As the jet lag begins to fade from a whirlwind trip to Berlin for this year’s Bright Tradeshow, the real impact of the trip, the fact that this was one of the most interesting shows I’ve ever experienced, is replacing the numbing sensations in my feet from the first round of this season’s trade show fun.
Bright is arguably the world’s largest skate-focused show these days, and despite the requisite amounts of debauchery, its founders have created an environment that is inspiring, creative, and puts brands both large and small on a similar stage that showcases product more than fanfare.
“You can’t compare it to any other show,” explains Podium VP of Marketing Tim Gavin. “The timing is good, it has a rad skate vibe, and it’s run really well,” adds Gavin of his first time at Bright.
This year’s show had over 15,000 visitors, up 20% year-over-year from last summer’s attendance of 12,600 (and with the high level of security demanded by German insurance, we definitely believe these numbers to be accurate. You had to have your credentials scanned in and out of the show and at most booths), the first in Berlin, and Founder Thomas Martini was elated, if slightly exhausted, when we caught up with him at the end of the show. “I’m really happy with how things went – the numbers look great.”
Coming off a 50% jump from last year, when they moved the show to Berlin from Frankfurt to be a part of Berlin Fashion Week, that’s no small feat. International visitors accounted for 40%, and while the ratio is down slightly, Bright’s Mathieu Tourneur says this “is not due to the lack of international visitors, but the large increase of domestic retailers coming through. We are really pleased with this summer edition, and I believe Thomas [Martini] and [Co-founder] Marco [Aslim] are even more so that we had put a lot on the table—the feedback is really good.”
French retailers represented the largest portion of European visitors, followed by Brits, Italians, Swiss and Austrians. Not to be overlooked was the increasing number of overseas visitors – above all Americans, Japanese and Chinese.
Vancouver-based Lifetime Collective General Manager Nick Brown adds to that feedback, saying that the “show was great for us. The German customers really liked the collection and I made some great potential new [distribution] contacts from other parts of Europe.”
While this summer’s whirlwind is over for Martini and Co-founder Marco Aslim, they’re already getting the wheels turning for this winter’s Bright show and we’re looking forward to good things for Bright 14 and have already, which will be held January 19th to 21st, 2012, once again in House 18 in Berlin Lichtenberg, the former Headquarter of the defunct GDR Ministry of State Security in East Berlin.
Here’s a look at the last day of the show and our tour of some of Berlin’s action sports retailers: