A golden anniversary for Decorex’s GM of sales

Angela Chatfield
Angela Chatfield

2015 heralds a momentous year for Decorex SA and 100% Design South Africa’s general manager of sales, Angela Chatfield. The busy mother-of-three (with a two-year-old granddaughter in tow) will be celebrating 20 years at the helm of Decorex’s frenetic sales department – a period of tenure that is almost as long as the country’s leading décor, design and lifestyle exhibition has been in existence.

Angela, who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Biochemistry, joined the Decorex SA team as a sales consultant back in 1995 and has watched the annual series of exhibitions go from strength to strength with each successive year of their staging. “From 500m2 of exhibition space at Gallagher Convention Centre in 1994 to three annual regional shows countrywide, the growth has been nothing short of phenomenal,” she says, adding, “Today, we occupy the whole of the Durban Exhibition Centre as well as the CTICC in Cape Town and, in 2015, we had over 10 000m2 of stands in no less than eight exhibition halls at Midrand’s Gallagher Convention Centre. In fact, Decorex Joburg 2015 was the largest exhibition ever held at this venue. The addition of 100% Design South Africa has really lifted the game, too.”

Born in Cape Town but having emigrated to Zimbabwe as a child, Angela went to university in KwaZulu-Natal before settling in Johannesburg in 1980. A keen theatre-goer (“perhaps that’s why I enjoy exhibitions so much – each one is like a new theatrical production!”), she cites “variation” as key to her love of the job: “Every year we have a different theme and watching each show come to fruition after a hard year of sales is amazing. Some of the stands are incredible and it’s lovely meeting new clients, not to mention working with the sales consultants in the different regions, and experiencing new and exciting products – each show seems to have its own special flavour.”

Passionate about design, Angela has collected a number of personal treasures from the various Decorex SA exhibitions she has worked on over the years. Of stand-out buys, she says, “I’ve acquired some interesting local art – a pair of works by Tay Dall, a few pieces by Laurie Franklin and a large mural by Karen Tearnan of The Singing Palette Art Co. I also bought a lovely Homewood table for my deck last year, with a set of bentwood chairs by Woodbender. My absolute favourite, though, is my silver Champagne ice bucket from Storm Ferguson Antiques in Parkhurst.”

When asked what will make Decorex 2016 a highpoint in the exhibitions’ history, Angela is unhesitant: “The entertainment factor! In Durban we look forward to the fringe events, such as the Pop-Up Market, and the same applies to Cape Town. This where we have moved the Craft and Create Market out into the foyer area of the CTICC and will now include craft beer and live entertainment. And in Jo’burg we have re-arranged the halls and now have a complete Outdoor Living Hall. Of course, each region has its own phenomenal decorators and we love seeing their work – from the Designer Spotlight to the Trend Pods – on various projects at each show.

Finally, the themed restaurants and theatres in 2016 also promise to be fantastic, with lots of international trends and colours coming through.”

According to Angela, the secret behind the continued success of Decorex SA is “an incredibly hardworking team – from marketing to sales, to operations and services, and, of course, our talented creative team. Basically, we deliver on our promises to the client and we set high standards throughout the exhibition – from the stands to the beautifully curated and conceptualised feature areas, including restaurants, theatres and special décor-related projects.”

As for the future, Angela would like to see herself semi-retired in five to 10 years, “with a little free time to enjoy my grandchildren, to travel more and to improve my golf … but, of course, always with an avid interest in the Decorex SA shows.”

Decorex SA details:

Decorex Durban: 18 – 21 March 2016
Time: 18 – 20 March, 10am to 8pm; 21 March, 10am to 6pm
Trade days: 18 and 19 March
Ticket prices: R75 for adults; R65 for trade, pensioners and students; R20 for kids under 12
Venue: Durban Exhibition Centre

Decorex Cape Town: 29 April – 2 May 2016
Time: 10am to 7pm daily (6pm Monday)
Trade Day: 29 April
Ticket prices: R85 for adults; R75 for trade, pensioners and students; R20 for kids under 12
Venue: CTICC

Decorex Joburg: 5 – 9 August 2016
Time: 10am to 6pm daily
Trade day: 5 August
Ticket prices: R110 for adults; R90 for pensioners and students; R80 for trade; R20 for kids under 12
Venue: Gallagher Convention Centre
For more information, e-mail [email protected]
Visit: www.decorex.co.za 
Facebook: Decorex SA 
Twitter: @decorexSA