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It felt good to showUP

Roving reporter Denre Bruins writes: As happened for previous editions of showUP I was dispatched to Amsterdam to discover the latest in Dutch and Scandinavian design. Since showUP can be visited fairly conveniently in a day, I decided to make it a weekend by flying out on the Saturday to visit the great city of Amsterdam so I could have a full day at showUP on the Sunday. As it happens I enjoyed the event so much I also attended on the Monday, the second and final day of the exhibition.

The atmosphere was buzzing and the hall filled with enthusiastic, friendly people. A new development this year was the vast amount of people starting their own high-street shop, a welcome surprise with so much empty shop-space around. The ones I spoke with all believe they can make a difference by selling unique products that are sustainable and produced locally or in an ethical way. Since this year’s common thread was “Conscious Manufacturing” it might not have been such a surprise to see that many of them and the organisers of showUP have a knack for spotting emerging retail trends.

To me, conscious manufacturing has always been important, I don’t have an Amazon account, buy most of my stuff locally and grow vegetables in my own allotment. The story behind the product is just as important as the product itself and when visiting showUP I hear many of those stories. That was also the reason I decided to come back the second day to hear more about it.

Conscious manufacturing is a broad concept and I’ve seen many exhibitors giving their interpretation of what conscious manufacturing is. There is for example Teemu Järvi Illustrations (pictured top), a design company offering nature-themed art prints, posters and utility products. The artist Teemu Järvi draws his inspiration from Northern wilderness and the power of the forest to enhance wellbeing. He works with traditional tools such as the reed pen to create works of art that transport us from our hectic urban life to the soothing calm of wilderness. The products are made of sustainable, high-quality materials in Finland, respecting the nature.

Or what about the beautiful wooden notebooks from Komoni, designed in Holland and made in Mexico from recycled MDF and paper. The colours and laser-cut designs make these notebooks a joy for the eye and a great gift to give or receive.

MORE is on a mission to develop and commercialise processes that transform waste into valuable products, moving us from our current linear ‘take, make, waste’ economy to a circular ‘retake, remake, restore’ economy. They certainly have done so by recycling plaster waste that comes out of the construction industry in to gorgeous stylish lights. The lights are beautiful finished and give a nice warm light in the room.

Sometimes, the worst things in life can inspire a radical, but positive, change. Me&Mats (pictured above) was created after the founder, Astrid, lost her son, Mats. The company specializes in creating the most delicious, out to pamper, all day, every day kind of products.

Representing true craftmanship, sourced with a passion for quality from small family owned factories across Europe. Vegan, fair trade, paraben free, sulphate free. A lot of the products are packaged with lots of love by the hands of very able disabled people? That’s all part of the bigger plan.

With ever rising temperatures apparent globally, two young entrepreneurs, Ricardo (24) and Yvana (18) started Happy Coozy, simple funky drink coolers that keep your drinks refrigerated for up to twice as long. Already a big success in most of the world and soon to be here as well. The coolers come in different sizes (but can also be personalised) so you can keep bottles, cans and glasses cool for longer. Interesting detail, Yvana was one of the finalists of the Dutch Young Entrepreneur Awards 2017.

Another company that caught my attention was People of the Sun, an award winning social enterprise, working with low-income artisans in Malawi , assisting them to build sustainable businesses, while preserving their centuries-old cultural heritage. I just loved their “sleeping giraffe”, although, on it’s back with it’s legs up it makes you wonder…

The Very Good Candle Company is another example of an eco-friendly and cruelty-free natural goods company, focused on non-toxic, plant-based candles. Their rapeseed candles are all hand-poured into beautiful recycled amber glass jars in their small studio located in Amsterdam West. They all smelled very lovely, so I brought some samples to try at home.

Also during every show “the Store”, showUP’s concept store. This time the theme was a grocery store, a sterile white store shelved full of items that look like your everyday supermarket products. It probably was the weirdest concept store I’ve ever seen, but it was cleverly done and got positive feedback from visitors. I found canned food, fruits and more in the store, but probably the hottest item was the fridge with sushi socks by DOIY.

There is one last company that I must share with you, as it doesn’t come more Dutch then this. Dutch heritage combined with contemporary artists, unique pieces, hand painted, signed and numbered by Wood’nArtShoes.

As always, it felt good to be there. I met many new interesting people but also companies that we have supported from the start and are still going strong. Also good to see was that the guys from Men’s Society where there for the second consecutive show and new was Moustard, two engineers from London selling own design quality socks for a fair price.

I for one look forward to the next edition of showUP in September and can only advise you to keep room in your diary for this fantastic event. For more information visit the showUP website or if you have not already done so, sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter to get the latest product and show news.