How was Photokina actually?

Wie war die Photokina jetzt denn eigentlich?

Today is the last day of Photokina. Now it's another two years of waiting... We just want to give you a brief impression of what we saw and whether it was worth it for us to spend two days in Cologne.

We recently explained why we didn't have our own stand at Photokina... It probably makes the most sense to briefly explain to you what our intention was in the first place. First of all, of course it's exciting to hold the new Canon 7D Mark II or the Nikon D750 in your hand, but you can certainly do that just as well at your local photo store. We looked through the complete list of exhibitors a few days in advance and created a watch list. We were primarily interested in contacts in our area. But we also wanted to get into conversation with compagnon fans. Here and there we saw a compagnon bag flash up in the crowd. Most of the time, we went straight over and chatted to the person in question - something along the lines of "You've got a nice bag!" You should have seen the surprised looks on their faces... :-) We always ended up having short but very cordial conversations, which of course is amazing for us... We would like to tell you about three chance, extraordinary encounters that couldn't really be like this. We've had many other nice ones, but these are different. IMG_0134So, we're sitting in the meeting area of a fairly large film and camera dealer and talking about a possible cooperation and how we imagine the whole thing. So far, the retailer hasn't really had any experience with leather bags for photographers and filmmakers. While we are talking, a young man suddenly appears at the neighboring stand with a dark brown messenger bag. We tell the manager directly that he should speak to the photographer directly and ask him for his opinion on his compagnon messenger. The manager didn't need to be told twice, he went straight over and invited him to his stand. To make a long story short. He asked him why he had bought the messenger. The answer: "I've already bought so many bags, they're all sh... not so good. The compagnon is the best". Guys, with a statement like that, you don't have to use a chain of reasoning, objection handling or anything like that. A statement like that is the very best.IMG_0074Encounter number two. Day two of the fair, we've actually been through all the halls and seen all the stands that were relevant to us. We walk past the Leica hall again and decide to take another closer look... Anyone who often attends trade fairs on the scale of Photokina knows that students or other young people are often given a short briefing on a particular product and can then answer most of the visitors' questions. We are taking a closer look at the Leica bags (which is interesting ;-) when suddenly a Leica employee stands next to us and explains various details about a particular model. It goes without saying that we don't have to say anything about the quality of Leica bags. There is no difference to the cameras... :-) Something prompted us to tell him that we also make bags for photographers and filmmakers. Also in leather, also "quite high quality". We didn't actually say much to him. We simply showed him the bags we have hanging around our shoulders... He took a quick look at them and took us straight to the VIP area. While we ate a delicious meal and drank an espresso (it has to be done sometimes), we discussed various possibilities... We can't and don't want to say too much, but the good man was exactly the man who takes care of the accessories at Leica, the decision-maker. And he tells us that he is hardly ever outside on the stand because he has a lot to do at the back. Could that be a coincidence? Shortly before the end of the trade fair, we take a closer look at a few products and at that very moment, the right person at Leica is standing next to us. While we are talking through various things with him (still in the VIP area) he leans over to us and says quietly - hey, this is Nick Út, the photographer who took the photo of the screaming, running girl in the Vietnam War in 1972. You can read his whole story here, here and here... IMG_0109"If you want you can go over and talk to him..." No sooner said than done. Also here in a shortened version. He thought our little messenger was great, we're going to expand our contact, he's invited us to a photo festival in Vietnam next spring and wants our compagnon bags to be available at his dealers in LA and Hollywood... Was Photokina a success for us, was it worthwhile for us to be there? YES! Would it be better to have our own stand? Hard to say, we certainly wouldn't have met Nick Út and the Leica employee, would we? :-)

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