It's crazy to think that just 6 short months ago we were featured guests & cosponsors of the annual Montreal National Home Show.
Celebrating its 40th edition, since its launch in 1979, the Montreal National Home Show is a 10 day long trade show that has been a recourse for all in a cross-category shopping environment for gift, home decor, furniture, innovative products in construction and of course the teams who execute these projects (designers, architects, contractors, etc).
We attended the show the previous year and while walking around scoping out all the booths we dreamed of what our booth may look like and made wishful jokes to one another "One day we'll be in the show", "Yes! 5 Year plan!". So when we received a call from Sydney, Operations coordinator of the show a few short days into the New Year, asking us if we would be interested in designing the TD Experts Zone and feature ourselves in the upcoming show in the spring - we nearly fell off our chairs.
Being that we were fairly new on the scene and still getting our bearings on operating a business, have zero experience in trade show or booth designs, we wanted to make sure we had the time and resources in place before committing. After reaching out to several of our suppliers to collaborate on the project, we did what we do in the face of any uncertainty - dived in head first.
TD Experts Zone
We had 1 month to come up with a design for both our booth and the Expert's Zone. One of the first suggestions we had for a theme was to create an atmosphere that was cozy and warm but we felt that while that style is very much on trend, chances are we'll be seeing it everywhere at the show. We wanted to design something that was bold and add some diversity. Then it came to us, we'll do a feature on Pantone's color of the year, Living Coral!
As a part of our contract in designing the zone we additionally had to supply the furniture. We love to design custom and we love supporting local, so when we found out about Cameo and their product it was a total no brainier for us to work with them. We worked closely with Valentina & Natalie on creating pieces and decor that would be design staples in the Expert's Zone.
We were very spoiled in our placement and landed directly across from Trevi, whom is well known to have the highest traffic of show comers in the show. We really struggled with how we wanted our booth to look. Suddenly all our ideas from last year didn't seem to be good enough now that we were facing the real deal. With the fact that Kitchen & Bath design make up 75% of our business our initial thought was to design a kitchen for the booth to flex our strengths in custom cabinetry design and space planning. However with our custom furniture collection launch looming, we said this would be the perfect opportunity to design a space we don't often get the opportunity to do, and in turn showcase a few of our pieces from the collection. With WIHM renovations & SOLL Solutions on board, we were one of the first booths to go up at the show.
On the last day of set up we were chopping pillows and hanging signage while our neighbors were still setting up their swimming pools. "Yikes" we thought, but the following morning they were ready bright and early; they even had a champion Olympic swimmer demonstrating in one of their pools!
At first when we found out the show was 10 days long we figured its the beginning of the year, we had just closed a few projects and haven't committed to anything yet so we were really just focusing on how this would be a great opportunity for exposure. A few weeks before the show the biz suddenly exploded. We were signing new projects weekly; and while being busy is a good problem to have, our commitment to be present at the show for sometimes 12 hours a day, over a period of 10 days started to seem more and more daunting than exciting.
A typical day for us looked like:
7AM & 10AM: Client meetings & site visits
10AM to 9PM: Schmoozing while simultaneously working on plans.
There would be times where one of us would be working on our laptop and while the other was greeting people stopping by at the booth.
There were times where we were both working and only looked up to take a breath. Sometimes one of us would have to sneak off to an afternoon meeting while the other manned the fort.
When 9PM rolled around, it was clean up time for us and a race to the car to avoid the traffic going home. We'd get home sometime between 11 and midnight and start all over again the next day.
Did we end up taking on too much at once? Absolutely.
Our meals were often inhaled during the 5 minute walk between the garage and our booth. We struggled to keep up with our work load given that the objective was to engage with the show comers. We were completely exhausted and when the last day ended, in similar fashion to our set up, we were the first ones to have our booth torn down and were outta there.
Did we love every minute of it? YES! This was such an incredible and enriching experience for us. An opportunity of which we didn't think would be attainable until much later in our careers.
March 2019 marked 1 year since we decided to take the plunge and go out on our own, and was just 2 months shy of our 1 year in operations. We met so many incredible people, experienced first hand some amazing products that were being introduced on the market and the feedback from our colleagues, friends, family - and even other designers about our collection was so overwhelming it completely warmed our hearts and solidified our hopes and dreams for the company's future; and furthermore our futures.
Pictured left to right: Nadia Kies (Studio Nine), Madison Rudy (Soll Solutions), Natalie Madjarian (Cameo Collection), Andrea Greenberg (ADG Design), Valerie Buchanan (Studio Nine), Ioana Tataru (Soll Solutions.)
Will we be back for 2020? The operations team were so happy with the outcome of the Expert's Zone, they asked us to collaborate again for next years show. Since the show our company has grown substantially and in a short amount of time. Come January 2020 we'll be looking to recruit designers to support our expanding business. Whether or not planning for another trade show is in the works for us is left to be said - but boy would it be fun!
A special thank you to our very generous and exceptionally talented collaborators on helping us pull everything together. We truly could not have done it without you!
Soll Solutions: Luxury Cabinetry & Woodwork. A manufacturer of Bespoke Design, Soll focuses on craftsmanship & attention to every detail. Their team ensures quality of construction, fit and has complete control over delivery and installation.
Cameo Collection: The Cameo name has become synonymous with high-quality sofa beds since 1960. Proudly Canadian owned and operated, Cameo manufactures right here in Montreal, Quebec. Their high-end yet affordable products and the superior craftsmanship of their sturdy hardwood frames and our premium mechanisms/support systems have earned them a reputation for excellence.
WIHM Renovations: WIHM Renovationis a full service construction company. They embrace a client-centric approach, while delivering best in class construction and craftsmanship. With over 12 years of experience in the industry, their work truly exceeds the expectation of any homeowner’s desires.
Carpette Multi Design: Having been in business for over 20 years, CMD has the largest selection of Hardwood, Engingeered, Laminiate and Carpet flooring.