The first time I exhibited at an international accessories trade show was in March 2016 – it was during Fashion Week in Paris, all the big brands from the fashion industry were presenting their fall-winter 2016 collections, and the new Joséphine collection was about to be shyly presented at the Premiere Classe trade show.
I am using the word “shyly” because you can only imagine how nervous one is when displaying their entire work in front of strangers that never heard of you, next to experienced exhibitors, that seem naturally relaxed and really don’t feel the newcomer’s stage fright.
One thing was for certain – what we lacked in experience was overcompensated in enthusiasm.
This was the first step into our first big international collaboration: the Joséphine fall-winter 2016 collection was picked-up by a department store from Tokyo.
Then you start to wonder
So after all this, you of course start to wonder “now that they’ve ordered it, will it sell? will the women in Tokyo be interested in these pieces?”. I got the answer in September 2016, when I had a meeting with the same clients, in Paris, spring collection by my side – the fall collection had been sold out in just a few days and now it was spring’s turn to go to Japan.
Can you imagine the excitement?
You don’t really have time to recover from all this and enjoy the spring collection, because the fall one is ready to invade your thoughts. By this time, I had already planned in exhibiting at Premiere Classe in January 2017 and that meant the fall 2017 collection needed to be ready even sooner.
The fact of the matter is that everything needs to be prepared super in advance and that can be overwhelming at times, but I’m guessing that as you become more experienced (just like I was saying in a previous paragraph), the creative process will easily adapt.
Premiere Classe – January 2017
The January trade show is held in a completely different location. Porte de Versailles is a very large expo location in Paris, accommodating over 1000 exhibitors during Premiere Classe. It just makes you realise just how small you really are and just how large the variety is.
Just after my first show, I had a to do list for the next one and one of the points was considering some sort of ambiance/decor. There are quite a few exhibitors that seriously invest in their booth and I for one really think it matters. After all, isn’t it all this a visual industry?
After having made several sketches, considering visual impact, budget and size (it was supposed to fit the checked-in luggage), we came up with this: a white wooden tree. The point was to give some volume to the display area (tables tend to be a bit flat) and to make it more memorable.
Even if it was very difficult to assemble (as it was built to unfold so that every branch stays in place), it was a very good call. The number of visitors I came in contact with this time was so much bigger than last time: department stores buyers from the EU and Asia, concept stores, fashion editors, online stores, small boutiques from France and Germany, other trade show representatives. I can’t tell if it was the decor, but I think it played a good role in making us stand out.
The booth is set out one day before the show begins. I was truly lucky to have this time too my wonderful friends with me to help out and to create some good memories in the process (usually when there are friends and assembling difficulties involved, the night for sure ends in laughter).
The trade show lasts 4 days, from 9.00 am to 7 pm, and there is really so much to tell, I don’t think I could stop anytime soon.
So I’m just leaving these photos here (I managed to snap a few in the little time I had outside the fair), while I start planning the fall 2017 collection production that will be leaving for Japan in just a few months (yay!).
Would you be interested in a Paris dedicated volume for the travel section of the journal? The other volumes are dedicated to Santorini, the Philippines and Provence and have Stay, See, Do and Eat recommendations.
I’ve gathered quite some long lists of cool places in Paris during these past years and I really want to share them. There are so many great places and new ones open all the time, I really love Paris.