Everything you need to know about this weekend’s ETO Show

Posted: June 9, 2016

The ETO Show has been part of the industry calendar since 2005 and it has constantly evolved over the last decade to better reflect the industry it serves. It was the first adult trade-only event to be staged in Europe, the first adult trade-only event to offer free entry to visitors, and the first adult trade-only event to showcase exhibitors’ lingerie with a full-size fashion catwalk. More recently, it became the first adult trade-only event to not only welcome bloggers, erotic writers, and product reviewers, but to dedicate a section of the show floor to them, where (thanks to the involvement of Cara Sutra and Mel MacFarlane) they can meet up, receive complimentary refreshments, and even go home with free stuff – and one of them will be leaving this year’s show with a mountain of goodies worth over £1,700.

For buyers of pleasure products and lingerie, the ETO Show should be a must-visit as the industry’s leading brands and distributors will all be congregating under one roof in the Midlands for two days. Not because they like each other’s company but because they want to meet you. You might be a High Street store, a boutique, a licensed sex shop, an online trader, a party planner, or a writer – if you’re reading ETO then it’s pretty safe to assume that you have an interest in adult products or lingerie, and on Sunday the 12th and Monday the 13th of June, the pages of ETO will be coming to life.

If you’ve never attended the ETO Show before, either because of other commitments or perhaps you think you wouldn’t ‘fit in’, please give it a go this year. It’s a thoroughly professional business-to-business event, with stands staffed by friendly, approachable and knowledgeable staff who are there to showcase the latest and greatest products from their companies, and we can virtually guarantee that a visit to the event will benefit your business.

How will it benefit you? Well, you won’t find a better place to source new suppliers and new products this year without leaving these shores; you’ll get an exclusive early look at the lines your suppliers will be offering you later in the year; you’ll also get a much better understanding of the industry by meeting the people behind the industry’s leading brands; and you’ll not only make plenty of new contacts, you will strengthen the relationships you already have by seeing your suppliers face-to-face, in a formal environment in the day and by socialising with them in the evening.

It’s impossible to put a price on the above, but one tangible aspect of the show that should appeal to every savvy business owner and manager is the opportunity to save and make money: many suppliers will be offering special deals and discounts for orders placed at the show.

Right here, right now

It’s no accident that the ETO Show takes place at the NEC in the heart of the UK and is easily accessible by any form of transport – when we planned the very first event in 2005, we wanted to avoid the expense and hassle that big city locations invariably inflict on visitors. If you are visiting on either the Sunday or the Monday you can drive to the show, park easily, very close, and for a nominal cost, and drive back home the same day. The NEC is also well served by bus, coach, rail, and air, should you not wish to travel by car. You can even come by narrowboat (supplemented with a short taxi ride).

If you are visiting on the Sunday and would like to stay over, either because you’re attending the annual ETO Awards Dinner or because you fancy having a few drinks with industry friends or you’re also visiting the show the next day, then there are plenty of hotels close to and on the NEC complex.

If you have not already pre-registered at www.etoshow.com to receive an entry badge through the post, don’t panic. You are still very welcome to attend and your details can just be taken on the day, so please also bring ‘proof of trade’ status with you. A business card or letterhead is traditional but a trade invoice from a recognised supplier is also acceptable.

Who’s who

If you’re a seasoned ETO Show visitor you’ll know exactly what to expect: the Pavilion Hall at the NEC will be a mini pleasure products village for the event’s two-day duration. As you walk the aisles, you’ll find the leading names in distribution, such as ABS Holdings, Creative Conceptions, Dusedo, Erigo, Net 1on1, Planet Earth, Scala Playhouse, and Shots Media, rubbing shoulders with a host of specialist suppliers, including Cyrex/ElectraStim, Doxy Massager, DVM Enterprises, E-Stim Systems, Kinky Monkey, Lovearc, MD Science Lab, Mister B, Naughty Originals, Nippleicious, Rocks-Off, and Zorba International. Those with an interest in the lingerie sector will be well served by Alterego Lingerie, Blue Moon Lingerie, Kevco Wholesale, and New Temptations, and making their ETO Show debuts this year are Adult Insure, Cupid Labs, FunToys, Kink Craft, Sheets of San Francisco, The Bondageman, and XR Brands.

That’s only half the story though: if your favourite brand isn’t represented on its own stand then it’s highly likely you will be able to find it on one of its distributors’ stands, and anyone who runs a blog devoted to adult products should uncover more than enough material to post about for the next 12 months. And they can compare notes while imbibing refreshments and picking up a free goody bag on the BlogSpot stand. Whatever your interest in adult products, as a buyer or as a reviewer, I can guarantee there will be heaps of new things to tickle your fancy at this show.

