Thursday 26th I attended the Ideal Home Show in London, Olympia. It is an exhibition totally jam packed with exhibitors offering anything and everything you could possibly need, want and wouldn’t even consider. There are dedicated ‘halls’ for interiors, home improvements, garden, food and homewares (including an international food court), technology and even fashion and beauty (though more accessories than clothing). There are a number of brands that you’ll know and love and some you’ll discover for the first time and become a firm favourite of.
On entrance, it is somewhat overwhelming. There is an awful lot to take in and impossible to know where to start. To make the most of your ticket and time, planning is recommended. The website outlines the events scheduled throughout the duration of the exhibition through their dedicated timetables section so it’s well worth checking out what is on the day you visit and making a note of the events of particular interest. This allows you to use the remainder of your time scouting for the best products and deals suitable to your needs and requirements.
I have to say, as a pre warning if you like, that as you might expect, the exhibitors are very, VERY, sales driven. It’s likely the sales staff monitoring the stands are on a commission basis (though of course I cannot say this with certainty) and have a number of targets they are required to meet so it can be (depending on the stall) very pressurised.
There were a few exhibitors who I was very unhappy with and will let you know of these businesses so that you can either avoid them fully or else take extreme caution!
Beautyglow Hair and Makeup- seemingly nice, draws me into the stand to show me a bronzer which is perfectly fine as she is demonstrating on my hand. The next thing I know the lady is applying the product directly onto my face, without my consent. Again, I can probably tolerate this but then applies the product to my eyes, eyebrows and lips- all, again, without consent. I am at this stage too stunned and appalled to say a thing! She then proceeds to place in my hand every product that she demonstrated on me in an attempt to make me purchase with an ‘unbelievable’ deal. Needless to say, I was not impressed and they were not going to get a penny of my money.
A number of exhibitors or different companies were showcasing a new hair removal technique that would essentially exfoliate and remove hairs at the same time- basically with what can only be described as the same material you’d find on a foot file. Although no pain or discomfort at the time, you soon after get a stinging feel. Also very soon after (one or two days) your skin feels rough, dry, patchy and like it’s covered in healing scabs- don’t buy it! One vendor in particular was very desperate for a sale and used a very awful tactic. I think I was looking at my phone at the time but the sales rep started talking to me about the product, my mind elsewhere (looking like I was interested in the product) she proceeded to offer me one of the products for £10 (was offering two for £20 as a buy one get one free), still my mind elsewhere- someone came up and said ‘my sister has told me all about these and they’re amazing! I want 3 bags please’ as I was still hanging around looking pensive, this interested ‘customer’ all of a sudden lost interest in the sale- turns out she was a friend of the sales associate. Awful! This was on the Smooth Again stand.
Finally one of the cosmetics companies, learning I was in press and thus more so interested in me trying their product, spent 20 minutes trying to encourage me to buy something, anything! The prices fluctuated from almost £80 for one product to £19. Funnily enough, had he not tried to ‘hold on to me’ for so long and fluctuate the prices so much, he may well have got a sale out of me as their facial dead sea exfoliator was brilliant (I’m trying to find out the name of this company and will update you when I can!)
Something I have tend to do is look around the event first, see what peaks my interest and then go and pick up the products I wanted- it’s a great way to manage the finances (and means you don’t have to carry the bags round the rest of the exhibition). For exhibitors it’s this lack of understanding that often makes them miss the sale.
It’s not all gloomy. Far from it. These are just mere examples of some of the exhibitors to be weary of. I actually had a number of great conversations with lots of other exhibitors and got to learn about some exciting homey products- I’ve already kitted out the new house with lots of updates in furniture, technology and homeware.
What this event is absolutely amazing for, is the discounts and inspiration! Divided into sections, you’ll be able to equip every room of your home to your needs and personal style. They even have a number of room/garden/home set ups to provide that inspiration should you need the extra help.
As I said, the discounts were amazing- if you’re looking to decorate and/or update your home then this is the event for you with fantastic items suitable to every price range. The price of your ticket is essentially your pass to money off the big ticket items you’ve got your eye on. If you’re going to shop from a particular brand though, it’s well worth checking out the exhibitor list first to ensure what you’re after will be there.
If you’re a savvy shopper like me then the best advice I can offer is: go with an open mind, make a note of what peaks your interest then head to one of the great restaurants/foodie locations to review the prices of what you want online, though I am sure you’ll already be getting the best deal!
My fav exhibitors were:
Elemis– they were offering 15 minutes (facial or back massage) for £15 by trained therapists. It was the best respite to a long day (carrying lots of bags and lots of walking!). Their discounts were great too!
Regata– gorgeous outdoor furniture at amazing prices with most items with £200-£300 off!
Home Comfort– who were selling and promoting the bamboo pillow and sheets. This product is designed to keep cool (cold pillow, finally!), eco friendly, hypoallergenic and so much more. I have this fabulous product to review so keep your eye out for that!
LauraStar– I was actually wowed by an iron- considering I don’t even iron now (hardly ever!) it must be an outstanding product! Hoping to bring you more information on this at a later date. These guys made the list because they were just so personable and took time and care in demonstrating their product. They have an amazing steam station that is very portable (so is their heavy duty ironing systems and boards), easy to iron curtains and comes in hot pink!
Smeg– were showcasing a mixture of retro and modern kitchen appliances. In particular I loved the retro fridges!
east2eden-If you’re looking for cute homewares than east2eden is your go to. They’ve got a huge range of ornaments for the home and garden and their prices are really reasonable (even outside the exhibition hall!).
Culinary Concept– absolutely gorgeous collection of mostly silver and wooden homeware, furniture, gifts and more- reminds me of Pottery Barn but finally without the very hefty delivery charges!
I’ll definitely be going back when we move.