What do you think? From emerging trends to the latest business principles, Furniture News is setting out to gauge the trade’s feelings on a variety of industry-specific topics. Today, we’re asking our panel: What's the most enjoyable trade show you’ve attended?
Shane Harding (Highgrove Beds): They’re all often enjoyable in the UK for different reasons – meeting great people, winning awards and seeing positive reactions to new product launches – but from a marketing trends point of view, in my opinion, nothing really beats Milan
Huw Williams (Toons Furnishers): I love the January Furniture Show, it has a great feel to it
Mark Gannon (Sofa Source): Our first international show in Singapore (IFFS 2011) – a design element and a beautiful city
Deirdre Mc Gettrick (ufurnish.com): I really enjoyed the January Furniture Show in April this year, meeting all the suppliers and being inspired by the high quality of the stands really stood out. The effort of the suppliers was second to none – I could have bought lots of furniture just for my own home, it was so beautiful! The show was supplemented by relevant content on stage. A must for anyone in the industry
George Sinclair (Nimbus Beds): Probably the first exhibition show I ever went to. I was so excited, everything was new and fresh (I suppose the novelty wears off!)
Jade Farthing (Haskins Furniture): The NEC January Furniture Show in 2007. It was the first one I attended with my dad, and it solidified my desire to be involved with the family business
Keiran Hewkin (Swyft): Milan wins, it’s just the next level, and dwarfs any of the other shows – plus the Italians just do everything better!
Tom Bayliss (Kettle Interiors): The VIFA show in Ho Chi Minh, 2019. Pre-Covid and the industry was buoyant, retailer confidence felt at its highest, and we had launched a plethora of new products which our customers, existing and new, loved. A fantastic show which provided not just results but the opportunity to build long-term relationships with our customer base
John Northwood (independent agent): Probably Heimtextil Frankfurt in 2010. I was with a new company, and it was the first time I had done the show. It also snowed heavily that week, which made getting to and from the venue interesting! Also, the stand theme was white, and we were all wearing white suits and pink ties!
Wendy Martin Green (Peter Green Furnishers): Many years ago, when I went to a the Bed Show, I discovered that although beds are perhaps one of the least visually interesting products we carry, technically they are very interesting. It’s what goes inside that counts, and that can vary, from man-made foams to naturally harvested fibres, and each one results in a product that may look the same but is quite different in the way it interacts with your body. Yes, the Bed Show is still one of my favourites!
Neil Barker (Barkers Furniture): One of the Minerva shows
Steve Reid (Simba Sleep): imm cologne 2017 – my first experience of seeing the breadth of the European offering in our category, and the broader home furnishing category. It really opened my eyes to the size of the market and the opportunity there
This article featured in the December 2022 edition of Furniture News magazine.