Tampa Boat Show 2017 

Aloha Everyone! 

AT LAST the Tampa Show—that was postponed in September due to Hurricane Irma—finally happened this past weekend.

This show—which is definitely one of my favorites—is held in either Sept or Oct of every year at the Tampa Convention Center. Tickets are usually in the range of $12-15, I think it’s $12 if you order online. (I’m not sure because I’ve only had badges from working the show.) They have event pay for parking around the center and elsewhere. www.tampaboatshow.com

Let me tell you… I had an amazing time. It’s been several shows ago since I went inside any of the boats (because there was a time I was able to attend about 12 boat shows a year and toured all of the boats that I could) but after a tiny break, I went in a few this time. I smelt the new boat smell, day dreamt about my future boat, reminisced about looking out the windows of bunkbeds at night in my younger days when I’d stay on a houseboat… and I really truly think I got my passion back. Or at least dug up some of that old buried treasure and raised my anchor above the water so my heart could open back up.

 Me!

 Perfect writing station for me!

 This as well!

I saw my current work family. I saw my old work family. I saw my old work family’s sister company which is ultimately family. I saw some other friends that were working booths there. I just saw a lot of family… and it made me so happy. This boat show made me so happy, and was exactly what I needed.

 My current company Tampa Bay Yacht Management with their other company Gulf Marine Stabilizers doing SeaKeeper demos.

I don’t know if any of you were following the “I’M LOGAN IT” project boat aka “FISH TACOS” from Ship Shape TV and Taco Metals. They were there with the boat and people could register to win the boat. The winner will be announced at the Fort Lauderdale Show in November. (Is it necessary to say I think this boat is meant to be mine? Because I already want tacos every.single.day so seeing this makes me hungry for… tacos^2! It’s a serious math problem! Ha.) But, in boating terms, this is a lovely, lovely boat. I saw some of the videos of where each of the brands (who have their logo on the boat) contributed their product to fix it up. Such a great thing they’re doing too for the IM LOGAN IT foundation.

Another cool thing that the Tampa Boat Show decided to do was a “Boater’s Pass” where everyone who had it could scan their barcode and win prizes and such. I didn’t really see how it worked, since I didn’t have one, but I’d be curious on how well it went. Bueller? 

They had their normal things: Discover Boating and their classes out on the water, seminars, family fun day, the Buccaneers stopped by on Sat, Progressive’s set up for kids, Geico’s boat, etc. I saw a lot of familiar faces, and somehow, I still missed some company’s booths. I don’t know how it happens but it does. Also, I think everyone needs a boat with a bar type in it. What do you think?

And here are a few photos from the poetic side of me…. This photo spoke to me because of all the different reflections that just seemed like a perfect boat art opportunity.

I didn’t really realize this until later that day, but following my favorite day of this year Oct Fri 13th was the 14th–a death anniversary of a great teacher friend of mine from high school. This next photo I took reminds me so much of the quote she once said to me. “When you look through the window, you don’t see the whole world.” But… every time I’m on a boat and look out the window there, I see my entire future–my dreams coming true–and that is my whole world. I really miss you Elaine!

That concludes this episode with Boat Show Girl attending the Tampa Boat Show. It was a more relaxed year for me at this one, usually I talk to a whole lot more people, but I just kind of took in not having attended a show in a while and really enjoyed myself. I guess even I need to do that once in a while.

Over the next few weeks and maybe months, I will be “pivoting” and what that means in the business world is that when one business step / project / plan doesn’t work, you pivot, meaning change it. So I am going to be making little changes here and there to make me–Boat Show Girl–exactly what I need to be.

For I am–after all–the Captain at the helm of my own life where compasses and maps do not exist because sometimes the beauty is drifting, getting lost and dropping anchor into the unknown. 

Always,
Karen Maeby the Boat Show Girl

Boat Show Girl is making a comeback!! 

Aloha Everyone!

I’m back! I’m back! (Sort of – but mostly – I’m back!) 

Everything has changed since my last post. I am so pleased to say—after about 2 months from middle of April to the middle of June—I am back in the industry working with a different company. It’s a smaller company, I get to do a variety of things, and they love boat shows. So I’m ecstatic about that last part. I’m only part time there, which allows me to do a plethora of different things. I’m way less stressed and a lot more happy than I’ve been in a while.

I have also decided that it is going to be a permanent part of my BoatShowGirl schedule to take a break around April/May to July/August. There might be a few times where I’ll give updates, but that’s about it, especially since all the main shows are in the spring and fall.