The business of pleasure

If you have an interest in adult products but have never visited the ETO Show before, then please make this the year you do. The show takes place in a comfortable and relaxing environment which is both friendly and conducive to doing business. Yes the first day is a Sunday, which might be your day off, but that’s because it allows retailers to attend without losing a day’s trade. Besides, the doors of the NEC Pavilion open at 10:30am both days of the show, so it’s not as if you’ll have to get up at the crack of dawn.

Register in the foyer (if you have not previously registered online) and come and join us. In addition to your favourite suppliers, the Pavilion has a restaurant and bar plus a seating area should you need a break. And, of course, you can take in a show – several times a day the Fashion Catwalk bursts into life and a plethora of gorgeous models showcase the latest lingerie styles from our exhibitors.

If you are visiting the show on the Sunday, you may want to stay for the evening too and join us at our annual Awards Dinner. This will be held in the Vox Conference Suite at Resorts World Birmingham, the brand new entertainment complex that is conveniently located just a few minutes’ walk between the NEC Pavilion, where the ETO Show is held, and the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Resorts World Birmingham combines a boutique hotel with 18 bars (including a Sports Bar for those who want to watch the football) and restaurants, each with their own character and flavour. It also boasts a spa, an 11-screen cinema with IMAX, an international casino, and 50 designer outlet stores. The opening of Resorts World Birmingham has made the NEC a true weekend destination venue now, and I’m sure everyone who visits it will love it.

The pleasure of business

The 2016 ETO Awards in association with Alterego Lingerie will be presented on Sunday June 12th at the Vox Conference Suite at Resorts World Birmingham. Now in their 12th year, the awards seek to recognise excellence in all areas of the supply chain, so there are categories for products, brands, distributors and retailers. There are also awards for sex writers, journalists, store managers, and sales teams – the winners of which have been chosen by the votes of ETO readers – plus a further four awards that are decided by the ETO staff.

The fully air conditioned Vox features a giant media wall and 4K screens and the lobby, where the welcome drinks reception will be held, has views over the surrounding countryside. After the drinks reception, guests are called through to enjoy a three-course dinner with wine. The highlight of the evening will see the presentation of the awards, after which there will a live band and dancing. Those who don’t dance will no doubt be keeping the bar staff busy and having a good old natter.

You don’t have to be nominated for an award to attend the Awards Dinner. If you’d like to join us for the evening and be the first to learn who wins which trophy, individual tickets cost £95 each. Tables of eight or ten cost £720 and £900 respectively. Contact Jonathan Kirk on 07786 925080 or email jonathan@etoshow.com to reserve your tickets.

HOW TO GET TO THE ETO SHOW

The ETO Show is staged at The Pavilion exhibition hall at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC). The NEC is quite possibly the most accessible exhibition centre in the UK, located in the centre of the country with excellent transport links.

By car:

The NEC is in the perfect location for car travel – eight miles east of Birmingham city centre, and at the heart of the UK motorway network. The postcode is B40 1NT. It has 16,500 car parking spaces. Follow the electronic signage or directions provided by the NEC traffic team. Once you’ve parked you can either take a free shuttle bus or walk to the Pavilion hall. The shuttle bus service runs from the car parks to the venue during the open period of the show. They usually run from one hour before the event opens to one hour after the closing time. Please check the electronic signage at the bus stops for live information. If you choose to walk from your car park, just follow the finger post signage to the halls.

The standard parking charge is £12 per day, payable by cash or card at a kiosk. There is also express parking, at a cost of £20 per day. This option will ensure you are close to the exhibition hall and it can be pre-booked at https://necparking.apcoa.co.uk/Express.aspx

Should you arrive in a large party on a mini bus or coach, the parking charge is slightly higher. Alternatively, should you wish to come alone on a motorcycle, parking is free in all NEC car parks (excluding NEC Express).

By bus and coach:

Coach services are operated by National Express and Megabus, with over 120 daily services from across the UK to Birmingham Airport. From here you can get to the NEC in minutes on the free Air-Rail link. Regular local buses depart from Birmingham City Centre. The 900 service runs every 15 minutes during the day and takes approximately 30 minutes. The 97 service operates every 30 minutes, 24 hours a day, and takes approximately 45 minutes. Local bus services also run every 30 minutes throughout the day to Solihull (service 966) and Coventry (service 900). For more information visit www.nationalexpress.com and www.networkwestmidlands.com

By taxi:

