 people crowded around the stand. Not one of them was ignored as they were all being educated about the benefits of training with a Barry or a Benny. Quite a few people commented how busy we were, though Barry and Benny will probably take the credit for that themselves. They certainly were a ‘people-magnet’.
You may have noticed that I am a little triumphant now. However, before the show, my stomach was in knots and I was very nervous. It was nothing to do with the preparation. All the stand literature, display pop-ups and the new design of stomach had all arrived in time. (The new stomach is being modelled by Benny below.)
What was concerning me was how the mannequins would be received by the various attendees at the show. I was so worried that I even had to sit down with my wife and tell her my fears; that instead of a product launch event, it could be a product ‘crash-and-burn’ event.
However, I could not have been more wrong. Within fifteen minutes of the doors opening on Day 1, a guy walks up to our stand and said ‘You weren’t here last year were you?’ He went on to tell us that he had been to the 2015 show and had not come across our company or product. He explained that he had been searching for something like a Bariquin ‘for several years now’ and that our mannequin was ‘absolutely ideal’.
That first visitor set the standard for the next two days. Representatives of all 999 services as well as those from training institutions, charitable organisations and fellow exhibitors were extremely impressed with Bariquins’ mannequins. It is no exaggeration to say that many visitors to the stand were using terms like ‘Brilliant’, ‘Fantastic’ ‘Incredible’ whilst assessing Barry and Benny, our two mannequins. Delegates were impressed by the design and quality of the Bariquins, as well as their suitability for training scenarios. To be given such high praise by so many knowledgeable and experienced professionals was incredible. And it was genuine too. It wasn’t a ploy to plunder the giveaways. (Some people were quite happy to admit that they were stocking up on pens for the whole office!)
As a result of our two-day exhibition, Bariquins have come away with over 20 strong leads including well-known names within the industry and also 6 potential collaboration partners, a couple of which are overseas ones. There’s also another 40 follow-ups to keep us busy over the coming weeks. We weren’t expecting any sales due to the type and size of the organisations we were expecting to deal with. Still, so many leads and follow-ups is impressive for a first-timer. It’s no wonder Barry was so overcome by it all, that Highways England had to turn out to treat him.
Well, as I promised last month, I’ve let you know how it all went. I also said that I’d tell you what I’ve leant, what I wished I’d known earlier and what tips I’d advise anyone else to know about. So, I probably would have wished I’d known what reactions the mannequins were going to get rather than have my stomach churning over. That said, if I had known beforehand, I would not have been so euphoric after the exhibition.
And tips? I’d say plan well ahead to help reduce any other stresses. How my knotted stomach would have been with stress through lack of preparation added to it, I’ll never know (nor do I want to find out). Finally, what have I learnt? Two things. First, have a driver who can get the van in the queue with all the other exhibitors’ vans whilst you dismantle your stand. Secondly, don’t listen to your fears, go with your instinct -and that can be applied to business in general, not just exhibitions.
Just before I sign off, many thanks to all those who came to our stand and for their encouraging and positive words. I will hopefully see you (and many other new visitors) there next year.
Tags: emergency, service, Show, fire, police, ambulance, paramedic, health service, health and safety, Bariquins, bariatric, Barry, dummy, Benny, obese, obesity, fat, mannequin, manikin, model, nhs, NEC, mountain, rescue, search, plus-size