The reason for my break is that the other half of my life belongs to my love of performing arts (writing, theatre, music, art) and I am heavily into theatre right now. We just finished our summer show that happens every year and it took 99% of my free time, but it’s the funnest and it’s my favorite. Plus, it’s the only show out of our full season of plays that I get to work with at least 40 different people.

There’s also a positive spin in all of this. I have a business partner from another job I’m doing, and he loves the water as well, so I sort of have a boat show partner (finally). I think it’s his plan to keep me walking the straight line where I can hit my true potential with this brand.

The guys at World of Boating really wants me to do something with a uniform, and I do plan on doing that…finally….this year.

I’ve been catching up with Trade Only Today and Boating Industry after taking this break, and wow, the news I have been reading!!!

Yamaha buys Bennett Marine

Volvo buys Seven Marine

Malibu buys Cobalt

I mean. I really don’t know what to say. In one point, it’s worrying me that these buys are happening, and in another it’s like are they in trouble and these companies with more money are rescuing them? Essentially, we just lost 3 individual companies in this industry because each one is merging with another.

How’s this going to effect the market now? How will the brand be able to continue being the brand? Will everything be restructured? Will these brands that’s being acquired just disappear?

There’s so many questions! What do you guys think about this news?

Say goodbye to Boat Show Girl until the end of summer.

Hi everyone,

I woke up with a pang in my side only for me to turn over and pull that thorn out. I realized what I have to do in order to become more successful in life, and that’s hitting pause on some dreams, so that I can make way to finish up what needs to be done in order to come back to it and make it something spectacular. When you are like me–have one million dreams and goals already with 150,000 things going on–and you’re the ONLY one that’s taking care of everything including all the financial responsibilities for every day life+fun+future (since Sir Eisenhower still isn’t making money yet like Mr Crabs!), it just gets difficult with not having all the TIME in the world to do everything that needs/wants to be done. Add in exhaustion of doing this for two years plus a massive sneak of depression that has certainly landed me short of the looney bin…..

I hate hate hate doing this, and–to be quite honest–a comment that someone dear to me once told me almost a year ago reminded me that it is much better to do something the right way the first time and not half assed. Sadly, my efforts into BSG have become a habit of the latter. None of that is intentional of course, it just happens when you have so much going on that all one is doing could be under the face of “too busy” or “trying to catch up” and then it doesn’t become fun anymore… like chores…. I woke up this morning with that on my mind and it was one of those things I just don’t like like dealing with… I don’t want to be seen in the marine industry as a failure, because I want to be a part of the success that turns the industry around for the millennials and its future.

So, with having said that, this decision comes as an extremely tough one. Last year, I went to the Suncoast Boat Show and divvied up the Bradenton show in June as my last show for the summer. This year, unfortunately, I’m starting early and will not be attending one of my most favorite shows, Suncoast.

The guys at World of Boating have been so patient with me and giving me career advice out the wazoo. Last weekend it was presented that “now is the time to go traveling” — it is, but it isn’t, but it is what I want to do. In order to make BSG a success, I am going to have to travel, which means I need to get all of my ducks in a row on figuring out my process. I can’t be all up in the air with unfinished business as I do right now. I have to have a multitude of will-be-successes behind me before I go out, travel and preach BSG. I need more than one purpose to go places and I need to share those experiences, but what? That’s what I  need to figure out.

Right now, I’ve been doing a whole lot of reading and writing and most of it has to do with my poetry stuff especially since it’s poetry month. While I have some of that time and the creative motives to do writing, I need to continue that until that ball also drops. I am–after all–mostly a writer and if I don’t write and experience to write, what’s the point of my main focus in life?

This summer (besides making it to one year of helping out at the theatre for the summer one acts), I will be secretly working on stuff for BSG, still participating in the World of Boating show, and my process of visiting boat shows this upcoming fall starting with either IBEX or Tampa…whichever comes first. Which means, yeah, you probably won’t see me on social media as BSG during the summer. There’s a book that I will be working on called Who Is Boat Show Girl? and I’m not sure when I’ll be publishing it, but it’s certainly one of those things that’s been on my to-do list for so long. I think this is a good time to introduce the world to BSG and make the future all about becoming something.

I want to come back with a lot of my other projects finished and caught up in certain aspects of my life so that I can solely focus on BSG and everything that I can make it.

It was also said by one of the WoB guys that boat shows isn’t where I need to be. More likely it is because it’s the one thing that has shown constant happiness for me, but it hasn’t been lately since I’ve lost a little bit of passion through being so overwhelmed with everything else. Like I said, I’m hitting pause on something so important to me, but it is an evil necessary to become successful and that is something I want to be.

