In addition to Christmasworld, the international trade fair for seasonal and festive decorations, Eva Olbrich has been managing director of Creativeworld, the trade fair for international hobby, handicraft and artist supplies, since July 2021. In this interview, which is presented by Messe Frankfurt in a press release, Olbrich shares her know-how in preparing for the most profitable and emotional time of the year.
What creative trends have you seen in 2021 that you think will be popular this Christmas??
Eva Olbrich, Director Christmasworld and Creativeworld, Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH: It is obvious that DIY experienced another boom during Corona. Do-it-yourself is more popular than ever, people have had time again for beautiful and creative things. The topic of sustainability has also gained in importance.
Interesting DIY trends that are also suitable for Christmas are self-made and personalized wrapping paper and packaging – here, for example, with batik or the Japanese variant Shibori, which also works on paper.
In addition, screen printing is experiencing a renaissance. Lettering and Christmas motifs can be printed on a wide variety of surfaces – for postcards, but also napkins or tablecloths. Complete sets for crocheting, embroidery patterns, handwriting sets including instructions or printing sets can be offered as gift ideas. The production of own colors is also very trendy, for which there are also complete sets that enrich the range.
What trends do you see in festive decoration?
For example, “blackboard balls”, which can be designed with chalk, give the Christmas tree its own touch. Glass, ceramic or cardboard balls can be customized with pens. Glass balls, which you can fill yourself with natural twigs, moss or feathers, are also trendy and set sustainable accents. Or bring real Christmas trees into the shop, hang them upside down for the presentation of goods in the shop or in the shop window – this is an absolute eye-catcher and attracts customers. Nature plays a major role in the decoration: Dried orange peel can be cut out with Christmas biscuit shapes and make a beautiful table or window decoration. At Christmasworld and Creativeworld there is a large selection of natural decorations from florists’ needs. Use the product worlds and trends of Christmasworld and Creativeworld and create your own style.
What are your tips for small retailers who want to start new product lines this Christmas?
The desire for a sustainable lifestyle is currently greater than ever – take this trend into account when putting together your range. Put your Christmas shop under a motto – for example “Green X-Mas” or “Merry, sustainable Christmas”. Decorate everything with natural materials, without plastic, just with glass, ceramics, wood, felt or similar ornaments.
The new lines can be promoted by appealing shop window decorations. You can now optimally prepare an extraordinary shopping atmosphere. Remember, customers want to feel products again, try them out and let their creativity run free. The shop window is your flagship. Advertise your actions there. Put a Christmas tree with self-designed balls in the shop window and offer help in the creative design of the balls in the shop. Show how to make other ornaments. Show what you can do! Show your strength and your competence.
In addition, especially for this Christmas business, personal exchange is in the foreground: Those who know their customers well can point them out very well about new products and address their needs and preferences.
The number of people interested in DIY has risen sharply. How can small businesses appeal to this age group while retaining older generation customers?
There is, for example, the topic of street art, which mainly attracts young people. A display with matching spray cans and markers fits in every creative shop. Here, too, authentic and competent advice is important. Hand lettering is still in demand for generations. But also various products such as Christmas tree balls with Star Wars motifs or emojis attract young people to the store. Crocheting and knitting are popular with young and old and should appear in the range.
The younger generation can be easily reached via social media channels.
In order to reach both target groups equally, a mix of workshops, live campaigns in the shop and social media is probably the best solution.
How important is a good social media campaign / presence in the run-up to Christmas this year? Do you have any small business tips on creating a marketing plan for this season?
Social media is very important, especially for the younger generation.
Our Consumer Goods Digital Day offered exciting presentations on this topic. On our website conzoom.solutions you can watch lectures on the subject of “Understanding Social Media Content” or “How does influencer marketing work even with a small budget”.
With all social media campaigns, it is important to stick to yourself and only present the core competencies. Proximity to the customer is possible through personal contact. Trend-oriented topics are particularly suitable here – this assumes that you are informed about the latest trends on the market and that you stay on the ball.
Positioning is also important: Who am I, who are my customers and how do I want to be perceived? This also determines the channel I choose for myself – Facebook or Instagram.
Don’t underestimate the amount of time that social media takes. The accounts have to be well maintained and the followers want to be well looked after. So if you want to build your community, you have to use manpower. Young employees or trainees with a high affinity for social media can help here. Schoolchildren and students are also happy to have part-time jobs where they can turn their hobby into a career.
Are you predicting sustainability will be a key expectation for small retailers when it comes to Christmas packaging? How can companies show their customers that they care about the planet?
The topics of sustainability such as recycling, DIY, repair and second hand will be with us for a long time, according to our trend experts from the style office bora.herke.palmisano, who develop Christmasworld, Paperworld and Creativeworld trends for us.
It’s definitely worth starting with small steps. It is particularly positive if you do without unnecessary packaging and plastic. Or if you offer packaging and tapes made from recycled materials and use them yourself. In addition, what is offered by regional producers is a sign of sustainable action. This can also be advertised in the shop window. A bike stand in front of the store is a statement. Look for a selected range of sustainable products (papers, paints, stars, decorations, etc.). The topic is also becoming more and more visible at our trade fairs.