BMEX: Barbados Manufacturers Exhibition 2010 {Aftermath} – More people, less spending? Better booths, poor marketing!

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Starting off with a paraphrasure from ye immortale Billy Shaxpur alias Wilhelm Shakespeare – It was a tale told idiotically, full of sound & flurry signifying next to nothing… This can easily apply to the Barbados Manufacturers’ Exhibition or B-Mex (BMEX) for short, where there were many Barbadians buzzing all over what used to be Sherbourne on Two Mile Hill now that really long name, let’s simplify – the Sandiford Cultural Centre.

I went to look for the pepper-sauce as I usually do, but did not locate Bird’s Nest this year and got some Golden Apple hot-sauce from Salena’s booth, I bought it as that’s what I was budgeting for. Every one else is trying to sell you something whether you want to buy or not – a dude wanted me to invest in a new type of home technology system, sight unseen, and spend nearly $20-thousand! He made the goof of saying I can afford it! Oh I see, you know my finances better than me? FAIL!

If I was a quarter as rich as people think I am (The impression I get is I am almost at COW/Sir Chas. level, and that when I Anchored at CBC I earned about $5,000 per nite), I would not even try to sell advertising here on this site, I’d be relaxing in Anguilla or Saba and have a coconut peeled for me to be well dashed with rum, served preferably by a gorgeous young nubile topless cabin gal with a glowing dusky pelt in a hula outfit!

Satisfied guests of Mount Gay's impressive stall at 2 Mile Hill

Satisfied guests of Mount Gay's impressive stall at 2 Mile Hill

When BMEX was not close to town and before it was staged at Terminal 2 at the old Seawell Airport, it was originally held at the Dover Convention Centre on St Lawrence before it was a one way street, I’d plan to visit the Sunday and public Holiday of Monday in late May (Even then it was usually tied in to Whitsuntide)  as there were chefs lined off in a row waiting to give you samples from now to Doomsday!

Tamyko savouring sweet success on her edible works

Tamyko savouring sweet success on her edible works

I could safely ‘sample‘ in lieu of breakfast and lunch, and then get so many pens/pencils/key-rings and other paraphernalia you’d swear I raided a stationery shop or won Supermarket Sweeps! Ah, those were the days, my friend…

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Now? If you want a key-ring or pen, first you have to fill out a form giving your name, e-mail and cell number (Follow Up for later sales pitch)! I ended up walking in the middle of the corridors to avoid getting attacked, and even that didn’t work – people would abandon their booths and lay a flying tackle at me to see if I am willing to buy?

The thing is many booths were stunningly prepared and I would not have minded spending time if I am not being pressured to purchase… Mount Gay’s stall was an elegant wood panelled bar and looked  like a part of chic Manhattan. Another booth which I hope earned Best Display was AA Framing‘s “Art On Glass which highlighted the works of Erlyn Dador as framed by Mrs Austin Atherley, the work is something to be found in a Museum or Church – yet just as modern to be part of office decor, what a clever landmark for patrons to locate you by?

Places which should have sold and lost by only offering samples was Pine Hill Dairy’s booth – I walked up  asking for two regular, one Vanilla and a Chocolate and they say only samples for surveys available? Another place where I’d willing buy was WIBISCO’s new Sodabix flavour of Cheese & Herbs – I tried it and wanted a whole pack, it can eat plain without margarine or any other condiment!

{Center Figure} Mrs Austin Atherley - her entrepreneurship is crystal clear

{Center Figure} Mrs Austin Atherley - her entrepreneurship is crystal clear

They also had a new Tea-Time which is a Vanilla biscuit with chocolate filling, I told the employee I am not a Tea Time freak and even so am less impressed with this new product and the man did not write down my info, how can you get an accurate assessment if you only record positive reviews?

Bloody mess? How does a man give instruction on female functions?

Bloody mess? How does a man give instruction on female functions?

That was dumb! I was willing to buy! I am not cheap just careful how I invest my hard earned funds, last year I spent on getting good leather belts from Ronald Thomas which are still performing their duties! The unusual stalls were Tam-Y-Ko Ellis’ Island Gurlz’ chocolate where confection is Art!

From the succulent to the incredulous – There was a small stall touting a local female sanitary napkin and the person performing repeat instructional demo’s was a GUY? If this is a women’s product then shouldn’t a FEMALE be guiding advice on its usage?

Barbadian alternative for Confidence, Kotex or Modess?

Barbadian alternative for Confidence, Kotex or Modess?

If companies want consumers to come forward and make purchases they have to feel invited and even that they are getting something for nothing! I support Roberts’ Manufacturing’s Sunflower Margarine simply because as a boy in Dover I’d get a tub as a sample each year until the venue changed to Terminal 2 (Was a kid, had no car and father did not feel like driving out to Airport unless he had to), this is known as Brand Loyalty even if it’s for a licorish reason as getting a periodical freebie!

5 Responses

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  1. Very nice overview

  2. Ian, I think since we have become more inform about the do and don’t of trade shows, businesses especialy the large ones, are simply there for product/service exposure, customer surveys and generate leads. It’s not recommended to sell products at trade shows.

    Yeah the demo of the female product by the guy would turn some folks off. Imagine losing leads just of that!

  3. I definitely liked this! I think such bluntness will offend though. I hope people realise Bajans don’t want to spend now, but that is exactly what will revive the economy

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