They’ve been customers since Fiasco’s early days. During that time, ACLX has watched Fiasco’s internal system evolve from good to great.
“The cases are bloody good,” says Aaron Chesham, pithily, while discussing Fiasco. Aaron is the founder of ACLX, a production company based in Hamilton (New Zealand) that started when Aaron, then working in theatre services for the Hamilton City Council, became frustrated at having to constantly hire gear from Auckland. In the fifteen years since launching his own business “Hamilton’s grown up”, says Aaron, with more happening on the city’s cultural calendar, increasing the demand for ACLX’s services. Now ACLX is expanding to Tauranga, looking to take advantage of the boomtown’s reputation as a hotspot for summer events and festivals.
Nestled between the cities of Hamilton and Tauranga is Cambridge, the boutiquey town where Fiasco is headquartered. Fiasco’s proximity to ACLX is one reason for their enduring relationship, since Aaron has always valued Fiasco’s accessibility and personal approach to doing business. “They’re so close and local. I can easily go and have a chat with them,” says Aaron. “We’ve been buying cases for five years. We’re probably one of their oldest clients.”
A Literal Case History
As one of their oldest customers, ACLX has witnessed the evolution of Fiasco’s system in real time—and has the merchandise to show it. In his new Frankton workshop, Aaron wheels out a sampling of road cases purchased at different points throughout Fiasco’s history, showing the incremental improvements made throughout the design journey; a literal case history. While the outside has remained relatively consistent, the internal system has developed markedly. “They didn’t just settle for it; they’ve kept improving,” says Aaron. Those improvements include a divider system that can be endlessly reconfigured using grooves cut into the foam lining, rather than guide rails, which maximizes the interior space. "The inserts now are amazing. They're bang on."
“The inserts now are amazing.
They’re bang on.”
One major benefit of the internal system is the fact that a road case can easily be reused for various purposes. “It’s end-of-life stuff,” says Aaron, referring to the way the rearrangeable interior drastically prolongs the shelf-life of a road case. Instead of having to buy a new case for every new product, Aaron can simply repurpose a Fiasco case from his existing stockpile. This, coupled with their top-notch construction, gives Fiasco cases exceptional longevity. Aaron quips, “It’s a get-out-of-jail-free card.”
Thinking Outside the Box Truck
When it comes to truck packing, ACLX have turned conventional wisdom on its head. Most companies look for road cases that will fit well in the trucks they already own. But since ACLX is only just now looking to incorporate trucks into their operations, they’re reversing the standard approach: they already have the Fiasco cases and are now shopping for trucks that’ll fit them. Trucks or no trucks, ACLX has still gotten good mileage out of “Truck Packology” using a different mode of transportation: vans. Their fleet of Ford Transit and Toyota Hiace vans work perfectly with Fiasco’s 1200 and 1800 cases. “The fact that everything’s so uniform, it makes the pack so much quicker,” says Aaron. The compatibility between Fiasco cases and commercial vans just goes to show that when it comes to Truck Packology, you can think outside the box truck.
“They have a lot of pride in what they do, so getting the
product perfect is important to them.”
One of Aaron’s favourite new products is Fiasco’s festoon box, designed in response to a direct request from Aaron for an insert specially for festoon lights. ACLX’s previous makeshift solution required unscrewing each lightbulb before packing. Fiasco’s elegant solution allows them to quickly and securely store each festoon string without removing any bulbs. With some ACLX events requiring 300 metres of festoon, the time-savings are massive. And true to form, the trays stack precisely, forming a sturdy column that slots snugly inside a road case. For Aaron, the festoon box exemplifies what Fiasco’s all about: clever design, listening to the client, and a die-hard commitment to quality. “You always know a case is going to work and, if by some chance it doesn’t, they’ll make it work,” says Aaron. "They have a lot of pride in what they do, so getting the product perfect is important to them."