After a difficult year and the postponement of the Interbride 2020, Bridal Times had the opportunity to speak with the CEO of the Interbride, Ulrich Wendel, to tell us about re-opening their doors and what exhibitors and visitors can expect this year.
Mr. Wendel, how is it for you and your team to re-open your doors again after the postponement of Interbride 2020?
It is of course a great feeling. In 2020 the Interbride also made it clear that we had to face consequences that no one could foresee. Interbride 2020 was well booked. With the difficult decision not to carry on last year, the easiest part was getting all exhibitors their money back. This was done immediately and quickly.
Since we have the safety of our customers and exhibitors in focus, Interbride made the decision in March 2021 to organize the trade fair in Düsseldorf in mid-July. Now we can say that this decision was the right one.
We are very pleased that Hall 8B in Düsseldorf is fully booked. Manufacturers have been able to rebook their stands till this day. The Interbride thus shows maximum flexibility. The most important partners of bridal fashion will present their collections at the Interbride and will guarantee the retailers reliability so that they can concentrate on the bridal couples. This is what retailers need, as the previously postponed upcoming weddings will result in a fantastic new wave of celebrations that will roll out to our customers in the second half of 2021 and next year.
Can you tell us something about the concept for Interbride 2021? What are some highlights visitors can expect?
In 2021, the Interbride will take place in Hall 8B at Messe Düsseldorf. As much as possible, the service level for the visitors will be kept high. This year the Interbride will develop into a shopping fair, less a social event. All exhibitors will endeavor to make their customers feel as comfortable as possible while the 2022 collections are presented. All exhibitors will optimize hospitality at their stand.
It is important to mention that the Interbride takes place on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. This decision also benefits the interests of the bridal fashion retailers, since they do not have to leave their shop on busy Saturdays.
Registration has become much easier for visitors this year. Codes are no longer required from manufacturers and several employees of a team can be registered in one go. The tickets are valid for all three days, which also offers maximum flexibility. The tickets are free for trade visitors, and parking lot P2 can also be used free of charge. Several small lounges are planned for visitors in Hall 8B. The most important manufacturers of bridal accessories will also be present at Interbride. These are many good arguments for visiting Interbride.
A clear marketing offensive for Interbride has been running since June 1st. The website www.interbride.eu has been updated and Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn #interbride is updated every day. A B2B newsletter is sent out twice a week and advertisements have been placed in wedding trade magazines.
Interbride is “The Place To Be” this summer!
What precautions have been taken to ensure the safety of visitors and exhibitors?
The main and starting point is the “Hygiene and Infection Protection Ordinance of the Exhibition Center and City of Düsseldorf”. Interbride goes one step further to optimize the safety of our visitors and exhibitors:
Wear face masks in the hall, and several dispensers for hand disinfection are set up.
+ vaccinated: proof of vaccination (2nd vaccination)
+ recovered: medical certificate (not older than 6 months)
+ tested: test not older than 48 hours
Do you have a cold or a fever? Then please refrain from visiting the trade fair.
Unfortunately there is no central meeting point for meetings or small snacks this year. This is possible in the indoor restaurant as well as outside of Hall 8B. There is also a comfortable sun terrace there.
The postponement and changing of exhibition dates due to the pandemic was difficult for exhibitors and visitors alike. What is your viewpoint on this and what affect does it have on the number of visitors of the Interbride?
That’s right, Corona has affected all of us in the market. At the same time, the professional retailers and manufacturers have proven how to optimally adapt to the target group of bridal couples.
All the players in the market are used to responding to the individual wishes of each bride and groom. Appointments are now normal in our industry. In the previous lockdowns, newlyweds have rarely canceled their weddings, but mostly postponed. And we all made this possible.
Of course we would have liked to have all of this differently. It’s not optimal that tailors have had to make changes time and again due to extra corona pounds or brides that are expecting a baby. But we have all proven that we are flexible. Online sales have experienced a boom in many other product lines but this does not really apply to bridal fashion! Personal advice and top service is the be-all and end-all of our industry.
Regarding the second part of your question: We expect buyers to come to the trade fair in an even more targeted manner, to meet manufacturers they not yet seen yet and to round off their 2022 orders. We expect fewer visitors, but a lot depends on the retailer’s individual situation: Have they already attended small private showroom events? Have sales representatives already visited their shop?
One thing is clear, in 2020 and 2021 more off the rack gowns were sold. Bridal fashion shops therefore need new models so that they can set standards in the market. We are optimistic.
Despite the pandemic, do you believe trade shows will continue to be the preferred way for bridal manufacturers and retailers to do business?
Yes, I believe so. There are new, digital ways that make the order business easier. Selecting the collection based on images, this process has been around for a long time, whether online or using catalogs. Still, most retailers want to feel and experience the new collections. How does the dress or suit look? How does it feel? They talk to their suppliers, exchange experiences and expand the cooperation in a spirit of partnership. They discuss future plans and develop together further. Our market is constantly changing and many people are involved in this industry, so a good gut feeling is crucial. This is what a trade fair like the Interbride offers!
What is your outlook for the bridal industry in 2022?
I have high hopes since a boom is right around the corner. Young people continue to plan their lives, want to get married and start a family. And values like family are very important.
What does the future look like for Interbride? Can we expect another summer fair next year?
In any case, you can count on Interbride as the most important wedding fashion trade fair in 2022. It is not yet possible to say whether the fair will take place in summer or at a different time. The Interbride exchanges intensively with the retailers who visit the Interbride and of course also with the manufacturers. Interbride listens to the manufacturers who utilize the Interbride as an important platform to present their new collections.
We would like to thank Ulrich Wendel for this interview.
Impressions of the Interbride 2019