The best thing to do for positive change is showUP

If you’re a retailer or design-led supplier looking to try something fresh, new and inspiring, the best thing you can do is simply showUP. showUP Founder and Event Director, Daan van Trigt, talks to UK media partner, Gifts & Greetings Review, about this exciting Amsterdam-based trade exhibition of contemporary gifts, stationery, fashion accessories and homewares.

The next edition of showUP runs from February 3-4 at Expo Haarlemmeer Amsterdam. Click here for English website

When did you found showUP and did you have a career in home and gift before starting the show?


I have been organizing exhibitions since the mid – nineties. With our company we focused on consumershows in the field of Lifestyle, fashion, kids and design and living. From small and exclusive Fairs in the country, to Big Consumer shows in the RAI Amsterdam. In the aftermath of the financial crisis we started looking at Trade Shows. The businessmodel of a Trade Show is less risky and we had a good network in the field of Home and Gifts.

In 2013 this resulted in the idea of organizing Trade Show 2.0. Basic, simple and effective were the key words, but it also had to be fresh creative and good looking. With a group of enthousiatic entrepreneurs we decided to create a pilot version of the show we had in mind. That is how showUP was born. The reactions were great and many brands who were a bit anxious joined us in the next editions. We grew from 20, to 60, to 150 in a few years time. In 2017 we hit the number of 300 exhibitors. And we still are growing, last edition counted 350 Exhibitors.

Who is showUP for (on both exhibitor and visitor side)?

showUP is meant for brands designers and labels with a modern and contemporary style, who want to meet retailers and buyers that are looking for new, fresh and special products.

How has showUP evolved over the past 11 years?

Obviously we grew in size and more and more household names are joining us. But at the same time we are still fresh and creative. We are open for new ideas and we try to keep doing things different. I think that the overall vibe at showUP is still the same as in the early days back in 2013.

How has the Dutch home and gift retail trade evolved over the same time frame?

As in England, there are two major trends. Concentration and Online shopping. A huge and growing part of the market volume is in the hands of a few big online retailers. Just look at the numbers and try to imagine where that market volume came from. The number of smaller companies and shops that have disappeared or merged is enormous. But also big chains have fallen here in The Netherlands. This trend is going on for quite some time now. It started way before showUP began and lasted until, well actually it is still going on!


What in your view are the most important industry trends right now (can be design trends and/or wider issues affecting the industry)?

See above, but keep in mind that the market itself has not shrunk per se. Off course we have had some bad years behind us, but people are still buying items for their homes and still give presents. This fluctuates with the economic situation. In recent years we see new types of stores. Concept stores, popup shops, although they often have a temporary character it is clear that the people love them. It is different, it is unique, you only get a few chances to visit these shops so you do not want to miss the opportunity.  Next to that there are retailers who look further down the line and create shops and experiences that last longer. The have a whole new way of retailing and are quite succesfull. Hutspot is a good example in the Netherlands.

What are the hallmarks of great Dutch design?

It is sustainable in the way that it lasts long. Quality and design go hand in hand. It has a sense of humor, it creates an emotion in the one who uses it. Ask any owner of a Piet Hein Eek cupboard and they will confirm….. And off course it must be useful and practical as well. We are still Dutch……


How can British designers and manufacturers benefit from exhibiting at showUP?

At showUP they get the chance to meet high quality visitors in a great environment where they won’t get lost or overshadowed. Also interesting is the fact that more and more Belgian and German visitors come to showUP, all retailers that buy design led gifts and homeware. So it is not just the Dutch market that they can reach from here, but even more.

Why do you think British retailers should visit showUP?

A visit to showUp can be useful to those retailers who want to change. Come have a look and see how it is done here. Start your visit the day before showUP with a retail tour in Amsterdam. Meet suppliers and designers. Fly back Sunday evening and on monday you are back in business with a load of inspiration and ideas. Or “Go Pro” and do two days so that you are sure to pick all the brands that suit you.

What can we look forward to seeing at the exhibition in February?

We will keep adding new elements and always try to show the latest trends in home and gift. Expect a lot of sustainability, fair trade, and re-use. These are big trends at the moment.


Images from top to bottom: A Beautiful Story, Madu Madu, Creative Lab Amsterdam, Sagstrom & Co, Piet Design, Van Verre, A Beautiful Story, Piet Hein Eek , Rice, Baju, Rosablue, VanVerre, BierBroekie, Laouta Design