25 September 2009

From Rita Dommermuth and the DOMOTEX Hannover Fairs USA Team...

Rita DommermuthI am Rita Dommermuth and, on behalf of the worldwide DOMOTEX team, I would like to welcome you to the DOMOTEX blog.

We are here to assist with any and all questions related to DOMOTEX and encourage you to share your DOMOTEX experience with us and others. We would also like to answer your questions and will respond to your observations about the annual show in Hannover, Germany (taking place in January) and DOMOTEX events in Shanghai and Dubai (in the spring of every year).

DOMOTEXOver the half dozen years that I have been involved with DOMOTEX, I have seen a real evolution in floor coverings and technologies. DOMOTEX offers such a vast goldmine of styles and technologies from every corner of the world that cannot be found anywhere else in one place that it is -- by far -- my favorite show event. I compare it to the United Nations because rarely do you see professionals from as many corners of the world, nor as much variety, from the timeless and beautiful handmade rugs that will be the antiques of tomorrow to the latest in machine made creations that defy imagination.

DOMOTEX, world of flooringBut the most important aspect of DOMOTEX is its reach into markets and potential for finding partners, distributors and new suppliers.

From the U.S. perspective, I appreciate the efforts of several organizations that have been part of DOMOTEX almost from the beginning, the American Floorcovering Alliance (AFA) based in Dalton Georgia, the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) in St. Louis MO, and the State of Georgia – a great supporter of the flooring industry. We also have a superb level of media interest in the U.S. which we appreciate.

DOMOTEXWe have also won new friends. More recently, the U.S. Department of Commerce has provided trade support through its certification process and the NWFA has been joined by the American Hardwood Export Council.

I would also like to extend our appreciation to Jim Gould and his colleagues at the Floor Covering Institute for the reality check they have provided, since DOMOTEX can only be an effective marketing tool if it responds to the expectations of its participants. It is those friends and partners that we will rely on to provide information and input that will be helpful to you and you will see them on this site from time to time. But we don’t want to stop there. Everyone who has ever participated in DOMOTEX is an expert and first-hand accounts are the best way to experience the shows.

DOMOTEXThe DOMOTEX team encompasses many individuals who all play their part in creating a worldwide event that brings value to participants. I will provide more details in future blog posts, but let me start here by introducing Donna Hyland, sales manager of DOMOTEX, who organized the first USA Pavilion at DOMOTEX. Donna will provide additional comments from time to time sharing her DOMOTEX highlights.

We are here to provide you with the best DOMOTEX experience possible and invite you to join what we hope will be a lively community!
See you in Hannover, Shanghai or Dubai!

Rita Dommermuth
Hannover Fairs USA
Long Beach CA

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18 September 2009

Domotex 2009 TalkFloor Highlights

TalkFloor DomotexDOMOTEX 2009 received wonderful visibility from the flooring media. In a previous post, Rita shared with you the highlights covered in her interview with FloorDaily. This post covers the highlights from our interview with TalkFloor's Dave Foster.

On January 19, 2009, Rita Dommermuth, Monika Arnold and I spoke with Dave Foster recapping DOMOTEX 2009. The interview lasts 39 minutes.

Always Something New @ DOMOTEX.

With the backdrop of a global recession, some predicted DOMOTEX 2009 to be a bust. Instead, Rita reported the show had a record number of exhibitors with attendees filling every hall. Officially, attendance was down slightly but I was impressed with how upbeat show attendees and participants were.

Americans were well represented in the American Floorcovering Alliance (AFA) and expanded National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) spaces. These organizations, with economic support from the Georgia Department of Economic Development and the American Hardwood Export Council respectively, had provided affordable exhibition opportunities for American manufacturers and service providers to show their goods. Combined with stand alone booths from Mohawk, Beaulieu, United World Logistics and others.

