MIDO: Always Looking to the Future

MidoAt the recent Silmo show in Paris, Martine Breton, publisher of Envision: seeing beyond magazine, met with Cirillo Marcolin, president of the Italian optical industry association (ANFAO) and the MIDO trade show, to discuss the future of MIDO. Here is the text of their conversation.

MB: MIDO 2014 was so impressive. I’m thinking particularly of the ‘Out of MIDO’ initiatives, the Midounvolto fashion show and the participation in Fuorisalone. How have these initiatives kept MIDO at the forefront of the optical trade show scene?

CM: We recognized that it wasn’t enough simply to work with the exhibitors who take part in MIDO. We wanted to change our focus for exhibitors and consumers and the solution was to take advantage of the trade shows related to our business. We decided that the best one was the furniture show, Fuorisalone. It is the most important show in Milan and it’s tied to a number of initiatives around the city.

We also understood that we don’t always need to work alone. We decided to take part in Pitti Uomo (a series of fashion events in Italy), which is so important in the textile business. We created a partnership with them, POP-EYE (which explores the link between eyewear and fashion), with about 20 companies participating. The formula was very successful and we plan to continue with ‘Out of MIDO’ and Pitti Uomo in 2015. 

MB: Please tell us about MIDO’s new partnership with Silmo.

CM: We used to see Silmo as a competitor but that changed this year. We realized that we were facing the same challenges and that by working together, we could give exhibitors at both shows a better experience. We asked ourselves what we could give show participants that they didn’t currently have and the answer was market research. So we engaged a company to conduct research in the European market that will be available to the exhibitors and customers of both shows. The research will be done every six months to ensure that it is equally fresh for MIDO in February and Silmo in September.

At present there are no plans to merge the two shows. We believe that our new cooperation is a win-win proposition for both of us.

MB: Under your leadership, decline has never been an option for MIDO. At the same time, are you finding the ongoing Eurozone economic situation a strain?

CM: We studied the situation and decided that MIDO’s goal should be to offer everything to the industry. We want to serve everyone who attends the show – not just the Italian market.

It is important to maintain our leadership and this led us to change our logo and our ad campaign this year. We felt these moves were important to reinforce the identity of the MIDO brand.

We need to attract people to MIDO and our task is to meet their needs – to compel them to visit by providing new offerings every year. This is the only way for us to succeed.

Canadians Loved Silmo Paris 2014

SilmoParisBy Paddy Kamen

Creativity and high aesthetic standards were two hallmarks of the 2014 Silmo Paris trade show, according to several of the Canadian buyers and exhibitors who attended.

Marie-Sophie Dion, owner of four optical stores in Quebec known as the Eyewear Bar, is a premium eyewear buyer who appreciates “the serene ambiance of this well-organized show. The halls are spacious and well-lit, so all the booths stand out. It is a real pleasure to walk the show without being jostled and crowded. The Silmo organization has good reason to be proud of their event.”

The selection and quality at this year’s show were second to none, according to Amin Mamdani, founder and owner of Squint Eyewear in Toronto and Oakville. “Silmo is one of the top buying shows for my stores and positions itself well as a must-see venue for premium eyewear. I noticed a strong emphasis on quality and design across the board this year and was especially taken with the Anne et Valentin collection.”

Exhibitor Cendrine Obadia, designer and president of Zig Eyewear, says this year’s Silmo was a real knock out for her. “The booths were much prettier than previous years and the stock was more original. I saw a lot more creativity and beautiful colours.” She notes that sales were strong. “There was so much interest from buyers that we were sometimes overwhelmed at our booth. I also noticed more people from abroad compared to previous years.”

Another happy exhibitor was Mehran Baghaie, head designer and owner of Nanaimo, B.C.-based Spectacle Eyeworks. He says the Silmo organizers do a great job showing off the fashion and design aspects of eyewear. “The presentation was fantastic, there was a good turn out and business was excellent.” Baghaie’s only complaint is that the Silmo dates are too close to Vision Expo West (the Las Vegas show put on every autumn by The Vision Council and Reed Exhibitions). “I find it way too demanding to be at both shows and I wish the organizers of these shows would get together and coordinate the date proximity better.”

One of Silmo’s advantages is that it has a larger international gathering of European producers who are not represented in North America, notes Mel Rapp, president of Rapp Optical. The artisanal, Canadian-made designs from Toronto-based Rapp Optical are increasingly sought out by international high-end retailers. “In fact, we have been turning buyers away for the last few years because we were unable to fabricate more frames,” says Rapp. “This year marks a turning point for our company, as we will be doubling production thanks to investments in new equipment and proprietary processes.”

