It’s the second day of the “tradeshow for selected brands” here in Barcelona and I think it is a big success. It is sunny and warm, people carry their coats in their hands and I know that 30 000 new people in their database make the organizers happy. A busy murmuring is in the air and the fashion people seem not to be too impressed by each others style.
Big sunglasses, baggy jeans that look vintage but cost a fortune, suits that do not look like suits and surprisingly similar haircuts are the visitors trademarks. Although those people deal with selected brands and individuality in general, they look astonishingly alike. It’s a very focused scene: There are the buyers for fashion stores and chains, independent designers who produce for their own little brands and also the big corporate machine players with their inescapable position terms like chief of marketing, brand manager or creative director. And they are all in the database..
This database and the way of treating the customers is one of Bread and butter’s key success factors. The other is the great commitment of its people, willing to work hard to create a unique event.
Looking back on the days I have been working here, I am glad to have learned so much: I spent the five first days in the IT-team, learning about IT-networks, how they manage 80 points of sale, including card payment systems, how to plug it all together and build this big network, connected to their business database with the clients information.
Then for two days, I worked with an electrician who showed me how to wire tents and how much power you can get out of a electric circuit. I took a look at the boothbuilder’s work and all their fancy materials. Now I am sitting in the back office, filling the mighty database with customer information from accreditation sheets the visitors had filled out at the entrance.
This information is not only used for the regular phonecalls and newsletters, so to say the communication between customers and the organizers but also in between the visitors and exhibitors.
It works like this: Exhibitors can rent little advices that scan the barcode which is printed on the trade show passes. Whenever somebody enters the booth, a hostess scans the pass. The information who entered the booth at what time is stored on the device’s memory.
When going home, the exhibitors have a complete file with the information of every single person they had contact with: Not only name and contact data but also their branch, position and interests. Pretty complex, huh?
Bread and butter not only is a very well organized trade show, these people are building a community. They enable communication in between their customers thus help to create a common identity.
People who work here also have a strong commitment to the Bread and butter. It is not a normal fair, it is a creative challenge to manage all the construction, organization and infrastructure. People like to work, they are paid relatively well and do not mind to work nightshifts. The day before the opening, I finished at 1 am attaching all the lose cables for security. The food is great, bosses are nice (a beer on the house after 8pm is a friendly gesture) and you really feel you are working on something special and interesting.
The parties are also part of building the fame. Last year they chartered a boat to go to Ibiza after the fashion show. Stories about this adventure differ, but apparently it was quite an excessive experience. One guy kept on spinning records for 24 hours, fell aspleep in the sand, woke up, did not know how to get home, went to the airport and bought a flight. You know.
This year, Bread and Butter had a big opening celebration in the Palau Nacional above the exposition area. It is an old, pompous and impressive building with stucco and marble and a huge hall. The upcoming stars Chikinki (very good, sounded like Oasis with synthesizers) played and my friend Suzi Wong had come from Berlin to make the people dance with her typical minimal techhouse style. All the drinks were free and people enjoyed the decadent atmosphere with cocktails.
Friday is the last day and I will return to my IT colleagues. We are going to disassemble all the cashiers and the corresponding machines and put them into cases. Soon they have to be in Berlin for the next Bread and butter tradeshow there. And so the circus goes on and on, bye, bye Barcelona. Bread and Butter returns to Barcelona in summer with a hole fashion week.
See more fotos on Stylewalker@Flickr!