Tendence: Gateway to European Expansion
By Andrea Lillo
For companies looking to expand their reach in Europe, Messe Frankfurt's Tendence was the place to be in August. The show was fully booked up this year with 2,100 international exhibitors showcasing the latest worldwide trends and products in home and gifts.
"All buyers of importance to the trade were there," said Detlef Braun, member of the executive board of Messe Frankfurt GmbH. "Professional buyers were already busy placing their first orders [on the first day of the show]... This year's focus on the European market and on defined market segments is the reason for our welcoming fewer visitors but, instead, ones who were keener to place orders."
Jim O'Rourke, president of Paris-based Zero One and the EU distributor of Chilewich, has exhibited here since 2005 and said he has always been happy with the results. Tendence was where Chilewich's newest items were launched in Europe and "it's an opportunity to get a feel for the market," he said. He predicted that retailers who ordered from him during the show would receive product before they went to last month's Maison & Objet.
Tendence also saw the launch of Stelton's new housewares brand Rig-Tig, which will debut in the U.S. at this month's New York Tabletop Show. The Stelton line is more gift-focused, Stelton Owner Michael Ring told HFN, and with the difficult economy he decided several years ago to develop a new brand that went after a different category, and saw an increased interest in kitchen products. Rig-Tig, which means "right" in Danish, reflects the three core values required in the line, he said: function, design and impact on the environment. And Ring was happy with the new collection -- "It's like sculpture." The new brand encompasses products for food storage, baking, food prep and more.
Top Shelf, a Frisco, Texas-based company that offers handpainted barware, exhibited at the show for the second time. It wants to expand its reach into the European market, said Dottie Stansbury, sales manager. "There's more opportunity in Europe than Asia." The company was looking for retailers as well as distributors for its line. Being at the show allowed Stansbury to get feedback from independent retailers about what would work in their stores, and one suggested Stansbury look into using European designers so the line's designs were more in tune with the market.
Tendence incorporated new features this year, including partnering with a country for the first time -- Austria. Besides the focus on Austrian home and jewelry designers, such events as clog dancing courses and Austrian cheese, cake and beer tastings took place, and four Austrian design companies created Austrian-themed cafes in Hall 8.0.