ACROSS: YOU ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PREPARATIONS FOR CHRISTMASWORLD 2015. WHAT SHOULD THE DECORATION SECTOR BE EXPECTING FROM THE TRADE FAIR AT THE END OF JANUARY/BEGINNING OF FEBRUARY?
EVA OLBRICH: In a nutshell: They will have ideal opportunities in Frankfurt for orders, business deals, and new contacts for a successful start into the new trading season. At the same time, as the leading international trade fair for festive and seasonal decoration, Christmasworld focuses on the busiest and most emotionally charged retail season of the year, exhibiting a comprehensive range of festive and seasonal decorations, giving valuable inspiration for greater success in day-to-day business, and creating emotive “worlds of experience.”
ACROSS: WHAT HIGHLIGHTS HAVE YOU PLANNED FOR VISITORS AND EXHIBITORS?
OLBRICH: Alongside the unique variety of our exhibitors’ products, visitors can also expect a multifaceted complementary program with numerous special displays and a lecture program covering the current key issues in the sector. The number one attraction is the Trend Show for 2015/16, staged by the bora.herke.palmisano trend bureau in Galleria 1. It is a valuable source of information for specialist buyers seeking to create their ranges and gives practical tips on selecting products. All materials are identified with the exhibitor’s name and stand number. Immediately opposite, the second major highlight awaits – something not to be missed at the beginning of any visit to the show: the special display by 2Dezign entitled “The Ice Hotel.” Rudi Tuinman and Pascal Koeleman are creating a magnificent scheme of decoration for large-scale projects that encourage customers to feel good and shop, in spite of the frosty winter landscapes. The artist-duo from the Netherlands will be basing their display on a lot of white, ice-blue, silver, glitter, lighting, penguins, polar bears, and a sea of flowers. The hotel’s ambiance is very clean, stylish, and luxurious with exclusive fashion stores, jewelry, and florist shops. This special exhibition, with its arctic theme, provides the perfect setting for the decorative elements on offer from our international exhibitors. Dip into it and be amazed!
ACROSS: HOW MANY VISITORS DO YOU EXPECT? HOW MANY EXHIBITORS ARE THERE TO VISIT AT CHRISTMASWORLD 2015?
OLBRICH: We do not provide projected figures for visitor numbers as a matter of principle, but I can tell you that we welcomed 32,800 visitors from 112 countries to Frankfurt last year. As far as the exhibitors are concerned, we were already fully booked at a very early stage. Last year, more than 920 exhibitors from 39 countries showcased the latest products and trends, which retailers can use to delight their customers. Be it Advent or Christmas decorations, seasonal interiors, outdoor decorations, or large-scale decoration projects for all kinds of different occasions during the year – all the key players in the sector will be there. The section on visual merchandising and lighting will be particularly interesting for your readers. In Hall 11.0 they will find professional business partners to create attention-grabbing displays in shop windows and on the shop floor, or to illuminate large-scale areas. You can develop individual eye-catching presentations to set yourself apart. Barthelmess will be joining us again and we are really pleased about that. Our regulars, who have been exhibiting with us for many years, will of course also be there, for example: Globall Concept, MAG, MK Illumination, Blachere, Ilmex, and Fotodiastasi.
ACROSS: SINCE 2013, YOU HAVE WORKED CLOSELY WITH THE GERMAN COUNCIL OF SHOPPING CENTERS (GCSC) TO LAUNCH A PREMIUM BUSINESS PROGRAM. CAN YOU LET US IN ON A SECRET AND TELL US A LITTLE MORE ABOUT THE NEXT BUSINESS PROGRAM?
