Whenever I hear the words “trade show,” I am always hooked, however when I hear the words “stationery trade show,” I quite simply cannot contain my excitement. What better way to spend a day than being an exhibition centre with other stationery fanatics! This year was the second time I had attended the London Stationery Show held in the Business Design Centre, and after last year, I arrived with incredibly high expectations. Because my mother is a journalist, I have been brought up going to various trade shows every year and they really are a highlight.
Just with every other trade show I have been to, I spent a little time in the weeks coming up to the event, reading the website and researching which companies would be coming back and of course, which companies would be attending for the first time this year. Carpe Diem had to be on my “must see” list, in addition to Santoro, Staedtler and Leuchtturm 1917, and these are just naming a few! The website registration process was simple and quick, and with what seemed like an abundant of businesses attending this year, our annual day trip was going to be a filled one. Or at least that is what we thought…
After entering with barcodes in hand, we were approached by one of the staff members who asked what type of company we were. We had registered as bloggers and were given press passes to the event, however when I showed the staff member, I was given a code of conduct, written only for bloggers. Confused at first as to why bloggers were given a code of conduct, I walked away and began to read the set “rules” that we had to abide by.
Despite having a press pass, all bloggers were not allowed to take photos of stands and share on websites or social media. Bloggers were also not allowed to ask for review material and had to acknowledge that distributors had to take priority, which unfortunately meant that we often got overlooked and ignored by stands. Now, although I understand that bloggers don’t necessarily resell products, bloggers and press still play a fundamental role in the advertising and marketing of products. Therefore, bloggers being segregated and having rules which we had to follow was disheartening and, in my opinion, just plain rude.
Once we had walked into the centre, we also noticed the lack of stands. Last year, stands were crammed in and were placed across 3 level – a complete day out. Yet this year, only 2 levels were used and were not completely full, meaning that we were only there for 2-3 hours, unlike the 5-6 hours from the previous year. Business owners, such as Leuchtturm 1917, refused to talk to us – even if the stand was empty of other visitors, although they did this last year too so I was ready and waiting for second year of them seeing press and bloggers as a lower class of visitor. Others would ask what Deskorators was or what I did for a living, and as soon as they heard the word blog and blogger, they lost interest. I realise that Deskorators is a new blog, however, I am not new to blogging and have an extensive reach through social media and other blogs I write. I spent most of the day quite baffled at how press pass holders were being disregarded, even though it is the press pass holders who are meant to be spreading the word about each business. It was also quite worrying that some of the stands themselves were complaining about the show this year and two stands had already packed up and left before noon on the first day!
Unfortunately, the London Stationery Show was not quite what I had expected it to be this year. Saying this, the day didn’t turn out to be a complete disaster. Stands such as Staedtler, Uniball, Carpe Diem, Otima, Hello Day and Pentel bypassed the code of conduct for bloggers and made us feel incredibly welcome, openly talking to us and explaining their brands and offering review material for us to take away and promote (and no we didn’t ask for it, they handed it to us willingly). To you fabulous brands, we thank you! You made us feel like we had a role and in return and as promised, your reviews are coming soon.
So, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for some reviews coming in the next weeks and let’s keep our fingers crossed that the next stationery event we attend will be much better!
Until next time…