NEW YORK — Extracts’ latest trade show, held last weekend at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, revealed itself as the place to be if you’re a buyer looking for new beauty products, or if you’re a new beauty entrepreneur looking to have conversations with exhibitors.
Sure, many of Extracts’ newbies concoct their potions in bathtubs and kitchen sinks. And, yes, only a handful have ad budgets — a press release and sample sizes are how most get the word out. Many also have nine-to-five jobs to fall back on in case their dream of making the next best body cream, bath salt or shampoo doesn’t have sufficient appeal. But the level of enthusiasm, passion and downright entrepreneurship at the show rivals any in the industry, according to Aubin Wilson, group show manager at George Little Management LLC, which operates Extracts as well as 50 other industry trade shows.
Out of the 200 exhibitors at Extracts, which ran March 26 to 29, about 75 were new to the show, said Elizabeth Murphy, Extracts show manager.
“The first-time people were really impressed with the fact that they were able to have a real discussion with industry decision-makers. They were also happy about the number of people from the press who attended.”
Retail buyers from more than 100 stores attended Extracts, including buyers from Barneys New York, Bloomingdale’s, Duane Reade, Federated Stores, Henri Bendel, Neiman Marcus, Pottery Barn, QVC, Sephora, Target Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores. ?
While almost half of attendees were new to the show, the number of overall exhibitors did not increase compared with last spring. Murphy explained that some people don’t return, especially smaller companies, since many have trouble keeping up with demand after making a good impression at Extracts.
“They can’t catch their sea legs,” so they opt to crank out product rather than build a bigger distribution base, Murphy said.
Others like to try out different trade shows that expose them to a different market. The New York International Gift Fair is a popular alternative, which is also operated by GLM.
Overall, Murphy estimated that more than 5,900 people attended Extracts during the four-day period, up 18 percent from last spring, due mainly to location: Unlike last fall’s show — Extracts is put on twice a year, once in the fall, and again in spring — this season’s show seemed bustling, despite being located within the cavernous main building of the Javits Center.
For years Extracts was held in Pavilion A, a separate yet adjacent building to Javits, which provided the show with a cozy venue complete with a roof that allowed in natural light, making for an atmosphere impossible to duplicate elsewhere.
Last fall’s debut in the main building — Extracts had outgrown Pavilion A — stripped the show of its brightness and also gave the impression that Extracts had shrunk dramatically: Typically, the fall show is less attended than the one in spring, but the mere three aisles of exhibitor booths last season made Extracts appear ill-attended.
This season, due either to New York’s sunshine and fifty-degree weather, the bustling New York Home Textiles Show that traditionally runs along Extracts or the infusion of new players, Extracts came alive.
Newcomers included Teri Cosenzi, founder of Pampered Princess, a teen-targeted bath line. Cosenzi didn’t know what to expect from Extracts, but by the show’s end said she was pleased to have “made contacts and learned trade secrets.” She advises newcomers not to expect to write orders their first time at Extracts but instead to be ready to have discussions with power retail players.
Rita Parikh of Tribeca Skin Science, the U.S. exclusive distributor for Kama Ayurveda beauty products, seemed to fare better with retail prospects. The Delano Hotel in Miami’s South Beach, agreed to offer the line of all natural skin care products, which are made in India. Parikh said Extracts “was an excellent show in terms of attendance of buyers, there was a good group of people,” including Whole Foods, ABC Carpet and Bath & Body Works. Exhibitors, she said, added “a good energy and flavor to the show.” She looks forward to returning, but only when she has new products. “[Buyers] are looking for new things. I wouldn’t come back with the same stuff.”
Other noteworthy new products included Ling’s lip balms flavored with essential oils, Health Spa Napa Valley’s body butter, Nicolita’s orange-vanilla shea butter, Clear My Head’s herbal inhalation decongestant, La Ragazza Di Firenze olive oil soaps and Ocean Child’s all-natural vanilla and grapefruit body cream.
Extracts will again appear at the Javits Center in fall from Oct. 8 to 11, yet in a new, repositioned form. The fall show, which is expected to host as many as 150 exhibitors, will debut a new tag line, “Essentials for Personal Care and Wellness,” and will enter new product categories, such as fitness accessories and apparel, home spa electrics and appliances for home comfort and wellness. The new tag line — which replaces the existing one, “A Trade Show for Aromatherapy, Fragrance and Personal Care,” will be incorporated into all sales and promotional materials, advertisements and exhibitor communications.
The show’s broader identity looks to place it deeper within the home and well-being arenas, which will better correlate it with GLM’s other shows that run simultaneously with Extracts, including The New York Home Textiles Show, Surtex Gallery and, for the first time, the New York Gourmet Housewares Show. All four shows next fall will be marketed under the new “House to Home Market Week” umbrella. Extracts’ Murphy hopes the new effort, which is expected to draw as many as 8,000 buyers to all four shows, will create a greater synergy between Extracts and the new retailer base to be attracted by the House to Home campaign.