Launched in 2005 to fill a void in the European skate trade show market, Bright Tradeshow has been steadily gaining momentum to an international audience. The show was founded in Frankfurt by Thomas Martini and Marco Aslim as a way to showcase the brands they represented with their sales agency, KPP Agentur, but quickly grew to include skate and streetwear brands from across the globe with both summer and winter shows.
Last year they moved the show to Berlin to be part of Berlin Fashion Week, which includes other shows such as Bread & Butter, and saw 50% growth in attendance. We caught up with Martini and Aslim to learn more about this summer’s July 7-9 show and the European trade show market.
Give us a little background on Bright’s history. What niche do you fill in the European skate scene?
Bright started out as our answer to the lack of positive exposure for the brands we represented in our sales agency, KPP Agentur. For a while, there wasn’t any skate and streetwear tradeshow that our industry could be proud of and where brands wanted to exhibit. Our show rooms in Frankfurt were in a huge disaffected building with huge potential, so after a little research, we decided to bring together not only the brands we had under our umbrella, but also reach out to all the reps, marketing managers, shop owners we knew, and launched Bright in the Summer of 2005.
Here’s a look at some highlights from last summer’s show and what to expect from this year’s:
How are exhibitor numbers looking this summer compared to last?
In Frankfurt, we always had constant growth, we never exceeded 8,000 visitors and international visitors seemed to never make more than 25% of our footfall. When we moved to Berlin in the Summer of 2010, our figures exploded and reached 12,000 with a 60/40 balance. Even last winter, for Bright XII, we had growth when it is typically a slower season for us. For this next edition, without wild guessing, we are expecting our highest footfall ever.
The US trade show market, especially in the skate world, has been a roller coaster ride for the last couple years. How are things looking in Europe?
In the last couple of years, there have been a few projects in different countries, but they seem to have all not reached their organizers’ expectations. Being independent lets us decide our every move, and work with brands and partners closer. This allows us to ride the wave of the economy easily as well.
Do most of your exhibitors work with European distributors or are they connecting directly with skate retailers?
We have seen an evolution in our exhibitors: At first, only the German distributors or agents would be present or invest in a booth, then slowly, starting with the bigger guys, the brands invested directly in a booth and used the show as a pan-European platform. Now we see a lot of smaller brands from the US, Asia, and emerging countries coming in directly as exhibitors, seeking a potential new market, and retailers from around the globe looking for new brands and inspiration.
How many retailers are you expecting this year and where do they mostly come from?
Beside trade professionals, the show is only accessible to media, so most of our visitors are retailers or agents. Last winter only 60% of our visitors were registered in Germany. France, Italy, and the UK are the three highest level of foreign visitors, USA being the highest progression.
What’s your relationship like with Bread & Butter?
We are all part of the Berlin Fashion week, along [with] Premium and Seek. We all feed from each other’s visitors, but our mix of skate, sneakers, and streetwear is unique to Berlin.
What’s new for this summer?
We have a few new things. First off, we had to increase the exhibition surface by 4,000 square feet to answer the level of new exhibitor inquiry. We have also expanded our offer with new space, All Tomorrows, dedicated to emerging brands, limited edition lines and young designers. We are pretty happy with that space, as it has a complete different vibe to the rest of the show, but still completes the global offering of the show.
What events, contests, and activations are you most hyped on for this year and why?
We are launching Bright Festival, an end consumer fair, this summer. The fair will be the occasion for brands to engage with their target market with clinic events, sales booths, and other smaller events. Part of it is also the Relentless Above the Line Contest, presented by Skullcandy, a skate competition taking place on our purpose-built, 10,000-square-foot skate plaza. We will also be hosting demos from Emerica and Globe, and we have a live act by Tweak Bird on Friday evening.
Best memories of last summer’s show?
Just seeing our first show in Berlin, with so many more people and so much energy was incredible. We’ve come a long way, and we’re here to stay!