30 October 2009

Join DOMOTEX VIP North American Delegation & Make The Most of Your Visit

Jim GouldWere you aware that Domotex organizes a VIP North American Delegation? It's a great way for truly making the most of your visit, particularly if you are new to Domotex or new to Europe.

My first visit to Domotex was in 1990. The floor covering industry had broken away from Heimtexil in Frankfort a year earlier to establish an international show specifically for floor covering in Hannover, Germany.

That first visit I was lost and intimidated by the size of the show. I was also awed by the presentation of so many beautiful products. The exhibitor’s names, product colors, styles and composition were all very different from what I knew in America. Looking back it probably took me three years before I felt comfortable, and could distinguish between exhibitors that were major manufacturers and those that were simply local distributors.

Luckily, I had travelled Europe a lot before 1990 so I wasn't surprised by the differences in electricity, currency or language. I do remember, however, not knowing about the weather, appropriate dress, local transportation, how to register, location of the show, where to stay or eat. When I started to consult with Domotex, I explained my experience and questioned how we might be able to enhance the Domotex Experience for North American exhibitors and attendees and make the show and Hannover less intimidating, more comfortable and more user friendly.

To that end Domotex helped organize a VIP North American Delegation.

Sounds fancy but in reality it is a valuable package of perks being offered to North American visitors FREE. If you are attending Domotex in Hannover, Germany, January 16-19, 2010, you are eligible, just let me know you are going and I will sign you up, no charge. Here is what you can expect from becoming part of the VIP North American Delegation:

- Pre-registration to show, no standing in lines
- Free Admission tickets to the show (value $33 per day)
- Free Show Directory (value $25)
- Assistance with air reservations
- Negotiated hotel rates and room block
- Free local van, tram or train from hotel to the fairgrounds
- Free access to quiet VIP meeting area
- Appointment with US Department of Commerce Trade Specialists
- Visit to Retail Floor Covering stores in the Hannover area,
- Help scheduling appointments with key potential vendors or customers
- Answers to any questions you have about Domotex, Hannover or the European floor covering market.

Participation in the VIP Delegation does not mean that you must use any of these services. Get your own hotel or book your own air travel if you like. We are just offering the service if you want guidance or to check your prices.

Our goal is to be there if you want us and to enrich your Domotex experience. Whether you need help arranging business meetings, guidance on how to “work the show,” or simply need information about making your trip to Germany and Europe more fun, let us know and we will do our best to help.

First time traveler to Europe? We will send you a list of Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about weather, dress, transportation, electricity, currency, credit cards and language.

First time traveler to Domotex? Let us know and we will help you know what to expect.

The Domotex VIP North American Delegation really is a great way to make the most of your visit to Hannover and Domotex! Please don't hesitate to contact Rita Dommermuth at rita@hfusa.com or me at jgould@floorcoveringinstitute.com. We both look forward to helping make this Dometex visit the best ever!

~ Jim

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23 October 2009

DOMOTEX 2010: News for U.S. Attendees

DOMOTEX 2010 Visitor BrochureNews about DOMOTEX 2010 for U.S. Attendees
October 2009

Anyone interested in visiting DOMOTEX this coming January may want to check out the show’s highlights on the DOMOTEX website. I have summarized a few of them here to whet your appetite! Please ask us about our U.S. delegation now forming.

High international profile: 80 percent of the exhibitors come from outside Germany

Compared with virtually any other trade show, DOMOTEX HANNOVER is an extremely international event. For example, 80 percent of the exhibitors come from outside the host nation. Exhibitors from some sixty countries come to Hannover to conclude business deals and make new contacts. Germany is represented by the largest contingent of exhibitors, followed by Belgium, Turkey, India, the Netherlands, China, Italy and Switzerland. The U.S. is represented by over 30 exhibitors this year.

Magnet for decision-makers: 70 percent of the visitors are from top management

There is no more attractive venue for top international decision-makers. In fact, 70 percent of all the trade visitors attending DOMOTEX 2009 came from senior management.

