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Best practice: how to make trade fair merchandising a success

Julia Bernert

Published on 24.01.2022

Bar Convent Berlin launched a merchandising line in 2021. Why this was about more than branding and how the project became a success.

When trade show visitors become fans, then the organizers have done something right. This is what happened at the largest trade fair for the bar and beverage industry, Bar Convent Berlin 2021, when more and more exhibitors and visitors appeared in the aisles wearing BCB clothing. For the first time, Bar Convent Berlin set up a merchandising store at the trade show. The premiere was a success. 280 times an article went over the counter during the trade fair.

The BCB team of RX Austria & Germany made the project a success. From the beginning, it was about more than a BCB lettering on shirts, hoodies and accessories. It was about supporting the industry. And the project was to be created together with the Berlin bar scene.

The story behind it

The basic idea is simple: combine a bar team with a local artist to create cool and wearable merchandise for the BCB. So the BCB team collaborated with Berlin bars and hip tattoo artists.

The idea was born back in 2020, because the BCB also wanted to use it to support bars and bartenders during the lockdown. A portion of the proceeds will therefore be donated.

Social and ecological responsibility

Together with the bar industry, the BCB brings social and ecological issues such as diversity and sustainability to the fore, which also plays a role here. One design, for example, is specifically dedicated to combating racism and sexism. Proceeds from this series will therefore go to this cause alone.

The BCB clothing focuses on sustainability and fairness. The T-shirts and hoodies are made in organic cotton. In addition, so that there are no leftover stocks that might have to be destroyed, production only starts on demand. In this way, the BCB wants to counteract the waste of resources and the throwaway trend. The textile partner Stanley & Stella is a member of the Fair Wear Foundation. This ensures fair wages and appropriate working conditions, which are regularly monitored. The finishing of the clothing is done by Textildruck Europa, which is certified with the Global Organic Textile Standard and also stands for ecologically correct and sustainable production.

The three biggest learnings

! It needed the live push

The project was launched in winter 2020 as an online-only store. Despite intensive communication, however, the virtual store initially remained largely empty. The most important learning: It needs the flair of the live event to successfully implement merchandising.

! The look counts

The project was a success thanks to the great designs. There were also clear box office hits on site. Not all designs scored equally. So BCB will be working with hot artists again in 2022.

! Sustainability is a selling point

Quality instead of bargains. The BCB visitors were willing to pay the appropriate price for a high-quality and sustainably produced garment. The production conditions were thus also a topic in many sales talks and convinced the customers.