The benefits of “small” show venues include more cost-friendly exhibitor and attendee fees, convenient locations, and efficient time-management.
The world of solid-state lighting has been moving so quickly, as greater efficiencies are realized, that waiting once a year for a large trade show to come around might not always be convenient to architects, specifiers, designers, and retailers who have clients with time-sensitive projects underway.
There are other reasons that smaller events – such as LEDucation in New York City – continue to gain in popularity and one is the manageable size. The exhibit floor doesn’t span an entire convention center; it comfortably fills approximately two hotel ballrooms. That smaller footprint allows industry professionals in those cities to pop in during their lunch hour, or for a few hours in an afternoon, to handily observe a large array of relevant products and have their questions answered quickly.
The larger trade shows, because of their magnitude and cost, have a greater emphasis on showcasing the full product range from major companies. Smaller manufacturers who specialize in more specific and custom lighting solutions can easily be overlooked when exhibiting in a mega-fair. The exhibitors I spoke to at LEDucation have participated in events such as Lightfair in the past, but report that these smaller trade shows more effectively target the customer base they want to attract. In many cases, it’s not a matter of showing attendees how many different items they have in their line, but the fact that they exist at all.
Could the future of gathering lighting knowledge consist of more of these traveling shows in major cities – where even the giants like Osram Sylvania and Philips have small booths – and a roster of timely, CEU-accredited educational sessions is conveniently included? From what exhibitors and attendees told me, this is an idea that holds great appeal and would benefit the industry overall.
Alan and Karen Lindsley – the husband-and-wife team behind domestic lighting manufacturer Lindsley Lighting – find manageable venues such as LEDucation more beneficial than larger events. The company is unique in that everything – even the OEMs used – is sourced in the United States.
“Our look is very clean and very modern,” Karen Lindsley explains. “We’re a niche company. We offer timeless designs with high lumen output. Alan engineers every part.”
Her husband’s background in theatrical and architectural lighting from his years with the world-renowned Gensler design firm is at the heart of the company’s innovation — although it was Karen, who has an impressive history in corporate marketing, who convinced her husband to start his own manufacturing business. “This industry is so unique in that it is half art, and half technology,” she notes. It is Karen who is often on the road nationwide, demonstrating the line with her “magic suitcase” in tow while Alan tinkers with the mechanics of the products. “I’m like Mary Poppins, pulling things out of my bag to show potential clients,” she quips.
New Jersey-based landscape lighting manufacturer Cast Lighting exhibits at Lightfair to have a greater presence nationwide, however the LEDucation event in New York City is ideal for reaching local specifiers. Reps report that its cast, solid bronze products sold in Coastal New Jersey survived Superstorm Sandy intact.
Once a fixture at Lightfair, smaller venues such as LEDucation is where Robert Rosenzweig, President of Aamsco, prefers to exhibit.
With a headquarters in Montreal and an office/showroom in New York City, iGuzzini Lighting North America has been growing the marketshare of this renowned Italian manufacturer by exhibiting at LEDucation.