Anyone who has personally seen DOMOTEX knows that no other event offers trade visitors such a good overview of the global marketplace. The main display categories at DOMOTEX HANNOVER are:

• Carpets/rugs (hand-made)
• Woven carpets/area rugs (machine-made)
• Textile and resilient floor coverings
• Fibres, yarns and textiles
• Wood and parquet flooring
• Laminated coverings
• Laying skills, cleaning and application technologies

DOMOTEX 2010 Hall PlanVery important news for anyone interested in hand-made carpets - they are now displayed at the northern end of the Grounds in halls 19 - 23

The display category “hand-made carpets” will be shown for the first time in the exhibition halls at the northern end of the Exhibition Grounds [in red on the image to the left]. These halls can be accessed directly from the main entrance Nord 1, an entrance used by large numbers of visitors. Ample parking is located adjacent to these halls plus they are well connected to the Hannover public transportation network.
The new location makes it easier for trade visitors to find the individual keynote displays. Roofed walkways make the trip between halls provides shelter from the winter weather. The new halls presents a much better delineation of the full range of hand made types and styles and a convenient lounge offers a great place for business meetings and social interaction.

Here is a link to the DOMOTEX 2010 Visitor Brochure [which includes the hall plan graphic].

I’ll be sharing more highlights over the next weeks, but don’t hesitate to contact the U.S. office anytime for assistance.

Hannover, GermanyWhile you are in Hannover, take some time out to visit the city. Follow this link to the cultural scene.

~ Rita

Rita Dommermuth, Hannover Fairs USA
rita@hfusa.com - Tel: 562-901-9191

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16 October 2009

The US, The World & The Floor Covering Industry

Jim GouldI learned an important lesson when I was younger: that the US, as big as it is, exists in a larger world; the more I could learn about the rest of that world, the better I could understand and anticipate US business issues, particularly in the floor covering industry.

During the summer of 1966, I worked in a small town in northern France called Notre Dame de Gravenchon; a picturesque town of less than 5,000 people nestled in the Seine River Valley. The city’s largest employer was SOCOBU, a synthetic rubber manufacturer owned by Standard Oil of New Jersey. It was their factory that I called home for six weeks of my youth. The town was not a tourist attraction, although my memory says it should have been, and to my surprise no one spoke a word of English. Calling on my six years of high school and college French, I communicated using “fr-anglais”, a combination of their native tongue mixed with my butchered classroom teachings.

Most noteworthy about that experience was the realization that these factory workers knew the names of my Senators from Missouri and I did not know any names in their government except President Charles de Gaulle. They told me about the JFK conspiracy theories and why Martin Luther King had been shot. Except for the misconceptions that Roy Rogers roamed the Wild West and Al Capone still lived in Chicago, they knew more about my country than I did. Embarrassed by my lack of knowledge about the rest of the world, I committed myself to expand my focus and this served me well in my business career.
Church of Notre-Dame-de-GravenchonBelieve it or not, the US floor covering industry is just one part of a worldwide business that is constantly being impacted by non-American issues. Oil prices set in the Middle East is just one obvious example, but what about the whole green movement? Ten years ago, Europe was listening to the Greenpeace demonstrators while many Americans considered them extremists. Today, environmentalist concerns are driving major projects from the Carpet America Recovery Effort to renewable flooring made of bamboo and cork. The 2008 passage of the Lacey Act Amendments closed the American door on wood flooring imports made from illegally harvested logs and practically eliminated endangered species like Merbau from the market. This was not a radical surprise for those who had been following developments around the world and the increased awareness of environmental issues including the growing black market in illegal logs.

So what is the best way to keep up with changes coming down the pike that will impact our floor covering business in the USA?

The easiest way I've found to stay informed is through our industry media; print, broadcast and Internet. And, it's equally important for manufacturers, distributors and retailers to get out of their domestic comfort zone and venture into new lands to see what the rest of the world sees every day. That's where DOMOTEX can be a valuable resource.

