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Tips from Eva Olbrich for the high-turnover Christmas season

08 settembre 2021

Since July 2021, Eva Olbrich has also taken over the management
of Creativeworld, trade fair for the international hobby, craft and
artists' supplies sector, in addition to Christmasworld, the
international trade fair for seasonal and festive decoration. She is
thus responsible for two strong product worlds that are also
moving closer together in the trade. In this interview, she shares
her expertise for the preparations for the strongest-selling and
most emotional time of the year.

What creative trends have you seen in 2021 that you think will be
popular this Christmas?
Eva Olbrich, Director Christmasworld and Creativeworld, Messe
Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH: It is very obvious that DIY experienced
another boom during Corona. Do-it-yourself is more in vogue than ever
before, people had time again for beautiful and creative things. The topic
of sustainability has also gained in importance.
Interesting DIY trends that are also appropriate for Christmas are
homemade and personalised wrapping paper and packaging - here, for
example, through batik or the Japanese variant shibori, which also works
on paper.
In addition, screen printing is experiencing a renaissance. Lettering and
Christmas motifs can be printed on a wide variety of surfaces - for
postcards, but also napkins or tablecloths. Complete sets for crochet,
embroidery patterns, handlettering sets including instructions or printing
sets can be offered as gift ideas. It is also very trendy to make your own
paints, for which there are also complete sets that enrich the range.

What trends do you see in festive decoration?
For example, "blackboard baubles", which can be designed with chalk,
add your own touch to the Christmas tree. Balls made of glass, ceramic
or cardboard can be individualised with pens. Glass baubles that you
can fill yourself with natural twigs, moss or feathers are also a trend and
set sustainable accents. Or bring real Christmas trees into the shop,
hang them upside down for the presentation of goods in the shop or in
the shop window - this is an absolute eye-catcher and attracts
customers. Nature plays a big role in the decoration: dried orange peels
can be cut out with Christmas biscuit shapes and make a beautiful table
or window decoration. There is a wide range of natural decorations from
florists' requisites at Christmasworld and Creativeworld. Make the most
of the product worlds and trends at Christmasworld and Creativeworld
and create your own style.

What are your tips for small retailers who want to enter new product
lines this Christmas?
The desire for a sustainable lifestyle is currently greater than ever - also
take this trend into account when putting together your assortment. Put
your Christmas shop under a motto - for example "Green X-Mas" or
"Merry, Sustainable Christmas". Decorate everything with natural
materials, without plastic only with glass, ceramics, wood, felt or similar
ornaments.
The new lines can be promoted through appealing window dressing. You
can optimally prepare an extraordinary shopping atmosphere now.
Remember, customers want to feel products again, try them out and fire
their creativity in the process. The shop window is your flagship.
Advertise your promotions there. Put a Christmas tree in the window with
self-designed baubles and offer assistance in the shop for the creative
design of the baubles. Show how to make other ornaments. Show what
you can do! Show your strength and your competence.
In addition, especially for this Christmas business, the focus is on
personal exchange: if you know your customers well, you can very well
point out new products to them and pick up on their needs and
preferences.

What are the best ways to reach customers and inform them about
these innovations?
If you want to introduce new product lines, you have to know them well
and be able to offer customers competent advice. To order new product
lines, I recommend our digital ordering platform Nextrade until the next
live trade fair experience at Christmasworld and Creativeworld from
28/29 January to 1 February 2022.
In addition, the motto “customer loyalty through community and
community building” is relevant. Workshops on the new products, which
can be promoted by postcards, flyers and via social media, are ideal for
this. The workshops can be conducted by your own dedicated staff, or
influencers can be engaged. Workshop topics could be: Making your
own Christmas decorations or candles, upcycling Christmas decorations,
getting creative with paper, felt and fabrics. Position yourself as a good
advisor. There is no one pen for exactly one product, test the handling of
materials and offer new uses.

What guiding principles have shaped you most recently? What do
you give retailers to take with them?
We had our Consumer Goods Digital Day in April and the following
sentences from our keynote speaker Sanjay Sauldie have stayed in my
mind in particular: If you sell with passion, you always win - even over
the cheaper (online) price. Put the customer at the centre of all your
considerations and don't stop constantly questioning what you are doing,
just like successful start-ups do.
Think in networks with traders in your immediate neighbourhood - such
as hairdressers, booksellers or cafés - and work on joint sales ideas that
offer customers valuable synergies. Involve external experts for digital
solutions or form a joint online presence of shopping streets with a
central online shop. See lifelong learning as your personal opportunity,
whoever has stopped learning has stopped participating in the economy.
Everyone should internalise these guiding principles and regularly reflect
on them.

