International Vision Expo East Continues to Evolve
By Elizabeth Johnson
International Vision Expo East, held March 31-April 2 at the Jacob J. Javits Convention Center in New York City, added even more content to an already successful event.
The annual trade show and conference provides a venue for fashion designers to display their latest eyewear and for eye care professionals to find resources improve their businesses.
While the show saw an increase in exhibiting companies, with 714 exhibitors spanning 270,326 square feet of expo space compared to 2016, when 631 exhibiting companies occupied a 270,985 sq. ft. showfloor, Vision Expo is certainly not taking this expansion for granted; it continues to evolve the attendee experience in creative ways.
Show organizers augmented Vision Expo East’s educational program, which offers 320 hours of education for every level, by partnering with Google to offer Google Connect VIP Event and a day-long program including Google Talks and a hands-on workshop facilitated by Marketing4ECPs.
During these sessions, Google gurus discussed how to best utilize digital marketing tools to enhance the brand presence of their eye care business, attract new customers and retain current ones.
Meanwhile on the showfloor, four fashion shows occurred throughout the first day, showcasing the latest eyewear trends.
Each of the four shows had a specific theme, including colors, shapes, details and lenses. In true New York fashion, models walked a path through the showfloor to the Bryant Park Lounge that was designed with a Fashion Week vibe.
Additionally, emerging designers could distinguish themselves in the New Designer Gallery located in the Madison Square Park Lounge, which featured a curated collection of modern eyewear.
Another important new showfloor feature was the Optical Profit Center. Here, eye care professionals seeking to make key investments in their practice could find what they needed to grow.
“Eye care professionals can find new revenue streams, technology and ways to improve efficiency,” explained Melissa Ashley, senior vice president at Reed Exhibitions.
She continued, “If an eye care professional walks the entire area, they should be able to find opportunities to add $100,000 to their businesses.”
The section also included pop-up talks that provided practical takeaways for eye care professionals to consider as they make changes to their businesses.
The creative features didn’t wait for the event to open – a pre-event press preview gave members of the media a one-hour update on fashion trends, including a preview presenting 29 designers’ wares to bloggers and industry press.
“We’re creating a buzz in the market,” Ashley said. “It’s one way this show supports the industry.”
The show is co-produced by Reed Exhibitions and The Vision Council, therefore, profits are funneled back into the industry.
The Vision Council, along with American Optometric Association, leads the “Think About Your Eyes” national public awareness campaign that educates the public about vision health and encourages Americans to get regular eye exams.
At the close of the show, organizers will evaluate each of the show’s new features and gather insights from a variety of stakeholder groups, according to Ashley.
“We’ll hear from our medical advisory board, the young professionals committee and even monitor social media to understand their needs, then we’ll plan for next year thinking about how we design a show floor and aggregate exhibitors that work for them,” she said.
International Vision Expo East will return to the Javits Center March 16-18. The show ranks No. 78 on the TSNN 2016 Top 250 U.S. Trade Shows list.