Join Kim Leister as she shares a conversation with Leica Vidal, Showroom Manager for Simblist Group.
The Back Story
While we are always up to something in the Simblist showroom, a frenzy of planning occurs leading up to the shows in January and July. Our customers, vendors, and reps all come to the showroom with different goals, and we take the task of making it a successful experience for everyone very seriously - while doing our best to bring a bit of magic to it all.
I sat down with Leica Vidal, Simblist’s Showroom Manager, to talk about what it takes to get “show ready.” Leica knows her way around a market; she has worked with Simblist through more than 15 shows now, but who's counting?
Kim: "So, when do you start planning for show season?"
Leica: “For the January show October and for July April. However, I honestly feel like I am planning for the next show the day the existing show ends.”
Kim: "What is the first thing you do?
Leica: “Take a deep breath! First, we all sit down and meet. We get a list of vendors going and coming and we lay out where they will live in the showroom. We want the shopping experience to be fluid, so it is important that we think a lot about how a buyer will walk through the showroom and shop with ease. Once that is set, the madness begins. For each vendor, they have a story to tell, so it is our job to translate that story aesthetically. Usually, we focus on new products or the season. For example, holiday looks way different than spring and summer.”
Kim: "What is the hardest part of getting ready?"
Leica: “Waiting. Whether it is for the electrician to hang a light, the construction crew to move a wall or the vendor to make a final decision, it all has to align and if we are waiting on just one element it can change the entire timeline.”
Kim: "What is your favorite part?"
Leica: "Tearing things down, putting them back up, and getting creative. For each vendor, we put a lot of thought into their space. It may be a new coat of paint, a floral buildout, creative signage, or just simply sourcing some new display pieces - but it has to be distinctly aligned to each vendor’s story. We take that very seriously. With so many vendors in our space, we want each to be unique.”
Kim:"Why do you do it?"
Leica: “I love design and I love sales. I always have, but most importantly, I want people to have an experience. We strive to be different and to set our experience apart. We want customers to be able to see all the product and envision it in their own space – maybe even replicate what we do. We want our atmosphere to be welcoming and light hearted. While the showroom displays are important and of course the sales, it’s the people and their experience that is important. We hope that when people leave, they want to come back. Similar to the appeal of a fun family Thanksgiving dinner – just without the crazy uncle!"
We are so fortunate to have customers visit us and our showroom from all over the world. Years of curated showrooms have blessed us with the most amazing vendors and people in all different realms of the gift world. Leica described it perfectly - we love being able to tell each vendor’s individual story. It’s our job to be the best in the business and walk the talk when representing a vendor. They trust us on the road and during show season when how they are presented is so important.
In the Simblist showroom, we want to inspire buyers with our displays and have them strive to recreate it. It takes a lot of hard work and creativity to think like a buyer while also giving them a great shopping experience. When the doors close on the final day, all orders are confirmed, and we have everything back in place, it’s inevitable - our minds can’t stop and we begin thinking about the next show.