Rocket Exhibition Services strive to make the most stunning stands – all with the most sustainable credentials. CEO Noel Reeves told EN’s Emily Wallin that their ambitious designs are now so popular they are now picking and choosing only the jobs that reach for the stars.
At Rocket Exhibition Services business is booming. Noel Reeves started the business from his spare bedroom in 2009 and is now turning away work.
Rocket now occupies more than 1000sqm at their East Midlands base and cover every aspect of exhibition stand design and build, as well as commercial large format printing.
Reeves says they can now be more selective about their work and only take on the projects that really wow. Sometimes that means turning away clients to his competitors – but it ensures their stands are some of the most beautiful and ethical in the business.
Using as many reusable components as possible is critical to their ethos and part of their curated approach is to reign in customers’ expectations.
“Sometimes they want something that is too big or too expensive and you know that’s not going to be sustainable,” Reeves says.
“Then they never do it again because it’s a disaster.”
Reeves says they often suggest clients spend less than their maximum budget, because it is more sustainable.
“Sustainability is not just environmental, which is obviously important,” he says. “But it is also sustainable for them as a business. We want people to come to us and get a good experience. They get a good show, rebook their stands, they get repeat business, they recommend us, everybody wins. That side of sustainability doesn’t get spoken about so much.
“Most of our stuff does get reused or recycled.
“Our stand we built for International Confex we will sell to someone else – redesign it because it’s modular. It can be repaired, repainted, reconfigured for someone else. We try to do that all the time. Not just from an environmental perspective but also from a cost perspective it’s better. Everybody wins. You actually start everything with sustainability in mind.”
“We try to always reuse, not just because we’re cheapskates but we don’t want to waste anything. At exhibitions things are only used for two days and then thrown away and that’s criminal. The whole industry is so wasteful. We build everything out of component parts that can be reused.”
Reeves believes quality design is crucial to visitor experience.
“Smiling, people being happy and people having a good experience is what it’s all about,” he says. “It’s all about how you feel. If we can make people feel good then we’re doing a good job.”
“Right now it’s very easy to stand out in our sector because so many people are chasing after the same thing, down the volume route. But that’s not where I’m going to smile. That’s not what I’m about and it’s only going to cause more pain and misery. I would rather do fewer jobs that we can really be proud of. On the money side, it used to be number one, but in terms of importance it’s now probably 4th or 5th. Yes, we need to pay wages, but we’re not necessarily looking at the money in terms of deciding what we do.
“We think ‘that looks awesome and that will make us feel good. We’ll be proud of that.’
“Just being different and confident in what you do is key. Sometimes we have to say ‘thanks but no thanks’. It sounds cocky but we need to look at our core strengths and we really have been undervaluing ourselves
“The price of our products has now probably doubled or even more so our clients are obviously seeing the value in it. We are breaking records every month at the moment.
“We want to be different. We want to be better. When we started we would have been falling over ourselves to get some of the jobs we’re now turning down.
“Now we’re thinking ‘can we do it well? If we can’t do it well, we don’t want to do it. We had never, ever in 10 years turned anything away but now we do almost daily.
I always send them somewhere else where I know they can do what they want.”
Reeves has worked in exhibitions more than 23 years – first as an organiser then a contractor so has seen the business from all sides – but says the effects of the past two years has brought the whole industry together.
He says: “I literally want everyone to do well. I’m always shouting about other people’s work. We would never have done that before the pandemic. We’re all struggling with capacity and trying to give work to each other. That community is something I’m really passionate about and really keen it doesn’t go back to how it was before.”
Rocket are now blasting off with more exciting projects than ever before.
“We want to be the company that people think of when they think of something a bit different,” he concludes.
The April issue of Exhibition News is packed full of features about creating great visitor experiences and guaranteed to make you smile.
Read more here.