OLBRICH: The Business Program is coming along outstandingly well. The premiere was a complete success and, at the second event this year, there are far more international participants. Working closely with the GCSC, we have put together a cracking program for the next show on January 30, 2015. This time, we are putting significantly stronger focus on best-practice examples of successful decorations in shopping malls and town centers. On top of that, we have invited some distinguished guests and speakers. As a special highlight, we are looking forward to the arrival of the master of display and presentation Bernhard Paul, Founder and Director of the Circus Roncalli. He will share his experiences on the topic of emotive worlds of experience with attendees. Among the Premium Sponsors are Globall Concept SPRL from Belgium, MAG Gorzelak i Jasinski Sp.J. from Poland, and MK Illumination Handels GmbH from Austria. Please take a look at our program on the premium website: www.christmasworld.messefrankfurt.com/premium. Those with a particular interest in this field can also sign up for a copy of the program, free of charge.
ACROSS: THE “CUSTOMER’S EXPERIENCE IN THE SHOP,” OR THE “ENTERTAINMENT VALUE OF THE EXPERIENCE” IS BECOMING MORE AND MORE IMPORTANT FOR THE SHOPPING CENTER INDUSTRY, SPECIFICALLY IN THESE DAYS OF ONLINE RETAIL. WHAT ROLE DO THE DECORATION AND LIGHTING SECTORS HAVE TO PLAY IN THIS?
OLBRICH: An absolutely crucial one – the only way to achieve a unique, all-round harmonious experience is with the decorative factor. Being in the shop and enjoying the shopping experience with all of your senses is an huge advantage as opposed to the more pragmatic, emotionless purchases on the internet. To make the high street more attractive for consumers again, towns, shopping centers and high-street shops must tread new paths. It is crucial for all concerned to join together to “uprate” the “real” market places and make them more attractive places to shop than their online counterparts. Therefore we are currently working with the Federal German City and Town Marketing Association (City- und Stadtmarketing Deutschland e.V. – bcsd) and the trade magazine Public Marketing to invite all German towns and cities to take part in a new competition entitled: “Best Christmas City”. “Best Christmas City” will select the towns or cities with the most attractive Christmas atmosphere in Germany. We will provide a dedicated stage for effective decoration and large-scale lighting projects. From the beginning of November 2014, towns and cities will be able to put their Christmas decorations up for selection on the campaign’s platform at www.BestChristmasCity.de. Everyone will be able to vote online and be inspired by the picture gallery for their next Christmas-shopping expedition or visit to a Christmas market. This platform will remain online for the whole of the Christmas season. That way we hope that the competition will be effective in acting as a tourist magnet for individual towns and cities. There will be some attractive prizes to be won involving town-center Christmas designs for next season. These are being offered by the sponsors MK Illumination Handels GmbH, Blachere Illumination S.A.S., and Ilmex S. A.
ACROSS: WHAT TRENDS DO YOU EXPECT TO SEE NEXT YEAR?
OLBRICH: That is the classic question and I am happy answer it: “Stories to be told” is the somewhat nostalgic leitmotif for the colors and materials used in the next round of festive decoration products. Trend bureau bora.herke.palmisano sounds out the coming trends in the festive decoration sector on our behalf. They derive them from current trends in fashion, art, architecture, furniture, and product design. There is intense worldwide interest in key periods, artistic influences, and styles, and you find the same strong contemporary trends reflected in the world of festive and seasonal decoration. The four style scenarios go by the names of Tender Poem, Mystic Ode, Weird Diary, and Inventive Hymn. Each style is on the lookout for stories that move us. To find out more, you have to visit our Trend Show, where you will surely discover a number of interesting newcomers and products that have not appeared on the trade-fair circuit so far. Apart from the colors and materials, I would say that “Stories to be told” is an overarching theme throughout the retail sector as well. As I have mentioned before, it is all about adding emotional spin to the purchasing experience and that is an effect created more and more through stories that are narrated and appropriately staged at the point of sale. If it works using sustainable and energy-conserving products, so much the better. For that, too, is certainly a trend that is set to continue. Decoration is a valuable ‘soft skill’ in the retail sector that undoubtedly encourages sales.