Written by Mike Graham, product manager for CHAUVET Professional
Three thirty in the morning is early. I don’t care what time zone you think your head is in, it’s early. We got to the airport and I dropped Annie and Connor off at the international terminal. I then went to the domestic terminal to catch my flight to Auckland. Did I mention that 3:30 am is early? Well so is every minute past that until you get back to sleep on the plane.
Once I landed in Auckland, I hooked up with Brodie Noon. Brodie is the director of MDR, our distributor for CHAUVET in New Zealand and overall cool guy. We got a lift to our first meeting with Matt, one of Brodie’s sales guys. Our first meeting was with a company called Lamp Specialists, Ltd. The person we were to meet was Clifford Henshaw. Lamp Specialists is one of Brodie’s best customers and is also the Philips lamp distributor for NZ. (Could you ask for a better combination?) Cliff gave me the lowdown on his vision of the future for CHAUVET in NZ. I must say that I was really happy with what he had to say as he was very receptive to the idea of working more closely with CHAUVET and the local production companies, as well as with the architectural market. Both of which he seems to be very aware of. Cliff was also to be our driver and guide for the rest of the day. I think he was driving the only Cadillac I have ever seen in NZ.
We started out with a company called Spotlight. Ben and Alex were all set to see us and wanted to know from the start more about what we were doing with LEDs in the future. As they already have COLORado 3p units in their inventory, I suggested looking at expanding their existing LED inventory and taking advantage of the power savings along with having the CHAUVET support. Since they do a lot of dry hire into schools and public events, I think that they thought that would be a good idea.
Our second meeting was with an architectural company called LDP, Lighting Design Partnership-Visual Planners. They design projects all over the world and are working on some very cool ones in NZ. It makes it so easy when you walk into a presentation, especially with an architectural firm, and are totally prepared. We showed them what is new with ILUMINARC, sister company of CHAUVET which focuses on architectural interior and exterior lighting solutions, and I think they were quite impressed. Adriana, Domenico and John were a great audience and very friendly. Their big thing is reliability, which with the environmental stresses in NZ (the combination of having a high content of salt and sulfur in the air, cold winters, hot summers, and in many areas, high winds), rugged housings on our outdoor items is really important. I told them about our success with projects in Quebec City and Paris along with cruise ships. I think that they we impressed with our existing projects considering the fact that ILUMINARC is not even two years old yet.
Our last meeting of the day was with a hire company called Oceania. These guys are one of the largest hire companies in NZ. They have a shop that reminded me of my last tour with Upstaging without all of the red trucks. They do everything from fabrication to rentals. Simon of Oceania was good enough to sit down with us and give us a look at some of the projects they are working on over the next few months. Looks like they will be very busy with the upcoming Rugby World Cup 2011. It seems that the entire country is all about rugby even more than normal. Because of the nature of the business in NZ, shipping is a major concern with hire companies. They need durable fixtures that can survive constant shipping from the North Island to the South and back again. I assured them that the CHAUVET COLORado series can cover that need.
All in all, the meetings went better than expected. CHAUVET has a good name in NZ and the three of us–Brodie, Cliff, and I–felt we covered all of our bases and it was time for Brodie and I to get back to the airport. Matt came back to Cliff’s office to pick us up and take us to the airport, but not before a quick stop at a pub for a fish and chips meal along with a beer.