Recently, I went to New York for two trade shows. These trade shows are New York Now and Shoppe Object, and are some of the best trade shows in the country. I specifically went in search of new fragrances, candles, and to be introduced to any small brands that would fit in at Bellini’s.
I chose New York because I also wanted to see what a big city like New York is doing for retail as well. It’s always good to check out how peoples’ tastes and values develop over time, which is why I like to attend these trade shows. I also wanted to see what the retail stores in New York have to offer, and how they present themselves. My business was founded on the idea of breaking through beauty standards, and is inspired by a myriad of other businesses. For example, back in 2014 I traveled to Holland and found a boutique called Skin, which inspired me to adapt the way I presented my business. It was at this time that I introduced perfume to my store, just as an example. So when I attend these trade shows, I am always going with open eyes (and an open nose) to become inspired by other artists.
One brand that inspired me from Shoppe Object was actually a brand that ended up winning Best New Brand: Essence of Harris. I met the owner and he’s from Chilton, Scotland. Harris is the name of one of Scotland’s northern islands, and the brand is created to encapsulate the scents of this tiny coastal location. It was a really wonderful experience. The brand is extremely unique and at a very very good price point - just $38 for a candle that smells like nothing you ever have before. I see it fitting in really well with Portland.
The other line that I found is SAINT Candles, which is based out of Los Angeles. These candles are a game changer in the sense that they are able to craft scents that are so different than you would expect. For example, their Saint Joan of Arc candle includes oud and jasmine, but it smells so light yet comforting. It is truly unlike an oud candle I have ever smelled before. It also fills a hole we had in our candle range, because we did not have a good range of woody, oudy based candles. That is why I am so excited to bring this brand on. It is at a little bit of a higher price point, but still approachable and affordable.
What I look for when visiting these trade shows are unique things that would fit in our brand and that are unusual, but are also at reasonable price points. Of course, SAINT has very luxurious candles, but also provides votive sizes that start at $25, and are perfect quick gifts for everyone.
That being said, it is sometimes hard to find a very good quality product at the lower price points, but I feel we are doing a good job at that so far. There are a few more brands we are planning to bring on, such as Noshinku, which is a scented hand sanitizer spray that doubles as hand care. The next trade show I am going to visit is Maison d’Object in Paris, and I’m choosing this one because I want to get a feel for what the European brands are. By going directly to these trade shows, I can get exclusive access to a wide array of brands in one or two days. Most of these trade shows are restricted to business owners, so it is truly as if I am introducing these brands to people who would never have known about them otherwise. That is just one of the reasons I love trade shows. I imagine I will find lots of wonderful things at the Paris trade show. I also like to see what big cities around the world are doing with retail and what they carry and I feel like this will bring a unique European feel and vibe to our store, which I have wanted to incorporate into the store all along.
Finally, I am going home to Sydney, Australia, and it will be exciting to see what another big city is doing for retail. Next year, I plan to go to Esxence in Millan, Italy, as now the US trade shows no longer have perfume distributors. I am not sure what the reason for this is, but I won’t complain about having a reason to travel. I have been to Esxence before, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, so I am excited to see what is new since I have been last.
I can’t wait to continue curating Bellini’s to have everything you need or want to be your most be(you)tiful self.