Kitchen And Bath Industry Show (KBIS) 2011 in Las Vegas

By Wednesday next week I’ll be at KBIS.  This is the first time in my career as a kitchen and bath designer that I’ll be attending this trade show that is touted as the “world’s largest international trade event focused exclusively on all aspects of the kitchen and bath industry.”  They are anticipating over 30,000 attendees.

This is by far not expected to be one of the largest KBIS events that has also been held in Chicago and Atlanta in past years.  Chicago has traditionally had the largest number of attendees. The economy has hit our industry hard and many exhibitors have dropped out.  I’ve not been paid to design a kitchen in quite some time…. wah wah wah! This has not dampened my spirits one bit!  I’m really looking forward to this event for many reasons –the least of which is bolstering my stance as a professional in the K&B design community (though this is certainly an important aspect of it).  I’m “semi-retired” at present -keeping my foot in the door.

This is also the first time going to Las Vegas.  Call me crazy –but I’ll be driving!  Not alone however, but with my 17 year-old son, Mico.  He’s looking forward to tearing up the town on his skateboard while I’m attending the show.  He says there are a couple of “world-famous” skate parks there that he’s dying to try out.  There are also all kinds of activities and events to keep him occupied –many of which are even FREE.  I somehow misread something and thought our trip was going to be much longer than it actually is though it’s still somewhere between 7 1/2 and 9 1/2 hours (depending on traffic) one way.

We plan to take the trip in two-day legs.  At the end of the first day of driving (which happens to be Easter Sunday), I’m hoping to hook up with my cousin Karen in Hesperia. This is fantastic as in recent years the only time we’ve been able to meet in person has been due to funerals or other family drama.  It’s nice to be able to “just visit” because I want to.

The second day of driving will culminate in meeting up with my Blogger 19 and other Twitter friends for a dinner hosted by Masco.  Masco is the parent company of Brizo.  Brizo hosted a trip for us to New York a year ago February for their Fashion Week Event with fashion designer Jason Wu.  We coined our group “Blogger 19”.  Many of us have had opportunities to meet up in the interim, but this is the first time I’ll get to meet some K&B Tweeters that were Brizo’s Fashion Week guests this past February that I’ve also come to know on-line and am dying to meet. It will also be the first time I’ll get to see some of the East Coast B19ers since New York.  Oh I can hardly wait!

I am the new owner of an iPhone.  I don’t know what I was waiting for in regard to trading in my old dumb phone for a smart phone (well probably the price tag that came down to $49).  It’s awesome!  One of the really awesomeness things is the KBIS ap that has my schedule of events that I’ve committed to and allows me to add notes and events I’m interested in.  It also has maps of the show floor so I can find things.  It also links to my badge ID and profile.  Not sure what that’s for but I’m sure I’ll find out when I find the Know It All Lounge (new this year) that will have staff on hand to explain it all.

One of the booths at KBIS is their Multimedia Lounge that is designed (I think) for people to take a break and recharge (smart phones & lap tops?) and get info about the show  or directions from the concierge service there.  It also will have live presentations including celebrity guests and live feed from HGTV, DIY, Food and Cooking channels. This is also partially sponsored by my friends at Masco.

I’m planning on at least two afternoon “Tweetups” at the Masco booth and one at the Multimedia Lounge.  I’ve heard there will be a big “Tweet” screen somewhere on the show floor.  Social networking is clearly playing a big part in this-year’s KBIS schema.  I’ll be Tweeting my heart out my Twitter and Facebook friends.  But then so will a lot of other people!

One would think this is just a great big party –well I’m guessing IT IS!  I can hardly add anything to my schedule at this point that doesn’t conflict with something else.  Lots of cocktail parties, dinners and receptions scheduled after hours.  Oh my.  Sorry friends –I’m not much of a party girl.  Remember I have a teenager to attend to –so I’ll have to play it by ear.

As much as it is a party, it’s also the major event of the year for kitchen and bath designers to learn about new products and technologies.  We’ll also have the opportunity to hear from experts in the industry, network and learn business strategies.  Some will even have opportunities to earn K&B certification at the show.  There’s a Career Development booth for people to look for jobs or post them or learn interviewing and job search techniques. Others will learn how to use state-of-the-art software being demonstrated.  (I’m looking forward to the 20-20 Design and Chief Architect booths.)

And lastly, but certainly not least, is a large emphasis on green building practices like the NextGen home of renovation that “will showcase how you can live big in smaller places.”  One of the receptions I’m attending is the Green Builder Media Event –sponsored by (you guessed it) Masco.

I’m going to be at KBIS for two and a half days…. not nearly enough I think.  I don’t think I’ll leave disappointed.  A little tired perhaps but definitely inspired.  High expectations?  You bet!

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