Driving from Frankfurt airport into the city to Paperworld I felt a real rush of excitement, having had so many successful buying trips here over the years, it was nice to be back. I had to change my flights because of cancellations by the airline and I considered not making the trip as it was a long way to go for the day, but having checked the floor plan the show had definitely become a lot more compact so I decided to give it a go...
For me in my current role the focus on trends at this fair is very relevant in terms of product format, materials, textures, colour and surface design. So the various trend displays around the show, the fact we can now take pictures of the trend displays, and the accompanying free brochures are all very valuable. I headed straight for the Trend displays in 5.1/6.1.
As the number of exhibitors decreases, the products in each Hall are remixed which means you do spend time walking past stands that have little relevance to you at all. Having said that 6.1 which has always been the lifestyle/trend led Hall was still showing a wonderful mix of beautifully crafted products and seemed to be busy most of the time - as was 4.1 which housed a lot of the creative products.
For years, I have been really frustrated that there have been great products on show here and yet so few make it onto UK retailer’s shelves - because only a handful of buyers visit the show these days. Fortunately, there are a few very competent and forward thinking distributors who attend the show regularly and import some great European brands so that retailers including small independents get a chance to access some of these interesting and innovative products.
It was good to see some UK suppliers exhibiting at Paperworld too, and many were having good conversations with foreign buyers and distributors who come to Frankfurt to see them.
Would I come to the show again? Yes. I missed it last year and despite its shrinking size and reducing visitor numbers I still learnt a lot - so if I can, I’ll be back in 2018. And maybe you should think about visiting or exhibiting?