Domotex is the largest and broadest international floor covering show in our industry. Held in Hannover, Germany each January, the show gives one excellent exposure to innovative products, new trends and innovative display ideas. In addition to Germany, DOMOTEX offers shows in Shanghai, China in March and another in Dubai, UAE in May. I don’t mean to diminish Surfaces, Coverings, Cersaie or Cevisama. Quite the opposite! These are all great shows and each not only provides valuable perspective, but is also far better than staying at home. However, Domotex offers you that world perspective that I mentioned above as being so critical for understanding and anticipating US business issues in flooring.

Note that these are not vacation trips justified by a business show. To benefit from Domotex you need to spend two to three full days walking the acres of buildings and talking to the 1,200 exhibitors about their products. It is exhausting, but also very rewarding and, to me, one of most energizing things you can do for your business.

As Americans, we need exposure to the rest of the world to have a complete picture of what is happening in our industry here in the US. I hope to see you at Domotex in Germany from January 16 – 19, 2010.


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09 October 2009

Ed Korczak, NWFA on Why Exhibit at DOMOTEX

Ed Korczak, NWFAThe National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) has recognized the value of foreign trade shows for years. Along with the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), the NWFA has sponsored a collective space for their members to exhibit at DOMOTEX. By joining together as a group, they stand out from other single space exhibitors and can share some of the costs associated with showing at Domotex. Why exhibit? Let’s listen to Ed Korczak, Executive Director and CEO of NWFA:

For the past seven years, I have attended Domotex as the CEO/Executive Director of the National Wood Flooring Association based in the United States. The NWFA is an international trade association dedicated to promoting and advancing the hardwood flooring industry, and Domotex seemed like the perfect venue for reaching out to other markets worldwide. Boy, what an understatement.

I learn what the rest of the world is doing in floor covering at Domotex Germany. The show represents all facets of the floor covering industry. It fills 13 large exhibition halls and attracts some 1,400 exhibitors and 40,000 attendees each year. What is even more impressive, though, is that the vast majority – exhibitors and attendees alike – are from markets other than Germany. It definitely is a global show with a large global presence.

NWFA National Wood Flooring AssociationWhat I quickly discovered the first year is that Domotex offers flooring companies one of the best opportunities to expand into international markets. That first year, the NWFA sponsored a pavilion for its members to exhibit at the show. We had six members take advantage of the opportunity. This year, we are up to 14 members exhibiting in the NWFA pavilion, with a waiting list. That is because our members recognize that Domotex offers them an opportunity to introduce their products to a diverse international audience, in one place, at one time, and at minimal expense. At Domotex, our members can try out their products on a targeted audience of global buyers – both manufacturers and consumers – before they invest millions of dollars in production for a product that may need modifications to sell overseas. It just makes economic sense.

And Domotex Germany is just the tip of the iceberg. The NWFA has attended Domotex Shanghai and Domotex Dubai as well, and with similar results. Domotex represents a tangible opportunity for anyone interested in expanding their markets globally. Domotex provides the venue. You simply have to provide an open mind, as well as the ambition and determination to succeed in a global environment.

Thank you, Ed.

For more information about exhibiting at DOMOTEX, contact Rita Dommermuth at rdommermuth@hfusa.com. The NWFA group space is sold out for January, 2010 but if you act quickly other space is still available.

~ Rita

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02 October 2009

Navajo Textile Weavers Demonstrate Rug Art At DOMOTEX

Marie Sheppard looking on as one of our booth’s neighbors
makes a headdress from napkins
Marie Sheppard at DOMOTEXDear DOMOTEX Blog readers:

This blog post has been contributed by my colleague Donna Hyland on behalf of Sharleen Daugherty. Donna “officially” retired from Hannover Fairs in 2002, but re-joined HFUSA last year to boost our sales outreach efforts for DOMOTEX and INTERSCHUTZ 2010, our fire-emergency technology show.

