What DIDN'T I see?! I saw everything you wanted to see in the racing industry! Walking thru the hallway to the convention center, there was race cars of every type - F1, stock, midget, dirt track, sprint, rally, ect - all speckled with companies displaying their name within the show walls. There were cars cut in half to show off the roll cage fabrication, there was chassis' only to show welds and tube chassis' ... I walked in the door like a little kid walking into a candy store for the first time - with my jaw on the floor. The only thing I didn't see was a HOT promo model!
I was fascinated at how small shop and business friendly this show was. I met a variety of shop owners that worked on a single specific thing but had a booth in the show. There was no particular order within the walls ... you could have the best suspension company in the world next to some small-time, nearly no-name shop that cuts flywheels. It was incredible! I can't imagine any other show being this locally friendly! That, to me, is one of the most important way our sport and trade is going to continue to grow.
At every table and display, there was some way to connect with them via social media: Facebook, Twitter, their own website ... you could even scan what appeared to be the cell phone scanner to save a digital business card! It is very amazing how much the internet has completely taken over everything, in the very best way. Without social media in the automotive industry, I wouldn't be where I am today.
I worked my booth at Proform Parts all weekend and we had excellent responses to many things. My favorite thing to watch was people cruise by and pick up our "Carbon Fiber" Valve Covers ... the hydro-dip carbon fiber shell on the stamped steel is so convincing that everyone would walk by and either tap or pick up the cover. Lots of people were amazed at the near perfect carbon fiber look and some were disappointed that it was not real carbon fiber. They are absolutely beautiful! We also had a lot of the LS crowd fall head over heels in love with our new LS Slant Edge Valve Covers (which, PS, I can't WAIT to put some on the WS6!). Unfortuntely, we ran out of catalogs WAYYYY faster than we had ever expected and did not rent a scanner for the weekend. I think next year, it would be a great idea to double up on some catalogs, bring some swag (like stickers, keychains, ect) and rent a scanner to exchange information with other companies and buyers. I felt like I had a crash course in the show etiquette but I wouldn't have it any other way.
Being a chick in a predominately male industry, it's very important to know the line between professional and unprofessional. Everyone likes to go out and party after the show but you need to keep a close eye on your self and keep your conscious as your best friend! Within the first hour of being on the show floor on Thursday, I had two guys from my aisle come try to lay some game down on me and gave me their numbers. Puh-lease friends. I came to talk cars and racing - let's keep it clean! It's very important to remember all of the reasons why you're in the position you're in and maintain what you're there to do otherwise you may not be asked next time!
I have to thank the awesome people of Racing Junk for hanging out with me all weekend and keeping an eye on me. They are awesome! And seriously - those guys can party. This really doesn't matter or pertain to the show - but I have never eaten as well as I did in Indy this past weekend. My goodness - the best sushi and steak, some melt-in-your-mouth-giant-white-chocolate-macadamia-nut-cookie-that-was-still-doughy-with-a-scoop-of-French-Vanilla-ice-cream-on-top (OMG) and some good ol' American beer. I felt like downtown Indy was a great place - the night life was hopping and seemed WAY more busy and safe than downtown STL.
On Friday night, we were invited to the RoushYates Racing Customer Appreciation Party at the Slippery Noodle. I wasn't sure how this was going to go but of course, I'm down to hang out with people I've met at the show. I'm not going to lie to you, I'm not a huge fan of Ford racing but I spent the evening rubbing shoulders with some of the brains behind RoushYates Racing and even spent 20+ minutes discussing with THE Robert Yates about the beauty of machining, the importance of programming and putting the glamour, excitement and appeal back into racing, like it was in the 60's and 70's. My gosh, it was incredible. Like I said, I'm not a huge fan of Ford racing but I can appreciate the technological advances they are coming up with and the fact that Mr Yates is a self-taught kind of guy - that's incredible! After we left the party, we went back to the hotel and enjoyed some beers with the guys of Moser and Jiffy-Tite before calling it a night.
I think the most important thing I learned (and am kicking myself for) is that you ABSOLUTELY NEED TO HAVE YOUR OWN BUSINESS CARDS ON HAND. Jeeze! What a huge idiot I am! I feel the most valuable thing I brought home was the stack of business cards I collected while showing off the LSwut Project or discussing future plans for myself and Proform. I have so many e-mails to send out tomorrow! I can't believe the contacts I made. IMIS was networking heaven. Oh, and I'm getting my business cards designed this week *forehead smack*
IMIS was a completely surreal experience. I was surrounded by the best in the industry: manufacturers, sellers, racers, race teams, machinists, race media, writers, builders, fabricators ... you name it! As a whole, my first automotive industry trade show was a blast. I can't wait for next season!
Just like I do with Monster Energy
Some quotes I heard at the Proform booth;
"Nice meeting you coolest chick ever!"
"You maybe the only legit female here..."
"You really did one hell of a number to that LS1!"
"How do you work for a company in Detroit but live in STL?"
"Pink nail polish? With pink sparkles? Really?"
"What are these triangles? That's genius! Why didn't I think of that!?"
"I've been in the valve spring business for 12 years and I have never seen anyone with a valve spring tattoo, I gotta give you props for that!"
"I seriously doubted if you knew what you were talking about at first ... but now that I see you have an LS valve train permanently tattooed on your arm, I can believe it!"
|Welcome to Indy! & then I got pulled over by a Mustang|
|Indy IS Racing!|
|The brand new cylinder head handles!|
|Good lord! I'm in love with these valve covers!|
|My view from the booth, Hello Friends from Mobile1!|
|I spy a racecar!|
|LSwut at IMIS|
|WHOA! The RallyFighter is insane!|
|LOOK AT THAT BODY|
|Our booth throughout the day|
|My good friend Jesse from Wheele Industries came to visit me!|
|Good-bye Indy! It's been real|
|My GPS knows what's up, all the time ;)|