It’s never to late to say “Happy New Year”…as this is my first blog post in 2011. Shame on me.
First impression that strikes you is the urban jungle vibe with it’s tall and majestic skyscrapers, fascinating. With 12 shiny skyscrapers, Frankfurt is on the second place among cities with most in the European Union. Paris leads and on a third place is London. The city is know as a major finance and commerce district and an cultural melting pot – Hello Frankfurt!
It was my second visit to the German city and I must say I like Frankfurt. It’s very clean, nice café’s, delicious restaurants and their markets with all kind of loveliness for your taste buds. Which I will go into more detail in my next blog post.
So what is Ambient Trade Fair all about? Ambient is an interior designer/product designer/buyers dream, it gives you an idea of what’s cooking on the interior décor trend stowe in the world. I would have loved to show you tons of images taken with my iPhone, but due to copycats in this field photographing is not allowed at most stands, which I totally understand. But I got a few, where it was OK.
So why did we go to this fair? First of all to have a feel on the trends, be inspired, find more sustainable materials and to network. Also to get an idea if we would be there in a stand next year with our product design and I think we will.
Speaking of networking we meet so many interesting people from India, China, Taiwan, Denmark, UK, Germany and Sweden. It was also great to bond with fellow Danish entrepreneurs and get some start up advice, plus restaurant recommendations…(to “nomess COPENHAGEN” we never made it to the Indian one, but to Urban kitchen instead. Recommendable. Thanks and great to meet you guys.). Being a proud Dane I have to brand a few of my fellow country men/women who where at Ambient:
- nomess Copenhagen - Getting organized! – These guys have the solution. So creative and love their product names: “So Hooked” – A yellow wall rack.
- Sejr Design - Wonderful stone- and wooden doormat’s and beautiful jewellery in natural materials. Lovely to meet you two and have a chat.
- Ferm Living - Innovative graphic design on wall stickers, wallpaper, pillows, kitchen wear and the list of cool products continues.
There is always “trend zones” that informs about the different trends in the interior décor field (Source: ambient trends 2011 catalogue). In 2011 it is:
Cute – “Cheerful, chic and inspired by the fifties. Nostalgic patterns and traditional materials taken on a modern look that celebrate the feminine. Lively shape, fruity pastel tones…Dreamlike motifs featuring birds, fruit,drawings,embroidery with graphically stylized patterns….With traditional handicraft techniques employed in new context: polished wood, coloured laminates, enamels, metal and wire objects…”
Raw – “Authentic, powerful and functional. Keywords: “Industrial look”, “workwear”, “imperfection” and “worn out”. Pottery exhibiting fingerprints, exposed welding seams, traces of rust…Surface remain unfinished and unadorned, or are discoloured, painted over, metallized and artificially aged. Characteristic of this trend are industrial materials such as cast iron, aluminium, copper and decorative brass, pressed glass, rubber and mirrors…complemented by natural materials such as unworked stone, clay, ceramics, straw, hemp, raffia….and leather tape.”
Refined – “Subdued in its use of colour, minimalistic in its styling…Old and new classics satisfy exacting demands through the use of the finest materials, innovating technology, flawless finishes and unobtrusive patterns….diagonal and horizontal stripes , relief meshwork, complex lacquer coating and high gloss surfaces…Quality and durability privilege here a sense of well-being. Quality is the top priority in the choice of materials..balance between the elegant and the rustic:thin, coloured glass, flexible leather, walnut, cherry, chestnut and ash – matt or with an oil gloss, polished stone and concrete finishes….sterling silver,porcelain, flannel and tweed, cashmere, velvet and velour.”
Mash – “Multicultural and lively…At once sophisticates and carefree, it combines the colourful, the cheerful and the expressive…outdoor design is as important as indoor:African, Asian and European influences converge to create an emotionally charged aesthetic that speaks to the entire family…multi-facetted mixture of materials, patterns and surfaces runs from ethnic prints and kimono patterns to folkloric motifs. The origin of history og products are an important theme here…Exoticism typifies the playful mixture of materials combining silk,ikat and sequins, coloured glass, teak and bamboo, inlay work, pearls, coral and mussels, bast….coloured mirrors, plastics, vinyl and rubber.”
A bit of background history…I have for many years gone to trade fairs and I actually learned the tricks and tips from my dad who has his own logistic firm based in Denmark. He has brought me to a Danish interior lifestyle trade fair: Formland in Herning several times and we would walk and talk about the different things and trends. He showed me how to get in contact with stand people and the game of bargaining. I loved it as we have a shared interest in home decor, architecture and business in general in my family. At that time it was more for pure fun, today I am glad that I can use this knowledge as an up coming business owner myself. You never know what you can use in life – so be open to what life offers you is my mantra.
An outburst: Every time I go to a trade fair I am surprised of some peoples attitude and hostility. These businesses are so afraid of copycats, so am I, but the world has shrunk due to globalization and there is nothing we can do about it! As well as it has opened doors to massive trade opportunities, even for small businesses. The only thing you can do is to protect the golden eggs with patents and design protection and build a strong brand with marketing. If people want your design, they will copy it in their mind, sketch it in a note book or go to your website anyway. So loose the tension or if you are so afraid: “Do not display your products at an international trade fair!” (that is my opinion).
My Ambient and trade fair advice:
- Respect the no camera shooting sign! - Or ask before you shoot if it’s all right.
- Wear flat shoes and use the mini buses, escalators so you don’t walk your self to death.
- Make your own lunch some days and save a fortune. The prices are steep.
- Remember business cards, or you will have trouble getting information and catalogues of the staff in the various stands.
- If you want a stand at Ambient be out in advance and the same goes for accommodation (the city is packed of trade fair people).
- Don’t miss a day to go out exploring Frankfurt and its great treasures, like the market and a walk by the river .
- Check out the “New Talents” zones. Interesting to see their ideas and hear their start up stories.
- Be open and proactive. You never know which opportunities might arise.
- Bring a smile for protective fellow entrepreneurs and stand workers. Tell your story, why you think their product is great and that you might be interested in doing b2b.
I am at the end of this post and hope you have enjoyed the read with a nice cup of something hot.
Have a wonderful Sunday.
Greetings from Edinburgh in The Colonies.