From humble beginnings as a supplier of exhibition equipment to the sprawling enterprise it is today, the evolution of Solas is proof that small, independent companies can grow into major industry players. As the company undergoes a rebrand, TPiMEA catches up with General Manager Eoin Sheridan to find out what prompted the decision.

They say that from small things, big things will one day grow, and that is certainly true in the case of Solas. The brainchild of Managing Director, Edward Crossan, the company originated primarily as a supplier of exhibition equipment, with Crossan identifying a gap in the market to rent out items such as TVs, trussing, and small audio systems to exhibition fabrication companies and agencies, while also providing accompanying services and technical support. It’s fair to say that the company has come a long way since its early days and Solas is now a leading full-service technical production company that delivers creative event and communication solutions to corporate events, exhibitions, awards shows and even live events throughout the GCC.

Discussing the company’s rapid progress was General Manager Eoin Sheridan, who told TPiMEA what he believes sets Solas apart from the competition. “Aside from the array of high-quality branded products we offer in large quantities, one of the greatest assets we’ve acquired during this journey is our incredible team,” he commented. “Over the years, we’ve had the pleasure of assembling a team of skilled technicians, project managers, and core management professionals. Their loyalty and talent have been instrumental in shaping our success story. It’s the collaborative effort of this team that allows us to deliver top-notch services consistently.”

While Solas is well known in the UAE events space, with the company preferring to focus on quietly going about its business rather than an aggressive marketing strategy for most of its eight years in operation, there’s still a way to go before it becomes a household name in the wider GCC market. However, with Solas performing better than ever, the company recently decided to undergo a rebrand.

“This was a pivotal moment in our trajectory, born out of a realisation that we were lagging behind in the marketing department. We recognised the need for a fresh look and a renewed push for the Solas brand,” Sheridan explained. “The rebranding exercise aimed to shed the outdated image of Solas being solely an exhibition company facilitating technical events. Instead, we wanted to project a high-end corporate image that accurately reflects our capabilities and aspirations. By undertaking this rebrand, we’ve unlocked a world of new possibilities.”

The GM was keen to stress that while the rebrand of course includes a visual alteration, with a new logo and marketing material, the changes are so much more than simply aesthetics. “It’s our way of introducing ourselves anew to both existing and potential clients,” he stated. “It’s about conveying our true identity as a comprehensive technical event solutions provider. This redefined image not only attracts new clients but also supports the growth of our existing clientele.”

The corporate event world remains a key market for Solas. “Successfully executing a top-tier corporate event holds immense significance – especially when catering to attendees who are well-acquainted with similar setups throughout the world,” Sheridan said. “The accomplishment lies in not just meeting but exceeding their expectations. This is precisely the vision we hold for Solas – to establish ourselves as a premier corporate technical supplier. Our aspiration is to become synonymous with flawlessly executed top-tier corporate events.”

Sheridan is under no illusions as to the competition in the region, with several major global players operating in the same sector as Solas. However, the GM sees the company’s tight-knit operation as a differentiating advantage. “This unique setup fosters a close bond among our team members, which reverberates in our interactions with them and, in turn, with our clients,” he explained, adding that “adaptability and approachability” are two qualities that the whole company strives to maintain.

The difference between being a supplier and a partner, Sheridan believes, is that a partner will strive to achieve the same end goal as the client. “A true partnership is about collaboration and mutual support. Our approach involves not just providing assistance but actively working together to realise the client’s vision,” he commented. “We guide the client and the word ‘no’ is rarely part of the conversation.”

Looking to the future, the short-term goals for Solas revolve around navigating through the busy months of October, November, and December, with a jam-packed season in the offing, including the significant COP28 as well as the usual array of corporate gatherings. “Our immediate goal is to manage these commitments effectively, ensuring seamless delivery amid the high demand,” Sheridan stated.

“Looking ahead in the medium term, our strategy involves team expansion and inventory growth,” he added. “This approach is geared towards ensuring that we are not only capable of upholding the highest standards but also equipped with a robust support network to uphold those standards effectively. Our emphasis on quality remains unwavering as we endeavour to accommodate the growing needs of our clients.”

Finally, taking a long-term view, Sheridan has his sights set firmly on Saudi Arabia. “Our aspirations are set on KSA. However, we approach this expansion with caution, prioritising a well-thought-out strategy. The vision of establishing a presence in KSA aligns with our goal of extending our reach while maintaining the exceptional standards we have cultivated in our Dubai office,” he concluded.

“We understand the importance of balance; while the expansion to KSA is a part of our long-term plan, we are committed to ensuring that the quality and service at our Dubai office remain steadfast and uncompromised. Ultimately, the vision is to have a Solas office in both Dubai and Saudi Arabia, supported by teams and equipment that mirror the excellence we have consistently pursued.”

Photos: Solas