Our creative director Elizabeth Ockford reveals how this year’s Heimtextil has proven such a success.
Preparing for the show:
It’s always a crazy, busy time of year for The Paper Partnership in the lead-up to Christmas. Then, we have just one short week afterwards, where everything is stepped up to another level to prepare for Heimtextil. After all, this is the biggest international trade fair for home and contract textiles and our favourite event.
So, it makes me wonder who decided to time this important show in the first week of January in Frankfurt?! As if a working woman doesn’t have enough to plan around Christmas without also getting ready for Heimtextil! And, as for January weather in Germany, well that’s another story…
Nonetheless, more than 70,000 trade visitors and 2,975 exhibitors came together from around the world for this year’s Heimtextil at the Messe Exhibition Hall in Frankfurt. We always meet friends there that we only see once a year and this year was no exception. It seems like there’s always an air of comradeship at Heimtextil. So, we may all be competing against one another, but we’re also experiencing the same challenges in this industry. And I think it’s good to be able to share and compare don’t you?
Of course, Heimtextil provided ample opportunity to see what our competitors had designed. But I could also gain a valuable insight to national and international trends for the year ahead. In addition, I always favour one aspect of the show. It’s when I design and create work in our studio, which then bears fruit and becomes beautiful product on display.
On the 8th January, a Monday morning, I left at 6am – I heard other members of our team had already set off. While on my journey, I just couldn’t resist allowing an element of excitement to creep in, in anticipation of the show ahead. However, when we arrived at the stand there was absolute chaos…but this is always to be expected! The team were still hanging wallpaper, fixing lighting and I was faced with countless boxes of pristine wallpaper sample books, which I would need to unpack and carefully place on display.
Then, by 2pm that day, the stand at last looked presentable and ready for our first customer. Although the show didn’t open until the following morning, we knew our partner from China would come in early. After all, it’s the best way for them to see our product first and make their selection. This year, they were very excited about all three of our new collections. So, within hours of this year’s show opening, they had already placed their biggest ever order with us, choosing Highbrook and Gingko from EO and Brighton from TPP. (More to come on these in a future blog post or two…) Anyway, as a result of this, this year’s show had started well for us.
Overall, it was a very busy week. Our lunch was a hastily grabbed sandwich each day, which we usually hid in a cupboard on our stand! But being busy is, of course, a good sign. We met customers from all parts of the globe – Brazil, Philippines, Chile, Taiwan, China, India, Uzbekistan, Iran, Oman, Kuwait, Netherlands, Greece, Russia, Ukraine, Australia, South Africa – and that’s not them all!
For me, I particularly enjoyed being able to meet people from so many different places and cultures at this show. It is a privilege, as I surely will never be able to travel to all these countries in my lifetime, more’s the pity!
By 3pm on the Friday afternoon, the show was proving such a success my feet were throbbing (despite wearing sensible show flats). I was even beginning to lose my voice. So it was with this in mind that it was time to head off to the airport. Therefore, I said my goodbyes to our trusty marketing manager, who I left behind on the stand to man the last couple of hours of the show. He also helped to take the stand down in time for the arrival of the set builders at 6pm.
It’s incredible how another Heimtextil has just flown by. But, we’ve already moved on to another great aspect of this show; the aftermath, which means following up all the orders and contacts!