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Picture Frames - Photo Mounts Exhibition - A Day In The Life

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Author: Mike Allerton

Info on Focus

Over 18,000 sq.m of imaging in two halls makes FOCUS the largest imaging event ever staged in the UK and the largest annual event of its kind in Europe. FOCUS is the most diverse and comprehensive imaging show ever staged in the UK, making it the most useful, informative and inspirational to all image makers.

It was 5:30am when we set off from HQ - it was cold, it was dark - a step into another world. Who was it that once said - the first step is the hardest?

The previous 6 weeks had seen us all, updating our website, creating a new brochure and making our price list easier to understand.

We simplified create a few price categories and assigned our products accordingly. For me (Peter) I had lots and lots of changes to make to the website, amending prices, uploading new photos.

For Phill - the photographer we had to take photos of some new finished products. Credit here must also go to Simon Reagan, a product photographer, a fine art photographer and printer who only does work of the very highest standards.

The previous night Paul and Aaron had been working in the factory putting the final touches to the display. We had a few hours sleep and then it was show time.

As per getting to the N.E.C in Birmingham was easy, finding the right way to the car park, getting a space and finding where we could unload was the difficult part.

The van is parked - the sun is shining we have 2hours 30 minutes to setup - All hands to the pump, and any spare ones to the coffee machine.

Paul and Aaron get the display up and ready with 10 minutes to go before the public are allowed into the auditorium.

We are all dressed and ready to go, Peter W has done a great job in getting us some Cadremont shirts - complete with embroidered logo - I feel proud.

For the next 10 hours we talk and talk and talk to everyone from Camera Clubs, societies, wedding photographers, amateur photographers, portrait photographers, landscape photographers, wildlife photographers, even Police forensic photographers. We speak to Wholesalers, retailers, publishers and fine art exhibitors. Wow is all I can - the response is 100% positive, everyone is fascinated by the work, people want to know more, could we make this product, could we change the way we sell that product. Everyone's needs are different but everyone's attitude is the same - POSITIVE. That makes all the previous 6 weeks hard work worth it. End of Day1 - we all have sore feet, aching legs , and generally feel tired. Debrief back at the Premier Inn in Halesowen, we then manage to find a pub that sells Real Ale - as well as offering free curry and rice.

Day two:-

Very early start. Today is the day when we get the serious business users visiting. We talk to universities, lecturers, shop owners, photographers (with their own shops). Again they all want to know about out picture frames, our customised photo mounts, although some people also call them picture mounts, whilst others call them bevel cut mounts - at the end of the day - they are all mounts.

The is one particular piece of artwork that seems to catch everyone's eye. It is a 'big black inca' frame, it has a pinstripe mount (ie a mount within a mount) and the picture of from Venice, it is a Mannequin with a mask, it looks like a person, until you notice she has no arms. A very stunning piece of work. We have a question for all our visitors - how much would they pay for it including delivery. We have many guesses, but everyone over estimates, when we do tell them the price, they seem to have to ask us again for the figure. The penny then drops for them, that they can increase their profit margin by quite a significant percentage.

Back to the Hotel - yesterdays sore feet - seem but a mere flesh wound - compared to today's aches and pains. A few real ales help to soothe these weary limbs.

Day Three:-

Like Day two - but with even more visitors to the stand today - the coffee bill has gone through the roof. Todays visitors seem to be professionals, and quite a few college students with teachers. We then meet John Boyd - a real character and true gent from Leeds. He used to be a Radio commentator - amongst other things - and baffles us with his football trivia questions from the 1956 FA cup. He is also about to submit some artwork to the Royal Photographic Society - and wants our help - glad to say we are very happy to help out. He also tells us that of all the stands he visited - we are the only he has come back to, the four reasons were - price, quality, attitude and free water - good to see we tick all the boxes required for customer service.

Back to Hotel - Needs a few extra beers tonight to soften the blisters - but all you can eat bangers and mash and football on the TV also play their part.

Day Four:-

The last day. Over the previous days we have met so many interesting people we thought today would be a quiet day. How wrong were we. Today we meet a couple of very freindly Irish men - who are interested in us shipping products to Ireland. We met a wedding photography agency who want us to do all their artwork, printing, mounting and picture framing. We meet David from Dublin who wants us to help him with his wedding business accessories - photo mounts for wedding invitations. We also talk to a Police photographer, an RAF camera man and even a Greek photographer who wants to know if we ship to Greece. Even with 5 minutes to go on the last day we have an enquiry from a Polish Lady who needs us to make some wedding reportage overlays for her studio. When we tell her to email us a design and we'll make it available on our website as a finished product with 2 hours - she doesn't believe us. She made an order 3 hours later - I think she believes now.

Finally at 5:10pm on Wednesday 10th March 2010 - the Focus2010 Imaging Exhibition comes to an end. All the picture frames, photo mounts, reportage etc all get packed away, we load the van and drive back home.

We have a few questions, was it worth Cadremont doing the exhibition - YES. Did we get the feedback we wanted - YES, do we have new products to offer - YES, do we sore feet and aching limbs - YES, will we be back next year - I think so.

About the author: A photographer and website designer; brief history of 4 days spent at Europes largest Photography exhibition

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