Friday, July 16, 2010

your booth and you! a love/hate relationship.

After the previous posts, you might be asking yourself how I could possibly have more to say about foam board...I do...lots more! After using it for years, I have had coups, and, I have had terrible mishaps, I have found great ways to use it, stick stuff to it, hang it, hang stuff to it (even heavy...yes, I CAN!, and will show you how) and embellish it and make it look interesting and architectural...
But do you know what one of the best things about foam board is? When the show is over, I walk out of the convention center and I leave it there...that's right, I never look back...I walk right out! Why? Because at about $20 per sheet and given the fact that foam board would not travel very well on my single pallet, I say, forget it, move on, let it go, buh bye!
As you learned in a previous post, and from links, foam board is made of foam on the inside, HA, go figure! Therefore, if you step on it, puncture it, rip it or scratch it, you really can't repair it, unless you use tape, and a sheet of foam board with tons of tape keeping it together is not sleek or elegant (remember that!).
So, in my humble opinion, move on, for the few hundred dollars that you will spend on booth stuff that you will leave behind, trust me, it's worth it. You will save time, energy, headaches and your pack up will be so much speedier, and as you know, or will know soon enough, when the show is over, the show is OVER, you just want to go home. Leave the old foam board, move on and go home! (I give you permission).
Although that is definitely a PRO for foam board, because you get out and get home quickly, the obvious CON is that you have spent some money on something you can't really reuse. Unless you have the HUGE box that the foamboard came in (and you might not get the box unless you ordered a box full) and a big enough pallet/crate to ship it properly so as not to have it damaged during shipping, you are NOT going to want to reuse it.
Recyclers, reusers, people greener-than-thou, please accept my apologies now and don't moan about it, this is my advice, take it or leave it. I look at it like this, extra hours, extra wasted energy, extra shipping, thus extra fuel consumption, all that to then show up at the next show and see your do-gooding fall to pieces because your recycled foam board has shown up all crapped up and broken...SO NOT WORTH IT! If you can make it work, and keep it for a couple of shows, you are my hero and you should definitely start a blog about how to preserve and ship foam board and link it to me, or at least, a blog post about it.
Cool, now that's out of the way.

Factoid: At this point you should really know that for some crazy fabulous reason, the booths at Americasmart in Atlanta can be foam boarded for you for a VERY reasonable price, and there are even quite a few color choices. Wondering if you should spend the money?, I say YES, let them do it for you, they do a great job. I don't have too too much that is positive to say about the Atlanta show (Gifts and home furnishings market specifically) but this foam board option is amazing. I can't for the life of me understand why it is so affordable in Atlanta and so outrageously expensive in NY, and the Atlanta job is 100% better too (with a wooden structure behind the foam board even!), one of the many mysteries of the trade show universe, I might need to further investigate one day.

Here is an example of your booth that you just spent tons of money on, this one is your basic 10' x 10', you might even get a wastebasket and chair if you are lucky, rest assured, they will be ugly and old.
You will likely get a cardboard sign with your company name on it and possibly the booth number. You will most definitely toss it in the supplied wastebasket, smart move! It's really ugly.
Your show will likely have a show color that is chosen for the carpet, depending on which section you are in, or you can pay more money and choose a custom color that can be installed for you, also relatively ugly, if the carpet is black, heads up, it will absord TONS of light, expect to either really EXTRA light your booth or have a darker looking booth.
This kind of booth is called a pipe and drape booth. Pipes fit together to make up the structure of the booth and ugly, usually beige satiny drapes are hung on 3 sides for your taking down/ covering up/ hiding pleasure.
Some shows have not so ugly drapes, in our present juried in section Studio, at the NY show, we have an off white stretched canvas/muslin type fabric that is on the walls. It's actually not that bad, looks much better than than the usual drape used and yes, we pay lots more to be in this section.
Do we cover it up? We certainly do! (there goes that!).
We also opt to not have carpet in our booth. We will get to our flooring soon, (in a rush? I mentioned it here) but last we checked, apparently the shows are cutting down hundreds of ugly synthetic forests and plants to make the horrendously expensive ugly carpets exhibitors can order, word has it that they do not recycle them or reuse them, they are simply thrown out at the end of the show...hopefully someone will comment otherwise, but last we checked, that was the story and I don't like it!
Save a synthetic ugly carpet tree, opt out!
Are you getting impatient now? Wondering how we went from this:

to this:

or this, relatively painlessly and quickly?
Stay tuned, next post, how to actually get the foam board to hang on the walls!


  1. photos are the good way to keep the memories live and you will feel well will see the old memories of your life.
    thanks for this great info.
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  2. Nadine,

    Thank you for your comments, and participation in the New York International Gift Fair. We appreciate the hard work (and expense) you invest in creating a dynamic booth display.

    With the hope of answering some of your questions…

    Foam board provided at GLM-managed tradeshows at NYC's Javits Center is flame resistant. As there is only one US manufacturer of flame resistant foam board, costs related to production and meeting EPA standards are high. Additionally, Javits Center union labor charges - for installation and removal of each panel - are included in the price per board. (Of note, Georgia is a right-to-work state, in which unions are not required.)

    Regarding booth carpets at GLM-managed events at Javits: after four uses, 60% is sent to Mexico for reuse by needy families; 10% is reused by dolly manufacturers; 30% is not recycled (but they’re working on it). Aisle carpet is saved and 100% is reused/recycled at our insistence.

    We are looking forward to a great show in August! In the meantime, feel free to contact us with any additional questions.

    Cate Salvatore, on behalf of the NYIGF

  3. I am so happy and thankful you are posting all this info about booth setup. It is not easy to find detail information coming from real experience