It’s my second day back in the office after the amazing 10th anniversary year of the ETO Show, the UK’s biggest and best adult industry expo run in association with the widely read industry publication ETO Magazine. My head is still spinning from the entire weekend and my legs are sore from walking around and having to be vertical for so long instead of merely transporting me between desk, coffee station, and bed. Writing up this post event report is almost too mammoth a task to imagine. The ETO Show 2014 encompasses so much news that I have actually split the report into four parts to make it a little easier to digest.
Part One: The journey, the stand set up, and the night before
The week leading up to the ETO Show was insanely busy for me. I am usually very busy anyway, but I wanted to make sure everything was organised and in place as I wasn’t just attending as a visitor as in previous years, I was actually exhibiting with my company, The Cara Sutra Collection Ltd as well. There was also the fact that Friday I would be afk (away from keyboard) to pack and make sure I wasn’t too frazzled upon arrival. Monday was obviously going to be taken up with the second day of the show. So that’s two full working days I needed to cover in advance.
Monday through Thursday was a race against time, seeing me at the desk until at least 10pm every day. Friday morning I had a few bits to finish off but around 11.30am I I finally left the desktop happily running required applications, and closed the remotely connected laptop in the lounge, ready to concentrate on the exciting task of packing.
Saturday morning pounced upon me and I woke with excitement, realising that today was the day we’d hit the NEC in Birmingham to set up the CSC stand. From our home in North Lincs, it’s only a couple of hours drive to Birmingham, which was surprising as we thought it would take as long as it does to get to London. We set off at the very decent time of 10.30am and even managed to stop for a long lunch (with added, relaxing, chilled white wine) before rolling up at the Crowne Plaza NEC exactly at 2pm. Couldn’t have timed it better.
Checking into our room was a dream, with professional and courteous service from the well mannered staff. Sable (my partner) and I chuckled as we looked down the group sign in list to see many familiar names (Kerri – LELO, Lee – ETO Magazine and many more) but as tempted as we were to scribble in a 4am wake up call for them, we resisted. Slave minnie had chauffeured us down so our room was a double double. Two double beds. I was expecting the room to be larger, but it was clean, tidy and felt comfortable. The view of the lake with fountain was outstanding and room refreshments were welcoming.
After a quick ditch of the bags and a freshen up, we made our way over to the NEC which is a two minute walk from the back door of the hotel. So handy. I wouldn’t stay anywhere else ever again for the ETO Show; the Crowne Plaza is definitely the place to be. I was looking forward to seeing the rest of the CSC team, my other directors Vic, James and Julian, but they hadn’t arrived yet. I collected exhibitor badges and found my stand at the back of the hall, E4, which was one of the smallest spaces but I just knew we were going to make it amazing. It starts as a shell with red floor and white panels, a standard table, two chairs and two spotlights, but by the time set up was complete it saw a complete transformation.
After wandering around the large NEC hall and catching up with a few familiar faces who were hard at work with their stands, Julian finally arrived with the ram packed car and trailer. Vic and James were to arrive in another 20 minutes or so, by train. It was brilliant catching up with Julian again, whose own company La Boudoir Boutique (trade Select E Products, remember the shop opening last year) has supported The Cara Sutra Collection enormously and continues to do so.
Sable, minnie and Julian got to hoisting the heavy goods out of the trailer and I carried a few of the lighter pieces. I couldn’t be doing with all the heavy humping of furniture, I needed to be in one piece for the rest of the show! I was very happy to be reunited with my famous red chair, as well as to see the luxurious and stylish furniture elements from the Boudoir Room exit the trailer one by one and be set up by our stand. I snapped quite a few pictures of the stand set up, as it’s something you don’t often get to see – the behind the scenes process of ETO Show stand set up. It’s all very exciting! Vic and James had joined us and were helping out with all elements of the stand as well. We caught up with each others’ news in between placing bits and bobs around the place.
Setting Up Gallery
Once the stand was finished and ready for the next morning, I took a few final photos and bid goodbye to Julian, Vic and James, as I had an important rendez vous to prepare for that evening. Sable, minnie and I headed for the hotel room for (yet another) freshen up and then it was hitting the bar time. Who was I meeting? Gritty Woman and her lovely man!
They arrived with perfect timing as I just finished getting ready and met them in the Crowne Plaza bar for hugs, chat, laughter and of course a few drinks. None of us had eaten in quite some time, so we booked a table in the Grill Restaurant on site and looked forward to tucking into some fantastic hotel fayre.
It didn’t disappoint. Hors d’oeuvres and seafood was consumed and the evening was made all the better for catching up with the entirety of the ABS Holdings (Simply Pleasure) attendees at the table next to ours – then who should sit at the table to the other side of us, but the beautiful Monique and Chloe from Nexus Range!
Catching up with Gritty Woman in person once again was a true pleasure, she’s a fantastic sex blogger and writes brilliant sex toy reviews. I am envious of her video review skills too, and we exchanges various blogging tips and tricks as well as kinky anecdotes and friendly chat. The boys were left to fend for themselves, conversation-wise. I don’t think they minded.
The night soon came to an end and we bid goodbye to Gritty Woman and her man who were staying at another hotel nearby. It was time for some shut-eye before the show started and the doors opened to visitors at the 10th ETO Show the next morning.