Last January, Stefanie Mändlein became the new Exhibition Director of the German jewellery and timepiece trade fair Inhorgenta Munich. She has made it a priority to strengthen the watchmaking side of the fair and bring in smaller independent brands. Interview.
Thirty-five-year-old Stefanie Mändlein, who was previously Sales Director for Inhorgenta Munich, is working quickly and confidently to give a new impetus to the German fair, which welcomed 1,055 exhibitors from 40 countries last year. “As Exhibition Director, I have been able to expand our contacts significantly. We have the support of a huge number of people who are keen to strengthen our position through joint working groups and new initiatives.” Among her most significant achievements so far is a new agreement with the Shenzhen Watch & Clock Fair and the organisation of a roadshow for the German trade fair in Tel Aviv.
What are your main objectives for the fair?
We would like exhibitors and jewellers to feel at home and understood at our trade show, even more than before. We have developed a whole series of actions to support this rapidly changing industry, particularly in the digital arena. They include new services such as our Web Campus, which will show customers and jewellers how to build strong networks, and also innovative theme zones, such as the world of wedding rings, and a programme to promote talented youngsters. These are just some of the innovations that trade visitors and exhibitors can expect at the 2016 fair.
You recently signed an agreement with the Shenzhen Watch & Clock Association. What does it involve?
As of now, we are the official co-organisers of an international pavilion at the China Watch & Clock Fair 2016, which will take place in Shenzhen from 23 to 26 June 2016. This is a win-win situation: they are relying on our competence in the jewellery sector and we are gradually expanding our network and services into one of the major international growth markets for our customers.
Are you hoping to increase the number of watch exhibitors? How will you do this?
Watchmaking is of course a very strong segment, and it continues to grow. We are currently involved in intensive discussions with our industry partners on how to attract more watchmakers. We intend to make watches a much stronger focus of the fair than before, but above all we want to become a partner for the many independent watchmakers in Switzerland, for example in the Vallée de Joux, who often remain in the shadow of the industry’s major players. Although they only produce small quantities each year, their watchmaking is outstanding owing to its quality and innovative character.
We intend to create a presentation area especially for them in future. By doing so, we can also introduce relatively unknown watchmakers to our visitors, very much in the spirit of making this a “trade show of discovery”. Of course, this does not mean that we will exclude the giants of the industry or major brands. Far from it! Our fair is open to small and large enterprises alike. We welcome all of them and look forward to honest and successful partnerships.
The next Inhorgenta Munich will take place from 12–15 February 2016 at Messe München. Further information is available at www.inhorgenta.com.
Source: Europa Star November 2015 Magazine Issue