I feel that we’ve been going to Focus for ever, but in fact it’s been just the last 3 years, and the size of the stand has increased with a big jump each time, keeping pace with the growth of Lencarta.
The shot on the left shows our very first effort, with just a tiny space on someone else’s stand, but those few square metres were enough for people to actually see the quality for the very first time, and once they realised that Lencarta is much more than just a website with fancy promises, the orders started flooding in!
Last year, we upgraded to a much larger, 24 square metre stand and well-known photographers Jonathan Ryan and Jeremy Nako joined our team, which helped enormously.
This year we went slightly mad and booked a 40 square metre stand, this allowed us to host lighting demos on all 4 days, which seemed very popular. Again, Jeremy and Jonathan worked on the stand and hosted lighting demos, and Michael Sewell, who has now joined the Lencarta team with responsibility for looking after our retailers, staffed our stand too, and so did Jade Hespin, our lighting model.
Our approach with the lighting demos was simple – show people how cheap and easy it is! I’ve looked around at lighting demos from other manufacturers and many of them are just thinly-disguised sales pitches for a host of expensive lights and accessories. Our approach was to show people that dramatic, punchy results can be obtained very easily using just one light, although we also added a light on the background sometimes – but again, it was a simple setup and the background was nothing more than a couple of roofing sheets from Wickes… you can see it here, in the background.
Unfortunately we ran out of places to plug flash heads into so we used a Safari Li-on instead, as the battery powered flash solved the problem of a spare socket. Most of my own demonstrations showed how I light a fashion model with a large 70cm beauty dish, and a lot of people told me that they were surprised that the Li-on was able to take the weight of the beauty dish, and that it kept up with my ‘machine gun’ shooting, at more than 2 frames a second.
We had quite a few new products on display, the main ones were the Safari Li-on and the new UltraPro heads. We go to Focus to meet our customers and to give people an opportunity of seeing just how good our products are – not to actually sell anything – but we were very pleasantly surprised at the number of orders that were placed at the show. The Safari Li-on in particular attracted a huge amount of both interest and sales, and because we were placed in the perfect position, close to The Flash Centre, Bron and Profoto (all of which sell similar but much more expensive products) people were able to easily check out the other makes, and nearly all of them then came back to us and bought one or more of our Safari Li-on kits.
It was interesting to see that a couple of the well-known lighting manufacturers, who in the past have suggested that we just copy other people’s products, were in fact copying our products and claiming that their own products were new – in each case, their versions were at least twice the price of ours and with nowhere near the same performance…
Personally, I believe that our success was due to two main factors, the quality of our products and the quality of the people who were working on our stand. We’re lucky to have well known, skilled photographers who can actually help people with their queries, instead of just having the usual salespeople, who sometimes only seem to be interested in getting sales.
Anyway, we’re now slowly getting back to our normal level of customer service. The bad news is that Focus has made a big dent in our stock levels and we may run out of some of the most popular items before the next delivery has arrived.
There are two items of good news that I want to share with you though…
We have decided to give a 5% discount on all orders until the end of March. Just type focus into the coupon code box to claim your discount
And we have now increased our no-quibble guaranteee to two years. This applies to all orders placed from the 1st February