Silmo Paris organizers say the 2014 gathering launched more than 150 new brands. Companies from all over the world are discovered at Silmo, and as you can see from the comments above, Canadian buyers and exhibitors are more than happy with the creative energy of the show.

Mark your calendars now for the 2015 edition of Silmo Paris, September 25-28, at the Paris Villepinte Exhibition Centre.

VEW 2014 on the Theme of the Latest Technology

VisionExpo_4C_LV_tealAs wearable technology continues to invigorate the world of eye care through both form and function, Vision Expo West, International Vision Expo & Conference has introduced a targeted new continuing education track dedicated to educating attendees on what this technology means for the industry’s future, and how to maximize its business potential.

The six-hour Wearable Tech track, held Friday, Sept. 19 at Vision Expo West 2014, highlighted everything from Google Glass to augmented reality goggles to GPS and Bluetooth-enabled frames.:

• The Glass Class: a one-hour group discussion about Google Glass and other wearable technologies that relate to eyecare;

• The Future of Digital Vision and Wearable Technology: need-to-know information about smart glasses and other wearable technology innovations, and how to effectively market these solutions;

• Technology Within the Blink of an Eye: a look at how the next generation of GPS and Bluetooth heads-up display technology is integrated into unique frame designs to maximize field of view;

• Eye2: What you Need to Know About Eyewear and Eyecare’s Pivotal New Role in Wearable Technology: a discussion and demonstration of the latest developments in wearable optical technology, from smart glasses and contact lenses to augmented and virtual reality systems and low vision devices, and how these technologies are benefitting patients;

• Wired and Blurry!: an overview of products designed to increase contrast, comfort and focus for the digital generation.

In recognition of the ways new technology is changing the practice and business of eyecare, Vision Expo West offered more than 38 hours of continuing education on how professionals can integrate technology into every aspect of practice for improved patient outcomes and profitability. Additionally, the popular 10-hour Spectacle Lens Expert track returned this year to educate attendees on the latest lens technology, trends in freeform lens processing and digital eyestrain.

Silmo 2014 Ready for Action

Silmo_ENJust a few days to go until the start of the 2014 Silmo show – the major international gathering of the optics industry.This year’s event promises to be dynamic and diverse with a string of new exhibitors, an improved layout, a relevant program of events and, as usual, a warm welcome.

Around 1,000 companies are expected to attend. One hundred are returning or exhibiting for the first time, including Marchon, De Rigo Vision, Schneider, Stepper, Satisloh, Bushnell Outdoor Products, Budri, and Kirk & Kirk. According to the organizers, the growth in the number of Italian companies exhibiting is remarkable, as is the continued presence of Korean designers. Silmo has also revamped and enhanced its website, with a wealth of information on markets, trends and news about the trade fair.

Not to be missed are new exhibition zones and an improved layout designed to facilitate the attendees’ experience. Stimulating events will further enhance the visitors’ knowledge. These events include:
• SILMO ACADEMY, providing training to opticians,
• FASHION STYLE, dedicated to fashion brands,
• TRENDS FORUM, this year devoted to colour.

New pop-up catering areas have been tailored to suit individual requirements, including vegetarian, halal, kosher and Japanese cuisine.

Mido 2015 Looks Ahead

Mido2015Mido – the must-see international showcase in the eyewear industry – will be on stage at the Fieramilano pavilions in Rho-Pero from February 28 to March 2, 2015.

Last year’s thre-day Mido event attracted more than 45,000 visitors (20,000 from Italy and 25,000 from outside the country) and counted 1,100 exhibitors from 49 countries, representing all five continents.

“Over the years, Mido has succeeded in keeping itself up-to-date without losing sight of the importance of its networking value and on-the-field experience,” stated Cirillo Marcolin, president of Mido and Anfao (the Italian Association of Optical Goods Manufacturers) A fundamntal part of last year’s success and positive feedback from participants rested on the reworking of the exhibition layout. That project, initiated in 2014, will continue in the coming years.

Mido’s organisers are working on the next edition and the 2015 show promises to be amazing.

Positive Reviews for OAO Symposium and InfoMart

By Nicky Fambios


Niagara Falls, ON is a world-renowned tourist attraction and popular honeymoon destination. This past April, it was also the site of the Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO) Annual Symposium and InfoMart.

Over 500 optometrists and optometric staff gathered for the comprehensive event, which included nearly 50 hours of continuing education seminars. Among the group of prominent speakers was Dr. Harry Quigley, a distinguished glaucoma specialist with JohnsHopkinsUniversity, who marked his Canadian optometric debut by co-presenting Management of Glaucoma with Dr. Mike Patella.

