Kitchen Showrooms in Melbourne

If you want to see some great kitchen design ideas you need to visit a kitchen showroom in Melbourne. Some are better than others of course and I commonly take clients to of multiple showrooms to get a bit more of an idea of trend and quality.

The range is pretty comprehensive and they have things laid out in a way that really gets the creative juices flowing. I know a few of the staff in Knoxfield quite well and they really make the whole process an enjoyable one.

People often approach these processes with a lot of stress but building a home or renovating a kitchen should be an exciting time. I think you really need to realise the possibilities to feel that excitement when walking into a kitchen showroom knowing you are going to come out with something unbelievable and practical that you can cherish for life.


Always Know the Rules!

The greatest lessons I received from the elite public school system in suburban Illinois involved understanding the importance of knowing what the rules are, how exceptions are made, and how they are enforced. Knowing the rules helped me out of quite a few binds!

In the tradeshow world, it’s very much the same way (yes, I’m comparing convention centers to public schools – would anyone blame me for the comparison?). Understanding the technicalities that surround your exhibit, where and when to ask for variances, and what variances show management can or cannot accept, can define the success or failure of your tradeshow booth.

I recently had a client call me with a list of 5 shows that they wanted to exhibit at in 2010. They wanted to do a 20×20 exhibit that was 16 ft. tall. Maximizing visibility and utilization of cubic footage that they pay for has always been of utmost importance to them.4 of the 5 tradeshows would not permit the type of exhibit designs that they planned to utilize. 1 of the 4 later agreed to allow it, based on a height variance. There are basic guidelines on when variances need to be applied for – including submitting drawings from a structural engineer. We have an email confirmation, and we’ll go through the necessary motions to execute the height variance.

Knowing the rules intimately – not just the basic height, setbacks, etc. – can prove to be a show-saver. As we’ve mentioned here before, get everything in writing, and bear in mind that the show hall, not show management, is the ultimate judge in any disputed situation. Make the rules work for you– not against you!

Booth Design First, Marketing Strategy Second… And WHY?

In an industry like any other, where every vendor proclaims to be “thinking outside of the box” and other jaded “-isms,” I have a complaint: Why does the procurement process always evolve around which furniture and styles should go into an exhibit display?

Not only do most interactions between exhibit houses and exhibitorsstart with furniture arrangements-they proceed to price and logistics. This is when my blood pressure rises and I start to mutter incoherently to myself… Why is our industry so fixated on this mode of doing business?

Can we agree that the reason exhibitors spend tens, hundreds, or millions on their exhibit programs is for the purpose of marketing andselling? Can we agree that it is not because they are trying to sell furniture, and it is not because they are overly fascinated by warehousing and commercial freight details? I’m going to go out on a limb that the boardrooms that approve marketing budgets do so on an understanding that it will increase their brand’s, product’s, or service’s exposure, and otherwise increase sales opportunities. Why do we start off the discussion by discussing the widgets we think ought to be crammed together in your booth?

I endeavor, on every exhibitor conversation, to hit the ‘reset’ button, and orient the conversation around goals of the exhibit program. In other words, why were you given all of this company money? What is that money intended to provide for the company, and tell me what unique situations your company finds themselves faced with?

Product launch? Recent merger or acquisition? Defending brand or product against new competitor, or competitor’s new product? “Jaded” perception within industry? Business sector’s financial instability sewing doubt into prospective and existing clients’ minds? These are all common threads that we hear from exhibitors who need a new approach to their exhibit.

While I heap generous blame to the “cabinet makers” mindset amongst competing exhibit houses, a certain amount of criticism is owed to exhibitors. The approach that gains the most straightforward response from your vendors may not be the best approach for your exhibit program. What are some ideas for how trade show coordinators can improve their exhibit program from first contact, all the way through project completion? We’re eager to hear your comments on the subject – let us know what you think.

McCormick Place… it’s not a “profit center”

This week was an interesting one for trade shows based in Chicago’s McCormick Place Convention Center in the near future. Apparently, legislation in Illinois proposes to convert tradeshow union laborers into public employees.

They plan to WHAT?

Yes, they plan to make the show more efficient, transparent, and effective, and less expensive to boot. All by a magical transition of changing the labor pools at McCormick into government employees (presumably municipal employees of the MPEA – we’ve mentioned them here before, me thinks…).

Actually, the FIVE labor unions will become THREE, laborers willno longer be able to strike, and contracts will be negotiable on an individual show basis.

One additional mandate was stipulated in the fine print of the legislation*:

All subsequent references to “Union” labor(ers) must hereafter include quotations hitherto delineated [“Union” labor].

* -I kid, I kid. But how is it still a “union” if you a. can’t strike, b. they negotiate your contract willy nilly, and c. they outright eliminate 40% of the members groups? I think that 40% ought to figure out where their dues are going towards…

Freeman and GES, show contractors at McCormick, are none too pleased by the plan.

Show organizers gave mixed reviews:

“I don’t know much besides, ‘Yeah, we’re taking labor in house, and this would save money,’ but I don’t know that it would,” said Tom Shimala, show manager for the Radiological Society of North America Scientific Assembly & Annual Meeting (

“I don’t think we’re in the stage where we can comment on the final product, because there is no final product,” he added. “If they are trying to lower cost and improve quality for exhibitors, and, if this will do it, then I’ll back it.” – Peter Eelman, show manager for the Intl. Manufacturing Technology Show (

The quote I most relished, however was this one:

“They are concerned that we are doing this to generate revenue, for us to mark up labor and then pass that cost onto the contractor,” [the GM of McCormick Place] added. “We have been saying (that) we are not in process of making this a profit center.”

‘Cause they’re trying to LOSE money? If anyone knows what the goal is now (since it’s not profits…), please enlighten me!

Mendacity @ McPier

All this blogging and social media over-consumption is starting to contort my vocabulary into the more banal dialect characteristic of our modern era. So when I first read that the MPEA’s Board of Directors was getting cleared out, with the 13 bodies being replaced with 7hopefully warmer ones, my immediate reply was “OMG, that’s gr8.” No, actually, that’s not how I talk.

The MPEA is indeed going through a bit of a transition period. Legislation was just passed to oust the 13 person board that oversees Navy Pier and McCormick Place operations, and legislation has recently been proposed to change the McCormick Place “union” labour pool into public employees. The 13 member McPier board is slated to be replaced with 7 appointees selected by Mayor Daley and Governor Quinn. Hmm.

One would suspect that this action came amidst a general lack of perceived impetus at McCormick – a cursory glance at  MPEA’s press release page reveals how much has been done to respond to the losses of NRA, NPE, HIMSS, and a laundry list of other trade shows still talking about leaving the convention center by 2012. Not too much, in short, has been done. The new 7 person board is tasked with bringing back shows, and attracting new ones.

The rub is that GES, Freeman and IAEE are none too pleased, publically, at this move. They’ve released statements essentially questioning how these changes will actually improve the situation at McCormick Place. Their essential dispute: aside from governing bodies deciding that they are going to take greater control of the situation, how are these moves expected to reduce costs and make McCormick Place a more profitable popular destination for trade shows?