NeoCon 2017

By , June 19, 2017 11:22 am

A week ago today, my mom and I went to NeoCon at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago!

NeoCon stands for National Exposition of Contract Furnishings – it’s an annual three day trade show that’s free to attend if you register in advance. There’s the trade show, but also keynotes, classes, and LOTS of parties. And let’s copy straight from Wikipedia – “With over 1,000 exhibitors of contract and commercial furnishings, and 50,000 attendees, it is the largest trade show of its kind in North America.” Whoa. It’s overwhelming. A lot of these vendors have permanent showrooms (on many floors) in the Merchandise Mart, and they set up floors for outside vendors to come in, too.

As part of my job, I occasionally assist clients with furniture and finish selection, so I go to NeoCon to see the newest and greatest stuff! Which isn’t actually what my clients select, but, it’s educational for me.


When I was in Kansas City in January, I asked my snister if she’d be going to NeoCon this year. She’s an interior designer and has gone to NeoCon the past few years – but the days we go typically don’t align (or she goes early, for vendor stuff). She didn’t know at that point, but my mom was there, and asked what NeoCon is, then expressed interest in going! My mom studied interior design for a bit in college, so she has an interest for it, but I think we also may have sold her when we mentioned all the free food and handouts. Ha!

Seriously, you don’t really need to bring food or plan to buy lunch or dinner if you hit up the right show rooms or after parties. (Note – we had to head back around 4:00 so I could teach my evening strength class. Next year, we are definitely doing to some parties.)

So. Much. Free. Food.

And so many handouts. My snister asked me to pick up stuff for her since she was going early this year (before the show opened). Here’s her haul:

I did keep three bags for myself, and that funny orange chair to put my phone in. Ha.

Mom and I visited three floors in the Merchandise Mart (out of eight or ten vendor show floors), and visited several showrooms in the building across the street. My snister designs a specific product at her job, and they have a showroom across from the Mart, and she asked me to make sure to take Mom there. Funny enough, the guy assigned to give us a tour (out of 50 or more people) works with my snis!

So, normally, NeoCon is completely overwhelming, exhausting, and not that fun. I was dreading it this year, like I always do. But I ended up having so much fun with my mom, probably because she was so excited about it, that it made me a little sad we were only doing one day of it!

I was still exhausted though. At the end of the day, we were so slap-happy and out of it on the train ride home that we laughed so hard we cried (about kale…). Then I took this photo to send my snist and this guy was totally creepin’ in on me. Ha!

I bet Mom will be back for NeoCon next year!

5 Responses to “NeoCon 2017”

  1. Shelley B says:

    DYING at the creeper guy in that picture!!!

  2. Chaitali says:

    Ok, that guy is totally creeping! So weird. I’m glad you had fun this year with your mom with you 🙂 It does sound overwhelming but it looks like you got a pretty good haul of stuff for your sister.

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