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Editorial blog

Variety, personal encounters and development are essential for success

29 Oct 2019

Michael Reichhold, Director Creativeworld Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH, talks about his role and the future of their trade fair business.

How did you become involved with Messe Frankfurt?

I started out as a temporary worker for Messe Frankfurt when I was doing my marketing and logistics degree. As early as then, I was able to gain a deep insight into the trade fair sector and I wrote my dissertation about the reorganisation of the international spring trade fair into the Ambiente and Premiere fairs.

What is the best part about your job?

My job is full of variety and it never gets boring. In our team, we work towards the four fair days for a whole year. On day x everything has to be ready, no matter what. To achieve this goal, we need to be very flexible, to constantly adapt and to be ahead of the times. In addition to this, I like having contact with people, because the trade fair business means communicating. It’s very exciting to be in touch with exhibitors and visitors from all over the world.

How do you develop your brand and shows?

We observe the international market and include the developments that we see there in our own trade fair planning and concepts. We also have our own market research department in house, and we work closely together with them during the event. Once the fair has come to an end, we evaluate the data collected and apply the results to our work.

How important is Messe Frankfurt’s heritage?

We have been involved in the trade fair business with passion and experience for around 800 years, both in Frankfurt and worldwide. From automotives to logistics, textiles to music, energy efficiency to security, beautiful living to beauty – Messe Frankfurt’s programme, in terms of trade fairs, conferences and events, is comprehensive. And we fulfil the highest demands with the quality of our events. In so doing, we’re always a mirror of the respective markets and have our fingers on the pulse with the themes that we present.

What is your biggest achievement?

In the 25 years of my career, I’ve taken a major role in pushing many things forward. I see the establishment of Creativeworld as an independent international trade fair as my greatest achievement. It was a difficult undertaking because the sector only saw the risks at the beginning and not the opportunities. These days we know that we have pursued the right path. Because Creativeworld has given the creative sector an international platform that is unique worldwide and very successful.

If you could offer your younger self some advice what would it be?

I would pay more attention to the work-life balance and advise myself to take more ‘me time’.

What trends do you see coming through for the rest of the year?

The theme of sustainability is very important at the moment. This includes, for example, userfriendly dyes from natural colours, sustainably manufactured products, such as papier-mâché from recycled newspapers, palettes from waterproof cardboard and eco-certified highlighters. In addition to this, textile handicrafts are right on trend: including, particularly, screen printing, punch needle embroidery, macramé and wall decorations made from thick yarn. This can all be adorned with pom poms and tassels. Hand lettering, graffiti and acrylic pouring also continue to be very popular. The trend motif for this year is, without doubt, the monstera leaf.

Are you creative personally and if so what is your hobby?

At the moment I’m putting my creativity into renovating and refurbishing my house. Apart from that, I like visiting our exhibitors’ creative workshops to test the latest materials there and try out the techniques. With other creatives, I admire the fact that they have so many fantastic ideas and can put their creativity into practice spontaneously.

What do you do to relax?

I like going jogging, I read a lot and I go travelling. I also like spending time with my horse and going riding.

Which crafters do you admire?

Through Creativeworld I have become aware of the theme of street arts and graffiti. This art form fascinates me. So I’m very impressed by the artist Banksy, for example, who makes the transience of art a subject of discussion. He demonstrated this spectacularly with his shredding stunt at Sotheby’s auction last year.

What does the future hold for Messe Frankfurt?

One of the components of our success is our highly effective global network in around 30 locations that we have been continuously expanding for more than 30 years. At the present time we have 66 sales partners, who are responsible for 188 countries. This means that Messe Frankfurt is the German trade fair company with the strongest presence overseas, above all in the growth region of Asia. We are working on further developing this internationality and opening up new markets and regions. In addition to this, we’re increasingly running with technological themes, which are exerting a powerful force on the industry in terms of innovation and change. And, of course, strategic expansion in all things digital is important. We want to create an intelligent link between the analogue and digital worlds. Our core competence is, and remains, the ability to connect people and markets. The positive development of our core business shows that there’s no question about the importance of personal encounters.

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