July 16, 2012

Capsule Show Berlin

Last week in Berlin we spoke with Deirdre Maloney, one of the co-owners of the BPMW and publicist James Harris at the Capsule Trade Show and here's what they had to say!

photo via BPMW

MBF: What makes the Capsule different than other trade show events, especially here in Berlin?

Deirdre Maloney: When we started Capsule, we were first a sales agency and a PR agency, so I think we really came into the trade show market looking for an experience that would be really great, not only for the retailers and the press, but also for the brands to sit around at for a few days, since we ourselves were going to have to do it. We try to cover all of the little details so that it will feel like a fun community experience, but at the same time, a place where you can get a lot of business done. 

MBF: That sounds very good, and that’s actually also what it feels like. You did an amazing job. Let me ask you how do you vet your brands/your exhibitors?

DM: It’s getting increasingly harder because, as we’ve grown, we sort of have in our mind a limit on how many brands we can have for each show because we want to keep it feeling intimate; where we know everybody personally. As a result, we end up having to turn down a lot of great brands, which is hard for us to do. But, we have a jury panel, of 6 of us, and we go over every brand that submits an application. We really put a lot of emphasis on quality and authenticity and we like to know the back story of a brand and sort of where it came from or who the designer is; what inspired the designer to make their [product], whether it be clothing, shoes or accessories. We look for stuff that will complement the show but not cannibalize our existing brands, but at the same time, we want something different and exciting as well.

photo via Eva Napp

MBF: Well, that’s very interesting what you just answered, because that leads me automatically to my next question. I read a little bit about you, the Capsule collection, and “The New Consumer”, and I think what you just mentioned probably goes right into that. What, in your opinion, is the new consumer?

DM: With the proliferation of the Internet, it is a really international and savvy consumer. Ten years ago, there could be a brand that was really hot in Japan that, maybe, nobody in the U.S. really knew about or very few people did or whatever the country may be, and now it seems that everyone who wants to know anything, knows, because you can just log online and figure it out. I think it’s been great though, because you see a lot of Japanese influence on American brands. We have a French brand in here called “Brooklyn, We Go Hard”. We have a German brand in here called “J’ai Mal A Lat Ete”. So, I think it’s very ironic or funny how they influence each other.

MBF: So, let me ask you- do you think the new customer wants to know about the story? Are they are interested in the values of what they buy?

DM: Absolutely. It’s funny because on the agency side, we have done consulting for large companies before they want to try to have a cool brand, and we find that, if it doesn’t come from somewhere authentic, the consumer can see right through it and they won’t be interested in it.

photo via Eva Napp

MBF: Right now in Berlin there are about 10 tradeshows happening and another one coming. Do you see a backlash occurring in response to this oversaturation?

DM: So far, Berlin has been so welcoming to the Capsule show. We’ve felt really lucky in terms of how we have been embraced by the city, by retailers in the city, and just buyers that are in town for the shows. So, I don’t think so and I certainly hope not. I think we offer something that may not be for everybody, but for the people whom it is relevant for, I think it is very important for them. Hopefully, that continues.

MBF: We know that you are in New York, Paris, Berlin and Las Vegas. What are your future plans, and how do you think to grow while keeping it intimate?

DM: Right now, we are really focused on our 12 shows a year. We don’t have any plans for a new city or a new location. We moved in every single city to a different location this season, which was a lot of work and undertaking, so I think that we are just working on building the base that we have now. Berlin is still our most infant show, so there is definitely room for growth here. New York and Paris, we are getting pretty close to our maximum. But, we are always open to new cities. Every time we open or started in a new city, it was because our community was repeatedly always asking for it, and, until that happens, we are content with our 12 shows a year.

MBF: What about Asia? 

Deirdre: Yep, that is definitely the place that everyone is mentioning. It’s kind of spread out, however. We have heard Tokyo, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul… There’s no consistent message from everyone, and, like I mentioned, until there really is, we are not planning on making any moves.

photo via Eva Napp

Manuela: Okay, so last question. Can you define the difference between the Capsule Berlin, Paris, New York, and Las Vegas?

DM: I would say Paris is our most high-end show because of its location, and because Paris is the fashion capital of the world. It’s very sophisticated. The caliber of buyers that come there is the highest of the high, because they are there for the catwalk. NY in the U.S. is also a really big show in that all of the major U.S. department stores are there, and most of the top specialty stores in the U.S. Of course, we get an international customer there as well, but not nearly at the level of our Paris show. I think Berlin and Vegas shows parallel each other, like Europe to America, because the audience that is there (the general audience) is looking for more of a mainstream-driven product. But then there are always a capsule of them that are looking for something cooler, and that’s where we fit in. Berlin and Vegas, as cities, are nothing alike, but in terms of the marketplace. In Vegas, we see a lot of local, west coast stores in the U.S., and in Berlin, we see a lot of Austrian and German stores, but then, of course, in Vegas, we get a lot of Asian buyers, and here, we get a lot of Scandinavian, and Amsterdam, for whatever reason, is a big one.

James Harris: So, I think the timing of the season, or the circuit, has an influence. A lot of people might wait until Vegas, like they have seen the collections in NY and Paris, and they will wait until Vegas to write their orders once they have formed an idea of what they would like to do for the next year. So, that is a big difference that is apparent in timing.

photo via Eva Napp

DM: We love it here. I think the vibe in Berlin is great, and I think it really comes from the city. Whatever it is, there is just good, creative energy and it feels relaxed and a little bit less intense than any of our others shows are. But, at the same time, people are sitting and writing orders and are busy.

MBF: Great! It was great talking to you two, and thank you so much.

DM: Thank you so much.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting article...certainly confirms the changing climate between brands, the savvier public (thanks to internet), quality vs. quantity.. etc..
    Bravo MFT !


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