I can’t seem to find the picture(s) right now, but a few years ago I took some where I was straight looking out above the helm of a rather large boat. It showed everything. It was magical and I could see my future. But now, I can’t see the future anymore, the glass has become a serious shade of hazy and I think that’s a good time to stop and regroup before I ruin something really great. What do you think?

As the Silicon Valley folks say, it’s time to pivot. And pivot I will do.

Thank you so much for following me along the way and I hope that you will continue to follow my path as BSG after I come back from my rather large “out of the blue” hiatus. If you ever have any suggestions on how to make my dreams come true sooner or if you want to offer me something when I come back from hiatus, please let me know. 

-Karen Maeby the Boat Show Girl 

What is Boat Show Girl’s future?

I’m at a serious crossroads with life, with Boat Show Girl, with my many many interests, my love for this industry, my desire to help this industry become successful and an inch away from some serious burn out.

In another month or two, depending on what happens, I will be leaving my job in this industry. The initial plan is to really bring Boat Show Girl to fruition, but I am at a loss of what to do as far as that goes. Do I fear that I won’t succeed in this, because I am doing this without a back up plan — or do I stick it out? Or, do I back away and just get another job while I try to muddle through making something of myself while working for others… once again.

First and foremost, I want to be a writer of every kind. I want to make money at it. 

Secondly, if I’m going to be in the marine industry, BOAT SHOW GIRL really wants to help push the education part and getting future employees in the door. The THIRD thing that Boat Show Girl wants to do is help DIVERSITY bring everything together for more sales as it should be… and helping make everything come full circle when the times are changing.

FOURTH: I have such a DIVERSE resume. I have been management, worked in retail, do visual merchandising, do computer work, admin assistant, marketing/design, writing, eBay sales, worked with parts and service, and have various other skills. I have helped businesses by contract work, I’ve also helped set up a business.

FIFTH: I have a desire to do so many different things. There are things on my dreams list such as getting more technical where I can talk about it at shows, being out on the water, eventually get my captain’s license, maybe teach some classes, have my own booth, help at boat shows or local events as BSG, talk to companies and be something for them, and so on. But I also have dreams I haven’t even thought about yet. I want to do a lot. I want to experience as much as I can. And ultimately, have a sincere purpose for BSG at the boat shows.

SIXTH: In my spare time, the other half of my heart belongs to the ARTS. I do theatre work, part of the film society, and I write all kinds of things. I also do photography, sketching/painting, arts and crafts. I love reading, history, animals, traveling and so much more.

THIS IS WHERE YOU COME IN. 

Boat Show Girl is looking for CONTRACT work that fits mostly in the marine industry but if you have anything else for me, please let me know. Just pass it around. I am in Gulfport FL – but will travel around Tampa Bay and would love to telecommunicate as far south Florida as possible. I’m not opposed to dreaming it up in Key West, either.

All I want is enough work to keep me busy and money coming in. I would love any opportunity and I appreciate anything or any advice you can give me.

Thank you,

Karen Maeby the Boat Show Girl

The Theatrical Art of Boat Shows

For my BoatShowGirl readers, there’s one thing that you should know: my life is split into two–the marine industry and all of the arts. Tonight I helped out at the front desk with auditions for our next upcoming play, and upon leaving those auditions, something donned on me. Boat Shows are purely an art form set up in theatre mode. It’s not that I didn’t already know, but I just didn’t know how to put it into words until tonight. Then, it all made sense.

I mean seriously though, think about it.

What do you need in a play?
{writing} Time. Location. Character Description. Plot.
{acting} Talent. Practice. Stage design. Props.
{performances} Audience.

The time and location is when the boat show event is going on.

The web presence online or in paper form explains your character description prior to the boat show.

The plot is selling boats or our merchandise, making new connections, and having new experiences.

We–the industry employees–are the talent.

Doing your job every day at your normal job site is the practice you need to prepare for the show.

The stage design is how you set up your booth visually.

The props are what you’d bring to sell (boats/merch), marketing material and freebies.

And, your customers are what would be the audience.

When a customer walks into your booth they are instantly reading your story. When you interact with that customer you will learn their story. It is pure dialogue–an exchange of words–and the entire experience can be written into an art form of some sorts. And, when it’s all over, there’s the last celebratory dinner before going home (the cast party) not to mention to mentally prepare for the next boat show (when you go to auditions once again)

Tampa Boat Show 2016 Results & After Thoughts

I was doing my normal morning catch up of Trade Only & Boating Industry articles and I saw a few about the Tampa Boat Show. As you know I worked the show this past weekend, but I didn’t get to do very much looking around, as I was busy inside my company’s booth.

