“Trade Fairs are a People-to-People Business”
Author: Maximilian Fuchs
The Igedo Company was established in Düsseldorf in 1949 and as a trade fair organiser made a material contribution to developing Germany into a fashion location. Since 2017 the company has been 100% family owned again. Fashion Today asked Philipp Kronen, Managing Partner of the Igedo Company GmbH & Co. KG, about the strategic re-orientation and plans for the future.
FT: Mr Kronen, last year the Igedo Company initiated a strategic re-orientation. After buying back the shares from the partner Messe Düsseldorf the company is now wholly family-owned again. What does this mean to you personally?
Philipp Kronen: “I am quite proud of the Igedo Company being family-owned again now in the third generation, the way it was originally founded by my grandfather. In our day and age this is an exciting challenge that I very much look forward to, together with our new, freshly appointed managing director and longstanding colleague Ulrike Kähler. We are both very optimistic and look to the future full of energy. It has, of course, been fantastic to have Messe Düsseldorf as a partner by our side for 25 years. These years have been very formative to me. So at this juncture my special thanks go to my mentors Werner Matthias Dornscheidt, Herbert Vogt and Bernhard Johannes Stempfle, who have made so many things possible for me and whom I have learnt so much from.”
You sold the brand rights of CPM to Messe Düsseldorf Moscow in September 2017. Will you and your team continue to act in an advisory capacity?
“Far more than that: we have a dedicated multi-year contract with “Messe Düsseldorf Moscow” that has commissioned us with the complete services for international exhibitors. With this partnership-based cooperation the continued success of CPM is ensured and the Igedo Company remains an integral part of CPM.”
In a few weeks’ time the CPD, and therefore the Gallery, will begin. You have created a strong platform for womenswear and with Gallery Shoes you have followed on from GDS. Will a counterpart for menswear, a new HMC, complement the portfolio any time soon or do you see no demand for this?
“A stand-alone ‘Gallery Men’ as a separate trade show is not envisaged. We are focusing on our Gallery and Gallery Shoes engagement long term and on sharpening our profile at Areal Böhler. This is our core competence. However, men’s collections are part and parcel of both platforms and therefore also our theme.”
The Initiative Fashion Net has set itself the goal of strengthening the location of Düsseldorf. How do you see the synergies?
“Very positively, all the more as the scheduling for CPD is discussed and adopted jointly by the Fashion Net board. I have been active on the board of this society as a Deputy to Chairman Klaus Brinkmann since its inception. Fashion Net allows us to pool and jointly address operational themes that serve the location – locally, nationally and internationally. This also includes the shuttle service that connects all venues in Düsseldorf with each other but also the organisation of the Fashion-Net-Party that brings together some 800 industry experts every season. As the latest additional service there will be an App in time for CPD providing a host of information on the fashion destination Düsseldorf for users.”
Digitalisation is probably one of the most “sustainable” topics of our age. Industry 4.0 is a phrase on everyone’s lips – a challenge also facing the exhibitions industry. How do you tackle this development?
“Our company is currently undergoing an in-depth digitalisation process, thereby positioning itself perfectly for the challenges of the future. After our departure from Messe Düsseldorf we capitalised on the occasion by de-coupling our IT and building up an IT landscape that is optimally suited for our purposes. As an international trade fair organiser with a focus on fashion, shoes & accessories plus lifestyle at Areal Böhler in the Düsseldorf location we are particularly interested in offering exhibitors, in particular, the most uncomplicated, quick and up-to-date all-round services for stand design, for example. At the end of the day, trade fairs are platforms for people-to-people business where human encounters rank first.”