Last week we landed in nonwovens heaven, otherwise known as Techtextil in Frankfurt, Germany. Here all big technical textiles players gather from across Europe and beyond, to showcase their wares, make deals and negotiate. We couldn’t possibly miss this chance to finally meet the nonwoven manufacturers in person, who we have been corresponding with via email for months!
On arrival, the sheer amount of exhibitors was truly overwhelming. Techtextil is an enormous operation: happening only once every two years, in the meantime the company organise similar expos in Russia, North America and Asia. The hall with my name on, 3.1., dedicated to nonwoven manufacture, was only one of many, yet in itself a pulsating hotspot for commerce. The expo site is in itself almost a small city, continuously filled throughout the year with visitors and varying exhibitors from across the world.
The first day began well, resulting in productive talks about potentially having samples made with several new companies that I hadn’t previously been aware of. Friends of mine from the department of Textile and Surface Design at Weissensee art school in Berlin had won a prize for new textile building methods, announced at Techtextil17, so we had something else to celebrate!
Day two had higher aims, with more time to meet exhibitors and some important appointments with factory managers ahead. What proved very helpful was having exchanged emails with many companies in advance, I knew the names of the employees I was looking for, and could approach their colleagues and ask for them, which enabled me to optimize my time, and make a better impression. The main company we have been negotiating with for weeks were clearly in demand, as their booth was always full, and our appointment had to be arranged in advance. Perhaps a good sign, that they are a firm worth their salt! After the day was through, I left the fair feeling positive, that many manufacturers appeared willing to look into our requests and that possibilities are on offer to make nonwoven wool fabrics in Germany/EU. Let’s hope that this networking will result in a sustainable supply chain to produce our fabrics on a large scale in the near future.
Author: Yolanda Leask
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