ComCab black cabs are available at clearly marked ranks outside the NEC’s main entrances to get you to your hotels and the halls of the NEC. You can book ComCab taxis by phone 24 hours a day on 0121 226 6666. Or you can book online or pick one up outside the NEC main entrances if available. ComCab accepts all major credit cards, subject to a minimum payment of £5 and a 10%+VAT processing fee. For more information visit: www.bookacomcabtaxi.co.uk/?client=nec

By train:

The NEC is right next to Birmingham International rail station and you will be able to get to the event without having to step outside. The NEC entrance is on the right hand side as you exit the station, and clearly signposted. Many services run direct to Birmingham International. If yours doesn’t, you can catch a connecting train at Birmingham New Street. There are regular services, and the journey only takes 10-15 minutes. Buses to the NEC can be caught at Birmingham Moor Street and Solihull stations. For further information call National Rail enquiries on 0845 748 4950 or visit www.nationalrail.co.uk

By plane:

The NEC is just minutes away from Birmingham Airport (BHX). From the airport, simply take the free and fast Air-Rail Link to Birmingham International railway station and then it’s just a short walk to the NEC entrance. The Air-Rail Link runs every two minutes and takes around 90 seconds to reach the NEC. It leaves the airport from the upper level of Terminal 1, and operates daily between 05:15am and 02:00am. For more information visit www.birminghamairport.co.uk

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is the ETO Show?

It’s the UK’s only dedicated trade event for the pleasure products retail sector. All the UK’s major wholesalers will be exhibiting along with a wide variety of specialist suppliers from the UK and overseas. Expect to see everything from lingerie and costumes to sex toys and sexual health products.

Where is it?

It’s held in The Pavilion, at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), a purpose-built exhibition complex in the Midlands at the heart of the UK motorway network. If you require more information about the venue visit www.thenec.co.uk

When is it?

The ETO Show takes place on Sunday 12th and Monday 13th of June 2016. The opening hours are 10.30am – 5.00pm on the Sunday and 10.30pm – 4.30pm on the Monday.

Is it easy to get to?

Yes indeed. The NEC is easily accessible from the M6, M1, M40 and M42. The NEC is signposted on motorways and major roads and is marked on most good maps. If you are using a satnav system enter the postcode B40 1NT. The entrance to the NEC is located on the roundabout you will encounter when you exit the M42 at Junction 6. There is ample on-site parking and the venue is also easily accessible from bus, train or plane.

The NEC website does not mention the ETO Show in its What’s On section – are you sure it is actually on?

The event is not listed at our request. The ETO Show is trade-only and many members of the public visit the NEC’s site for other events. We do not want consumers to know about the show or attempt to gain admission.

How much does it cost to attend?

Nothing. All we ask is that your line of business is the pleasure products industry. And, of course, a further benefit of attending events like the ETO Show is the chance to save money. Many exhibitors offer special show-only deals and promotions and additional discounts for orders placed on the stand. Those who buy in significant quantities can, and do, save significant amounts at the ETO Show.

What do I do if I want to attend?

If you have not pre-registered online, you can just turn up on the day and register in the foyer. But this is a licensed event which is not open to the public so please bring some form of ‘proof of trade’ with you, such as business cards, letterheads, or even just an invoice from a recognised supplier.

I am new to the industry – as in, in the process of setting up – so can I still come?

We try to be as open and welcoming as possible to new companies – after all, everyone was new at some point – but we cannot admit members of the public to the show. Even if you are so new that you haven’t even settled on a name you should still get business cards printed with your details on. It’s a tiny commitment and you risk being turned away without some proof of trade status. As an aside, without business cards you are also unlikely to be taken seriously by exhibitors.

Can I bring my staff or partner?

You are most welcome to and it can only help your business if they are fully up to date with the latest products and developments in the marketplace. Colleagues, partners and staff are all welcome but you must all register separately as the badges are individually printed and named. Please note that the ETO Show is a licensed event and therefore no persons under the age of 18 can be admitted.

Will I be able to eat/smoke/drink inside the venue?

There is a bar, coffee area and café/restaurant serving hot and cold food inside the Pavilion – all of which are owned and operated by the NEC. There is no smoking allowed anywhere inside the building but a smoking area is provided outside the main entrance. There is no restriction placed on you when you leave the building so you can return at any time.

What if I want to stay over?

There are a number of hotels on the NEC site and many more within a few miles, including the Genting, the Crowne Plaza, Hilton Metropole, Premier Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Ramada Encore, and Hotel Ibis. To check availability or to book hotels on the NEC site visit http://myvisit.thenec.co.uk

I’ve got another question…

If you need any additional information visit www.etoshow.com or email show organiser Jonathan Kirk via jonathan@etoshow.com

 

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