Roving reporter, Denre Bruins writes: It won’t come as a surprise to our regular readers that once again I was dispatched to the Netherlands to review showUP, the contemporary home and gift exhibition inspired by Dutch and Scandinavian design. For retailers in search of that all important newness, this is definitely the place to be as you’ll see brands and products that you just won’t find at other exhibitions.
Whilst the spring edition is near Amsterdam, the autumn edition takes place in Den Bosch. Taking in consideration that the temperature outside reached 30C, the hall in Den Bosch stays much cooler and is therefore the ideal location for this event. It also makes it more accessible to buyers from Belgium and Germany, as Den Bosch is nearer to both borders.
As always at showUP, the vibe was good and I met some lovely and interesting people, like “nutty professor” Saskia Nooij who convinced me to keep it cool with wool. Her company Kywie makes wine coolers made of 100% sheepskin. The insulating property of wool doesn’t just keep the warmth in, but also keeps things cool. Although not seen at the show, they make a perfect match with my Shepherd slippers.
Another great idea are the stackable candles from Candl Stacks. Create your own design or make an ever-lasting candle by adding new blocks to the bottom. The candle blocks come in different colours, making every design unique.
Although candles are lovely, they are also the number one cause of fires and therefore every household should have fire protection in the house. Unfortunately, fire extinguisher are not the most fashionable items to place in your living room, something the guys from “Flame Away” also noticed. They created a nice design looking object that you can throw in the fire, which will extinguish it immediately. The product is made from sustainable glass and ingredients and is 100% PFAS free. The object is not under pressure and is durable (for as long as you don’t use it to extinguish fires).
After soaking up all that information, I noticed this bar handing out shots. Knowing me, I wouldn’t turn down a shot of… (God knows what) and decided to go for it. Unfortunately for me there was no alcohol involved and I was handed this shot of pure ginger juice. Above expectations it tasted rather nice and spicy. Unlike most of the ginger juice, Blond & Browns’ ginger juice is 100% biological, doesn’t contain any added sugars and is made from the best Peruvian ginger. I learn something new every time.
Did you know you can make strong bowls from up to 70% sand? Pino makes stylish, durable bowls for pets to make them eat healthier. Of course, it depends on the food you give your pets, but the range of bowls are designed to be stimulating, keep dog ears out or are cat whisker friendly. You can even drop them without breaking and all that with a sustainable approach.
The people from Uzzle, a social enterprise, are taking sustainable to a whole new level, by offering puzzles that have one thing in common, they all miss one piece.
While I walked over to their stand I was greeted by Denise from 76%Anders (76%Different) that shared a stand with the people from Uzzle. She and her husband, both autistic, are woodturners and make beautiful, high-quality Home & Gift products from reclaimed wood. This was their first show and already they have orders from the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany!
Talking about stylish and high quality, the durable workspace accessories from Aptiq look well in any room and are an oasis of serenity. The clever and ergonomic design makes a desk look neater with far less distractions.
By now the show had almost come to an end, and it was time to visit the stands from Blade & Rose and Enesco, both UK brands that decided to test the water in the Netherlands. Although the Netherlands and UK are in many ways quite similar, there will be some cultural differences and I was hoping to find how the show was for them.
Amanda (Blade & Rose) decided to take her family with her and first visit Amsterdam before attending the show. A great way to combine work and pleasure and get well rested before the hectic of the show begins.
Enesco had a Dutch representative, Jens de Voogd and only tested a few products out of their extensive collection. Nevertheless, both had a promising show with leads and orders, and I hope to see them again at the next edition of showUP in Amsterdam.
Whilst on my way to see Blade & Rose, my love for wood stopped me at Mikki Joan, who make beautiful growth rulers out of different types of locally clamed wood. A real treat to the eye.
Not completely new to the UK, but worth mentioning are the wooden greeting cards, created by nature and improved by the artists of Cozy Wood. They use 100% natural and real wood, that is FSC controlled and create pieces that are just like you – unique and one-of-a-kind.
With that another successful edition of showUP came to an end and I already look forward to the February edition in Amsterdam.
Images from the top: Sox, 76%Anders, Aptiq, Blade and Rose, Candl Stacks, Enesco, Flame Away, Kywie, Pino Pets, Mikki Joan