The ETO Show is coming to town this weekend and the organisers say it features the most impressive list of exhibitors ever assembled for a UK trade event. And the reason that the industry’s leading brands and distributors will be congregating under one roof in the Midlands for two days is 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 – but if you’re reading ETO then it’s pretty safe to assume that you have an interest in adult products or lingerie, and the world’s leading suppliers will be at your service on Sunday the 28th and Monday the 29th of June.
If you’ve never attended the ETO Show before, either because of other commitments or perhaps you might 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 to you, and we can virtually guarantee that a visit to the event will benefit your business.
If you’re looking for new suppliers, come and join us. If you’re looking for new product ranges to stock, come and join us. If you want to take advantage of special show-only deals on products you would be purchasing anyway, come and join us. If you would like to meet the people behind the world’s leading adult product brands, and get an early look at the lines your distributors will be offering you later in the year, come and join us. If you would like to strengthen the relationships you have with your existing suppliers by meeting them face-to-face, and mingle with the industry’s movers and shakers in a formal environment in the day and an informal environment in the evening, come and join us. I guess what I’m saying is, in a nutshell: come and join us.
It’s no accident that the ETO Show takes place 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. 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.
The ETO Show first opened its doors in 2005. Prior to this there were no dedicated trade events for retailers – not just in the UK but in the whole of Europe. Buyers were expected to attend all-singing all-dancing consumer shows which had trade sections awkwardly bolted on – paying the same entry price as the public and negotiating their way through halls packed with thousands of consumers trying to photograph some naked flesh.
The ETO Show was different and the original ethos – to provide a professional environment for the industry to meet and do business away from the public – still applies today. The ETO Show has returned to the NEC every year since, though its format has altered slightly over the years to reflect the industry it serves. It now has as its focal point a full size Fashion Catwalk, for instance. Several times a day the catwalk comes to life, with a host of models showcasing lingerie and costumes from exhibitors.
And we also now have a dedicated area for bloggers, where those who do so much to promote the industry and its products can meet up. This is being run by Cara Sutra and Melissa MacFarlane. and bloggers can expect free goody bags [limited numbers available, so come early to avoid disappointment], snacks and refreshments, free ‘better blogging’ giveaways and entry into a prize draw which has a grand prize worth more than £1,000!
In terms of exhibitors, for the very first time in the UK, the 2015 ETO Show will feature the ‘big four’ major US manufacturers: California Exotic Novelties, Doc Johnson, Pipedream, and Topco, all showcasing their latest products on their own stands, alongside leading brands such as Cyrex, Doxy Massager, E-Stim Systems, Fun Factory, Kinky Monkey, Nexus, and Rocks-Off.
If your favourite brand isn’t represented on its own stand then it’s highly likely you will be able to find it in one of its distributors’ areas – all the major wholesalers from the UK, and most of the top European firms, will be at the show, including: ABS Holdings, Creative Conceptions, Darker Enterprises, Dusedo, DVM, Erigo, Mister B, Net 1on1, Nilion Trading, Pasante, Planet Earth, Rouge Garments, Scala Playhouse, Shots Media, and ST Rubber. While boutiques looking for specialist lingerie suppliers will be able to shop with Alterego, Blue Moon Lingerie, Kevco Wholesale, Music Legs/Pleaser USA, and New Temptations.
Even if you visit the ETO Show every year, the speed at which this industry evolves ensures that many exhibitors showcase entirely new collections every time – and for 2015 all visitors are guaranteed to encounter products and suppliers they have never seen before. Taking space at a UK trade exhibition for the very first time will be APW Trading, Blush Novelties, Buff, Diogol, Drop of Sweden, Fowler Penfold, Global Products, Imtoy, Nu:Fever, Stark Distribution, Viaxi, and Zorba International.
Despite this hugely impressive line-up of exhibitors, visitors to the ETO Show will find the environment calm, relaxing and conducive to doing business. We’ve never claimed it is the world’s biggest or the best-attended trade show – it isn’t – but it is the only place in the UK this year where trade buyers of adult products can meet all these suppliers under one roof at the same time.
ETO Show organiser Jonathan Kirk said: “I was very pleased last year with a record breaking show and this year it’s even bigger, with many key companies taking even more space. The show is a snapshot of the industry it serves and the genuine enthusiasm surrounding the 2015 event reflects the current confidence in the market. There are a number of companies exhibiting in the UK for the first time, which will be great for retail buyers who are looking for new suppliers, products and ideas. It’s also fantastic that we have all of the major US guys – California Exotic Novelties, Doc Johnson, Pipedream, and Topco – showcasing their collections on their own stands. There really will be an amazing array of products at the show. Whether you are a regular visitor to the show or attending for the first time, this year – more than ever before – you really will meet the adult industry’s premium suppliers at the ETO Show.”
Tracey Whitmore of Vibez Adult Boutique said in her company profile last month: “It’s great to go up and see everyone and I would say any adult retailer – web, shop, party plan or whatever – that does not go to the ETO Show is missing out. We love the social side of it, but it’s also a great, practical trade show.”
ETO SHOW FAQ
If you have never visited the ETO Show before please do come along this time. You will be very welcome. Here is everything you need to know about the event…
Q. What is the ETO Show?
A. 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.
Q. Where does it take place?
A. 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.
Q. When is it?
A. The ETO Show takes place on Sunday 28th and Monday 29th of June 2015. The opening hours are 10.30am – 5.00pm on the Sunday and 10.30pm – 4.30pm on the Monday.
Q. Is it easy to get to?
A. 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.
Q. How much does it cost to attend?
A. Nothing at all. All we ask is that your line of business is the adult 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.
Q. Can I just turn up on the day?
A. Yes you can, but please be aware that to maintain the trade-only status of the exhibition we ask all visitors to bring proof of trade status with them as random checks are made. A business card is traditional but a trade invoice from a recognised supplier or a letterhead or other form of business stationery is also acceptable.
Q. I am still in the process of setting up – so can I still come?
A. 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.
Q. Can I bring my staff or partner?
A. 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 please note that the ETO Show is a licensed event and therefore no persons under the age of 18 can be admitted.
Q. Will I be able to eat/smoke/drink inside the venue?
A. 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.
Q. What if I want to stay over?
A. There are a number of hotels on the NEC site and many more within a few miles, including the Crowne Plaza, Hilton Metropole, Premier Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Ramada Encore, and Hotel Ibis. Visit sites like Expedia.co.uk, TripAdvisor.co.uk, LateRooms.com, Booking.com to check room availability and the best deals.
Q. I’ve got another question…
A. If you need any additional information visit www.etoshow.com
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.
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 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, the parking charge is £15 per day. If you bring a coach load of your staff, the parking charge is £20 per day for coaches. 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
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
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
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