NEW YORK — Size certainly does matter, especially when it comes to beauty trade show perceptions. Extracts recently proved that a change in location — even if it is to encourage crossover appeal and accommodate a growing exhibitor list — can backfire.

According to some exhibitors, this fall’s Extracts trade show appeared to be merely an appendage to the New York Home Textiles Show, a linen and home show that ran concurrently with the personal care and fragrance gathering Sept. 19-22. Extracts, which traditionally is held in the North Pavilion of the Jacob K. Javits Center, a stand-alone unit complete with a white tarp roof, had always seemed the perfect venue: natural light complemented the aromatherapy and organic products displayed inside. And its tight quarters always made the show seem packed, too. However, the North Pavilion was always a bit too small to fit all of Extracts’ exhibitors. Overflow booths were accommodated in the adjacent main building. But those exhibitors were sour that they were so distant from the rest of their peers.

“Extracts exhibitors who overflowed from the North Pavilion into the main building were really unhappy, and we never got the crossover [of home buyer from the Home Textiles Show into Extracts] that we had hoped. Being in a separate building served as a barrier to that,” an Extracts spokesperson said.

So this year, Extracts set up shop entirely in the main building, directly next to exhibitors for Home Textiles. “This was done to create a more unified market and to encourage crossover [of home buyers to the Extracts booths],” the spokesperson continued.

But by moving into the main building the show’s exclusivity was lost, according to one exhibitor. Because the main building is much deeper than the North Pavilion, Extracts only filled up a mere three rows of floor space.

“I’m truly shocked at the size of the show,” said one exhibitor on the show’s opening day. “I suppose they’re feeling the heat from other shows, such as ISPA and the Gift Show. Plus, Extracts also seems to be cursed by some sort of natural disaster or horrible occurrence just when the show is to begin.”Hurricane Isabel hindered at least one exhibitor from attending the fall show, and recent conferences have been plagued by severe thunderstorms, making attending the show much more challenging, especially for time-strapped buyers. Extracts’ fall 2001 show, which was to be held less than a month after Sept. 11, was canceled.

In the end, Extracts wound up with 110 exhibitors, 30 fewer than last fall’s show, said show director Elizabeth Murphy. She explained the show’s new locale fooled many people into thinking it was smaller than it actually was.

“It was very misleading. The show had a strange illusion of being much smaller.”

Extracts typically attracts buyers from specialty, department and independent beauty stores, including Bloomingdale’s, Henri Bendel, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sephora and Ulta.

Murphy said the show “pretty much went according to plan,” and that 37 new companies exhibited this year. Next spring’s show, traditionally the larger of the two held each year, will again be featured within the main hall of the Javits Center March 26-29. Murphy said there are no plans to trim the show to once a year.

Kathy Divinsky of Jaqua said while the location of the show indeed helped build traffic of home buyers to her booth, the underwhelming presence of the overall show “was such a sign that Extracts was smaller and it may have changed the perception of whether it is worth attending.”

Some exhibitors would love to see Extracts back in its original place.

“The nature of the tent is more aesthetically pleasing and more in line with the nature of the products being exhibited,” said Jules Vertrees, vice president of marketing at Australian Steamboat.

Vertrees, however, supports Extracts and believes it is still an important show for the beauty industry.

“It’s not a big order-writing show for us but it’s very good in terms of contacts,” Vertrees said.

Gianine Rothschild of Pookie Products said the location of the show and its appearance was fine and that being located directly across from a linen company attracted several home buyers to her booth, which was filled with lip balms.“I like that we are in the main building. Small home stores are coming by,” Rothschild said.

While many things appeared to change at Extracts, one thing remained constant: exhibitors anxiously awaited distribution of Extracts’ awards, which honors the most creative and innovative exhibitors, from most creative booth to outstanding creative packaging.

Tarifold, a company that makes mood-enhancing fragrances for the office, was awarded best overall product. Eshave grabbed the prize for most creative booth. Outstanding creative packaging was awarded to Bathology for its handcrafted vegetable glycerin soap packaged in a lightbulb box. Extracts’ best new product was awarded to Aromasalts/Mineral Care Dead Sea Products’ Soap n’ Sponge, a grapefruit-sized sponge that’s dipped in olive oil and glycerine soap.

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