Captivate Exhibits was on pace to achieve record sales numbers for its tradeshow business before the COVID-19 pandemic devastated both the industry and the Brookfield-based company.
Formerly known as Exhibit Systems, Captivate Exhibits specializes in customized brand environments with a focus on tradeshow exhibits and corporate interior design.
Design projects for corporate board rooms, company museums and history walls kept Captivate Exhibits afloat during the pandemic. However, with the uncertain return of tradeshows, the company knew it needed to transition its business model for long-term survival.
Following a series of brainstorming sessions, the company identified an untapped market in luxury small outdoor living structures for residential backyards. The new business segment, called “Enclave Outdoor Structures,” offers customers high-end living structures made from prefabricated construction that take as little as two days to assemble.
These “enclaves” range in size from 8-by-12 to 10-by-12 rooms and can be designed for a variety of uses, including home offices, art studios, pool cabanas, exercise areas and more. The company offers six different models of these permanent enclaves, which cost up to $30,000, are fully customizable and can be outfitted with electrical, heating and air conditioning.
The new business segment may appear to be a complete 180 from Captivate Exhibits’ current business model. However, with the company’s approach to design thinking, Outdoor Enclave Structures is not far off from its tradeshow exhibit operations, said Richard Magliocco, Captivate Exhibits president.
“Everything in the enclave outdoor structure is basically components that we currently use in the (tradeshow) industry,” Magliocco said. “We’re just now using them in a different fashion.”
This means Captivate Exhibit employees already know how to assemble the outdoor structures, while the company’s materials, which had sat idly during the pandemic, can be used to build enclaves, Magliocco added.
The concept of a more permanent, luxury outdoor structure originated from the West Coast and has been popular for decades, but the trend hadn’t arrived to the Midwest until now, Magliocco said. As the effects of the pandemic subside, he expects to attract additional interest from customers ready to make larger investments on their homes.
“As we initially started going into it, we thought this would be a nice adjunct just to keep ourselves busy,” Magliocco said. “We now see what the potential is out there and we’re trying to reposition ourselves.”