Prior to leaving HFUSA – and her central position as the DOMOTEX project director – she fulfilled a long-held dream of bringing a group from the Navajo Nation and their beautiful hand-woven textile art to DOMOTEX.

The project team in Hannover turned an area of the show into a virtual Navajo setting, complete with piles of rocks, hand cut fences to display their rugs, and “taxidermied” goats and sheep, all of museum quality construction. The exhibit also included sand paintings, pottery, silver and stone jewelry, figures, and natural dyed woven baskets.

Experience a first-hand account from Donna and Sharleen of this great adventure.

Rita Dommermuth

DOMOTEX 2000, Hannover, Germany:

Lufthansa passengers Hoskie and Sheppard report to Terminal B, Gate 21, immediately. Your flight to Frankfurt is ready to depart. Repeat. Lufthansa passengers Hoskie and....”

The loudspeaker blared, but in the din of airport noise it could easily go unheard. My heart raced. I felt waves of panic rush over me—just like the dreams I’d been having. But this time it was real; Minnie and Marie were missing.

An experience of a lifetime, actually three lifetimes, had begun. My company was representing the United States at DOMOTEX 2000, and I was accompanying two Navajo weavers on their first international journey. This was just one of many “firsts.” Minnie Hoskie and Marie Sheppard lived in remote regions of the Navajo Reservation, a 25,000 square mile area located primarily in the northeast corner of Arizona. The eighty-mile trip into Gallup, New Mexico, was the furthest the 65-year-old Minnie had traveled from her home in her lifetime.

I have a book full of wonderful memories and photographs of our time in Hannover, Germany, but only the space to tell you a few. The enormity of the fair grounds made an instant impression. Our booth was located in a building easily the size of three football fields. It housed exhibitors of handmade weavings and carpets from around the world. During setup time it became apparent we were the only females in this exhibit hall, a minor inconvenience to the male exhibitors when Minnie walked into the men’s bathroom upon finding the women’s locked.

Marie Sheppard looks on as Minnie Hoskie demonstrates her art.
Marie Sheppard and Minnie Hoskie at DOMOTEXThe hospitality of the German people also made an impression. Minnie and Marie were instant celebrities as they strolled the streets of the small town where we were housed in their colorful Navajo garb. On the night after our arrival, our hotel hosted a reception in honor of the two women; Marie had her first taste of a German delicacy, congealed duck fat spread on crackers.

Cultural exchanges rank as the most memorable and meaningful. Throughout the exhibition there was a steady stream of visitors from around the world visiting our booth to watch the two women who sat on the floor in front of traditional looms. Language was never a barrier; the magic that came from their hands was all that was necessary. On the last day of the event an entourage of women and young girls dressed in burkas paraded into the hall and straight to our booth. They stayed for over an hour, taking turns at sitting alongside Minnie and Marie and admiring their silver and turquoise jewelry.

And then there was the group from China who opened a brief case revealing bundles of $100 bills and wanted to purchase our entire exhibit—the summer hogan (name of a typical Indian dwelling), the stuffed life-size sheep and goats, the handmade loom stands, and all the weavings. The venture was foiled when they learned that I could not obtain hundreds of weavings every month, that looked “just like” Marie’s award-winning rug, for their Hong Kong market.

It wasn’t all business. Hannover Fairs hosted a party for the exhibitors, a grand event held on the grounds at a HofbrÀuhaus. Minnie and Marie had their first taste of German beer, learned to do the Macarena and other traditional dances, and when the band played songs from each country represented, quiet and shy Minnie stood on a bench shouting out an Indian war hoop at the playing of “New York, New York.”

These are memories of a time when people from around the world, representing hundreds of cultures and countries, came together in peace and harmony. They will never be forgotten.

Contributed by Donna Hyland, DOMOTEX & INTERSCHUTZ Sales Manager, HFUSA.

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