Can you keep the noise down please?

The National Painting and Decorating show is one of the biggest events in the Decorators calendar. But is it worth the hype?

I for one, went. I went last year too. Though if I’m entirely honest I was mostly there in body, as my mind wanted to be back in the peaceful realms of my hotel room, curled up in the fetal position following a night of copious quantities of gin.

This time however, as well, you know, a whole year older and now so much wiser I remembered to take it all with a bit more H20.

The show this year was somewhat lacking in product but if it’s an annoying email you’re after, or an insult then you’re in the right place. The barrage of emails leading up to the event was out of control. It felt like they were coming in every hour. I couldn’t tell you what any of them said because I was working my socks off to actually allow myself some time to go. I have blocked them now, it was either them or P&D News. They’re the same right? Who knows.

I’ll be honest, I go for the t-shirts. I get them sign written with my company logo. I figure it saves paying for them, and the customers do love to see a familiar brand name along side mine. I’m actually not sure if that’s legal, but I’m pretty certain one of you will let me know soon enough.

Of course, I’m not only in it for the tee’s. There’s also an enormous amount of tape. Thanks 3m!;-) It’s all about the tape isn’t it? Well, this year was. In fact, if you were after much else in the way of product you’d have been bitterly disappointed.
I was actually hoping to buy a couple of things. Just a couple spray tips, and some new whites. I was looking forward to trying some on. NO CHANCE! I came across 3 stalls with an incredibly limited range of garments, and when I approached the beautiful display of Tritech tips on one stand, they told me they weren’t for sale, because it would step on the toes of their distributers that might be selling any there. Well let me tell you. There weren’t any!!!! So, rubbish. Such missed opportunities.

It’s a show, to demonstrate current and upcoming products, wonderful, yes, I get it, once you’ve shown how great they are. LET ME BUY THEM! Or better yet, Give them away! I noticed there weren’t so many free samples this year either. Like everyone has pulled their belts in a bit. That’s cool I get it. But imagine my embarrassment when I specifically locate the Isomat stand with a fellow decorator having told them they need to try one of their products, for said stand to tell me they have nothing. No samples at all.

Oh right, okay, well here you go Hanna, take a look at that sign and decide if you think their products are worth risking your reputation on and not to mention spend your own money on, just to see if it’s worth making the switch from a product you’re already quite comfortable using. That’s not how it works Isomat!!! Do you have any idea how many new customers Tikkurila have gained in the past year by sending prospect customers free samples of their products? And I’m not just talking about mini useless amounts. They send enough for you to complete a job with. So you can really get a feel for the product and perfect your technique to use it. Bravo Tikkurila.

A few stalls that were there last year, were noticeably missing this time. I mean, I don’t know how any decorator worth their salt will manage without their free supply of BIN. But hey that stuff pretty much sells itself right?

There were though, some surprises to be had. It seems Farrow and Ball have finally pulled their heads out their backsides and realised that decorators are getting their colour mixed willy nilly as their product is far from the nations favourite. They were employing decorators to talk about their products, and educate (convince) other decorators that they are worth giving a go. They took our details to send us some samples in the post. A substantial amount arrived today as it happens. F&B also took the opportunity to send out a questionnaire to all it’s attendees. What a move, fancy asking your prospect customers what they want? Wonderful. A company that listens (better late than never).

Benjamin More were also giving out samples, which I am really looking forward to trying as they are another pricey option, and we as lowly decorators don’t want to necessarily pay out for just to trial. I say lowly as that is the impression I received from a few other brands. It’s interesting to speak to staff fronting popular products, and enlightening to know they speak of their customers so poorly. Ciret. Let’s talk about how you rather rudely told me to be quiet while I was talking to your decorator. I don’t expect a huge company such as Ciret to be fronting their company with such rude staff. The ladies on the stand were all really lovely, friendly and polite. It seems, despite their sponsored decorator being female, one of Ciret’s staff members found the shrill sound of 3 ladies chatting a bit too much to handle. Perhaps he was tired, perhaps he was hungover, perhaps he was just down right rude. Either way, this year the show left me wanting more, more to buy, more to see and a little more respect for our profession.


Article By Harriet Stone