About a month ago (I couldn’t have begun to guess how long ago it was with how busy we’ve been) we attended the PLA (Public Library Association) trade show in Portland, Oregon.
This might be an obvious statement but… It was our first ever library tradeshow. As a group we’ve probably been to 30+ SIA (Snowsports Industries of America) shows (The annual ski and snowboard tradeshow that until this year has always been in Vegas). At SIA, scantily clad pornstars on rascal scooters racing professional snowboarders through the tradeshow halls doesn’t feel necessarily out of place. This might be another obvious statement but the same could not be said for PLA, Portland.
We did our best to find a balance between bringing SIA to PLA and actually selling some of our furniture. We smuggled our entire booth into the show via snowboard bags and assembled it on site. Red Bull let us stop by their warehouse and pick up some cases to bring in. Surprisingly, the librarian crowd was less scared of our vodka filled flasks than the Red Bull. However, a lot of people did ask if they could bring a Red BULL (awkward emphasis on the second word) home for their children or grandchildren.
Besides shaking things up a bit and getting librarians to take pulls off a flask while half ducking behind our furniture, we met some great people and got an amazing response to the Supple Collection. It’s very possible we actually sold some furniture and we found an excuse to keep coming back to Portland… all in all a pretty big success.
If you’re wondering how The Public Works got involved in creating a line of eco-friendly customizable library furniture… It’s a good question but like most of what we do, the disparate is usually connected in a way that makes pretty good sense. We got approached by a Denver based Architecture firm who had seen some of our custom brand infrastructure and thought that we could help them push the boundaries in what library furniture is. They were trying to design a library that felt like a book store with modern modular furniture that merchandised in a user-friendly and browsable way. Basically, they figured if we can make a 3,000lbs ridable feature or a beautiful DJ booth or bar, we could probably build a bookshelf… and so we did.