Buyers from around the world visited current suppliers and searched for new opportunities. While floor covering business is down 20% globally, Rita said the other 80% must have been shopping and buying at DOMOTEX. She saw many buyers from fast growing areas like Asia and the Middle East. Rita and Monika reported that they heard upbeat reports because the quality of visitors was rated very high by everyone. The international flavor of the exhibition was proven by more than 80% of the exhibitors and nearly two thirds of the attendees coming from outside of Germany.

Filling 13 large exhibition halls is not easy but nearly 1,400 exhibitors and 40,000 visitors needed that much space. Complete halls were filled with handmade oriental rugs from every corner of the globe; a literal magic carpet bonanza. Other halls featured laminates or wood, vinyl and luxury vinyl tile, broadloom carpet, fibers, installation and maintenance equipment. Monika explained that one highlight of the show was contractworld, a designated commercial exhibition hall that drew 2,500 architects and designers to view products, listen to presentations and network with their peers.

Clearly “green” was a major part of every exhibitor’s presentation. I told Dave that while American’s are catching onto this concept, it is in full bloom in the rest of the world. Evidence was seen in product innovations, in seminar topics and in the buyers’ questions. Europe already has strict regulations regarding Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), formaldehyde, water usage and recyclability. While Americans took a large step forward with the Lacey Act Amendments (2008), Europe is quickly moving down a similar path.

I always find something new that makes my trip to DOMOTEX worthwhile. This year’s “find” was an robotic wood floor covering sander. Guided by lasers, this R2D2 looking robot, methodically sands an entire room evenly without human intervention. Advancements in products and installation systems were shown in click luxury vinyl tile and click ceramic to name a few otherse. There is always something new at DOMOTEX. What better venue or economically efficient method is there to show a new product or design and get immediate market feedback?

Dave broadcasted the interview on his Dalton radio show and then printed excerpts on his Internet site to update his readers. As good as Rita, Monika and I tried to be in describing the show, there was no way we could capture the flair, the products or the excitement of the DOMOTEX experience.

For more information about DOMOTEX 2009, read the official release documenting the 2009 DOMOTEX event which makes the points:

+ DOMOTEX 2009 emits positive signal in tough economic climate
+ Caliber of visiting professionals higher than ever
+ Exhibitors emphasize innovation and creativity
+ Special displays and events highlight latest trends
+ contractworld: networking hub for international architects
+ A particular highlight: the world's largest Nain carpet
+ Highly exportable concept

Let me know if you have any questions.

~ Jim

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11 September 2009

U.S. Commercial Service Offices Offer Foreign Trade Support

US Dept of CommerceOur Government Does Help via the U.S. Commercial Service by offering support for doing business in foreign countries. Were you aware?

A couple of years ago I had the good fortune of being introduced to Catherine Mayer of the United States Department of Commerce, Commercial Service division in Frankfurt, Germany. Now before you repeat the threadbare joke about being from the government and wanting to help, let me tell you about my experiences with Catherine and what she does.

In hopes of encouraging American businesses to export, our government has set up Commercial Service offices in key cities around the world.

Staffed with dedicated people who know the local government, language, customs, laws and general business environment, they are a tremendous resource for American companies that want to expand their business into new territories. Want to meet a prospective client in their country? On occasions, Catherine has arranged for a meeting invitation to be sent from the American Consulate and even offered meeting space in Consulate buildings. I thought that would be pretty impressive to most foreign buyers.

Last year at Domotex in Germany, Catherine arranged for Alexander Kansky, a trade specialist living in St. Petersburg, Russia, to speak to American exhibitors about the growing markets of Russia and Eastern Europe. One large American manufacturer scheduled a follow up trip to Russia enlisting Alexander to help schedule appointments.

Whether it is data on market size, the names of companies involved in a certain industry sector, amount of duty that will be charged, translation of documents or environmental requirements, our US Commercial Services staff is your right hand at locations around the world. They have a range of websites from the Commercial Services Trading Partner site (a good place to start), to the International Trade site. Interested in a specific country? They have a website dedicated to almost every country around the world. For example, check out China and Germany.

