08. October 2014 · Comments Off on Paris Maison & Objet · Categories: Main Blog, Seen & Found, The Business of Design, Tips from Marion · Tags: ,
Eiffel Tower in Snow Dome _ Maison&Objet 2014 review

Kitsch gift

Paris’ M&O has a reputation to be a magnet for international buyers and businesses. I have often heard rumours of disappointment coming from exhibitors: “there aren’t many people… where are the buyers?…where are the big orders?”. In fact I’ve heard this at most trade shows. I would probably become disenchanted too, after days standing on the same carpet with little natural light and not enough fresh air. I spent only a day visiting the famous French show to find out about the reality behind reputation and rumours.

I started with Hall 8, home to design-led brands. There I found Design House Stockholm, Normann Copenhagen and Petite Friture, as well as a strong delegation of British names, such as Tom Dixon, SCP, Dona Wilson and Eleanor Pritchard, to name a few. It felt like a mini-Milan. In fact, a lot of the products shown in Italy were making a second appearance in Paris. Hall 8 was mildly busy with most of the footfall around the stands nearer the entrance and a dwindling flow of visitors past that point.

I visited Hall 7 around 1.30pm, so there was an atmosphere of post-lunch lull. It is the perfect shopping destination if you are after something big, spectacular or expensive – and certainly unique – for your latest luxury pad. It’s also good if you need to furnish a luxury resort, a boutique hotel or if you are a collector.

Hall 6 seemed to get the most visitors. Here, you are likely to meet independent boutique buyers as well as their colleagues from larger stores. It might put off design aficionados but it pretty much felt that this is where business is happening. Some buyers I’ve known for years have only ever bought from Bijorhca and M&O in Paris. Their shop is located in more than 500km from the French capital and they stock a wide variety of jewellery and fashion accessories. They buy mainly in Hall 6, with rare excursions to Hall 7. They would usually spend a week in both January and September in Paris to browse, select and order from European designers and makers exhibiting at these events. There are a number of shops similar to this one across Europe.

If  you are designer-maker exhibiting at this event, you are in the right place. You do, however, need to do some preliminary work to get noticed on the day. This could be a push on PR to get a prime spot in the show directory or magazine. Consider some targeted advertising leading up to the date. Even better talk to potential buyers to find out where and when they go and what informs their decisions.

So why exhibit in Paris? It puts you in front of a lot of potential buyers and customers from Europe, France and possibly Asia. If you are a small brand showcasing your products, it is a very good way to grow your niche in the busy homeware market. Be prepared to build up to the event to give yourself the best possible chance of success.

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