“Selling the Illusion” . . .
A while back I got into a Blog conversation with Kim over at Blackswamp Girl(great name) about Home Shows and the views, and the gardens, and a little of what goes into creating a look to capture those in attendance.
Having done many a home show in earlier years, I had remarked to Kim about our goals has “displayers” . . . it’s to “sell work”. It’s not to motivate, illuminate, or inspire the homeowner to run out and put the same thing in their backyard. it really isn’t about being a “idea factory“.
Contractors and Designers want to design/install work. It’s about another form of marketing. Now I/we all know that some homeowners will copy/borrow/steal vignettes they see at these Home Shows . . . it’s part of the Home Show Game we all play. We can easily deal with that-no problem.
Hopefully the time, energy, effort, creative process, and money put in will pan out in the end. In some cities and show designers/contractors are compensated to put in a display, that may be as little as comping booth space to actual money to defray cost of building/displaying/manning the display.
This all varies on the size, scale, reputation on the actual show itself. I would consider Chelsea being the #1 show.
The reality is most guys I know hate, and I mean hate doing these types of shows. If it is not real hate, then it is usually real dread. There is usually a lot of time and energy involved in putting the display all together. Then the worst part comes . . . the actual show and the questions. The questions are the worst part, by far.
A lot of people want something for nothing. They start asking stuff about their yard as though you are actually standing in their with them looking at the same brown spot they asked about at last years show(hey, some people are just unforgettable).
One of my other favorites is the homeowner who balks when I/we explain we charge fees . . . actual fees to do work.
We’ll Bob in booth #223 said he’d look at our yard for free and do a design for free. Why can’t you be like Bob.
Over and over; brown spots, the scab on unidentified trees, the mysterious fungus, the guys who just got laid off somewhere doing “design work” for free-it never stops. This is how it is in most Home Shows across the U.S.
The waterfall at the top of the story was built by me for a show I helped with in 2001. The last time I worked a booth.
I was the waterfall/pond/fish guy, so my weekend sort of went like this:
- My fish are sick.
- The herons ate my fish.
- My fish disappeared . . .
- My fish died . . .
- Why did both my plants die?
- I want a pond without algae.
- Why is my water green?
- Will you come out and find my leak?
- I cannot see my fish . . .
- My pond water is scummy, why?
- My pond stinks . . .
- My pond is black . . .
Aaaaargh, that was it. It would take a lot to do that again. Now I would help the right person design/build a display . . . but the questions.
Another from the show of the other waterfall, this was the right one of a double falls. At one point we actually did have a problem with this one leaking and had to shut down this side-bummer it was. But, the show must go on. Hardly anyone remarked of it being off, which surprised me.
Addendum: I do not know a “landscaper” named “Bob” who gives his work away.