Trade shows can be hard. There is no escaping that fact. Everyone knows it - the effort and time they take to plan, the building of the stand, the early starts and late finishes, the sore throat from hours of talking. But they are also fun. There is no escaping that fact either. And everyone knows that too – the meeting new people, the making of deals, the working together, the well-earned beer at the end of the day. A conflict of exhaustion and exhilaration. And that is exactly what the OutDoor show was for Tentsile. All of it in one. Four seasons in one day.
Having listened to tales of how the Friedrichshafen show is set against the back drop of the snow-capped Alps reflecting off Lake Constance in the glorious summer heat of Central Europe, the decision was made to set up the stand in the Open Air Area of the show. How better to show off our tents than to stand proudly in the sun at the centre of the show?
Unfortunately, this year, Tentsile’s inaugural year at the show, the sun failed to show. At all. And indeed so did the warmth. As if to welcome a UK company to the Swiss-German border, the British rain set in. With glee. And having spent 6 hours setting up the stand in torrential rain, and having spent the first day forced to hold meetings under dripping rainflys and blustering winds, we decided there was only one solution – to take down the stand and beg for a space inside. The week’s forecast of rain and more rain made it pointless to stay where we were. And so our little team of three spent until midnight taking down the stand in the rain, moving inside, and re-erecting it in full, ready for the next day. A tough job. That left us exhausted. But a job that proved well worth it.
Although the rain outside did not quite persist as much as the forecast had predicted, our new, dry stand inside became a hub of thriving interest. With Tentsile having over 100 million views on social media over the last six weeks, and having spent the last three years trying to open up the European market, it was clear that we were approached with keen interest. Tentsile had been seen virtually by many, and here was the opportunity to touch and feel it for real; to jump in and roll about; to stretch and relax. And that’s what everyone was invited to do - to play, camp and explore at the OutDoor show.
But it wasn’t just about having fun. It was more than that. There was something deeper going on. Tentsile was being welcomed. For everyone who passed and smiled, for everyone who had a try, for every person who shook our hands and expressed an interest, thank you. Thank you for coming to talk to us. Thank you for visiting our stand. Thank you welcoming us in. It was a pleasure to be there. And it was wonderful to state our place in the future of camping. In so many ways, Tentsile feels we are now inside. See you next year, OutDoor show.