Come to Domotex in Hannover, Germany, January 16 – 19, 2010, contact Catherine to pre-arrange meetings with potential partners in Germany or set up an appointment to discuss your needs in person. Can’t make it to Europe this Winter? No problem. Commercial Services offers a range of services via the Internet from a beginners guide to exporting to sophisticated webinars on timely subjects, including seminars about exporting or importing. Visit The Global Design Build Products & Services e- market Express, too, so you can receive notification of research, events, business opportunities and webinars relevant to your global interests.

Anyone interested in expanding their business should partner with the experts in Commercial Services and take the uncerrtainty and anxiety out of expanding into unfamiliar territory.

For further information, contact:

Catherine MayerCatherine Mayer at the American Consulate General U.S. Commercial Service, Gießener Straße 30, 60435 Frankfurt am Main
Tel.: +49/69/7535-3159
Email: Catherine.Mayer@Mail.doc.gov

Some background on Catherine: she received a B.S. in Apparel Production Management from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and attended graduate school at New York University. She worked in the apparel industry in New York in the capacity of patternmaker, industrial engineer, and technical manager.

After moving to Germany in 1992, she received her German language certificate from the Goethe Institute and worked as Technical Apparel Development Manager for a German apparel manufacturer. She has managed a corporate fashion department and worked as a teacher and translator in Germany as well.

Catherine worked as a contractor for CS Frankfurt for a number of years and joined the staff in April 2007, assuming responsibility for the textile sector as well as the floor coverings sector in conjunction with the Domotex trade fair.

She is responsible for advising U.S. firms with regard to CS programs and services, planning and implementing U.S. product promotions in connection with major textile trade fairs in Germany, market research and industry outreach within her sectors as well as performing Gold Key and other services for clients. She is a member of the Textiles/Apparel Team and the Global Design Build team.

I look forward to seeing you at Domotex!

~ Jim

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04 September 2009

Domotex 2009 Highlights From Floor Daily

FloorDaily DOMOTEXHave you started thinking about DOMOTEX 2010? It's coming right up. More specifically, from January 16 through 19, 2010 in Hannover, Germany. In case you haven't - or are just getting started - here are highlights from DOMOTEX 2009 captured in an interview I participated in with Floor Daily's Kemp Harr.

From the Hannover fairgrounds where Domotex takes place, Kemp interviewed Rita Dommermuth and Monika Arnold, both with DOMOTEX, asking them to discuss the 2009 show.

Here is how he describes the interview: "Rita and Monika discuss the traffic and highlights of this year's DOMOTEX show in Hannover Germany - the largest flooring trade show in the world. Listen to the interview to hear more about the U.S. companies that exhibited, the new acoustic forum and the Contract World annual awards."

Hannover is located in the northern part of Germany, and Domotex takes place in the southern part of the city of Hannover, occupying 13 halls of the 27 halls on the Deutsche Messe fairgrounds.

Domotex is the largest floor covering trade show in the world traditionally attracting approximately 1,400 exhibitors and 45,000 visitors. The exact numbers vary from year to year, but attendance has gone up steadily over the last years.

Products presented at the show range from high end rugs and carpets, to broadloom, vinyl, new flooring products as well as handmade products from all over the world.Despite the economy, Domotex has seen an increase in exhibitors over 2008, and 45 exhibitors from the US, including 14 new companies in 2009, and all have expressed satisfaction with the quality of interactions.

Monika is the project manager for several product categories within Domotex, including contractworld, the new World of Acoustics Forum and contractworld.awards, which well known architects and design community members from around the world actively participate in. For the 2009 program, contractworld.awards received 570 entries from 36 countries. A jury of well-respected professionals selected 14 winners [see contractworld.com for more info].

Domotex includes many special activities including an international flooring laying competition, new products, and information sessions. For example, Domotex is certified by the US Commerce Department, which offered roundtable discussions and insider trade advice, including one about doing business in Russia.

Listen for yourself.

If you attended, do you have other observations to add?

~ Rita

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