Kind + Jugend sets new records
November 7, 2013,
More than 20,000 trade visitors from 110 countries attended the event, which took place from Sept. 19-22 and included representation in baby and children's furniture, gear, textiles, toys, feeding products and baby clothes, shown in two exhibit halls at the Koelnmesse in about 100,000 square meters.
"Thanks to its constantly high level of internationality and the quality of offerings, which rose again this year, the fair was able to further build upon its status as the world's leading business platform for the baby and toddler outfitting industry," said Katharina C. Hamma, managing director of Koelnmesse.
Organizers reported an increase in the number of visitors, particularly from the United States and Asia. A USA pavilion helped smaller American companies afford the trip to Germany and kept them centered in the same area.
Baby carrier manufacturer Baby K'tan showed for the first time, and Director of International Sales Rafael de Castro said the show was "tremendously successful."
"You have to grow your business internationally, and if you're going to grow your business internationally, you have to be here," he said. "...I can see where we're really going to increase our distribution internationally because of this show - no doubt about it.
I made a lot of really important relationships at this show that I wouldn't have made if I hadn't been there....Everyone told me you have to see it to believe it, and I'm glad I went."
Diaper bag manufacturer timi & leslie attended Kind + Jugend for the second year, and were looking for international distributors.
"We're focusing on the message of fashion and function," said CEO Tarek Tabbara. "There is a market here - certainly there's a lot more fashion. People come to us because we're the diaper bag that doesn't look like a diaper bag...We had someone in from Italy and they get it - the Italians love fashion."
Tabbara said while he thinks the European baby industry is actually bigger than the U.S. baby industry, it's also a lot more fragmented.
"Price points are an issue," he said. "There is VAT of 20-22%, and it makes anything so much more expensive."
Stroller manufacturer Baby Jogger has been showing in Cologne for years, and this year moved to a 50% bigger booth.
"We've been busy," said Marketing Manager Erica Jutzin. "It's always a great opportunity to be with our distributors and their customers."
Carrier manufacturer Boba showed at Kind + Jugend for the first time, and came with the goal of looking for distributors. The company showed in the USA pavilion, and Project Manager Bethany O'Donnell said they were pleased with the results.
"We found three new (distributors) in the first day, and we have appointments with our established distributors," she said. "It's great to catch up and get feedback. The face-to face stuff is important."
Next year's Kind + Jugend takes place Sept. 11-14, 2014, in Cologne, but may be more difficult for some American companies to attend, as The ABC Expo is just ahead of it, Sept. 7-10, 2014.
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