April 18, 2018

Optrafair celebrates 40 years in style

Over 7,000 optical professionals attended Optrafair’s spectacular 40th anniversary event this year, held at the NEC in Birmingham from 14th – 16th April.

Visitors flocked in as the doors opened to the public, eager to explore a show floor filled with over 150 exhibitors showcasing the latest in optical technology, frames, lenses and business solutions.

Education has always been a key focus at Optrafair, and this year the event boasted three theatres of packed-out educational CET sessions and gave attendees the chance to earn even more CET points on stands with exhibitors whilst getting hands-on with the latest technology.

Optrafair certainly celebrated its 40th anniversary in style, hosting a myriad of new features that made it bigger, better and brighter than ever. FMO chief executive, Bryony Pawinska said: "The FMO and MA Exhibitions have invested heavily in developing a modern trade show that meets the needs of all exhibitors so that visitors can come to one place to see everything that is new in optical and ophthalmological technology as well as the latest lenses and frames".

New to 2018, the Spectrum Catwalk delighted crowds of visitors as models showcased the latest on-trend fashion frames in a lively, professionally choreographed show. Nicky Clement, marketing manager for Eyespace said: "The catwalk has been a fantastic addition to this year’s show; dynamic, fun and an amazing visual platform for us to showcase our latest designs. The frames and our Video Lookbooks looked absolutely incredible projected onto the super-size screen!"

In response to feedback from the 2017 show, this year Optrafair presented the BCLA Contact Lens Hub to accommodate the ever-growing interest in contact lens content and products. The British Contact Lens Association were on hand all day to field questions about contact lenses and dry-eye management, as well as hosting a series of CET-filled peer-review sessions.

More support was provided for independent opticians in 2018, with the exclusive Independents’ Lounge sponsored by National Eyecare Group, providing a place to network and exchange knowledge with peers and meet with a select number of industry experts. Independent Opticians were also greeted with exclusive deals from many exhibitors.

Networking opportunities expanded out onto the show floor as the open-access FMO Bar hosted live music and a Happy Hour on each of the show days. Visitors and exhibitors alike enjoyed catching up in a more informal and relaxed setting.

FMO Chair Andy Yorke summed up the show: "I was absolutely delighted with the vibrancy and atmosphere at Optrafair 2018. Over the 3 days we spoke with many customers new and old, and we were extremely satisfied with the outcome of the show. I’m looking forward to the next 12 months as I truly believe there is a high degree of positivity throughout the whole optical industry."

Ed Tranter, managing director of MA Exhibitions said: "We’ve been delighted with the response to the event. It’s been another big step forward following on from the success of last year. Developments for 2019 are already well underway, as we look to build on this momentum. Optrafair is already the biggest education exhibition in the UK, so I was particularly pleased with the advances on the fashion side of the show".

Tranter continued: "The catwalk routines were so good, that we couldn’t resist getting the MAX team up there after the show shut…the best thing I can say about that is, A for effort!"

By the end of the third day, over 70% of the show floor for the 2019 event was already sold. Make sure to not to miss next year’s show: Optrafair returns to the NEC from the 30 March – 1 April 2019. http://www.optrafair.co.uk/

About MA Exhibitions

MA Exhibitions was established in 2015 to house the Mark Allen Group’s growing portfolio of exhibitions. Through our market-leading brands, MA Exhibitions now organises some of the UK’s largest trade shows in their markets, including the Engineering Design Show, Nursery World Show, Manufacturing & Engineering North-East, Manufacturing Management Show, Packaged and Dental Showcase. Many of our shows have been recognised for their success, innovation and customer experience.

We have a highly talented team of exhibition professionals, who have years of years of experience in organising award-winning exhibitions. Our teams are embedded in their markets. As a result, associations and organisations ask to partner with us to help them deliver world-class service and execution of their events.

For further information, contact Rikki Bhachu, Head of Marketing, MA Exhibitions on email: rikki.bhachu@markallengroup.com or tel: 020 7738 5454

MA Exhibitions
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road,
London, SE24 0PB
Registered in England. No. 02120366

About the FMO

FMO (The Federation of Manufacturing Opticians), the voice of the UK optical industry, which has been established since 1917, remains as relevant to the world of optics today as when the organisation was first set up. Representing everyone involved in the optical industry, whether their business is concerned with equipment, lenses, frames, service provision, or supply and distribution.

As well as being the voice of the UK optical industry, The FMO also work closely with the other optical bodies as a founder member of the Optical Confederation which is the voice of the whole optical sector. The FMO are proud to be part of Optrafair, an internationally respected exhibition which is the launch pad for all that is new and exciting within the UK optical industry.

For further information, contact Bryony Pawinska, Chief Executive, FMO on email: bryonypawinska@fmo.co.uk or tel: 020 7298 5123

The Federation of Manufacturing Opticians
199 Gloucester Terrace,
London W2 6LD
Registered in England. No. 04506054