Life Instyle, the premium, curated retail show has taken over the whole of the Royal Exhibition Building with hundreds of the highest quality Australian and international brands and products showcasing their collections to enthralled crowds of buyers and media.
From unique ceramics to cactus leather handbags, the event has all the very best in clothing, jewellery & accessories, homewares, kids clothing, accessories and toys, beauty products and much more, with exhibitor, Kere from Loobylou Candles capturing the sentiment of visitors and exhibitors, saying “This show in particular is one of the most beautiful shows ever. It’s just stunning.”
And as a positive sign for creation and passion for the unique and original, 150 new exhibitors were welcomed to the Life Instyle floor, excited to be able to get their products in front of stockists and retailers.
Cathy from Watertiger said about the first day, “There is a real buzz about the event. I have seen a number of my stockists that I haven’t seen for five or six years. It’s exciting to see them back,” she said.
Cathy has been exhibiting at Life Instyle for years, as have Juju & Co, a sustainable leather handbag company, with both exhibitors saying that Life Instyle was a chance for them to reconnect with their existing customers, as well as find new stockists and that the event had been a cornerstone of the growth of their business.
Emma from Emma Kate Co, a stylish stationery company, said that her business had pretty much grown alongside her appearances at Life Instyle. Starting four years ago on the top floor of the Exhibition Hall, she signed up forty stores at her first Life Instyle and has continued to grow from there.
Sustainability was at the forefront of many of the exhibitors at this year’s event, from Monique at Texcoco Collective, winner of the Life Instyle New Breed Scholarship, with her sustainably made in Mexico, cactus leather handbags to Soek Sustainable Sunglasses, showcased in The Future Eden part of Life Instyle, who use 100% sustainable timber and all natural materials that are renewable and free from harmful or toxic elements to create their super stylish sunglasses.
Axis Toys were showcasing a collection of their most sustainable brands including Fabelab, fable-inspired children’s products and homewares made from organic cotton and recycled polyester and EcoSplat, who create recyclable water balloons.
Lauren & Alysha from Peggy Sue Co, a skin and body care company using 100% natural ingredients, said that being part of the Future Eden section at the front of the event was amazing.
They also talked about the collaboration between all the brands at Life Instyle, “We made amazing connections with some other brands that have given us a lot of help after the show, and we’ve also given a lot of tips and tricks to friends that we’ve made,” said Lauren.
“It’s a community, and the help and we’re all in the same boat. We’re here for the same reason. And as well as being a trade show to sell our products, it’s the connections you make with other brands that are in the same space. It’s been game-changing!”
First-timers to Life Instyle, Vision Brand Group, said that the event was a chance to get their ranges in front of boutique retailers, a goal of many of the newer exhibitors who had previously just done everything virtually through online stores and social media advertising.
Courtney of MAUDE Studio and Faye from Mumma Movement, who had both previously just sold through online and social media platforms, were excited to showcase their actual physical products to retailers vs just sending a look book. And saw Life Instyle as the next stage in their growth.
“While we’ve been able to grow really quite quickly in the last three years online, we also know that in order to get to that next level, we need the help of stockists all across the country to get us there. We are really using this as a way to debut ourselves into the world of wholesale,” said Faye from Mumma Movement.
“So I have been building the brand very slowly and steadily, and it finally feels like the right time to launch a little into wholesale. A few people that I admire and see in stores did Life Instyle. So it felt like it was a good alignment and maybe a nice proof of concept that it’s the direction and the end point that I’m aiming for,” said Courtney of MAUDE Studio.
The fit of Life Instyle’s curated collection, premium presentation, aligned brands and high end, boutique visitors was another clear reason that people chose Life Instyle versus other trade shows.
“We really love Life Instyle. It’s really good for our brand. It’s just a bit more boutique. The sort of stores that come here are a bit more willing to pay a little bit of a higher price point for something that’s locally made and a bit higher quality and handmade as well. You don’t really get that of a lot of the other shows,” said Sedoni from The Nonsense Maker.
Connections were being made everywhere and exhibitors talked about the importance of these connections, not just to grow their business through new sales and stockists, but by learning from other retailers, having a chance to tell their story face-to-face with their retailers and learn how to better improve their relationships.
“So we use Life Instyle as a great way to have a touch point with our existing customer base, but also attract new customers. We’re typically using it now to showcase new brands, new categories and new products. But we love the reconnection with customers and finding out how the market is going and how we can be better as a distributor,” said Chris Ottoway from Telegraph Co.
With Life Instyle well underway, sales and relationships are being made and visitors enchanted by the beautiful collection of products and the people behind those product visions.
Life Instyle continues at the Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building until Sunday 6 August 2023. For more information and entry details, visit: www.lifeinstyle.com.au for details.
Images: Overview of Life Instyle at Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building | Ceramics at Jones & Co | Soft Toys at Nana Huchy – all photos by Rohan Shearn
Note: Australian Arts Review attended the event as a guest of Life Instyle