Eight years ago, best friends Heather Osgood and Lani Colhouer decided to create a business together. Simply Clear Marketing Inc., based in Morro Bay, now produces seven trade shows in San Luis Obispo, North County and Monterey featuring home, gardening and gourmet businesses and products and health and fitness innovations.
“We produce boutique trade shows for smaller markets,” Osgood said. “We wanted to help small businesses grow by connecting them to potential clients through events and marketing.”
The two women have young families with three children each, and while their husbands support their trade shows, they in turn provide marketing expertise for their additional family businesses. Brian and Heather Osgood own Clippers Hair Salon/
Barber Shop, and Bret and Lani Colhouer co-own Tolosa Press with another family, Chris and Mary Gardner of Los Osos.
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Their San Luis Obispo Home Show is this weekend at the Alex Madonna Expo Center. The two-day event is free and several changes will enhance this show.
“We noticed in 2012 the economy seems to be improving,” Osgood said. “There is more interest in home improvement and gardening projects. That tells us real estate sales are making a comeback.
“We changed the design flow allowing us to add
30 more, so 200 exhibitors. We’ve created displays that will showcase interior design elements from the past, present and future.”
The top 10 Cal Poly architecture students recognized in the Vellum Design Competition will display their designs and furniture models. Several seminars will be presented, featuring the likes of interior design blogger Mari Robeson talking about color concepts and Erika Luhr previewing kitchen designs.
“We’ll have a farm to table presentation by the buyer for Luna Red restaurant,” Osgood said. “Central Coast Grown will connect community and home gardeners with larger growers, and we’ll have master gardeners on hand to answer questions.”
Each show Simply Clear produces is unique in product presentation, but so is the marketplace. The biggest challenge, besides the sagging economy from 2009-11, was adapting its shows for each market.
Osgood and Colhouer started with the Home Show, then added the Health and Fitness Show, both in San Luis Obispo. Opportunities allowed them to expand to Monterey then add the North County Home, Garden and Gourmet show.
“We love sales and marketing, so adapting and selling to meet the needs of attendees and small-business exhibiters in each market has been most rewarding. We like to diversify our exhibiters, and we try to balance without too many of one type of product.”
Simply Clear has produced 39 shows. Activities are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Details: 772-4600 or www.simplyclearmarketing.com.
Judy Salamacha’s column is special to The Tribune. Reach her at email@example.com or 801-1422.