A World Away
Opening day of Heimtextil 2010 is just a week away. There are expected to be fewer exhibitors. Buyers? That depends up who you’re looking for.
The size of individual U.S. buying groups has declined as major accounts - retailers and suppliers - secured alliances post-2005. For many exhibitors, the show has more to do these days with find extra-U.S. markets to tap. Indian home textiles giant Welspun will be back this year for the first time since 2004, but with an eye to expanding its European market.
A few outward-looking U.S. companies will be there, too. Maybe too few.
There was a movement afoot in early 2009 as several U.S. companies sought for a way to pool their resources and reach out to international markets. In the end, not enough were willing to committ financially to the effort.
It’s hard to knock a business in a brutal recession for reluactance to toss a line out into the great beyond. And heaven knows financing has not been easy to come by since the great Wall Street meltdown.
And it’s hard to be a trail blazer in a complicated global market with various local tastes and standards. I used to work for a company who’s owner said at the dawn of the Internet age: "I don’t want to be the first. I’ll go in second or third after the ones who go in first figure it out."
The problem is by the time you get there later, all the good spots may be gone.