Cancellation of Your Child Kids Expo

Posted: June 1, 2010 in Investigative articles

Cancellation of Your Child Kids Expo

First published in The Event May, 2010

The sudden cancellation of the Your Child Kids Expo early in March has left more than just a bad taste in the mouth of the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), and some exhibitors and suppliers.  The Expo, which was supposed to be held from 26 to 28 March at the CTICC,  was set to cater to families with children between the ages of 2 -12 years. It promised over one hundred interactive exhibits showcasing children’s and family products and services. Egg Marketing & Communications, who had been planning the Expo for nearly two years, says some of the larger exhibitors did not pay their deposits and that Egg had run out of cash flow to support the Expo.  Egg Marketing has since entered into voluntary liquidation.

Cape Town International Convention Centre

In an emotional e-mail to the exhibitors and suppliers, Lize de Jager, owner of Frostings Cupcake Boutique, and sister to Alda Heunis, CEO of Egg Marketing and Communications, explained why everyone received the news of Egg’s liquidation via e-mail and the reason for Heunis not taking any calls.  In the e-mail De Jager made a plea for Heunis’ case as a consummate professional in all the projects that she had undertaken thus far.   “She really explored all possible avenues and tried everything,” De Jager wrote.  She explained that Heunis’ stress coupled with a difficult pregnancy was making her very sick.  She wrote that it was under the recommendation of a gynaecologist and Heunis’ legal team that the decision was made for Heunis not to communicate any further with exhibitors and sponsors.  De Jager stresses that this was done for the safety of the unborn baby.  “Alda did not plan for it to end this way,” De Jager wrote. “It was going to be the Expo of all Expo’s.  It was going to rock the world of Expo’s.  The way it turned out was really unfortunate.”  

After the liquidation announcement, Egg Marketing approached the Kids Indaba to see if they could transfer some of their committed exhibitors.  Three City Events, who organised the SABC Education Baba Indaba, was by then about to present its first Kids Indaba in Durban from 19 to 21 March.  The companies entered into discussions.  Natalie Naude, Kids Indaba’s show director, says they met with Egg Marketing and made an offer to many of the Your Child Kids Expo exhibitors in an effort to accommodate them at their Kids Indaba.   They say this was done to contain exhibitors’ financial losses, to minimise the damaging impact on the exhibition industry, and to fast track Kids Indaba to an established and robust Expo. Tamzin Martin of Kids Indaba has since confirmed that, although not too many, there were some of the cancelled Expo’s exhibitors at the Durban Kids Indaba, and they are expecting more when the Kids Indaba moves to Pretoria from 4-6 June.

Managing Director of the CTICC, Dirk Elzinga says the last minute cancellation impacted severely on the centre as they were unable to fill the empty exhibitions halls.  “We lost an entire week at the centre,” Says Elzinga. “The financial impact of this is very big. If this had happened during a quiet season it would not have impacted so severely on us. However, with the build up to the World Cup, we were fully booked for March and April, and this means losing business hurts so much more during this period.”  Elzinga says many exhibitors had paid their deposits for the Expo and that a large amount of money is at stake.  “Liquidators have been appointed and we are awaiting the results,” He says.   Elzinga says Egg Marketing and Communications had a good reputation as a marketing company and that the cancellation came as quite a surprise.  “Nobody knew,” Says Dirk. “I have heard that the stress is adversely affecting Alda’s pregnancy and I must say that I feel sorry for her.   We don’t want to limit the opportunities for new entrepreneurs by allowing only experienced organisations to book with us. We want to see young businesses succeed.  However, we also don’t want to be part of any fly by night businesses.  Our payment terms are very lenient as we understand that many organisations have a limited cash flow.  Our payment structure allows them access to their cash for covering the necessary expenses leading up to an event. This is just very sad for the industry as a whole and we are glad to hear that Natalie Naude has offered some exhibitors a platform at the Kids Indaba.”   Elzinga says such a last minute cancellation at the CTICC is a very exceptional occurrence. “During the last seven years or so of my tenure at the centre, we have maybe had about three such cancellations, which is very fortunate.”

Astrid Stark

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Comments
  1. Nadine says:

    Lovely image – do you own it – would I be able to use it for a brochure I am doing – I am prepared to pay for it.

    Thanks

    Like

  2. astridstark1 says:

    Hi Nadine, Sorry I only see the comment now. No I dont own the image I am afraid. It was given to me by an editor of The Event newspaper to use as a once-off. He is not even there anymore so I am not sure where you can get it from. Sorry.

    Like

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