Record visitor numbers and plenty of style opened the events season.
The UK’s largest optical trade show, 100% Optical, dazzled visitors and exhibitors at its biggest and best show yet.
Business boomed for exhibitors over the three days, with record numbers of delegates attending the London show between 4-6 February. Visitors left feeling inspired by the world class education programme, energised by the fashion forward catwalk shows and excited to hear first about hundreds of new product launches.
The show’s event director, Nathan Garnett, is delighted to have broken last year’s attendance figures and tells us why he believes it has been so successful in its fourth year.
“100% Optical really has cemented itself as the optical event of the year by bringing the industry together to learn, be inspired, do business, network and have fun all under one roof,” said Nathan.
“We’re honoured to have supported the prestigious AOP Awards for the first time and always proud to provide a platform for the next generation of young designers to kick-start their career by entering our eyewear design competition in partnership with the Royal College of Art.
“The show housed over 175,000 different eyewear frames and saw more than 75 new brands exhibiting for the first time. Feedback indicates that this rapid growth is set to continue in 2018 with more and more companies seeing 100% Optical as the platform to launch products to an international audience. A record number of exhibitors have already pre-booked for 2018.
UK sales manager Andy Patchett at Mondottica was upbeat and positive. “The show is vibrant and I like the location. Most opticians like to come here for a weekend break. We’ve had visitors from Ireland and Scotland and we’ve done good business from the early hours of the show. This is the show for lots of launches and we are very happy to support it. We’ve had a lot of interest in our Karen Millen sunglasses, and in Marimekko, our exclusive niche product for independents. Ted Baker consistently out-performs as does Hackett Bespoke, born in this fine city of London.”
Associated Optical launched e-Sight, the new generation of electronic eyewear. Director Stuart Baldwin said: “I love this show. We’ve supported it since its inception. There’s a nice vibe. It’s the obvious place to launch something this important into Europe, as all of the professionals are here.”
100% Optical set another new record, by offering over 120 CET points with its fully comprehensive education programme which supported and inspired the whole practice team including optical assistants.
Commenting on the education programme, Dr Ian Beasley, AOP head of education, said, “It’s the first time we’ve put together an education programme so broad. It offered something for everyone with new seminars to help develop optical assistants.
“We identified a gap in education for the wider optical support team and decided to address it. It’s proved to be a big success with sessions very well attended so we’re planning to build the concept of ‘education for all’ further next year.
“Teams have attended the 100% Optical en masse and we firmly believe that offering seminars to optical assistants will help build the foundations of a solid practice team.”
The UK’s leading eye research charity and the show’s charity partner since 2015, Fight for Sight, also provided talks from industry experts and arranged a number of fundraising initiatives including the #BlinkWinkThink social media selfie campaign and the famous Fight for Sight Rock-a-oke party.
Hannah Cosh, Head of Fundraising at Fight for Sight said: “We are grateful to 100% Optical and the AOP for allowing members of the Fight for Sight Speakers Network to raise the importance of eye research. The funds raised from the show will continue to help support our ongoing mission to stop sight loss in its tracks and we’re grateful to everyone that has supported us. You can still donate by texting BWTC17 £3 to 70070.”
100% Optical will be back 27-29 January 2018, save the date!