How far in advance do you think preparations for Christmas should
start?
In these special times, people start decorating for Christmas much
earlier than usual, because they long for a cosy Christmas time with the
family, which is now hopefully possible again in a larger group. Specialist
retailers should start decorating indoors and outdoors from the beginning
of November at the latest and offer the Christmas goods.
The key word for the Christmas season is emotionalisation, because this
remains the decisive success factor between stationary trade and online
trade. Create attention-grabbing themed worlds and presentations that
appeal to all the senses and, above all, suit your business. And combine
your on-site services with digital offers, because consumer shopping
already begins at home via smartphone. Announce promotions not only
in-store, but also in advance via your social channels.
You could use social media to launch a Christmas countdown with
decorating and crafting tips to increase anticipation.

The number of younger people interested in DIY has risen sharply.
How can small businesses appeal to this age group and at the same
time retain the customers of the older generation?
Here, for example, there is the topic of street art, which attracts young
people in particular. A display with matching spray cans and markers fits
into every creative shop. Here, too, authentic and competent advice is
important. Handlettering is still in demand across generations. But a
range of products such as Christmas tree baubles with Star Wars motifs
or emojis also attract young people to the shop. Crochet and knitting are
popular with young and old and should appear in the assortment.
The younger generation can be reached well via social media channels.
To reach both target groups equally, a mix of workshops, live actions in
the shop and social media is probably the best solution.

How important is a good social media campaign/presence in the
run-up to Christmas this year? Do you have any advice for small
businesses creating a marketing plan for this season?
Social media is very important, especially for the younger generation.
Our Consumer Goods Digital Day offered exciting presentations on this
topic. On our website conzoom.solutions you can watch lectures on
"Understanding social media content" or "How does influencer marketing
work even with a small budget".

In all social media actions, it is important to stay with oneself and only
present the core competences. Closeness to the customer is possible
through personal contact. Here, trend-oriented topics are particularly
suitable - this presupposes that you keep yourself informed about the
latest trends on the market and stay tuned.
Furthermore, positioning is important: who am I, who are my customers
and how do I want to be perceived? This also determines the channel I
choose for myself - Facebook or Instagram.
Don't underestimate the time commitment that social media entails. The
accounts have to be well maintained and the followers want to be well
looked after. So if you want to build up your community, you have to put
in manpower. Young employees or trainees who have a high affinity for
social media can help here. Pupils and students are also happy about
part-time jobs where they can turn their hobby into a profession.

Do you predict that sustainability will be a key expectation for small
retailers when it comes to Christmas packaging? How can
businesses show their customers that they care about the planet?
The themes around sustainability such as recycling, DIY, repairing and
second-hand will be with us for a long time to come, according to our
trend experts from the style agency Stilbüro bora.herke.palmisano, who
develop the Christmasworld, Paperworld and Creativeworld trends for
us.
It is definitely worth starting with small steps. What is particularly
noticeable in a positive way is when you do without superfluous
packaging and plastic. Or if you offer packaging and ribbons made from
recycled materials and use them yourself. In addition, offering regional
producers is a sign of sustainable action. This can also be advertised in
the shop window. A bicycle rack in front of the shop is a statement. Look
for a selected range of sustainable products (papers, paints, stars,
decorations, etc.). The theme is also becoming more visible at our trade
fairs.

Christmasworld, Creativeworld and Paperworld will once again offer the
consumer-goods sector the long-awaited physical trade-fair experience
from 28/29 January to 1 February 2022. Additional digital formats will
also ensure international reach, new contacts and networking
opportunities during the year. Here you can already find ideas and
solutions for your Christmas business.

The three international consumer-goods trade fairs, Christmasworld,
Paperworld and Creativeworld, will be held again as usual in 2022:
Christmasworld: 28 January to 1 February 2022
Creativeworld and Paperworld: 29 January to 1 February 2022.

Further information:
www.christmasworld.messefrankfurt.com 
www.creativeworld.messefrankfurt.com 
www.paperworld.messefrankfurt.com

Press information and photographic material:
christmasworld.messefrankfurt.com/press 
creativeworld.messefrankfurt.com/press 
paperworld.messefrankfurt.com/press 

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