Rendezvous WMS

One of our readers wrote in last month with a capital idea, in my opinion. He said President Trump should shave off the sides of his hair in a Kim Jung Un mimic, go on TV and say, I am coming for you.

It would never work, but the visual in my head got me laughing in a climate that looks tough from inside the safety of Canada. The jung-un with the bespoke head has not threatened us, yet, and we are blissfully lacking in typhoons, hurricanes, riots and bombs.

Kerry Knudsen

Not to belittle the suffering of people with personal crises, but economically, North America is blissfully unaffected by the turmoil. I noted in last month’s e-letter the devastation caused by hurricanes Harvey and Irma provide an opportunity for Canadian producers to step up and help in a big way with recovery, since every design starts with a floor and moves up to cabinetry, windows, doors and furniture, to include replacement of necessary furniture and millwork in institutions and commercial enterprises.

It’s almost as if we are perennially in the eye of the hurricane, with warmth, relief and calm while devastation whirls around us like the very devil. This was true during the Euro crisis, during the Democrat- initiated American/global mortgage crisis and it’s true now. Or was, touch wood, as of press time.

 

Our industry is facing its once-every-two-years rendezvous. We call it WMS, but the fur trade is the heritage of Canada, and its rendezvous are legendary. Back in the day, fur traders, natives, mountain men, trading company factors, wives, jung-uns and a multitude of vendors would congregate once a year, with the main objective being to transfer furs to buyers — furs that could not be otherwise sold within the course of one season’s travel before the next trapping season.

A common word used in describing the rendezvous is revelry. It meant what is says, and the stuff of revelry was provided by vendors and suppliers. And, while reports of fights exist in the history, the rendezvous were mainly civil, the primary purposes being to shop, trade, catch up on news and visit with old friends.

Those primary purposes have not changed drastically over the past 180 years. The rendezvous for our own industry still provide a chance to catch up on news, visit with friends, shop and trade. Some of the glitz and glitter ebb and flow. Many years ago I was at the Ligna rendezvous in Hanover, Germany, and received an invitation to a performance put on by Weinig. It was a stunner, with a circus tent, circus acts, and a seated dinner for (it seemed) thousands.

In some years, exhibitors have provided free promotional trinkets for attendees — from yardsticks (now, I suppose, metersticks) and notepads to pens and calendars — all with the knowledge that the recipients would likely leave the swag in their hotel rooms, but the feel-good would go along home. In the current parlance, it’s public relations, not sales, but it leads to sales as certainly as the Clearwater leads to Rocky Mountain House.

It’s up to those of us on the vendor side of the rendezvous to inject some of that energy into each event, or we will lose it. Events with no energy die, and economic sectors with no events die. They are part and parcel of communication within an industry.

 

This year, as promised, Wood Industry will introduce its first-ever Manufacturers’ Roundtable. The idea is to establish a confidential back page where owners and managers of secondary-wood manufacturing shops can get together and trade notes. The format will be very basic. I will receive and announce questions from the group, and other group members will offer their answers. I will hold the gavel to make sure questions get asked and answered, and that everybody has a chance to speak. I am bound to not report out what happens in the meeting.

This promises to be a great resource, and details are on page 14, and will be posted on our web page and in the next Wood Industry e-letter on October 10. If you are not signed up for the e-letter, you can do so at www.woodindustry.ca, and remember to whitelist our address in case your spam filter has a mind of its own.

Otherwise, we’ll see you at the rendezvous. Our booth will be in an all-new spot next to the machinery hall, and we expect the event overall to be a Category 4.

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