Saturday, March 19, 2011



It’s that time of year when the birds begin to chirp, the daffodils start to push up in the iron cordoned little plots of ground lining the residential side streets of Manhattan and the annual eyeglass show opens at the Javits. It’s our fourth year of working with the Vision Council and their PR firm, Images and Details, on constructing and dressing their press booth.

For those who never attended a product convention it’s all about appearance. What you want is to be noticed…in a good way.

That’s why the Vision Council hires Beth Dempsey and her people at Images and Details to carve a path to the press, the manufactures, the vendors and ultimately to the rest of us who’s eyes need the assistance of a pair of glasses to see what we're really ordering at Joe’s House of Crabs and Crustaceans. Beth had done our PR when we originally launched our furniture line and it was through her advice that the Vision Council hired us to design and construct their booth.

This year we were in a new part of the Javits and the management hadn’t quite worked out all the kinks. From day one the space we were to occupy was to be 55’ wide by 19’ deep. We had supplied our drawings well in advance and even met with management at the space to confirm all we intended to do. Never underestimate the power of documentation and asking more questions than may seem necessary. Unfortunately, the management hadn’t checked any of this out with the fire marshal. We were ten feet too close to the fire corridor. It wasn’t until we were finished with our set-up that we were told we’d have to reconfigure the booth before the doors opened the following morning. Sometimes the best path to success is to grin and bare it and take one on the chin for the sake of the team. We begged and pleaded and in the end management let us hold our shape for the press event. It worked out perfectly. Beth was happy. The Vision Council was happy. Someone is doing an article on the booth and that makes us happy.


The best source for inexpensive basic construction components that look both professional and original is IKEA. With a little ingenuity you can transform some standard IKEA expedit bookcase units into expensive looking display pieces. 

Here’s our original drawing for connecting two expedit units using some galvanized pipe, metal washers and carriage bolts. Remember these convention shows last only a couple of days so there can be a lot of smoke and mirrors in putting together a million dollar booth on penny budget. The lower expedit units sell for $69.99, the upper units cost $39.99, and the cost of the bolts and pipe are less than $20 for a set of four. You’ll need a pipe cutter and a wrench to construct the towers. We also purchased insert doors for each of our towers. They ran us $35 a piece or $70 per unit. They aren’t necessary but they provided storage for us and gave a little more weight to the units. Once you’ve got your rhythm down you can knock these units out in no time. And that’s how we did it


Living in Wisconsin in 2011 has put us in the middle of the union war. For me it’s a very thin line I walk in my rationale and respect for unions. There are so many good unions. Unions that work at supporting and taking care of those workers that daily take care of us: teachers, nurses, firefighters, and policemen. In Wisconsin I can be proud of the work unions do for these selfless workers. In New York when I have to install a booth at the Javits the word union can take on a whole different meaning. Here union means unreasonably high pay for unnecessary and unrequested help. When I can’t hang a drape, straighten a picture or screw in a light bulb it makes me a little frustrated. I don't like having to bite my tongue when their hourly wage surpasses mine and my doctors as well. Yet you need to make all of these union guys your best friends. Piss ‘em off and you’re headed down the road of no return. I’ve even sunk to making J-Lo butt jokes so I might look like one of the guys. With a fashion scarf wrapped round my neck making me appear like one of the guys is no easy task. The problem here is the unions aren’t protecting people who’s jobs create a better world. They’re only making sure a carpenter or an electrician make more money than three teachers and one policeman combined.  Unfortunately you can't separate the unions and only promote the ones that still do what unions were originally created to do. Sometimes you have to support both the good and the bad.
I still plan on helping get the necessary signatures to recall the state senators who voted to eliminate collective bargaining and the signatures to eventually recall our governor too, but there'll be a little part of me regretting that this will also help that union guy in New York who charged us an arm and a leg for plugging in three little table lamps from Target.
Please leave your comments. I know you have them.


Andre Kertesz
Mondrian’s Glasses and Pipe, Paris 1926
The Estate of Andre Kertesz

1 comment:

  1. This entire post absolutely ROCKS! Thank you for all the hard work you put into it. It really shows.
    CEO Maids