Elements and W Exhibition
Lisa Campagnola, event director for Elements and the W Exhibition, gives us an insight into what the industry can expect from this year’s shows, as the countdown to September begins…
2016 was the first year Montgomery Exhibitions ran the W Exhibition. How do you think it differed from previous events?
W16 was a great success with leading furniture manufacturing companies showcasing the latest in machinery, tooling and components across three halls of the NEC. This is a reflection of the continual growth of the woodworking and manufacturing sectors as a whole in the UK following the recession.
We also incorporated several new visitor attractions into the show, allowing visitors to be more interactive. Visitors could experience the Elements of Innovation zone, which showcased the very latest products on the market from both W Exhibition and Elements exhibitors.
New for 2016, The W Challenge invited apprentices to compete live at the show to win a coveted prize of £500 worth of Felder tooling products. The challenge was part of our emphasis on education, to support the future of the woodworking sector – an area we are looking to continue in 2018.
2016 marked the Elements exhibition’s debut. How was this received by exhibitors and visitors?
When I came on board to manage the W Exhibition, we spoke to the industry at length and as a result, identified a gap in the market which was left by ASFI – a furniture components show that ran alongside the W Exhibition’s predecessor, Woodmex. There was a clear demand for an exhibition that specalised in furniture components, décors, hardware, fixtures and fittings. The Elements exhibition has filled that gap.
Since speaking to both visitors and exhibitors following the show’s debut, we are continuing to grow the number of companies exhibiting their products.
From an organiser’s point of view, what areas of the show really stood out for you in 2016?
We were proud to welcome Help for Heroes as our official charity partner in 2016 and they will be joining us again in 2018. At the show they educated visitors on how woodworking has been incorporated into their rehabilitation centres for ex-servicemen and women. From their presence at the W Exhibition, four people have signed up to help the charity on their quest to run more woodworking workshops. It was a fantastic result and we look forward to working with them again this year.
Other partnerships included working with the BWF and Didac College who helped us in our championing of apprenticeships and supporting the industry. We are continuing to work alongside both organisations and we are delighted to announce that the BWF Awards will once again be held in Birmingham to coincide with the W Exhibition 2018.
What feedback did you get from exhibitors and visitors about the 2016 show and how has this influenced your plans for 2018?
There was a real enthusiasm surrounding the visitor attractions at the last show. The visitor experience is incredibly important to us. We want them to leave the show having seen some amazing products from the leading names in the industry and to feel educated and inspired.
The W Challenge was particularly well received and we are continuing to emphasise the importance of education and apprenticeships in the woodworking sector this year. We’re also looking to do something a little bit different with The W Challenge making it more interactive for 2018. Elements of Innovation will again return and is an opportunity for visitors to see some of the newest and most exciting products on the market this year.
How do you envisage both shows post 2018 and what would you like to see the exhibitions achieve in years to come?
I know we have the capability to grow both Elements and the W Exhibition. Elements is becoming more established in the market and because of this, has attracted more companies that may not have been at the show before.
As we grow we would like to welcome more international companies to our show. We already work with companies from 14 countries including Germany, Italy, China, Belgium and Portugal and would like to expand this even more. We would also like to broaden our presence in Ireland and continue to have a strong affinity with the Irish furniture market.
Why should people visit the W Exhibition and Elements in 2018?
The W Exhibition and Elements are the only exhibitions in the UK to specialise in furniture manufacturing and design. It is a fantastic opportunity for those that work in the industry to see live demonstrations of machinery, get up close with all the latest furniture manufacturing, joinery and components products and is a unique chance to do face-to-face business with the leading companies in the industry.
The free to attend four-day event, which sees both the W Exhibition and Elements taking place alongside one another, is the only time in the UK exhibition calendar that the industry comes together.
The W Exhibition and Elements will take place from Sunday, 30th September to Wednesday, 3rd October 2018 at the NEC Birmingham.
Twitter: @W_Exhibition @Elements_Expo