Cabinet Maker reports from Bridge Event’s successful second year.
As anybody who has ever started a new venture will testify, it can take time to settle within a well-established environment, so Cabinet Maker is pleased to report that the Bridge Event – which is only in its second year – has enjoyed another successful outing.
Cast your mind back to September last year. Can you remember what you were doing? Furniture designer Mark Tunstall and sales professional Maud Laine certainly can, as, under their leadership the inaugural Bridge event took its place at the Ironbridge Museum, with five exhibitor companies including Dormeo Octaspring, and Belgian manufacturer Velda.
The event was set up to offer buyers and, in turn, consumers a wider choice including world class manufacturers from across Europe, helping to stimulate a competitive and progressive furniture market. And, whilst the show was small, it was perfectly formed, as visitors left feeling encouraged by what they saw, with many commenting that they knew Bridge would be returning in 2016.
Return it did, from 19-21 September with four out of last year’s five exhibitors - including Kaydian and GCL Bedrooms – returning – and two new names added to the mix from mainland Europe in Spanish sofa business Mayor Tapizados and Italian mattress manufacturer Alessanderx Group, which includes the Magniflex and Relaxan brands.
“Exhibitors told us that they were satisfied, they maintained and secured good business from the show.”
Maud Laine told Cabinet Maker: “Exhibitors told us that they were satisfied, and despite a slightly lower footfall than last year, they maintained and secured good business from the show. It’s fair to say that major buyers and smaller independents alike had a productive but relaxing time at Ironbridge.”
Indeed, European bed manufacturer and returning exhibitor, Velda, was happy with how the event went, as UK sales agent Adrian Eyre told us: “The Bridge show was a great success for Velda. We showed a new range of Boxspring beds and had an excellent response.
“The range offers a high quality Scandinavian designed sleeping experience at realistic prices. The show had a steady flow of high quality retailers, we are looking forward to next year. I think the show is a must for any non UK manufacturers, and I would encourage any other bed or bedroom suppliers looking to introduce their products to the UK to come and join us and make the show a real can’t miss destination for the retailers.”
First time exhibitor, Mayor Tapizados was equally satisfied with the Bridge Show experience, as Carsten Stenshøj explained: “As a first time exhibitor to the Bridge Event we obviously didn´t have any previous experience. But thanks to an informative and correct briefing by the organisers, we were well prepared.
“Our objective for this show was to put ourselves in front of a number of key decision makers who would voice their critical opinion about our newly launched range of designer sofa beds.
“I can confirm that we achieved this objective. We got signed orders, leads to follow up and constructive criticism that we can use in our further development of the Mayor Tapizados products.”
As with any event, Maud and Mark also faced some challenges along the way, with the Brexit vote outcome throwing something of a curveball, as two international companies felt they had no choice but to cancel their spaces. However, the organisers didn’t let themselves become disheartened. “Yes,” said Mark, “the late cancellations were disappointing, however we are expecting those companies to sign up for the 2017 event.”
And they are likely not to be the only ones, as Maud revealed: “From an organiser’s point of view, it was interesting for us to see potential exhibitors come to visit, with many discussing plans for next year, and they were happy with the success of the Monday afternoon opening which we plan to repeat in 2017.”
The event is confirmed to be returning in 2017, and we can reveal that Bridge has already secured the Ironbridge Museum for its third outing. So what can we expect for 2017? Mark explained: “Having secured the Ironbridge museum we have also now taken an option to move the reception away from the covered bays so it can be used as exhibition space. We will once again work in partnership with and involve the exhibitors, as well as take into consideration the visitors’ feedback to plan and improve year on year.”