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The Rupp Report: Interesting News For Small Lots At Heimtextil

Jürg Rupp, Executive Editor

Everybody knows the situation: If one is not a purchaser who is able to buy large quantities and the company philosophy is more to be present in niche markets, it has become virtually impossible in past years, and it is still today, to buy smaller batches of fabrics or even by the piece. This is especially the case in the home textiles markets.

Many retailers around the world are working in a small or medium enterprise business. They are the true cornerstones of the home textiles industry. For most companies it was and is still unthinkable to establish a truly tailor-made collection of fabrics that have competitive prices. Many times, the Rupp Report has participated in meetings at Heimtextil in Frankfurt about the possibilities of buying small quantities. And the answer or the conclusion has been similar: impossible. And if yes, only at unaffordable prices.

Coupon Business Finder
As always, the global gathering of the home textiles industry takes place in January at Heimtextil in Frankfurt. Next year, the event will be held January 11 to 14, 2012. Heimtextil 2011 was an event full of success: More than 73,000 visitors came from 137 countries, and there were some 2,600 exhibitors from 60 countries. According to the information given at a recent press conference, the organizers are convinced that the 2012 edition will be just about the same. At the end of October, signed exhibitors and reserved floor space numbers were already greater than the 2011 numbers.

The highlight of the press conference, however, was a new initiative, called Coupon Business Finder (CBF). Show organizer Messe Frankfurt GmbH said that it will publish a new exhibitor directory of suppliers of small batch sizes. The idea is to offer a service to address the needs of specialist retailers and interior decorators. The CBF is a list of exhibitors that offer home and household textiles in small and very small quantities.

How Does It Work?
Usually, it is quite problematic to find producers who are willing or able to supply small quantities of fabrics. Maike Kern, director of Heimtextil, said the CBF has been created particularly for the specialist retail trade and interior decorating businesses that want to order quantities tailored to their varying needs for a flexible product range. Thanks to the new CBF publication, the people responsible for Heimtextil can provide all those interested in coupons with a guide to their trade fair visit, thus making it easier for them to find new suppliers and business partners. Exhibitors' stands listed in the Coupon Business Finder are marked by a logo.

Professional Associations Welcome The Service
Kern explained that the service is also welcomed by associations. The Central Association of Interior Design & Decorating Societies said the CBF is a suitable form of orientation that will be useful, and that small and medium-sized specialist retailers can only afford to invest the little time they have available at the fair to visit the stands they want to visit.

According to the show organizers, the CBF will be issued, for example, to interior decorators in the Heimtextil Insider Lounge and to bed dealers at the Bed'n Excellence welcome counter. It will also be on display at many other locations in the exhibition grounds. Messe Frankfurt will thus publish other theme-specific exhibitor directories for Heimtextil: along with the new CBF, there will be once again a Contract Guide for Heimtextil 2012 listing all suppliers of home textiles for the contract business.

The idea of the new Coupon Business Finder seems to be an excellent tool for the retailer. Hopefully, other local Heimtextils around the globe will follow this concept. The obvious question at the press conference was: How much is the minimum quantity that will qualify one as a supplier to be listed in the CBF? One piece, Kern said, one piece only. The unspoken question remains: and at what cost? Heimtextil 2012 will give the answer. The Rupp Report will update its readers after the show.

November 8, 2011