With kbb Birmingham just around the corner, operations manager Isabelle Ansell gives us an insight into what goes on behind the scenes and which aspects of organising the show are most rewarding and most challenging
Q: What would be a typical day in the couple of weeks leading up to the show?
A: A typical day in the final few weeks involves reviewing all the orders placed for shell scheme, carpet, electrics, catering, rigging, traffic, security, etc. Ensuring the floorplan is updated and 100% accurate, this is one of the most important roles, as each floorplan is different. One stand being out of place can affect the whole build of the floorplan.
As the organiser, if something doesn’t get ordered by me and my operations team, it doesn’t happen. Being part of a team means that the hours never rocket out of control. Everyone is willing to lend a hand, which is great. Having said that, the hours go too quickly and the days fly by.
We have a responsibility to ensure that all our exhibitors and sponsors are receiving what is promised and this is a huge responsibility that myself and team work hard to achieve.
Q: Do you have any amusing anecdotes?
A: A storeroom was built around a column and the entrance door to it was banner-wrapped shut.
Q: What’s the best and the worst thing about putting the show together?
A: The worst is the lack of fresh air during the 11 days I’m on-site. The best thing is the team and the fun that being on-site together brings.
Q: What’s the funniest thing that’s happened over the years?
A: Tannoys being left switched on and conversation continuing within the office.
Q: What most frustrates you and what gives you the most satisfaction?
A: Contractors hiding carpet and trying to leave without taking it. The most satisfaction comes on opening morning when I get to make the call to say that the show is open. The months of hard work have all come together and I can relax – a little!
Q: How does putting the kbb show on compare with other shows in terms of logistics
A: kbb is very different. Because of the nature of the products, the stands are much larger, which brings different challenges for us, the venue and the contractors.
We have to carefully review each year and bring in amendments to how we run the show. This year, we are doing a phased load in for our contractors, with the aim of easing congestion on the first morning of build-up. Fingers crossed!
Q: Which brands can you single out as getting it right?
A: Contractors and exhibitors that work with our main framework suppliers.
Q: What kind of brands and displays give you the most headaches and why?
A: Exhibitors and contractors who ‘think outside the box’. This brings a freshness and inspiration to the show, but they often have more detailed requirements to follow that can be challenging for all involved.