Do tradeshows work?

What prospective brands should consider when weighing up if and where to exhibit.

Returning from Cosmoprof Asia in Hong Kong, esprit’s Nicci Herrera shares her thoughts  on what works…and what prospective brands can consider when weighing up if and  where to exhibit.

I have been in the beauty industry 25 years and I have worked on stands for many years with a salon wholesaler and attended more than I can count. I can tell you, our salon wholesale stand was the largest, busiest and easily had 50 staff on deck. This was pre online shopping where visitors attended the show to ‘find and try’ and of course grab a deal. My on-stand days were about 10 years ago and year after year since then we have seen a shift in the exhibitors. The trusty long-stayers with brand heritage who diligently ‘do’ the shows are now joined by the newest to the market – the indie brands. Year after year I wander the aisles with a growing feeling of dread – observing the brands that I can plainly see are not taking full advantage of the opportunities. They have a person standing there not smiling, waiting for people to stop to engage with them…eeek! That’s a major first fail. No-one sells your brand better that those who are passionate about it. Get your sales team involved. Rotate them to keep them fresh. This is where deals are done, and networking opportunities abound. Shows also give you a chance to see your competition in action. I have just attended Cosmoprof Asia and returned with mixed business-emotions: for anyone who invests in a stand it’s up to you to make it happen. I saw some do it so  well…and others who let opportunity after opportunity ‘walk on by’.

WHICH TRADE SHOW TO INVEST IN?

The amount of times I see exhibitors that should not be at a certain show.  It’s an irrelevant fit. Therefore, it’s dead money and leads to disappointment.  On my recent trip to Cosmoprof Asia it had been a little while since my last visit.  I was impressed with the scale and the layout. You can clearly see why Cosmoprof is a global event leader. I loved how organised the categories were and the segregated areas were easy to navigate. This is where I would put my expo dollars when looking for the OS buyers. Despite all the turmoil going on with protests in HK, Cosmoprof was still a perfectly executed show that had success. There are two different venues in different locations in Hong Kong: Cosmopack at the AsiaWorld Expo facility and Cosmoprof at the Hong Kong Convention Centre in Wanchai. Cosmopack houses cosmetics packaging, printing, labelling, manufacturing equipment and ingredients while Cosmoprof has five floors of beauty products and salon equipment. I love how this split was managed for Cosmoprof and Cosmopack allowing those who were solely focussed on machinery and packaging to be in their element while the end-product audience could focus on their fix, too.

A woman tries out new tech at Cosmoprof Asia.

BOTANY ESSENTIALS’ CELESTINE HADE REPORTS BECK FROM COSMOPROF

Celestine Hade – director of Botany Essentials, a Melbourne-based natural skincare manufacturing company has been participating annually at Cosmoprof Asia, in Hong Kong, within the Australian Pavilion, for the past 16 years. Here she tells esprit: “International exhibitions are key to our company’s growth into global markets from Russia, Europe, Asia and the Americas. Cosmoprof facilitates access to over 100,000 buyers and industry decision makers as well as global brands seeking our manufacturing capabilities in the private label product procurement sector. “Today it is not good enough to sell products based on Australia’s clean, green image – international buyers hear this from every Australian brand. We have a unique selling point in that all of our products contain native and indigenous plant extracts unique to Australia with the addition of our organic processor certification and international standards accreditation. With over 400 private label clients we actively promote them all looking beyond our borders and to actively seek international exposure as a growth strategy. Today we export over 80% of everything we manufacture – a fact which we are very proud”.

In the buyer’s lounge at Cosmoprof Asia.

VANESSA MEGAN GREY SHARES  HER COSMOPROF EXPERIENCE

Vanessa Megan Grey, founder of the Australian Natural Beauty Company attended the show and boy did she shop – see, here, her new buy! Vanessa tells esprit: “It is hard to describe the scale of Cosmoprof Asia if you haven’t actually seen it, although this year had an unusual atmosphere. Hong Kong is in crisis and the roads of Wanchai had seen protest action only days before. However, inside the halls were lined with an eye-watering amount of skincare brands and products. Some beautiful, many baffling. As a natural beauty manufacturer, I spent most of my time on the third floor which was dedicated to all things green, eco-friendly, clean, organic and Halal. “There was a surprising number of other Australians there, both as exhibitors and visitors and Australia is a clearly a leader in natural beauty. I’ve watched the size of the natural beauty part of the exhibition grow over the years and it is exciting to see the shift in interest towards natural, sustainable and clean skincare. There are noticeable trends towards internal beauty supplementation, more sustainable packaging solutions and sheet masks are certainly having a moment. I’ve come back with new product and packaging ideas, with new equipment for manufacturing and a bag full of skin goodies to try and I certainly won’t forget the beautiful and hospitable host city of Hong Kong”.

Making donations at Cosmoprof Asia.

BELINDA AND FELECIA FROM  LONG LASHES GIVE US THEIR COSMOPROF FEEDBACK

Belinda Robinson and Felecia Tappenden from CanGrow (Long Lashes, Bold Brow, etc) say: “We find trade shows are a way for us to showcase our products to a wider audience than just Australia. Being an Australian made product gives us great credibility, with buyers from other countries knowing they can trust our formulas – we find this is one of our best selling points at these trade shows. “Cosmoprof 2019 was our 2nd year exhibiting in Hong Kong and we have found that to grow as a brand and a company we need to continue marketing our range internationally and trade shows are the best way to do this. “With the help of Austrade and the Export Market Development Grants, these  shows are made financially viable with a percentage of every dollar spend on promoting your products internationally claimable. “Over the last two years we have managed to secure distributors in USA, UK, Scandinavia, New Zealand, Thailand and are in negotiations with many more that we have just met at the recent Cosmoprof Hong Kong”.

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