I N THE HOT S EAT
From 'smiling and dialling', to the
industry's main event
GGP Magazine talks to Sarah Knight, commercial manager at the FIT Show,
about her time in the industry and looking forward to FIT Show 2021.
GGP: How long have you been working in the
industry and how did you get started?
Sarah Knight (SK): I joined the industry in
April 8 at what was formerly known as
Unity Media. I worked across a portfolio of
magazines including Glass & Glazing Products,
Conservatory Magazine and FENSA. I started as
a sales executive and during that time I helped
to launch many different advertising platforms
and worked my way up to advertising manager.
It was so different then. We shared a computer
between maybe three or four people and
the database consisted of kalamazoo’s, (am I
showing my age?!) business cards and trying to
read past employee’s notes. Our moto was to
‘smile and dial’. Then, through friendships and
connections within the industry, Nickie West, FIT
Show director, offered me a job on FIT Show in
. It was an easy decision for me, I had always
been a huge supporter and exhibited at every
show. Attending the FIT Show was a highlight
of my job, to get out from behind the desk and
put those names to faces. Here I am now, a
commercial manager for the best industry show
in the UK.
GGP: If you could have chosen a different
career path, what would it have been?
SK: When I was growing up, I think many little
girls always wanted to be a nurse or a police
officer, and I was probably one of those, but I
have always been interested in law. Not breaking
it, I might add, but becoming a lawyer or solicitor.
I knew quite quickly that was not going to be my
career path, firstly I didn’t get the grades required
but I also wanted to get out in the world and
earn money. I like to talk, I like to meet people
from all walks of life and so sales was the obvious
choice for me. I have met so many people in this
industry and so many of whom are now very
good friends of mine.
GGP: Can you describe one or some of the
biggest changes you’ve experienced in the
industry since you started?
SK: The biggest changes? Well, people for a
start. Working for an industry magazine and
Sarah and her FIT Show team
members in pre-Covid party mode!
now an industry show I speak to many different
businesses on a daily basis. I don’t just discuss
one type of material or one type of machinery,
it is very broad, from plastics, aluminium, glass,
timber etc so I have seen a huge amount of
people move around. Some might say it’s an
incestuous industry and I tend to agree, but I
think that just shows what a great industry we
work in. With regards to product change, I think
the innovation now is fantastic.
GGP: What are your proudest achievements
– personal and professional?
SK: Professionally, it would have to be working
on FIT Show and seeing it grow. I honestly can’t
explain how excited it makes me feel speaking
to exhibitors and hearing about new products
they want to bring for everyone to see, touch and
feel at the show. FIT Show will be my first
official FIT Show as part of the team. I know that
I will be immensely proud when I walk through
the doors on day one of the show next May.
My biggest personal achievement has to go to
my six-year-old son (William). He even attended
the FIT Show in (he was just a bump but a
very big one at the time).
GGP: What do you enjoy outside of work?
SK: I am not a person that can sit still, I like to
be outside and getting my hands dirty, whether
that is cycling, walking or standing on the football
side-lines every Saturday. That’s probably down
to my childhood though, my parents had a touring
caravan and on the holidays, we would go to the
south of France or Holland for weeks on end.
Even now I like to take my son camping. Nothing
beats the fresh air. Don’t get me wrong, I do like a
GGP: What are you looking forward to most
when the doors open for FIT Show
SK: We have been overwhelmed by the support
from the entire industry who are very much getting
behind FIT Show as their primary industry event.
I think we will all be very proud when we open the
doors on FIT Show and, once again, put on
a first class showcase for the industry. FIT Show
really is the place where people come to see the
best in the industry, to allow them to be the best
in the business.
The feedback I have been receiving from the
market is that FIT Show will come at just the
right time. It will allow us to get back to those all
important face-to-face interactions, reconnect
with the market and see the latest products up
close and in person.
Exhibitions are where decisions are made and
business is done. There is no better experience of
purchasing than being able to see a product, to
touch it and see it in all of its glory. After speaking to
exhibitors that have already signed up for FIT Show
, I know the amount of new products that will be
on show over those three days (th – th May) and
it’s going to be a very exciting event for our visitors.
And when we’ve walked the halls, seen the
products on display and re-established those
business connections we’ve all been missing so
much, I for one will be heading straight to the bar
to raise a celebratory glass with the friends and
colleagues who make this industry what it is. I look
forward to seeing you all there!
“I like to talk, I like to meet
people from all walks of
life and so sales was the
obvious choice for me”