Maison et Objet – 10 Tips for your visit
Our founder Corinne Lewis-Ward was lucky enough to head over to Paris at the beginning of 2018. She was part of a group that was carefully selected by the Department of International Trade. The group was selected because of their suitability to trade with France. Powder Butterfly was seen as a company that has a number of products and services that could be desirable to the French market. As you can imagine this was a very exciting opportunity and it gave us a chance to explore a new potential market for our business. This blog post provides 10 top tips for anyone wanting to pay a visit to Maison et Objet. There are more details about how you can connect with your local DIT advisors and, you never know, you might be jetting off to an international location that absolutely loves what you do.
This blog post is all about Corinne’s trip to Paris and specifically about Maison et Objet and her top tips for making the most of this extensive trade show which, just through its sheer size, can be quite an overwhelming experience.
Here we come Paris!
When my Department of International Trade Advisor Sue Beverly emailed me to say that my application to go to Paris had been successful I was so excited. I was also a little bit apprehensive as my French is appalling and I was really worried about the language barrier. I asked my social network contacts for advice about speaking French and some people said that the French would be thrilled if you tried, others said they would be offended if you butchered their beautiful language. So I wasn’t sure what to expect. I also wondered what the French would think of the Brexit situation that we currently find ourselves in, and whether or not we would be met with open arms or skepticism.
I am really happy to report that Paris is, without doubt, one of the friendliest places that I have been to. All of the local people that we met were warm and welcoming. And Paris quickly became a place that I would like to return to. It’s a beautiful city filled with culture, creativity, opportunity, and ingenuity. There are beautiful independent cafes and gift shops around every corner, and of course the high-end fashion labels. It was actually Fashion Week while we were there and there was an exciting buzz about the city.
Brilliant British Businesses
The group that I left Newcastle International Airport with were a welcoming creative and interesting bunch of people all of whom were very accomplished in their own right and they were all such great company. The companies that were there are so interesting and diverse. I was joined by:
Bobo1325 – Surface design studio
Daisy & Bump – Children’s illustrator and associated products
Dorrie Ltd – Jude Healey is transforing her mothers fashion illustrations into a range of products
Home Design Upholstery – An upholstery business
IC-Innovations – Product design company
The Jam Tart – Typographically inspired kids products
James Design – Homeware and furniture design and fabrication
Light Up North – Fun and innovative lighting products
Maddi Alexander – Natural home and spa cosmetics
Nigel Tyas – Various ironwork products
Plyable – Furniture and interior design company
Snow Blossom – Silk bedding company
The English Art Company – Original artwork transformed into a range of products
Tilly & Blue – Pet portrait company
Meeting such an amazing group of businesses really was the icing on the cake. We had a jam-packed itineray for the next three days but there was still time to get to know the businesses that attend the trade mission which was great. And there have been talks of potential collaborations which is a very exciting outcome.
One of the main reasons for attending this particular trade mission was to check out the ‘Maison et Objet’ trade show to see if it would be possible to show at a forthcoming event, meet some of the businesses attending the show and to generally check out what the current and forthcoming trends would be. Below are some of my top tips for getting the most out of the trade show as it is absolutely huge and has a vast array of stands.
10 Top Tips for visiting Maison et Objet
1. Comfy shoes – this is a must you will need to be comfortable as you will be doing a huge amount of walking.
2. Use the cloakroom – It does get pretty warm in some of the rooms, so I would advise leaving any unwanted bags and coast in the cloakroom. It does get busy so you will need to factor this in to your day.
3. Visit the website – You must visit the website before you attend. This will help you narrow down who you want to see and will help you create a targeted list of contacts.
3. Use the app – Maison et Objet has created a great app. The app will help you find stands, and there is a notes section where you can upload photographs of the stands and keep notes on the individual conacts that you meet. It’s very handy and will help you keep on track with all of the information that you will be gathering. Someone mentioned that they attended a show and all of the information they had gathered was wiped from the app after the show had finished. thankfully this hasn’t happened with the Maison et Objet app so far.
4. Take a packed lunch and drink – There are plenty of places to buy food when you are at Maison et Objet and if you are travelling light then there is plenty to chose from. However if you are on a budget I would advise that you take a packed lunch and a drink. You will need to have a break at some point throughout your visit so be prepared.
5. Take business cards and promotional materials – It’s a great idea to take the best promotional tools you can for Maison et Objet. You never know who you might meet and you will need to be armed with your card so that you can hand these out to prospective clients and useful contacts. It is also a good idea to take flyers and compact look-books with you to give to your targeted list. Small product samples are also very useful to give people some sense of the quality of what you do.
6. Be polite and courteous – Many of the people on the stands are attending Maison et Objet at great expense. They are there to sell to buyers and clients and may not be able to talk to you if you are trying to sell to them or connect with them. It can be a very stressful environment for many attendees, but my advice would be to stay cool and be professional and polite. You don’t want to burn bridges as you never know when you might meet people again and there could be potential to work together in the future.
7. Go back – Be prepared to attend the show on multiple days. There are some many rooms and so much to see that it is advisable that you take in as much as you can over about 3-4 days if you have the time.
8. Enjoy it – Make sure that you enjoy your visit, it is such a wonderful experience and there are so many inspirational companies to talk to. But it can be overwhelming so prepare your self to have a long busy and tiring but inspirational day.
9. Keep a diary – Its a great idea to keep some sort of journal or diary of your experience. This may unlock nuggets of information that you will need access to later on when you get home. Having some sort of journal will ensure that you don’t forget anything or crucial contacts that you need to chase up.
10. Follow up – When you get home make sure you follow up your leads. If you have had some positive conversations with people then it is a good idea to follow up with them. Connect with them on social media, send them an email, give them a courtesy call. All of these things will help you generate positive links and might lead to great working relationships.
For anyone interested in a Trade Mission or finding out more about selling overseas contact your local DIT Office:
Companies in the North East – export enquiries
DIT North East
Aykley Heads Business Centre
0345 136 0169