Anna Loucah recounts her first experience of the German show.
By Anna Loucah
As a first time visitor and exhibitor to Inhorgenta Munich, arriving at one of the largest jewellery shows in Europe in the midst of their 40th anniversary celebrations seemed as good a time as any to dip my toe into exciting new markets.
I was one of 14 UK designers participating as part of the BJA stand with support from UK Trade and Investment. This was a great initiation into the European market as the support on hand provided us with industry confidence and the group in general benefited from the camaraderie of being on a shared stand. Also, the organisational team ensured that wInhorgenta was a great initiation into the European market e were visited by all the appropriate members of the press, along with many important new contacts.
We were in C2 – the Contemporary Design Hall – which offered a diverse and exciting mix of contemporary jewellery where design and innovation where very clearly the main focus.
Alongside us was a sizable group of recent graduates under the Brand New New Brands banner, all up for a chat and a giggle and a discussion on the journey of their collections.
The Craft Council of Ireland was well represented with their conceptual and innovative selection of pieces showing alongside an interesting section devoted to contemporary silversmithing from Europe and further afield.
The Couture Pavilion in hall B1 was a real highlight, bringing together a selection of designers from Couture show in Las Vegas. It was certainly a place to lose some time pawing over exquisite treasures created by labels working at the peak of their craft.
If you can make it for a visit, Inhorgenta is definitely well worth the trip – even if you’re not thinking of showing just yet, you are guaranteed to come away feeling inspired and invigorated by the possibilities. The show provides a world-class platform to all, showcasing the most polished of brands at the height of their powers next to the first time exhibitor presenting their debut collections.
If you are planning to exhibit it’s well worth researching the other exhibitors to get a feel for the type of audience to expect and also try and approach a few perspective visiting galleries too. I did this by identifying European designers of a similar ilk to my brand and taking a look at who they stock.
The general feeling from the buyers was responsive and curious but it’s definitely worth getting some of your information translated into German along with plenty of visually strong handouts that don’t rely on language.
I took a couple of days after the show to explore Munich which worked out really well as, post-show, I suddenly found I had the time to figure out the subway system and discover a beautiful city of majestic architecture and folkloric atmosphere.
I found the whole experience to be extremely positive and came away feeling that creating opportunities beyond our immediate environment is entirely possible and that with a clear, scalable vision there is support and inspiration around every corner.
Anna Loucah is an ethical jewellery designer that has worked with Oxfam and Livia Firth to create red carpet jewellery, selling items at auction in the UK and Dubai. She was named a Trendsetter in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2011.