January 27, 2009

NYIGF Winter Show Part 1: Preparation

by Mike Porcenaluk

This past week has been a flurry of activity around the Barnhouse; we rushed to print a slew of new designs to spring on the masses at the winter New York International Gift show, including some last minute ideas for our newly minted Obama designs, which happen to be selling like mad at the show.
Sarah and the interns keep the presses rolling..
All three presses ran day any night to pump out a total of 36 new designs... which put us at over 50 new ones since the Gift Show last August!

The mountain of new designs smothered our prep table.

As impressive as it is, this flurry of cards would be lost in the shuffle of the gift shows if it were not for the iconic Blue Barnhouse trade show booth. Made from panels of wooden siding, and featuring an authentic bale of straw and barnwood benches, this setup draws attention by starkly contrasting the sleek glitz of corporate card companies.

The BBH booth version 2.0 at the New York Stationery Show last year. We will no longer drive our booth to NYC and instead will store it offsite of the Javits Center. Delivery to and from storage is charged by the pound, so lightweight construction for the new booth was key.

While memorable, this old setup was EXTREMELY cumbersome, made from heavy planks and 2x6 framework, making our entire booth weight (including cards, furniture, etc) close to 900 lbs. Once packed in our trailer and driven up North, we were required to hire union labor to use power tools to help set it up, had to wait for said laborers to find and bring us our skid at the end of each show so that we could get it fork-lifted to the docks to load it into our trailer, and then haul it back home for a couple months before we had to turn around and do it all over again!

The new BBH 10x10 booth, in all it's lightweight glory.

This time around, we engineered the booth to be lighter, easier and faster to set up and tear down, and more sturdy. It features lightweight cedar siding screwed to a 1x4 framework, making each panel thinner and weigh less than half of the previous versions. Using a pin and hinge system between booth panels and toggle bolts/wingnuts to hang the shelves, the booth setup is entirely tool free and incredibly fast and efficient. Our booth will now be stored offsite of the Javits center so that for future shows we only need to hop on a plane with new designs and that's that.

Brandon sits down for a minute to admire the 10x12 setup.

The genius of this new booth is that it converts from a 10x10 foot booth to a 10x12 foot corner-booth setup for different shows, as well as having an aesthetic half-wall that doubles as a packing skid. At the end of each show, the half-wall folds down, everything gets stacked on top of it, and is ready to ship to the storage area!

Triumph! The booth stacked and packed, ready to be wrapped.

Here's to many bountiful years slinging our wares to the unsuspecting masses in the Big Apple in our beautiful hassle-free booth... from your friendly neighborhood BBH letterpress printer, booth builder, and guest blogger extraordinaire: Mike.

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