Taking place from October 15 to 17, the Schoolwear Show promises to raise the bar once again as it looks to celebrate its 20th anniversary. P&P editor Melanie Attlesey speaks to some of the handful of new exhibitors joining the show in this milestone year.
Innovation Schoolwear, Pioneer Schoolwear Manufacturing, Optimum, Labfax, Your Embroidery Services Ltd and Ascent Australia are all first time exhibitors to the Schoolwear Show. But what attracted them to the show in the first instance?
Michelle Reece, marketing manager at YES Ltd explains that the team decided to exhibit at the Schoolwear Show so that they can observe and be part of the latest product advances in an industry that is growing continuously. She adds: “We are aware that everyone involved in this competitive environment must remain current with the latest trends and transformations. As the Schoolwear Show is the biggest event in the schoolwear industry calendar, it presents us with the perfect opportunity to discuss problems and solutions with suppliers as well as discovering the latest innovations and ideas for the following year.”
While Michelle Cohen, export and head of accounts at Innovation Schoolwear, says that they signed up due to customer demand. She says: “Establishing a presence with both new and existing customers is important to help build our family-run business. After the fire at our warehouse in 2015, we realised how many retailers and distributors (our audience) were not aware of who we were or how extensive our product range is. We spent 2016 recovering and expanding our product lines and colours available. Having had a great back to school this year and feeling stronger than ever, we are ready to serve with purpose and commitment.
“We look forward to meeting the many customers who we speak to all year round and have not had the opportunity to meet or visit.”
It’s not only customers old and new that these new exhibitors hope to meet, it’s also the prospect of future growth that is appealing as Luke Bevis from Ascent Footwear explains: “We launched in the UK a year ago with just two retailers. Since then, those excellent UK stockists have established that Ascent school shoes are just popular and unique here as they are back in Australia. We hope the Schoolwear Show will help us with the next stage in our growth here. Ascent enjoys enormous success in Australia and there’s every sign that the UK market offers an equally exciting opportunity for us and our future UK partners.”
Many of the regular exhibitors use the show as a platform to launch their new product lines and to introduce these products to the customer face-to-face. These new exhibitors are no exception.
Innovation Schoolwear will be introducing its new lines for 2018, including water bottles and girls PE skorts. Its 2018 brochure will be released and all forward orders over £2,500 placed by the end of November 2017, will be at 2017 prices.
While over on the Ascent Footwear stand visitors will find the company’s entire UK school shoe range, its training videos, point-of-sale materials and lots of cut-away shoes from Ascent and from its competitors, so visitors can see what is – and isn’t – on the inside.
YES Ltd will be bringing something entirely different to the show. On stand will be SWF embroidery machines for school uniforms; DTG digital printing machines for school leaver hoodies, and polo shirts, T shirts, hoodies for school trips and tours; and Spangle Elite bling for school bags and hair accessories. Michelle adds: “We appreciate that good quality uniform contributes to supporting a better learning experience and investing in quality embroidery and printing machines allows the customer to provide just that. Our machines are second to none and our trade show team will be at our visitors’ complete disposal – providing technical support, updates and bespoke advice regarding our machinery, aside the opportunity to discuss solutions for specific applications.”
Besides these new exhibitors visitors will also be able to see new products on long-term exhibitors’ stands such as Blue Max Banner, Rowlinson Knitwear and William Turner.
The Schoolwear Show will take place at AIS, The Cranmore Park Conference & Event Centre in Solihull and is open on Sunday and Monday from 9.30am to 5pm and on Tuesday from 9.30am to 4pm.
Online registration for the show is now open. Visitors who have not registered in advance will be charged a £10 entry fee on the day of their visit.