Many of you may be pondering on how our first international show went in Paris last month. Maison et Objet is the leading international interior design show for professionals in the field. We were extremely excited to be accepted to attend at the end of last year. Logistical challenges caused all of our gear (and our poor driver) to queue for many hours at the tunnel due to a fire the day before – eventually we all finally made it to Gai Paris just in time for set-up the following day. Arriving at the rather sizable Paris Nord Villepinte exhibition centre we negotiated our way to our stand in hall 1 Ethnic Mic Chic. With a flurry of forklifts, cardboard boxes and building activity stands were being erected on an industrial scale with elaborate decoration and merchandising taking shape. Finally by 10pm that evening the Skyeskyns stand was complete after a few negotiations along the way. Our modest 5×2 metre stand was ready to show the design world a selection of sheepskin shapes, sizes, designs and samples.
By show open time the following morning the hall was unrecognisable with back and red carpets laid, and not a sight of a forklift or ladder. A hive of activity commenced, many languages could be heard throughout the hall with some exhibitors swapping language at the drop of a hat to meet the potential customers need. The Skyeskyns team included English and French skills serving us well enough to speak to all visitors to our stand.
Over the five days of Maison many interesting people came to visit us with lots of questions, and interest. Among the many who had never heard of the Isle of Skye far less Skyeskyns there were a selection of previous customers coming back to say bonjour. A handful of these visitors had even been to see us at the tannery! It was very uplifting to meet people who were already familiar with our product and brand overseas.
During the show each of the team members managed to get a little time off for a customary baguette, and to look round the rest of the halls. Eight halls were full to the brim with everything you could possibly imagine for the household, each hall with a different theme in order to place similar products together. Individual halls were around the size of our typical UK show. Forthcoming season’s trends were on display on an enormous scale, hides and animal skins very much at the forefront of many of the designs exhibited. During this time it was an opportunity to visit companies who sell similar products as us. Some such as Hanlin a cowhide suppliers, and our neighbours at the show, who we already work with.
Time flew by at the fast paced Maison et Objet, we thoroughly enjoyed the experience of taking our products overseas. New interior design customers were met and bespoke pieces are now being supplied with lots of new ideas for the coming exhibition, and showroom season gained. Watch this space!