Clarion Events has partnered with retailer House of Fraser and retail marketing consultant Mary Portas to run a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style competition at this year’s Pulse trade show.
The new partnership will give 10 giftware designers a 10-minute slot each at the live exhibition to pitch their products to Portas’ business partner Peter Cross, and a team of scouts from House of Fraser.
The competition is only open to Pulse exhibitors and has already attracted a substantial number of exhibitors, Clarion said. Mary Portas and the House of Fraser announced a similar initiative with UBM’s Interiors trade show in January to help interior designers step into retail.
Cross will also be a keynote speaker at Pulse and offer a live coaching session, critiquing three retailers in need of a facelift.
Pulse will be held from 10 to 12 June at Earls Court and will focus on giftware, homeware and lifestyle brands. The event is broken into five sectors: Gifts, fashion accessories, home, wellbeing and Launchpad, a zone dedicated to 120 new British designer makers and graduates.
Clarion marketing executive Tim Phillips said this year’s event will feature 600 exhibitors, up from 500 last year. Twenty five per cent of exhibitors are participating in the Launchpad zone, which is 20 per cent larger than last year.
The organiser has also expanded a partnership with Central Saint Martins college of art and design to showcase 22 graduates. Phillips said 160 applied for the opportunity to be at Pulse.
“It’s all about trying to improve the show year-on-year; we want to find partners and new people to work with,” Phillips said.
“We handpick what we have on offer, and that helps reduce the impact of the recession by showing companies and designs that visitors want to see. These days, you have to take out ‘middle of the road’ products and provide quality.”
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