I’m happy to report (just like T/O + B/I) that the attendance was up 25%. This is such a great sign. As people passed by our booth, I happened to notice how diverse the attendees were. There were a lot of non-English / broken English speakers and even some people from Canada and Europe visiting. That’s something special right there. There were people of all ages — younger adults who were really serious about purchasing a boat, young to middle age families with only 2 adults all the way up to 2 adults and 4+ children, and older couples/retirees of all kinds.

By seeing all of that (and my experience the past 4 years with going to boat shows), it sincerely confuses me as to who we actually really truly need to be focused on for marketing in this industry. Should we really try to generalize and focus?

As I try to become my own importance in this industry as BoatShowGirl, I know that things change all the time, just like the tides and boats traveling on the Sea. I think my heart is telling me that I need to focus on stories in this industry, that’s where my pot of gold lies.

So please stay tuned–I will have something special for all of you very soon.

Tampa Boat Show 2016

Hello Everyone!

I know it’s been quite some time since I’ve blogged about a boat show, or anything industry related for a good long while. After attending the Bradenton Boat Show, I took the rest of the summer off, and ended up getting back involved in theatre after a 12 year break–so that’s where I’ve been–behind the scenes of stage life and doing a ton of writing plays for myself for the future. Needless to say, it was a successful summer and I’m about ready to go into helping with another production this fall. It really is tough keeping up with two extremely busy industries! Even though I haven’t been doing much with BoatShowGirl, please remember, there’s always calm before the storm. 

And now, for the Tampa Boat Show. 

I was asked this weekend what makes me love the boat shows so much—and I realized it’s the experience. Not that I didn’t think about it before, it’s something I’ve known, but I really said it out loud. So the point of me bringing this up would be that I’ve attended this show 4 times and worked it 2 of those 4 times, but yet, this was such a different experience than the last.

I didn’t go as Boat Show Girl. My invisible cape, business cards, persona were all left at home. Purposely. I went as an employee from Thunder Marine doing as I was paid to do–get email leads in exchange for giving out free cups. Easy peasy. It was also super cool sending time with my sales family, something that almost never happens, since I work at service.

Last year I worked in our booth doing the same thing and it was really weird because it was my first year having to ask that information to so many strangers. But this year? It felt so comfortable and second nature. I really enjoyed when I heard people talk about their boat show experience. I enjoyed meeting the service customers I had never met before. I enjoyed helping them with their boat show questions if they had any and so on. And it brings me to the question of how could I as BoatShowGirl do those things but make a living off of it?

Friday was slow and I got to walk around for a very small amount of time but Saturday we were so busy that we barely even got a break. I did get a chance to call into World of Boating and talk to them. Always super special when I’m “live” from a boat show.

Part of this year’s experience is that I didn’t get to walk around much at all. I know I probably missed the highlights, but that’s okay, because there always will be a next year… or a next show.  Last year I came back on Sunday just to walk around, but I chose not to do that this year.

From what I could tell some of the boat dealers made their area look superb. I think it was EdgeWater/Tom George that had a seating area for their customers (not just a seating area, but something that looks like it’s from a front porch / beach) –that always wins points with me. The aisles around some of the dealers were nicely done (Marine Max had a small fence-like plastic thing with their brands going around). One of my favorite boat brands–Cobalt–had this loop on their tv of two songs that played non-stop. If it drove me nuts, I can’t imagine how their employees felt. Those were the few things I noticed. After going and seeing family from our sister company outside on Friday, I didn’t get to go back and look. I also didn’t take home too many boat literature books either. I have enough for right now (a full box and small bookshelf) that I need to read through!

Anyway, that was my experience from this year’s boat show, and I hope you enjoyed reading about it!

If you are a dealer, vendor, or consumer at the boat shows — I want to know about your experience! Please leave a comment or contact me and tell me your story!

Listen to the World of Boating Podcast for September 10th and that’s where they ask me about this show. I will also post some pictures on Instagram, so find me @boatshowgirl

Thank you for reading & until next time,
Karen Maeby the Boat Show Girl

What is on Boat Show Girl’s mind?

There are a lot of things on my mind about my industry, but there are a few pointers that I feel like I am being called to address. I will lightly touch the subject today, as I have plans on going into more detail in the future. I just want to get this out to the world right now.

