H+h Cologne is "Back to the Future" with its Highly International 2022 Restart!

23 Mar 2022

Between 18.03.2022 and 20.03.2022, h+h Cologne 2022 was hosted. The event, which marked a successful restart after a two-year hiatus, took place as a hybrid event. It consisted of a face-to-face exhibition at Messe Cologne and a digital platform (h+h cologne@home). The live exhibition was held amidst strict Covid-19 safety measures. Around 150 exhibitors and approximately 4,500 visitors visited the fair, representing 49 countries. Participants could learn about the newest industry trends during the three host days. Among them were the topics of sustainability, digitalisation, marketing, and various DIY handicrafts. H+H Cologne additionally featured a high order intake. The edition once again confirmed the fair’s leadership role for the textile handicraft industry.

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, h+h Cologne 2022 took place in a hybrid format. The edition comprised a digital platform and live exhibition at Messe Cologne. The h+h cologne@home platform was available from the second event day onward. It remained active until 30.06.2022. This allowed attendees to enjoy personal networking opportunities both on-site and digitally. It further enabled attendants to take part in the event in remote form. The hosting dates for h+h cologne 2022 were 18.03.2022 to 20.03.2022.

To ensure attendee safety, Messe Cologne featured strict Covid-19 safeguards. One of the included steps was for participants to show before admission 3G documents. These included negative test results, proof of recovery, or vaccination certificates. Also, the safety plan featured the latest social distancing protocol. Attendees were required to maintain a safe distance of 1.5 metres. The venue featured a series of changes to ensure that the protocol was upheld.

This included expanding the event floor space. It also included converting hallways into one-way lanes. Additionally, the floors of Messe Cologne featured reminder floor markers. Included were also visitor flow control steps such as pre-registration. This was necessary to oversee visitor flows and avoid congestions. The pre-registration was mandatory for all attendees. It allowed them to have contactless access to the event. This helped to prevent infections caused by coming into contact with contaminated surfaces. As part of this protocol, the venue also underwent frequent disinfection. They placed a high focus on often-touched areas, like the counters.

All doorways except for the fire exits furthermore always remained open. Organisers advised participants to avoid physical forms of networking, such as shaking hands. They also recommended attendees perform frequent hand sanitation via the provided disinfectant dispensers. Such were available in areas like the exhibition halls. The venue received a continuous external air supply as part of the safety precautions. Attendees had to wear PPE in the form of a face mask that covered their nose and mouth. These had to be worn during counselling sessions and when visiting exhibition stands.

H+H Cologne 2022 included a comprehensive and top-class support programme. One of the featured highlights was the Talk Sofa hosted in the “my lovely living room” zone. The programme also incorporated the Trend Talks and various notable workshops. Additionally, the support programme featured panel discussions on various questions.

The Talk Sofa featured the renowned TV compère, Stefan Pinnow, as the host and moderator. He initiated discussions with renowned industry insiders on a variety of topics. Among the subjects debated during the sub-event were the latest trends. Additionally, many experts also provided first-hand tips and suggestions. This allowed attendees to gain new insights and ideas. Many of the Talks featured sustainability as a central topic. An example of such a session was the lecture “Is that new or can it be thrown away?”. Karin Wahl, a professional designer, was the keynote speaker. The relevance of new fabric appearances was discussed in depth during the session. Wahl also provided a large amount of practical advice and examples for putting such appearances into practice.

Another central topic of Talk Sofa was the subject of marketing and digitalisation. It was, for example, included in the session "Digital, hybrid, or live? How can I reach my customers?". The lecture featured Andreas Häntsch of eBay GmbH as the speaker. Häntsch explained how medium/small-sized dealers can use eBay to achieve success. He also discussed how stationary and online trades no longer contradict one another. He also detailed how eBay can develop and strengthen local trades.

Likewise, marketing was the theme of “Mr von Strick” with speaker Markus Hurley. Attendees could learn about his hybrid wool shop and its successful business model. The hybrid shop enables customers to buy goods on-site as well as order yarns that can be tested in each colour. At the same time, clients can receive advice online about the available types of products and projects. This creates a strong contrast to the classic online shops. According to Hurley, such a strategy enables the forming of stronger customer connections. It further allows them to win back clients they have lost to the classic online trade.

The session “8 tips for Google advertisements'' also focused on marketing. It featured the lead speaker Sven Deutschländer, Executive Director of dskom. This is a leading Berlin-based advertising agency. Deutschländer provided information on how to create Google advertisements that increase turnover. This included how to implement Google Ads cleverly and intelligently. It also included explaining what campaign types make sense. He further detailed how to create high-click-generating advertisements.

