No, that wasn’t a piece of malicious spam that hit the mailboxes of the masses in the stone industry this week. The letter for StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas bearing my name is authentic, right down to the mug shot. (Who else would claim to look like that?)
OK, so it’s a bit unusual for an editor to participate in a promotional mailing for an event, especially one that the magazine doesn’t own. Maybe more than a few of you out there wonder why I did it.
Well, the show’s promoter – Hanley Wood – asked nicely, and there’s always something to be said for good manners. And, as I stated in the letter, I did it for free.
The reason behind the letter, though, is more than just being a good guy. For all the grousing I’ve done about air travel and hotels and convention centers in my life, I still believe in trade shows.
Anyone who’s read Stone Business over the years know that I’ve run hundreds of copy inches previewing various trade events. I scour the Internet and promotional booths at trade shows to find even more trade shows to add to our Calendar section, which gives our art director fits in fitting proper Portuguese and Turkish typography.
Despite a continual fear of air travel, I get on planes for 11-hour flights across continents and oceans. I’ve braved Italian autostrades, Spanish bomb-sniffing dogs and airliners stuffed with high-school cheerleaders, full of pep and butterscotch lip gloss, headed to Orlando. And I’ll do it again a week from Monday, as I head to Marmomacc in Verona, Italy.
I believe that trade shows are the great community events of industry, especially with a producer-oriented trade like stone. Sure, I’ve had moments of painful dullness during some events, but there’ve been many more hours of seeing interesting products and meeting fascinating people.
Trade shows also mark a moment of solidarity within an industry, where people give up money and time to meet and move their trade forward. The main purpose is to buy and sell, but there’s also a statement being made about the state of an industry.
It’s why I also spend a lot of time and effort encouraging people to attend, of which this week’s letter is a logical result. You’re part of an industry with your work every day, but a trade show is really the best way to participate and join together with others in the field. You can shop in a supermarket of suppliers and talk shop with just about anyone else walking the aisles. And you’ll always take away something of value.
Maybe it’s StoneExpo/Marmomacc Americas. Maybe it’s Coverings. Maybe it’s an event thousands of miles away in Brazil, Spain, China, India, Italy or wherever else the stone trades meet. Wherever it is, just go. We’ll all be the better for it.
You can read up-to-the-minute news on the dimensional-stone trade and search the archives at www.stonebusiness.net, where you can also find this blog at the Main Menu under the clever title of “Editor’s Blog.”
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