28 August 2009

Jim Gould, DOMOTEX Advisor

Jim GouldA couple of years ago the executives of DOMOTEX contacted me to ask if I could help them improve the experience of American attendees and exhibitors to their shows. Not only was I flattered with their question and show of confidence, I was thrilled to have a chance to increase the effectiveness of the show that had impacted my life so dramatically.

Like most Americans in the floor covering industry, my career was focused on America. My distributorship was located in the Midwest and everything we sold was Made in America. I had no knowledge of the international market, how it differed from what I knew or how it might help in my business. Following the recommendation of a friend, I made my first trip in 1990 and had my eyes opened to a whole new world. I was amazed at how the industry presented itself, the selection of products, the manufacturers, even how the products were displayed and merchandised. Two years later I stumbled across Pergo at DOMOTEX HANNOVER in Germany and it changed my business career and my life.

Of course, since then our industry has become much more global. Laminate from Sweden, wood flooring from Germany, vinyl from Belgium and ceramic from Italy, expanded into products from China, Brazil, Viet Nam, New Zealand… literally around the world. Since 1990, I have attended and searched every DOMOTEX exhibition. I look for what is new and different; amazingly I always find something that had not been shown in the USA. Sometimes it is an insight into the future since many products and looks are previewed overseas before they ever show up in America.

The international draw of DOMOTEX brings manufacturers from around the world; many, like Pergo in 1992, have never been seen in the American market because they do not know how to sell into this huge market. At the same time DOMOTEX offers American manufacturers an efficient and economical way to show their products to new markets. In just four show days over 40,000 potential customers can be exposed to the product or concept. If it generates excitement, further investment and investigation is justified; if little interest is generated, a lot of time, effort and money to develop that foreign market will be saved.

Since I joined the DOMOTEX team as an advisor in 2008, we have tried to enhance the experience of both American exhibitors and attendees; to maximize the return on everyone’s time and money in being part of DOMOTEX. This year we will organize local visits to retail stores to better understand how floor covering products reach consumers in other markets. We will act as match makers putting buyers and seller together who might otherwise walk past unseen opportunities. Engaging the US Department of Commerce, we will help exhibitors identify and target potential export markets.

While we have a DOMOTEX sales team here in the U.S., I hope anyone with questions about DOMOTEX will also contact me. Whether it is advice on Germany, Hannover, hotels, exhibitors anything at all, please send me an email to jgould@floorcoveringinstitute.com or call me at 314-812-2700. As an industry insider, I look forward to helping.

Jim Gould

Floor Covering Institute LLC

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