Packing a suitcase for a trip abroad is always a tricky job – making sure you’ve got everything you’ll need because there’s no ‘nipping back’ to fetch it when you’re thousands of miles from home.
So imagine you’re packing a 20-foot sea container, with everything you’ll need to fill a 200sq m exhibition stand at the world’s biggest housewares trade show.
“It’s all in the planning,” said Tony Grimshaw, director of Lancashire-based housewares supplier What More UK. “And fortunately we have a fantastic team of planners here at What More’s head office.”
The company, which manufactures more than 650 household, garden and DIY plastic products under the Wham brand, will make its US trade show debut at the International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago, which runs from March 5 to 8.
“We already export to 64 countries, but we’re always looking to grow that number – and having a presence at such an internationally prestigious trade show is key to our strategy,” added Tony Grimshaw.
After weeks of planning, the Chicago container was packed, checked, double-checked, sealed and sent by lorry to Southampton for loading onto a container ship bound for Chicago. It will arrive at a holding warehouse at the Port of Chicago on March 2, and then be loaded onto a truck for the final leg of its journey to the McCormick Place Exposition Centre in downtown Chicago. By then, the What More team will have flown out ready to meet said container (which they last saw six weeks earlier).
Their bespoke exhibition stand will be built on-site by a specialist American company, working to plans supplied by What More’s UK designers.
Once assembled, the team will have just two days to fill the stand with the £5,000 worth of What More stock and all the other equipment they need, ready for the show opening at 10am on Saturday March 5.
The stand will feature a broad cross-section of Made in Britain Wham plastic products, including the new Wham BamBox plastic storage boxes. Also on show will be the company’s range of Wham Cook non-stick and enamel bakeware and its PushPan brand loose-bottomed baking tins.
“With so many products in our range, and new ones being developed all the time, it’s impossible to exhibit everything we make, but the stand will be filled with our core bestsellers and unique innovations,” said Tony Grimshaw. “It will give buyers a good snapshot of what we do and I’m confident they will be impressed.
“Organising this trip has been a mammoth exercise in logistical planning, but so far everything has run like clockwork. We’re looking forward to a busy four days in Chicago… just as long as the ship doesn’t sink!”