PLASA Show 2021 – Review and unofficial awards

Well, another show is over and we’re back in the office with a pile of leads to chase through.

We are going as quick as we can but please accept our apologies if you are still waiting!

As to the show itself, we were really unsure how it would go. For us it went well and it was great to see people again – talking to friends old and new. The show was small. There were obvious exhibitors missing which demonstrates how hard and uncertain things are at the moment.

On a lighter note, final decisions are in for our unofficial PLASA Show 2021 awards. There are only a few categories this year because we actually had to spend time working due to limited staff (See: Covid). But we still wanted to highlight some of our best finds.

Warning: these awards are self-opinionated. No credit will be given for the actual quality of products or effort applied by anyone involved. Points were awarded for things that made us smile during the three days of quite hard work. You may disagree with our conclusions. If so, feel free to keep it to yourself.


Best carpet in show - Harlequin Floors

Exhibition issue carpet is usually horrible. If you’re lucky, it won’t be a vile clash against your painstakingly designed (and expensive) graphics. To solve this many of the bigger stands will bring their own flooring and ETC have a strong reputation for this. A nice squishy, cut pile affair with good quality underlay is always welcome for tired feet during a long day!

Sadly, times are tough and corners have to be cut. This has meant that this year’s ‘Best carpet in show’ award goes to Harlequin Floors - because they didn’t have carpet. It was an incredibly striking contrast to the dark carpets other stands and made quite an impression.


Best freebie – joint winners

We couldn’t decide a winner – so we took the easy route with three joint winners instead.

Bectu – Squishy, stress relieving avocado

The squishy avocados these guys were giving away were definitely unique. Our Operations Director, Phil Gaffney was very excited when he saw them because he is meeting the Avocado growers association in October - he thought they would get a kick out of them. Go figure.

Mushroom lighting - Multifunction pen

This pen was quite an item. Not only did it write, as a pen should, but it also had a flat and cross head screwdriver (that will also take standard 3.5mm hex shank precision screwdriver bits), a spirit level, a ruler (cm and inches), and a stylus for tablets and smartphones. The only reason it lost points is because pens are ‘so yesterday’.

Tait – One Tree Planted Badges

We all know the planet needs some looking after at the moment. To walk away with a badge that planted a tree gave us a warm feeling [text removed as inappropriate – ed]. It also adds another badge to the collection, or is that just me?

Best mug in show - unclaimed

Normally at trade shows, mugs are everywhere (the type you drink from that is). Although other mugs are available.

Maybe it is because of Brexit. Maybe Covid. Or perhaps they are stuck in containers because they cannot find any delivery drivers?

Either way, there was a distinct shortage of ceramic, so this award remains unclaimed.

Best free food - Drapemakers

When a stand has ice cream, making a trip to their stand becomes a must! Especially when they come walking around and giving them out at the end of the show. It was a delicious treat while we were all missing out on the last few days of summer here in the UK.

Best coffee – Olympia London

For the first time ever, best coffee goes to the venue rather than an exhibitor.

At trade shows the food and drink are normally overpriced and questionable at best. This year, however, the venue staff seemed to know what they were doing - and it was reassuringly affordable.

Well done London Olympia, next time we will leave our flasks at home!

Best dressed person / exhibitor - anon

This award goes to the guys wearing fluorescent yellow trousers. We’ve decided not to name the stand as we can’t find the phone number for the fashion police. All we can say is that we are glad we didn’t have to wear them!

Seriously though – they did catch our attention, so is that a bad thing???


It was great to see the industry coming back to life. Thank you to PLASA for putting on the event and we’re hoping to see all of you (and hopefully more) next year.

Published 10 September 2021 17:32 by Dawn Richards