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PAPERWORLDREVIEW Beating the sceptics

There were no fl oods or snowdrifts out in Frankfurt but instead, there was plenty of commentary from those who are sceptical about the trade show’s ability to survive in this fast-changing world with a number of major exhibitors withdrawing again this year. With Paperworld running at the Messe Frankfurt

the sceptics P


After 19 years of travelling to Frankfurt every winter for Paperworld, stationery expert Henri Davis was a little worried about her latest jaunt, but it turned out that her fears were unfounded and a good show was definitely in evidence, along with decent weather.

APERWORLD is the biggest stationery show in the world and it arrived at the end of January with uncharacteristically good weather.

Positive impulses

VISITING Messe Frankfurt’s showgrounds for the fi rst time was a great experience for me as Greetings Today editor – the sheer size of the site and the trio of fairs, Christmasworld, Paperworld and Creativeworld, was a wonder to behold. Completely different to any of the trade shows I’ve experienced here in the UK, it was

incredible – my favourite part has to be all the Christmas lights and decorations, even though they’re not what I should be looking at for greetings! It was really interesting to see how differently the Europeans, in particular, design

showgrounds from January 26-29 alongside Creativeworld and Christmasworld starting a day earlier, I’d booked to be there for three days and was wondering if I’d regret the outlay. As it turned out, regret was far from my mind, the organisers had regrouped product categories extremely well so, when walking the halls they made sense, you could understand the boundaries and, therefore, you rarely felt you were walking past irrelevant products. The most inspirational hall for me was 6.1, the

Trend Hall, full of new, eye-catching, design-led stationery from companies who have the ability to supply into the UK so these great products really could appear on our shelves if selected by UK buyers – an exciting prospect. This hall also houses the fantastic trends area, which is a must for any visitor with wonderfully- prepared displays, seminars and reference material to take away detailing their predictions

their cards, and how British fi rms are making inroads on the export front. As it was my fi rst ever visit, I’ve nothing to compare the show to, unlike Henri Davis with her years of experience as stationery buyer for WH Smith and the National Trust, and now as an independent retail consultant also in gifts and greetings. With her knowledge of the industry and 18 previous visits to Paperworld, it’s heartening that she agrees with Messe Frankfurt’s reading of a host of positive impulses for the new business year. Messe Frankfurt’s Detlef Braun said: “Despite the diffi cult economic climate prevailing in the sector, the three fairs more than held their own with constant visitor numbers.” There were 83,174 visitors from 154 countries, as against 2013’s 83,206 from 145 countries, with 60 per cent of visitors from outside Germany, up from last year’s 58 per cent.


Greetings cards in this quite international but obviously German-led show are more limited in their appeal for the UK as most are very European in their styling, the greeting rarely appears in English, for obvious reasons, and is therefore are not appropriate to our market. Having said that, there are often interesting

available from the basic primary-coloured standard party items through to wonderfully detailed vintage ranges in more muted creams, blue and reds. The hall was particularly buzzing on the Sunday when the show was full of independent retailers and this was added to by all the craft workshops and demonstrations being held in

for the trends for this year explained through the wonderful showcasing of products from exhibiting suppliers. The more commercial stationery was to be found in 3.0 and the great editing of this hall meant that it still worked despite the slightly disparate product mix this year.

Many of the bigger suppliers have now said they would exhibit on a bi-annual basis – based on the space utilisation in the hall this year, fi tting them back in could give the organisers a bit of a headache!


design and style trends to keep an eye out for and this year there were a lot of very natural-looking materials with single colour graphic/retro prints often with strong colours, particularly neons. Partyware was shown in the Creative Hall and this gave an interesting twist with a lot of brightly- coloured, handmade bunting and decorations giving a strong street party theme in fresh spring colours. It took up fully half of the hall along with gift-wrap and packaging accessories to give a real party atmosphere. There was a huge breadth of product

the central area which attracted attention and participation from many visitors. Having been concerned that I’d booked to attend for too long I found I only had an hour to spare at the end of my last day. Paperworld delivered for me on every level and, for me the stationery industry would certainly be the poorer without it – I’m looking forward to going back in 2015 for my 20th year!

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