Dr. Laurie Capogna gave a well-attended talk to optometric assistants entitled Eyefoods: Create a Food Plan for Healthy Eyes. Aside from lecturing, Dr. Capogna, along with her partner and co-author Dr. Barbara Pelletier, were among the more than 100 exhibitors at the InfoMart trade show.

The duo sponsored an interactive cooking demonstration with celebrity chef, Anna Olson, who created two recipes based on recommendations from the books Eyefoods™: A Food Plan For Healthy Eyes and Eyefoods for Kids. And the outcome? “Our goal was to engage the attendees and inspire them to discuss ocular nutrition with their patients,” stated the doctors. “We were very happy with the response.”

It was a sentiment shared by others. Territory Manager Doug Hart, agreed the show was a positive experience for Briot/Weco and its sister company Visionix, with visitors to the booth actively participating in demonstrations.

Visionix used the OAO show as a platform to launch their newest innovation, the VX 55 phoropter technology and were rewarded with enthusiastic feedback from professionals. “Overall attendance was quite good,” Hart noted. “And we were pleased to make several new contacts.”

The TearScience booth enjoyed a steady stream of visitors which Frank Hackett, sales manager eastern Canada, attributes to optometrists’ eagerness for information on products that allow them to improve the quality of life for their patients while differentiating their practices from the competition.

Hackett proclaimed the event a solid success as well as a reflection of a current industry shift: “We’re finding that dry eye awareness and the desire to accurately diagnose as well as effectively treat Meibomian gland dysfunction is at an all-time high.”

Other highlights of the three-day event included a prize hunt, the President’s Honours and Awards luncheon, a town hall meeting and an evening comedy show followed by a musical performance by the Juno-nominated band, God Made Me Funky.

The next OAO Symposium and InfoMart is scheduled for April 17 – 19, 2015 in Toronto.

MIDO: This Show Sets Out to Attract Notice – And it Works!

By Paddy Kamen


I always look forward to learning about the latest iteration of the Mido trade show, held every spring in Milan. It’s not just because I claim I was mixed up at the hospital as an infant, and really am Italian! No, my interest in Mido has a lot more to do with how ‘out there’ the organizers are.

Mido has assumed a very effective strategy of going out into the world to attract both exhibitors and eyecare professionals to their highly successful show. As just one example, take the ‘A Train to Mido’ initiative. Two years ago, Mido decided to make it easy for optical professionals from Rome, Florence and Bologna to come to the show. How? They booked a train to bring them in on the Sunday of the three-day weekend exhibition. It costs the ECPs nothing to take the train and this year it was fully booked two weeks in advance. Love it!

This strategy of ‘going out to bring people in’ is also seen in this year’s high-fashion parade of eyewear through the streets of Milan, which took place on March 1, the opening day of the show. This project, known as Midounvolto, saw fashion models walking with great panache from the Piazza della Scala to the Piazza del Duomo where they were met by paparazzi. The fashion parade was the culmination of a promotional campaign that included biodegradable graffiti on city sidewalks, along with teasers on social media sites. It was a great success and further heightened awareness of the significance of the industry for all Italians.

Midounvolto was the brainchild of graduate students in marketing and communications from BocconiUniversity, also based in Milan. The students were enlisted to analyze Mido’s performance and advise on new directions to help the show maintain its leadership. Mido organizers also jumped on another idea from these consultants and instituted the Bestand Award for the most eye-catching, original and communicative exhibition stand at the show. What fun! Visitors voted for their favourite exhibit using the MidoApp and mobile site from their smartphones. The prize was first choice of exhibit space at next year’s show! That’s a powerful incentive for exhibitors to pour a lot more creativity into making their booths not only beautiful but also effective at communicating the value of their products. First-time exhibitor Silvian Heach was the lucky winner.

Mido also leaves the comfort of the known and familiar by participating in Milan Furniture Week, which has morphed into an all-out feast of design innovation from several sectors. This year Mido made its second appearance at the show, highlighting the craftsmanship and outstanding design inherent in the best eyewear. They were at the heart of the celebrations from April 8-13, and then again in June of this year.

This amazing synergy of creative ideas, implemented with gusto, results in what organizers call, ‘The No.1 International showcase in the eyewear industry.’ And who would argue with them? This year’s three-day event attracted more than 45,000 people – 25,000 from other countries and 20,000 from Italy. The 1,100 exhibitors from 49 countries reported that sales were up 5.4 per cent over last year. And with the exhibitors as their major clients, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?