Another central highlight of the event was the workshops. These detailed new creative techniques, customer bonding instruments, and other valuable topics. Like the Talk Sofa, the workshops emphasised a few central themes. Among them were marketing and handicrafts. The workshops that focused on marketing included “What makes the customer tick?” and “Insta 22”.

“What makes the customer tick?” featured Gabriela Kaiser. She is a lead textile industry expert who is self-employed at TRENDagentur. She provided tips on finding what makes target customers tick and the available basic profiles. This included learning about means to establish commonalities among potential customers. Additionally, attendees could learn how to find what is meaningful to their clients. This included what their likes are and what distinguishes them. For the task, Kaiser created compact collages using keywords and pictures. This allowed her to formulate the different style types and visualise the profiles. The workshop enabled attendees to gain insights into offering the appropriate products.

Insta 22 enabled beginners to learn about presenting themselves on Instagram. The lead speaker was Susi Strickliesel, a leading influencer and author. She cooperates with partners like the leading enterprise Vogue Knitting. She detailed how attendees can increase brand awareness using the latest Instagram tips and tricks. This included steps such as using short clips, new techniques and others.

As previously mentioned, many of the workshops focused on handicrafts and DIY. Among them were “Last Polish”, a session hosted and organised by Karin Moslener. She showed attendees how to sew applications via a sewing machine during the course. This included providing insight into all details. These ranged from preparing the application to using the appropriate sewing feet. Similar in intent was the “Macraweave” hosted by Susan Rostam. She provided tips on creating a macraweave key pendant using the basic knots of macrame.

The “Hand-letter Dive” hosted by Ina Prinz was also one workshop worth visiting. She is a leading hand-lettering artist, graphic and stationery designer. During the discourse, she “dived” into the art of hand-lettering. This included showing the techniques and creating a fabric pouch using textile watercolours or marker pens.

The “Dried Flower Embroidery” was also one workshop with a focus on handicrafts. It was based on Olga Prinku’s new product line - Flowers on Tulle Embroidery Kits. The lecturer is one of the exemplary artists, makers and creators of the art of creating flowers-on-tulle embroideries. Olga Prinku is also a notable collaborator for brands like Swarovski. She guided participants in creating 6-inch embroidery hoop designs. For the task, they would use preserved plants and tulle fabric. This included using six types of flowers in three colours - white, pink and blue. The discourse featured tips on how to prepare the embroidery hoop. It additionally featured how to attach the flowers to the tulle fabric. Attendants also learned how to create balanced designs.

The “Cologne Workshop” enabled attendees to learn about a traditional Cologne handicraft. It featured attendants learning about the art of creating fascinators. They could use woven ribbons, fabrics, patches, and other materials for the task. Attendees needed to use only their creativity and good humour as they were given blanks to work upon. The resulting hair decorations had to be cheerful, cheeky and colourful. Many of the materials also included the colours of Cologne (red and white) or motifs related to the city. The host of the workshop was Birgit Fischer, a designer at Lieblingskostüm.

H+h cologne 2022 was one of the event’s most anticipated and successful editions. It took place after an enforced break of two years. Such a break occurred due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The event welcomed the international handicrafts industry during its hybrid rendition. This included around 150 exhibitors from over 30 countries. It also featured approximately 4,500 trade visitors from 49 nations. The participant internationality and quality more than compensated for the compact participation numbers. For instance, 84% of the exhibitors and 42% of the visitors represented foreign countries. This included representatives of nations, such as:

  • Greece
  • The UK
  • India
  • Nigeria
  • South Africa
  • Romania
  • Ghana
  • Italy
  • Moldova
  • Ukraine
  • Poland
  • The Netherlands
  • Spain
  • Uruguay
  • Finland
  • Germany
  • Iran
  • The USA
  • France
  • Serbia
  • Sweden
  • Portugal
  • Senegal
  • China
  • Denmark
  • Bulgaria
  • Brazil
  • Turkey
  • Belgium
  • Peru
  • Nepal

Additionally, the edition was considered successful due to the opportunities it presented. This included being able to engage in exchanges of knowledge and contacts. Furthermore, attendants could once again discuss the current trends. They could furthermore examine in tangible ways the materials and fabrics. Completing the positive outcome of the event is its high order intake. Following the success of the 2022 edition, organisers have opted to proceed with the 2023 rendition. H+h Cologne 2023 will occur as a live trade fair between 31.03.2023 and 02.04.2023. The hosting location will once again be Messe Cologne.