Rob and I woke up to head to the airport at about 3am. Everything went smoothly in Philly - we took off on time and didn't even have to wait in a line of 15+ planes! That's pretty impressive for PHL. There was a family of four sitting right behind us - the parents and twin girls who couldn't have been more than 3 years old, though I'm thinking they were probably only 2. It was entertaining to hear the things they had to say, such as "Are we flying?" when we were simply backing up from the jetway. But my favorite was when we were literally up in the air for about 20 seconds, and one of them said "Are we there yet?" The kids were really adorable, but I do have to make one comment about the situation. The parents gave the girls a tablet to watch a movie on....but no headphones. I know they had headphones because I heard the dad say "I have to get the headphones out for them...or do they need them?" Well, I suppose they decided that the kids did not need headphones, because the volume was extremely loud and I am pretty sure at least 3 rows of seats in all directions could hear the movie. I'm actually surprised that the flight attendants didn't say anything. At any rate, this kind of behavior from adults really surprises me. How could neither of the parents think that this was rude or inappropriate to blast a movie on an otherwise quiet 7am flight? Seriously - I was running on 3 hours of sleep and had a long day ahead. I was less than impressed. Unfortunately, it's uncomfortable to turn around and say anything, because then you are "the jerk". What concerns me is that I feel like people these days are becoming less and less considerate of their fellow man, and I don't know where that's stemming from.
But onto the show...we landed in Orlando around 9:30 and headed directly to the show. The show looked pretty good, though we were disappointed that they didn't have the cool plexiglass sheets over the "retail only" section like they did last year. Because there are 10-15 vendors who are truly there only to retail to customers (meaning they have no reason to set up and talk to other dealers, since they are only going to sell to the public), AIMExpo has tried different options to create a smooth set-up and transition. Last year, they had us set up at the same time all of the manufacturers and distributors were setting up, and then they put a full size plexiglass sheet across the front of our booth - so people walking by could see our display and come back once we were open on the retail days. It was as if our booth was cryogenically frozen...and I loved it. I thought the retail row looked fantastic and really fit the look of the overall show.
At any rate, for 2015, they were no longer doing the plexiglass fronts. Unfortunately, that led to a few retailers having their booths set up with no one in them, and a few booths with just stacks of boxes and loose products laying out. Needless to say, it didn't look too good. I cannot imagine what all goes into planning a show of this caliber, and I am sure something like that is one of a million worries of the show staff, so I do understand. By as a spectator of the show, it definitely looked a little sloppy in that row. However, I'm sure that once the retail days started, everything in that section probably looked great!
We were also able to see many of the new designs that will be released on the
VX-Pro4. Unfortunately, they did not have any of the new XD4 graphics on display, though there are some coming! For now, check out the new VX-Pro4 designs, and let me know your thoughts!
We have already been using and loving the Sena 10C, which is the one-piece unit that is both a camera and a communication system. It offers great quality video and audio, and we couldn't be happier with it.
Sena also recently released the 10U, which is a unit that is housed almost completely inside the helmet. It's only available on a select number of brands and models right now, but fortunately, it's available for the Arai full face helmets. Check it out!
They are also soon releasing the 10S, which in my opinion, is a revamping of the ever-popular SMH-10. Stay tuned for details on that!
We spent the entire day at the show, stopping at numerous booths to check out their offerings. There were a few product lines that we were excited about and will be researching further in the coming months. As anyone familiar with TSP knows, we only sell and promote products that we feel are of high quality, and that we use (or would use) personally. If these new products meet our high standards, you may see some new product offerings from TSP in the Spring!
So, our day in Orlando was definitely a whirlwind. We did make it through the entire show, though we felt like we were rushing out of there towards the end. We also didn't have an opportunity to visit the Outdoor part of the Expo, so to say that we truly saw the entire show in a day would not be entirely accurate. But we did what we needed to do and only missed one day in the office. It was tiring, but lots of fun!
And to those of you who are wondering why we didn't vend their this year as retailers, I can tell you that there are many variables that go into those decisions. Every time we decide not to attend a show, it's only after a lot of back and forth, weighing pros and cons. The hardest part is that you cannot put a price on the exposure to consumers, and you cannot ever guess how strong or weak an event will be (unless you have years and years of consistent figures to make an average out of). However, for the first two years of AIMExpo, we were able to make it part of a "loop" of shows we did in the South. Doing numerous shows in one run made it worthwhile. Even if one show was slow and the other was strong, it was still worth it to us. We had every intention of doing a 3-show loop this fall, which would've included AIMExpo. However, the vending price of the Barber Vintage Festival, which we have vended at for several years, increased by 130% this year. Yes, you read that correctly: 130%. As in, more than double what it has cost for the past several years. We are okay with slight increases, that's pretty much expected over time, especially when an event delivers the attendance to help support us as vendors. But to increase it by over 130%? That's absurd. So we pulled out of Barber, and it basically had a domino effect on the other events we had planned to attend. We love the crew that puts together the AIMExpo, and are supporters of the show, but to come down and do that show on it's own (or in addition to another very small show in N.C.) just didn't make sense for us this year. We are sorry to everyone we missed seeing - it's never easy to miss any event - (especially one that's in Florida in October!), but we had to make the best decision for TSP. We hope to be back again in the future!
Well, I'm thinking this blog is long enough. In typical Brianna fashion, I've written another novel. Until next time, have fun out there and ride safe!