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35 Exhibitors will have used his stand kit, and as he bodes farewell to the exhibition industry, Octanorm's Richard Armitagetalks to Exhibitingabout his hopes for the future. Tell EXa little about how you became involved in the exhibition industry. My grandfather owned a company called Springvale Exhibitions and Electrics and my grandfather on my mother's side ran signage company Perton Signs, so exhibitions were part of my life since the beginning. While working for Nestle in Switzerland, I discovered a clever little clip for holding panels and glass. As it happened, a company that had imported the clips went bust and my uncle ended up with a big box of them. I knew exactly what they were and how they could be used for displays, so I hot- footed it to Germany early in 1968 in an attempt to get an agency for them in the UK. There I met Hans Staeger, the designer of the clip. He had discovered an aluminium system which was being used in butcher shops to hang sides of meat. He changed it into an eight- sided upright and named it Octanorm. It Making a final stand was launched on 6 December 1968 and was the first ever aluminium system designed to build exhibition stands. What advice would you give people in the industry? I would tell contractors to do it better. Make more of an effort to get the exhibitors' stands right. To organisers, I would say be fair and don't overcharge. Some of the charges for space are up to even five or six hundred pounds per square metre. Finally, I would tell exhibitors to have faith. Don't desert the exhibition scenario. It is the only place where people can touch your product, even sniff it and give it a kick. Also, don't be too reliant on the internet. It can help you, but the real action is always going to be at the exhibition. All of us have to encourage the visitor to come to the exhibition, where they can do all the above things. There is no better place to market your product than at an exhibition. I'm absolutely convinced of that. What are some of your wishes for the industry's future? I would like halls to charge the right price to an organiser for renting space like a classic interview EXHIBITING- July/ August 2010 www. exhibitingmagazine. co. uk Suited and booted: Richard Armitage