April 26, 2017
Where: Excel Centre
When: Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th May 2017
We always enjoy these shows. And hearing visitors gasp, ‘It IS real!’ as one of our furry models moves from his or her spot after a quick 10 minute catnap. And if it’s Santos stretching out, we’ll hear: ‘OMG that’s the biggest cat I’ve EVER seen!’
We forget of course, because Maine Coons and cats are part of everyday life. But a weekend when feline lovers can visit and meet so many different breeds, as well as shopping for them, reminds us just how unique and rewarding this ‘job’ can be!
Shows are also a chance to showcase the complete Tigga Towers range. So, getting the stand packed, loaded and set up is no two- minute task. Many often ask how we do it, so here’s a small insight into our week prior to the show.
Monday begins with a stock pulldown. Out comes the previous year’s sheets, numbers are re-calculated, new items are added and slowly but surely, we begin to price up and pack into plastic boxes. Each box is then ‘signed off’ and popped to one side for loading day. Having learned the hard way, each box is labelled on ALL sides. Clambering around a van in darkness trying to re-stock is not fun. Falling through boxes has been known. And it hurts!
The tower stock is tweaked and pulled ready for display and by 5pm lists are completed and ready. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the team is back in the office dealing with emails, social media and letting customers know that we will be out of the office from Thursday onwards. Thursday is loading day. Off we go to collect the van and return to the daunting task of loading all stock, with just two of us. Our goal is to get through the day without running out of room. These days we have it off to a fine art. Most of the time…
Once loaded we head off for one final night of peace! Last minute preparations and printing takes place. The laminator is usually working flat out. Friday sees an early start as we head off to battle the traffic and the unload marshals. Most of them are friendly and know us, but we do remember being chased around the NEC by the security police, blue lights and all, on one occasion.
Thankfully, the team from MF Penning helps with off-load and set up, making it less stressful these days. Lugging 10 tonnes of goods, including cat towers, granite bases and wicker baskets, takes its toll, so they’re a welcome sight at both set-up and Sunday evening’s clear down.
On Friday evening, we get an early night ready for you all to come and say hello! The buzz is positive and from 8am on Saturday the arena begins to fill with animals and exhibitors.
By 9am Saturday the team is poised ready to help you make the right choice in your purchase. We love to meet new friends and have old friends come along for a chat. Best of all, seeing photos and posts from happy customers makes it all worthwhile!
By the time Sunday evening ticks around, we’re exhausted and ready to pack and head for home. That mission begins at the close of the show and, two to three hours later, if all’s gone well and there are no issues with site traffic, we should be on our way. My record is an 11pm arrival but midnight to 1am is more realistic. And the worst part? By 9am Monday the van must be unloaded and our unit re-stocked.
Why do we do it? Because we love it. When we hear that a fussy feline friend has finally taken to a cozy cat bed and become a ‘Tigga’ fan, then the job is one of the most rewarding I know!
For now, it’s over and out. See you all next weekend!
You can buy tickets here!