TFS make inroads into America – Foam Expo 2017
by Duncan Geddes
The foam industry has never had an entire exhibition dedicated to it in the past, so when we were approached by the UK exhibition company – Smarter Shows, at the beginning of 2016, we were intrigued by their plans to host the first ever exhibition in our industry.
Their plan was for it to be held in Michigan, USA, during March 2017, and they wanted to know if we’d consider exhibiting. We have previously supported our customers by assisting them with their own stands at niche engineering and industrial materials exhibitions, but we have never hosted our own.
We’ve been trading since 1989, and although we have a very good knowledge of the European foam industry, we recognise that there are also many other manufacturers of foam type materials in the world (based in America, Far East etc.) with whom we could work with in the future.
We decided to grasp the opportunity and treat Foam Expo as a key networking and brand awareness project. Therefore, we decided to place a major emphasis upon the traditional British nature of our company, focusing upon our key strengths of working with a wide range of conversion machinery and real engineering background. The Union Jack was to be a prominent part of our stand: “Come and Do Business in the UK” was our call-to-arms!
During the twelve months leading up to the exhibition, we kept a keen eye on the list of other exhibitors. To our surprise, no other UK or European foam convertor was attending, which we saw as great news because it would make us stand out even more within the exhibition halls.
The three-day event finally took place during early March 2017 and was a great success. Our distinctive British nature really stood out. In fact, we and the exhibition organisers – Smarter Shows, were the only English companies there.
Many of the American visitors commented on how typical it was that it took an English exhibition company to organise the American foam market, so full marks to Smarter Shows for having the innovation and foresight to set the event up. The feedback they received from the exhibitors and visitors was so positive that Foam Expo 2018 is already almost fully booked!
From our perspective, we achieved everything we set out to do. We met many key individuals with whom we can now develop much deeper and more beneficial relationships. It also gave us the chance to compare useful experiences with American foam convertors, and we had such a diverse range of people visiting our stand. It was fantastic to receive such positive feedback.
There were several visitors from US manufacturing companies who have UK subsidiaries, and who therefore need a local foam supplier in the UK (rather than import from the States), so we will likely develop some new business on the back of the show too.
However, as our main goal was to broaden the industry’s awareness of our good-old English company, we certainly managed to do this.
We really value the support we receive from suppliers and customers alike, so as our business grows in the future, Foam Expo 2017 really helped us take a step forward.
My thanks to everybody who attended our stand to meet us, and to all the other exhibitors who gave us their time by introducing their materials and processes to us – it really was a great exhibition.
Managing Director of Technical Foam Services, Duncan Geddes