It’s show season, tell us where you’ve been so far.
We’ve just got back from Dallas Safari Club Convention. It’s a real up-and-coming show and is probably my favourite show to go and visit. There’s a tremendous turn out of the trade, safari outfitters and clients. We always seem to have a very good show at Dallas and we were very fortunate this year to sell a great number of rifles. Our accessory sales were also very positive and it’s lovely to showcase what we do.
We get so much positive feedback from people who travel quite considerable distances to come and hang out with us on the booth during the day and in the evenings as well. We had a Rigby VIP dinner with some of the top collectors in the world, which has become a bit of an annual tradition at Dallas.
What’s on the Rigby booth in 2020?
There’s a good selection of guns and accessories: something for everybody on all our booths. We’ve got a number of fabulously engraved Rising Bite double rifles. We’ve also got a pair of 28-bore Rising Bite shotguns. Each year we finish more and more elaborate pieces and we’re very fortunate that our client base here is generous enough to loan us their guns as we finish them. This means we have quite a selection of guns to choose from when it comes to showcasing what we’ve done in the previous year. You can also find all of the traditional models that we do – the Highland Stalker and the Big Game – which are all regular favourites.
You’ve had some eye-catching stand designs in recent years, from a safari camp, complete with Land Rover and tent, to the interior of a Scottish Highland castle, what is the booth like this year?
We’ve actually kept both those booths because they’re so popular and people tell us that they’re the best they’ve seen at shows. We’ve decided to keep the safari tent in use for another year. We may or may not decide to change it for next season. This year so far, it has again been very highly talked about. There’s something about a safari tent in one of these exhibition halls – these big industrial halls that are so vast and empty – where having a bit of shelter over the top of your head makes a real difference. It tends to attract people and it’s a good place to talk and have meetings.
What do you like most about shows and why do you think they’re important for gunmakers such as Rigby?
Shows are an absolutely necessary part of our business. They’re a place to interface with old clients, new clients and just people who are passionate about the brand. They get people talking and tie in very nicely with social media. They’re one of the secrets behind the return of Rigby as they get people fired up and excited about the brand again.
Rigby was famous for having its gunmakers actually working at the bench in the booth at shows, are there any plans to bring this back?
We don’t do it any more because we’ve got so many orders back at the shop that we simply can’t spare the guys. We are thinking about bringing someone out next year though, purely because we’ve had so many people asking us “Where’s Mark Renmant? The guy with the cool hairdo who makes guns at the booth?” So we might take Mark back next year.
For IWA, we’ll have Rigby Art on the booth, so we’ll have our engraver, Geoffrey Lignon, showcasing his drawings and engravings again, which was a great focal point last year.
What other shows will Rigby be exhibiting at in 2020?
In the first portion of this year, we’ll be at Dortmund for Jagd und Hund, Safari CIub International Convention, and IWA. There’ll be a good turn-out of Rigby staff there, so there will be lots of people to talk to, whether people have got questions, if they’re just interested in just holding a Rigby, or they’d like to buy a one, or they’d like to come to tell us about a story of a hunt they’ve been on with their new Rigby. We just love seeing people – that’s what we live for – and we look forward to seeing everyone there.