Exhibition industry started to recover and as a result of the growing workload in 2022, FeroniaLab is also expanding its network. June and July were busy months for everyone, and that can only make us happy.
Today we have one of our project managers here with us who can give some insights of how one the events went. Chavdar has been in FeroniaLab for 6 months now and he has already delivered 6 projects. We are talking about stands at UDT, EUROSATORY and Global Offshore Wind which all took place in just one month - June. However, today we are going to hear from Chavdar about his experience.
1. Hello Chavdar. Let’s start with a broad question. Why and how did you decide to work in the world of exhibitions?
Actually, it was the exhibitions choosing me. I’ve been in the event industry for 7 years, working on the rigging operative side. I was involved in exhibitions, festivals, all kinds of events and TV productions. However, when Covid came, and everything stopped so I had to come back to Bulgaria. I met Toufic at an exhibition in Excel London few years ago before the pandemic and that’s how I know him the fact he is based in Bulgaria. After almost 2 years of break from events for me, I contacted him and now I’m working as a Project Manager at FeroniaLab. That’s pretty much it. It all happened quite quick.
2. You’ve been already in the industry for 7 years. Do you like what you do?
It becomes a lifestyle at some point, and you just start loving it. It is so dynamic that you basically don’t differentiate weekends, holidays, or day/night when it comes to answering clients with whom you have time difference with, for example. But once you get used to it is difficult to go back to a so-called normal job.
3. How can you describe your experience at UDT?
These two small stands delivered at UDT were my first ones I signed off. Both were not complex at all and there were no complications. The event was quite small but very organized and the whole process on the delivery was very straight forward. Generally, UDT went very smooth and without any major problems. Knowing how many things can go wrong on a build-up, you don’t event count the small issues as occurred problems. In this industry you are not taking the small obstacles as something drastic.
My main problems were only personal ones, which I should also consider when going on a triplike delays of my trains from Paris to Rotterdam, the fact I broke my phone, and that my bank card was blocked. These were the challenging moments during my visit to Rotterdam, but I still managed to deal with them. It’s basically part of the whole journey in this industry. You just must be prepared for everything coming on your way.
4. Were there any difficulties at the build-up?
Fortunately, our supplier was very responsive and adequate in his actions. Even with my absence on the first day of the buildup, they managed to finish 80% of one of the stands. Of course, I had to be there to discuss what can be done better and overview the whole process, but my 8-hour delay wasn’t a problem for them.
For one of the stands, we had products which were delivered by the client and had to be placed on the stand in designated custom-made podiums. The problem with them was that the dimensions we had were not correct and the products couldn’t fit where they were meant to be. Basically, we had holes in the podiums for the products to be placed and fortunately these holes were smaller and not bigger. We just had to make some extra cutting on-site to make them fit. Apart from that, there was nothing major. I keep hearing from other experienced professionals that this kind of things are something you need to deal with daily and it’s not a big problem. The big obstacles to consider are the unfixable ones.
5. This is your second trip since you’re working in FeroniaLab. The first one was to Oceanology International in London, which was an intense one, but you were not alone there. How did you feel being responsible on the supervision of two projects at a trade show, this time alone?
I cannot make a clear comparison between these two shows because at OI I was there just for support since I just joined the company 3 weeks beforehand, but I was studying the project throughout and it was a huge one. It was the most complex booth at OI and it was difficult to get my head around with all the elements. I was also still getting familiar with sides of the industry I never paid attention to. To me the experience was more overwhelming than at UDT, where I was super familiar with both projects and the deadlines we had to meet. I basically had zero frustrations on UDT, except the side things that happened.
Clients usually are very précised in what they want and the little frustrations on one of the stands appeared because of course you want to deliver what the client wants and make it perfect, which is always a little bit challenging considering the different perspectives. You just need to be very careful, especially when for example you have white graphics in those dirty exhibition centers during build ups with a lot of people potentially touch everything at any time. Under these conditions it’s very easy to lose that perfection you are seeking. Sometimes I also feel I’m overreacting, but I guess this will change in time. Maybe someday I will lower my guard and chill but for now I prefer to be very straight to the point because I want to pass my thought correctly and avoid confusions.
6. And finally, if you had the chance now to give yourself some advice before the show, what will it be?
For the future I will pay more attention to details like product dimensions, for example. Basically, things that you cannot consider before having a first-hand experience. I will be double checking things that I wasn’t paying attention to before, simply because I thought that they were common sense. Once you go there, on-site supervising, you see things differently and start noticing details you wouldn’t think are that important initially. Assumptions are the worst enemy in the exhibitions and events industry. These were the kind of my first impressions I had after the shows.
I don’t know if I mentioned but my work at UDT was happening during another delivery of a stand which I was managing at Eurosatory in Paris. Basically, delivering during another build up managed from me again, takes away some of the control I’d like to have. So, for the future I will be more demanding and precise to the suppliers and basically everyone involved in the creation of the project in advance. I will ask a lot of questions and won’t just leave things to someone else to decide, because I’d like to be aware as much as I can with precisely what, how and when must be done. However, all of us have different visions and it’s my job to meet the clients’ one and make sure I close this gap between us. So yes, I will have to improve my organization skills, eye on details, knowledge of materials.
Generally, I am very happy with my experience at UDT and Eurosatory. You learn new things on each trade show, every time, no matter how experienced you are. Even thought, I’ve been in the industry for 7 years already, back then I just had to go to the venue and focus on my job which I knew perfectly. Now it is more of a multitasking. It’s completely different when you stand on the other side and you’re responsible for the whole delivery of a project. Everything is important when you go on-site, even the small side things as catching the train, not breaking your phone, etc. It is also lesson learned that I shouldn’t expect good reception or wi-fi connection everywhere. One thing for sure I will remember and follow: it’s always good to have a little bit of a buffer in your schedule. It is better not to rush, and you never know what will go wrong. Everything happens quite quick in events and having some extra time to find a solution is always welcome.
Author: Stefani Stoilova