A JOINT initiative by Clarion Events and the Fairs Forum of dealers promises to re-establish the Summer Olympia fair as a broader-based marketplace this June.
The news came in a joint letter sent to BADA and LAPADA members on March 7, which also sets out proposals for reducing stand costs by an average of 20% and introducing a sliding scale of stand rental rates to encourage more exhibitors to sign up.
If exhibitor numbers exceed 180, rates will be cut by a further 2.5%, with another 2.5% reduction above 220 exhibitors.
The marketing levy for the event – a serious of bone of contention among exhibitors last year – has also been halved for exhibitors in the gallery, and Clarion are now committed to a vision that mixes the more affordable for both visitors and exhibitors, with the smarter design instigated last year.
The Forum's chairman, Suffolk-based BADA Council member, Denzil Grant, said: "This is a positive result for the Forum and, although we had hoped for more, we are pleased with Clarion's reaction to our requests. This means that a dealer may rent a stand of six square metres in the gallery at Olympia for the very reasonable sum of £2745, for ten days in London at the height of the Summer fairs season."
Exhibitors were also happy with the changes. Pimlico Road dealer Christopher Jones said: "Well done to Olympia for moving back to its original format of supplying the international trade and interior decorators and for having more varied price points. If they get the same crowd as last year, I'll be happy."
Meanwhile, Lincoln dealer John Hansord said he liked the the trading aspect of the show. "Decorators enjoy it more than the more serious fairs," he said. "It is more of a dealers' fair than a connoisseurs' fair. We are all there to sell things. I like the direction they are going in to offer more lower-priced pieces."
The success of the Clarion/Forum discussions has also been evident from BADA and LAPADA's announcements that they would be publicly backing the Olympia International Fine Art and Antiques Fair this June 9-19.
The agreement between organisers and exhibitors about the direction of the fair gives Olympia the opportunity it has been looking for to leave behind the problems associated with the future vision of the event, which have dogged it over the past few years.
The Forum will continue to meet to discuss fair-related issues and members can submit topics for debate by contacting their respective trade associations.