A new event for my calendar this year but one I have heard a lot about, Pulse is a trade show for the most discerning & forward thinking retailer or designer. Professing talented exhibitors galore providing inspiration on giftware, modern living & retail insights. Their tag line is Discover the Unexpected and that is exactly what I found on offer; unseen brands, new products and an overflowing well of inspiration.
I ended up spending two days traversing the floor boards of Kensington Olympia taking in the event as a whole; seeing what the exhibitors did with their spaces then taking a closer look at the products and the trends Pulse presented. On top of that The Indytute had a curated selection of ShopTalks available a few of which I caught and enjoyed, so find this blog post cut in three.
Part 1. The show itself and some of my favourite exhibitors displays. >> Read Here
Part 2. My wish list of products and the key trends from Pulse to look out for. >> Read Here
Part 3. A special look in to the ShopTalks I attended and my top tips to plan for.
Blogging for Business – Daniel Nelson, Sarah Akwisombe, Grant/Interior Style Hunter
So in-between admiring the amazing exhibitors you need to rest your feet and contemplate orders, ideas or some retail based notion. You get drawn towards the centre of Olympia where the ShopTalk stage is surrounded in Pulse pink vertical streamers. Where a fantastically named lady Calipso Rose from The Indytute introduces a curated selection of industry experts talking about a variety of retail practices, tools and futures. Scanning the line up for the Sunday & Monday I decide on a couple I had sit down for but others I dipped in and out of as I walked around. I ended up getting snippets of advice from the panel discussions and flashes of well thought out presentation graphics throughout the two days I was there.
Social Storytelling and conversational commerce – Tom Szekeres Co-foudner This Here
With all this amassed experience and talent Pulse brings together off stage in its exhibitors as well as its visitors it attracts, the on stage talent are something pretty splendid. Industry experts and public speakers who seem to read your mind of its questions before you even get to ask them. I had a lot to choose from in the programme from writers to paint brands, talking about relevant trends, platforms and really making you think to the future. I think I was a little biased in choosing my two top talks mainly because I wanted to find out more about the amazing brands they were from. I absorbed any snippet of information and stored it away in the hopes of it getting to use it later in conversation hopefully during an interview to join either of their wonderful teams.
It’s no surprise that they were both the keynote speeches:
Keynote: The Liberty Prop Cupboard
How to pick up on visual trends and and work them in to your own environment.
Liz Sylvester Head of Visual Identity for Liberty London
Liz took the audience through her personal journey at Liberty in the form of images of the window displays she has designed during her time there. Stepping back in time and trend we got to hear about the details that make up their curated displays that are really more art experiences, full of components from the largest laser cut paper installation to the smallest stock pen. Each window may start with the silliest brainstorm but evolves to not just display a product or introduce a new designer but to express what Liberty means for you. Getting your audience to connect with the brand on multiple levels not just to encourage sales but to promote brand loyalty, gain notoriety and always be pushing for the next awe inspiring display.
Liz works not just on the windows but taking the visuals throughout the store including the jaw dropping glass ceilinged scarf hall which has contained everything including a ships mast. Her team is a dedicated bunch each with their own strengths, offering up a refreshing hands on approach to creating their ideas. By making a lot of the props and displays themselves they offer a unique representation and translation of the concept. Liz continued to dazzle the audience with prop cupboards bursting with everything from beach balls to turkeys incrusted with jewels; corgi’s to glassware and even a taxidermy swan. She recycles, creates and innovates: upon finding out there is no such think as gold snow, they made their own. I think one of the biggest things I went away with was the sense that nothing was out of the question, more was more. With window spaces dwindling in size and number you need to attract and make an impact.
Keynote: The World of Extremes
The impact of globalisation, digital and the connected world.
Sally Bendelow Creative Product Director for Not On The High Street
Sally set out the lovely retail landscape to start off her talk, knowing where you you and your product sits in respect to the customer. Then moved quickly on to a sneaky peak at how Not On The High Street plan out their year, a month at a time taking in to consideration at all time the audience. An example being April is a positive month, with the end of lent and a more internal focus and of course more time outside. This all has effect on what the customer wants to buy and how they are going to be doing it. With so much choice out there customers want more than ever for their money and are drawn in multiple directions to make their choice.
Sally offered up a whole host of extremes that highlight peoples need to have both ends of the spectrum:
PAST vs. FUTURE – SMOOTH vs TACTILE – LUXE vs ESSENTIAL – AGE vs YOUTH – MASS vs CUSTOMISATION – RURAL vs CITY
It really is an exciting time for retail, by turning the negativity of the fall in tradition retail sales to the positives of online possibilities NOTH continues to find ways to perform on all fronts. NOTH’s mission has always been to offer a platform to connect sellers with the rest of the world, making the buying process enjoyable and accessible to all! New technologies plays a big pack in that, I do wonder what the future holds and how an NOTH will continue to grow and offer us something we have never seen before.