Mido President Cirillo Marcolin is already working on next year’s show: “We look forward to Mido 2015, slated for February 28 to March 2. We’re already working on an event that will continue to be a business generator and networking opportunity for everyone in the eyewear industry.”

International Vision Expo East Educates, Celebrates and Stimulates the Industry

By Nicky Fambios


The 27th annual International Vision Expo & Conference East (VEE) held in March reached a new high in attendance levels, shattering old records and attracting over 23,500 people to the JacobJavitsCenter in New York City.

Tom Loughran, group vice president from Reed Exhibitions, attributes the conference’s success to recognition of Vision Expo as the complete eyecare event by eyecare professionals (ECPs) and industry leaders globally.

“2014 once again proved that ECPs appreciate the wide-ranging and integrated opportunities available only at Vision Expo,” explained Loughran. “They see the value of arriving early to take advantage of timely continuing education content and then apply that knowledge through hands-on experiences and demonstrations within the exhibit hall.”

The five-day continuing education program was comprised of a plethora of seminars – the majority offering accreditation from a variety of organizations including the American Board of Opticianry (ABO) and the Council on Optometric Practitioner Education (COPE). They covered everything from clinical topics to optical technology, business solutions, allied health and contact lenses.

Exhibitors also picked up on this thirst for knowledge. Briot/Weco created an education centre and hosted a series of workshops on practice building through technology.  ClearVision Optical encouraged ECPs to learn about eyewear personalization options through the use of 3D printers and colour “dipping” activities.

Luxottica opted for a completely experiential concept, showcasing a newly designed, multi-level booth created to start an industry-wide conversation about the Excellence of Product, The Power of Storytelling, and The Art of Retailing.

Indeed, change took centre stage throughout the show. “This is an industry on the verge of breaking through in innovation on every level,” added Graeme MacKenzie, director of Industry Affairs, Adlens LTD. “Whether it’s frames, lenses or communicating with customers, there’s real excitement in the industry.”

Throw in some incredible milestones and celebrations and that excitement becomes palpable!

Tura capped off their 75th anniversary with the grand opening of a new design studio and showroom in the heart of Manhattan. Industry professionals gathered at the Marchon showroom to witness as the Optical Women’s Association (OWA) honoured Sherrie Rogerson as its 2014 Pleiades award recipient during the annual event.  Optometric Services Inc. (OSI) members enjoyed an enchanting view from the Novatel Hotel’s Supernova rooftop terrace during the OSI “Time After Time” cocktail party. And Sàfilo not only celebrated its landmark 80-year anniversary but also the launch of the Bobbi Brown, Fendi and Jack Spade collections with a reception at their showroom.

It’s no wonder VEE participation rose by more than six per cent! And plans are already underway for improvements to enhance the visitors’ experience for 2015 and beyond. Show organizers have met with optometric associations, representatives from optician organizations and affiliate partners to evaluate educational needs and opportunities.

Several exhibitors are also planning ahead. Paul Storace, president and CEO of Alternative and Plan “B” Eyewear, admits that there is always room for improvement: “While we had a very successful show at Vision Expo East this year, we have committed to a bigger space in the same location next year so as to better accommodate our show visitors.” Storace goes on, “We are continually getting better and promise to have room for all customers and their needs next year.”

The next International Vision Expo & Conference East is scheduled for March 19 – 22, 2015.

Spotlights on Tura at Vision Expo East

Tura Purple RTura celebrates its rich heritage at Vision Expo East with a momentous launch, alluring displays and special promotions. The company will highlight their namesake collection Tura, along with Brendel, and Ted Baker. Each brand will have a section at the booth that will focus on bringing its personality and history to life through enticing visual displays accentuating the collection’s positioning.

Tura will debut the “Tura Legends Collection”, a series of retro-inspired frames that pays homage to the brand’s history. These frames put a fresh spin on iconic designs from the golden age of glam. Revamped with a modern edge, this line offers luxurious elegance for today’s sophisticated woman. All styles are made in Europe or Japan, and feature the highest quality materials. Tura’s “Legends Collection” will also include three limited edition frames.

To celebrate the launch at Vision Expo East, Tura went digging through their vault of frames to create a museum caliber exhibit of vintage and new retro-inspired styles. Customers are invited to view and try on Tura’s vintage eyewear designs from past decades, dating back to the 1940’s through today. Additionally, customers can capture their nostalgic moment in the Tura Photo Booth.

The company will also showcase a dramatic display to introduce its new advertising campaign and brand positioning. Floor to ceiling printed images of the latest campaign will emphasize Tura’s legacy as a fashion leader in the eyewear industry.