Monday, February 20, 2012

Ambiente 2012

Frankfurt´s International "Consumer-goods" Trade Fair.


Frankfurt Trade Fair grounds where the "Ambiente 2012" took place.

Ambiente is the largest and oldest international trade show for consumer goods. This fair is only open to trade visitors, access is not available to private visitors. It took place at the Frankfurt Fair Grounds from the10th - 14th February 2012. The show is segmented into categories including Dining, Living and Giving. The show attracts over 145,000 trade visitors and 4,500 international exhibitors. It is the most important business to business platform for manufacturers, retailers, designers and other trade professionals from all over the world.  
"No matter whether you are active in the table, kitchen and household segment, in the world of giving or in the home, furnishing and decorating sector, you can give your business chances a great boost at Ambiente". Click here for additional information on this trade fair.

Over the weekend of 11th February, Lucy and I had the opportunity to visit the Ambiente Trade Fair. We were invited by the  south african embassy courtesy of Lucy´s cousin, Josephine.(Remember her from this post). With such a vast product variety at the exhibition, i think even if we had all the 96 hours of the 4 days the show lasted at our disposal, it still wouldn´t have been possible to see everything on display. So,with just one day and a few hours to go and over 4500 exhibitors, where does one begin to look :-)) Like i would say in german..."die Qual der Wahl" meaning "the agony of choice"....yes we were indeed spoilt for choice but since we were on a business mission and not a pleasure trip, it did help us choose wisely:-) I´m sure you all can guess already to which exhibitors we headed off to first :-))

moi & Lucy the "Ambiente 2012"....we were excited to be there:-))

Yes, to the south african delegation of course :-) It was a great feeling to see africa represented so positively out there. The south african exhibitors were very friendly and very welcoming too, and they took the time to answer our many questions on their products.  I really loved the handmade arts and crafts they hade to offer. This just goes to show "Made in Africa" also does have lots of potential in the world market. I wish more african countries will take the intiative and promote their homemade products in shows like this.

at the south african exhibition hall

Lucy having small talks :-)))

Being this fair is open only to trade visitors, and not the general public, photography of products was strictly prohibited except with permission from exhibitors. The Frankfurt Trade Fair is really big on "Protection against Brand and Product piracy". This could be seen and felt all over the exhibition halls. So due to this reason we took no photos of products on display. But for you, our dear readers, we went the extra mile to get a few exclusive photos so you can have a feel of what the day was like for us :-) These photos were taken with permission from the south african delegation leader and we took photos only at the south african exhibition corner. Photos with products on display were taken with consent of the artists/traders. At this point, i would love to say, please don´t use these photos for whatever purposes without our consent.

from L to R- moi, Josephine, Marion(south african embassy Germany) & marketing officer colleaque.

Lucy with the delegation :-))

Talking to some of the exhibitors we also got to identify some of the problems and challenges the "Made in Africa" hand crafted items and products do face in the european market. Over the years most of the exhibitors have gathered enough experience with the european market and have also adapted their products accordingly.  From what we gathered talking to various exhibitors, i came to the conclusion to be successful as an african carftsman/artist/trader in europe, one has to come up with a unique style and a perfect blend/mix of the products one wishes to offer.
For african craftsmen/artist to be successful out here in europe, the products have to appeal not just to the afro community but the european community as well. It is all about finding that unique style which represents a perfect blend/mix of both the afro and euro culture. This is what i would like to term finding your own unique "Afro meets Euro" style :-)) It is about finding that special something in the afro piece you create and blending it in or complementing it with a european touch.

tea time with Lucy..... :-))

we loved the designs of Jubulani Jewellery......afro-euro style designs and excellent quality

 For example, the german market likes sleek and classic colours and our very colourful, bright and vibrant afro motives are most often " too busy " for the average german eye.
If i was to produce for the german market say africa inspired dresses... i would choose sleek and classic background colours(white, beige, brown, black) instead of our vibrant colours..... and to give the dress the afro touch, i will add trimmings using our colourful african motives. The colourful trimmings will give the dress the necessary "pop of colour" which is typical of our african dresses but at the same time keeping it classic and sleek and not "too busy" for the non-afro eye :-))) This dress will definately have a greater potential to appeal to both afro & euro communities alike compared to a typical traditional dress.
This concept also applies to other branches be it in the home, furnishing or decorating sector. If more of our african craftsmen/artists could elaborate on this concept, and most importantly concentrate on the quality of their products and not just quantity, i believe they will have little or no problem in making a name in the european market and why not the world. 

with the charming Paula of Jubulani Jewellery

It was quite a fun and very inspiring day for us and we got lots of motivation too. We got to meet and made business contacts with some great people too. Thanks Josephine for giving us the chance to have a sneak peak in the world of "consumer-goods" trading. This brought us one step closer to our big dream of someday making it into the leaque of the successful afro-lady entrepreneurs :-)))

with the designer of Mhayise Designs.....she makes jewelry out of soda cans.

Back home i couldn´t wait to go through my list of new contacts and also make a decision of what products we loved the most :-)

booklet with contact details of the south african exhibitors at Ambiente 2012

one of the many pieces we couldn´t resist from Jubulani Jewelry.......great summer colours.

Lucy couldn´t resist this beautiful ethno design brass jewelry :-))

For all of you already in the consumer-good business and you want to grow your business in europe, now you know where to go to give your business a great boost. Hope to see some of you there next year and who knows, you just might turn out be one of our future business partners....never say never :-))

back at home after a long and inspiring day......i feel good and summery :-)))))

Drop us a mail at ( if you want to share any infos or if you have questions. I wish you all a great week and stay cool as always until we meet again.

click here for photos of our adventures.....

from "Deutschland" with luv,

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