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Friday, 28 March 2014

HANDARBEIT AND HOBBY - report from Cologne

Helena and I in Cologne
It is always exciting for us to travel to Cologne for the annual Handarbeit and Hobby trade show. Drawing such an international audience really does make it THE trade show of the year and attracts a huge diversity of exhibitors and visitors. We had the opportunity to meet with buyers from as far afield as Korea, Russia, the Netherlands, Finland and Belgium, as well as catching up with a few of our stockists from Germany.

We were rather disappointed with the location of our stand this year. As you can see from the picture below, there was an enormous pillar right in the middle of the stand which wasn't at all what we had expected! Although next year we are hoping to be much closer to Christphorous Verlag, the German publishers who are currently translating Wonderland into German - an exciting development for us and one that our prospective German stockists were so thrilled to hear.

Before and after - what a transformation!
 That pillar . . .

Aside from the vast array of stands with everything from fabric, yarn and crafting accessories this Show excels at putting on an excellent fashion show and Saturday night entertainment. Helena went along to the fashion show but was stopped in her tracks outside by a flashmob dance group organised by the Boshi Boys - see the short video below . . .

The Boshi Boys proved to be really on trend at this years' Show - a crochet concept for cool, colourful hats that has filtered through to other brands. I imagine that the trend for these fun beanies straight from the snowboarding slopes will last for a good while yet.

As well as a business trip, this was a great excuse for Helena and I to spend some time together. We thoroughly enjoyed the Saturday night dinner and music entertainment, which I'm sure the organisers won't mind me saying is rather like being transported back to an 80's Eurovision extravaganza! We were lucky enough to be on the Rico table with Ellen and Yvonne and the rest of the Rico team - as you can see from the pictures, we had a very enjoyable evening.

From left: Yvonne, Ellen, Helena and I

For me, one of the most rewarding things this year was meeting the German stockists that signed up to stock MillaMia last year at H & H. You may remember that I was unable to attend as I'd not long had Johan, and so building on our existing relationships with them was invaluable for me. Thanks to Garnwelt and Wolle Roedel for stopping by the stand - it was lovely to meet you!
(posted by Katarina)

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