Musings on NeoCon 2016
NeoCon 2016, held June 13-15 in Chicago, is a major event for manufacturers and distributors of a variety of contract FF&E products. Everything from coated fabrics and textiles to furniture systems and carpet are shown in a series of showrooms or temporary booths.
Some of us have attended for many years; other attendees are often newer to the field and may have enjoyed their first experience at NeoCon. It encompasses many floors of The Mart (the iconic building on the Chicago River formerly known as the Merchandise Mart) and often showcases the newest products and introductions. It provides a sense of what is and will be trending over the next year. Some interesting design trends emerged. Plaids were in vogue and sustainable and renewable products made big splashes. Most exhibitors were trying to showcase healthcare products to the forefront as this is the fastest growing segment for vinyl upholstery products. During recent years, due to the economy, attendance has been lower and many showrooms did the minimum in renovation. This year, spirits seemed brighter. There were more attendees than in recent years, and many showrooms had renovated in order to provide the most beneficial setting for new products. Many of Spradling’s distributors showcased new proprietary or open line products that we have recently debuted. There is a great sense of pride when you visit a showroom and see a Spradling coated fabric being admired by members of the A&D community! Several of our distributors received excellent press in the Show Daily that showcased Spradling-made products as well! NeoCon is also a challenge in logistically planning as the elevators are jammed, stairs are crowded and sore feet must be accommodated at all costs! From my years of experience, the best strategy is to go up in the elevator just to get down. Next year I’ll be marketing t-shirts that say “At NeoCon, to get down you must go up!” Gleefully looking forward to seeing everyone at NeoCon 2017.