• Shade Sail Guru

Thoughts on this year's IFAI Expo

It’s been three weeks since IFAI’s Expo in Orlando and we are still glowing.

IFAI offerings and opportunities.
IFAI offerings and opportunities.

I’ve heard from some that for awnings, this year’s expo was a bit stale with no big new products or releases. The shade sail world, on the other hand, was quite lively on the show floor.

We may be a bit biased, but shade sails seemed to be everywhere at the show. The biggest news, of course, was Shade Sail University. We brought a few books to show off and we were looking forward to our small campfire presentations. We hoped that people in the industry would have a positive reaction to our little pet project that we’ve been working so hard on.

We were not prepared for just how big that positive response was. We worked with Polyfab to create a special version of the book just for them. They printed over 100 copies and began distributing them at the show. Before we knew it, it seemed like everyone had a copy in their hands! Our campfire presentations went even better than expected. We were a little concerned that no one would show up to the first one since it was in the middle of happy hour on the first day, but both presentations ended up being standing room only! The audiences for both sessions asked some really good questions and were really engaged afterward.

Standing room only at the Campfire presentation for Shade Sail University.
IFAI shared this photo of our campfire in their newsletter. You can see Robin and Patrick presenting SSU Ch.5 - Installation.

There were a lot of highlights at the show for us, special dinners, meeting up with old and new customers, working with fabric vendors about what’s next, but the best thing by far was seeing the look on people’s faces as they opened up the book for the first time.

This post feels a little bit boastful, but when you feel good about something you worked hard on, you should take time to brag about it. This year’s Expo was a big one for us as we launched Shade Sail University out into the world. We are so happy with the book and it’s reception so far.

Now the trick will be to figure out how to wow everybody at next year’s Expo!

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