New York Launch
The biggest day
Could 30th May 2018 prove to be the biggest day in the SplashMaps calendar? That was the day of our New York Launch at the New York Rights Fair. How we got to be there is another story, but clearly launching dedicated product for this new and huge market is big news. With the support of the Department for International Trade and the Publishers Association we headed west.
Where to invest effort and cash
All focus for the New York Launch was on getting the stand right and getting the right people to the stand. After 5 years of shows I know where to invest effort and cash. You simply cannot trust the organisers with anything more than assuring you have a space. Thankfully this time, the PA provided a general stand so our attention was simply on how to best present the proposition and the product.
A luxurious affair
Pre-arranged events included a cocktail reception in Chelsea and dinner out with the Publishers Associations of the USA, Canada and the UK, where flurries of cards exchanged hands. Dinner was a luxurious affair and the finest of Cerviche’s I’ve had (Restaurant name was “Catch” and has a fine reputation for sea food of all kinds). If you want the full tour, here’s what #geomob winner Esplorio put together for me click here.
Already selling there
In a sense, even before the New York Launch we were already selling there! We’d made a New York map on fully recycled fabric with a famous customer of ours. They have 6 shops in New York and by the time I left I’d visited 5, gathering vital market information and overwhelming approval for the now signed-off design. It’s made to a global design defined in collaboration with this customer and already on sale in Tokyo, Frankfurt, Paris and London. With first hand reviews from shop staff it became a great demonstration of how flexible SplashMaps can be in making a unique identity to match a company’s brand and objectives.
Walking and Running Billboard
About town I became a regular site on the aptly named “Fashion Avenue” (7th Avenue). This historically textile district linked my Hotel with the Metropolitan Pavillion venue, just 10 streets to the south. It was a great place to strut the SplashMaps waistcoat (“vest” in these parts), gaining some great comments you only see in feel-good movies. “Nice vest!”, “Stay Sharp”, “I don’t know why more men don’t wear vests”. I think we may be onto something, and maybe it goes beyond weddings?
Few saw the specialist running kit with our latest design of Toob headwear. I was out too early, moved too fast and clearly the Chelsea Waterside Park had not the magnetic appeal of Central Park. My big regret was oversleeping the final day and missing my scheduled run along the elevated walkway within Chelsea itself.
The Bigger and Plusher retail stores
The British Council hosted the meeting I had with the Department for International Trade’s retail expert. Between us we hatched a plan to ensnare the bigger and plusher retail stores in the City as well as explore a further programme of shows more targeted at our traditional outdoors and gift customers.
On the stand
The attention grabber on the stand was the New York Toob. On our recently re-designed explainer-hangers, the new vibrant design of deep purples and greens with detailing in orange and SplashMaps’ brand green stood out, stopping people in their tracks. The positive impact provided a great segway into neighbouring propositions such as the double sided custom maps now on sale in the Antarctic, the Lush maps on their recycled fabric or the National Memorial Arboretum’s remembrance Poppy Toob. Each demonstrated a diversity of style, an award-winning attention to design and a clarity of print you don’t find on any other garment. I was pitching for Merchandising opportunities.
The event was not well attended, but what it lacked in quantitiy it gained in quality of people and quality of interaction. I spoke with authors from romance to hardened ex-Cop crime writers. Visitors ranged from eBook platfom holders to literary agents and publishers. The emergent SplashMaps opportunities ranged from reproductions of iconic book covers onto fabric to primary education “kid proof” maps. The overwhelmingly popular idea was for merchandising products; maps printed onto Toobs that match a client’s branding.
Finding new content
Another key objective was to connect with those that can provide the key USA landmarks, Parks and destinations as compelling maps. At the Book Expo (the sister event to the New York Rights Fair), massive and beautifully organised queue’s of fans formed for celebrity book signings. But away from the hysteria, among the stands were some of the best map makers and publishers on the planet. I had meetings with Lonely Planet, Michelin, Rand McNally and National Geographic to name the bigger ones. Our options continue to broaden. Look out for our new titles!
Overall the visit to the USA was enormously rewarding. Such a positive launch on the back of our products already becoming available in 6 shops across this sparkling city is an amazing boost from our first visit here.