First we are facing the issue of millennials affordability to purchase boats. Even with a full time and part time job, I wouldn’t be able to afford another payment, especially committing to a long term payment for a boat. (And I really do want to live on a reasonably sized boat someday.) So the question arises, how in the world do we get millennials involved in boating? Because, most likely, it won’t be by purchase at a younger age.

Every single business that wants to survive the next several years will need to come up with an interactive plan to not only attract millennials, the people who want to own a boat but can’t afford it and even some sort of plan to catch the attention from people who never even thought of owning a boat.

There’s a lot to be said about the companies people chose to use nowadays–Uber vs. Taxi. What is it that they like better? Yes, the cost is lower, but… I’m thinking the affordable route to go is renting boats, or joining boat clubs. The more and more digital this world gets, the more and more harder it’s going to be to really truly attract someone with so many choices in front of them. Is it affordability? Is it convenance? What is it that will get someone to choose your brand?

The next problem I see the industry facing is hiring young people to be a part of their team. The older employees who have been at the company for many years, or even started the company, are now retiring or will be retiring in the future. Who’s going to take over? Who’s going to be on that future team of the industry? The ones that will fight and survive and overcome all things in this digital world?

Is this lack of interest that I’m seeing? Maybe it’s because it really is a luxurious business, or are (younger) people afraid of this industry? It does take years and years of knowledge to really become a staple in certain positions. So how are we going to take care of that?

I’ve always thought that if high schools had a career day, there should be tons of options, including getting into marine tech school if they are interested in not going to college. Or perhaps other jobs in the field that just need trade school training. That sort of stuff. But we as an industry really need to reach out to millennials because they are the future of this industry. It’s super important to start training them now.

The last problem that I think everyone needs to pay attention to is protecting our waters, sea animals and anything down below. 

This is yet another thing, as Boat Show Girl, I want to get involved with. We’ve got to protect our oceans/lakes/etc so that we can keep our boats in the water, because without that, our industry wouldn’t even exist. There’s the fuel issues, there’s the anchoring issues, there’s saving the coral reefs / fish / sea floor, and there’s the environmental issue that came out of where we just recently had the Miami Boat Show. Those are the things that we need to be really smart about—learn, react, fix if there is a problem.

If you’re in the marine industry—what’s weighing on your mind these days? 

How the boat shows led me to becoming Boat Show Girl.

Now that I have (finally) attended all of the Show Management boat shows, I can say that every single one that I have been to since 4 years ago have all been different in their own way. And, that’s not the only thing that is different–my experiences have been too–and you wouldn’t expect that when a good portion of exhibiters are repeats in some of them especially when I’ve been to a couple of shows multiple times.

Four years ago when I started traveling around to the shows, it was mostly local and it was just an event in my industry for me to take photos, blog, learn of new boats/products and collect the boat literature so that I could write poetry. Then, I started going to the larger shows out of town. But in the last year, things have changed because of my career goals, and I started BoatShowGirl to become a standing professional in the marine industry.

From my previous work background, I usually tend to look at the pretty side of the boats, even though I currently work at a service center and know what it’s like on that end. With boats I tend to look for design, style and fonts of boat names/brands that really catch my eye. For products, if there’s something new and amazing I will sing praises about it, I will also do the same for accessory vendors because I’m big on supporting retailers. Oh, and I also choose my favorite “boat literature” look as well.

As Boat Show Girl I am realizing that the most important professional review that I can give is the overall look and feel of the show, including anything unique to the individual shows, new products and new boats. I also have my own review of how the show turned out for me personally. Those comments mixed together makes a review that would be from Boat Show Girl. I have to remember that I do not have an assigned area, I am assigned to the entire show.

From day one, boat shows have become my savior from stress. Let’s talk about the latest show at Palm Beach for instance. I had been so caught up in the day to day that my mind was been completely clogged, but as soon as I went to the show, my body/mind/soul just cleared out. Now that I’m home I feel like a different person, have a clearer mind for what I need to do, and ready to get to the next step.

The way I feel leading up to going to the boat shows, while there, and the feeling that I come home with–I really do belong at boat shows. I know I have a little ways to go before I perfect my intentions on going there but all of this is a learning experience. The people (new friends), boat brands, products, and industry companies that I have found because of the show have been amazing. The journey going from just an attendee to exhibiter to having my own badge with BSG on it has been the most unbelievable… and it’s all happening pretty quickly.

I am so ready to get started on my next goal for Boat Show Girl and cannot wait until the next show which is Suncoast! See you there!