Christian Ulrich, Spokesperson of the Spielwarenmesse Executive Board - our tBR Person of the Week

by The Bloom Report | 27 Jan 2022

The Bloom Report

What exactly do you do in the industry?
I’m the Spokesperson of the Executive Board at Spielwarenmesse eG. I’m responsible for marketing and corporate communication, as well as press and public relations. I also oversee the development of new business opportunities.

 

Do you have more free time now that the Spielwarenmesse is cancelled again?
With Spielwarenmesse Digital, we have set up a wonderful multi-media platform that is challenging us all just as much and reaches its peak during the original fair period from 2 to 6 February.  In addition, we have many other projects that we take care of.

 

You mean, for example, the SPIEL fair in Germany, which you took over at the beginning of the year?
We are very pleased with the synergies we can achieve through our latest new acquisition: With SPIEL, we have taken over the world's largest trade fair for parlor games, which takes place in Essen in autumn.

 

Nuremberg and Essen are about 5 hours apart by car. Hardly a stone's throw ...
That's why we're taking the train – not least for sustainability reasons. In addition, the previous owner, Dominique Metzler, continues to act as managing director together with my colleague Florian Hess.

 

Does this mean that SPIEL will not become a second Spielwarenmesse?
SPIEL has a unique charm that we definitely want to preserve. That's really important to us. At the same time, however, SPIEL must also undergo development in the future – wait and see.

 

Do you have a mantra that you live by?
I strongly believe that the saying “you get what you give” applies to all aspects of life, including business.

 

What are you working on now?
New approaches to bring physical fairs and digital networking platforms closer together.

 

What has kept you motivated to stay in the toy industry?
This industry is like a big family – with all the advantages and challenges of a family. Nevertheless it is good that many of the players in this business know each other personally.

 

And now it's time for a digital family reunion?
Exactly! At the original time of the Spielwarenmesse – from February 2 to 6 – the industry will meet on our Spielwarenmesse Digital platform.

 

What is being served up for the industry?
Exhibitors and dealers can expect an extensive program: they can network with each other, exchange trends and innovations, and expand their knowledge in the form of lectures.

 

What advice can you give to inventors who are presenting new toy or game ideas to you?
Participate in our International Game Inventors Convention where we bring inventors together with interested game producers.

 

What is the worst job you’ve ever had and what did you learn from it?
To cancel Spielwarenmesse 2022 was a very tough job. Our whole team has invested about a year and a half of time and energy in this edition and the disappointment was tremendous. Still, it was the only way to deal with the pandemic situation and the fears of our exhibitors and visitors. The greatest learning was that you cannot always adhere to plans but have to be flexible in dynamic environments.

 

How have you felt about the last two years in the industry?
The pandemic has changed the toy industry and its processes a lot. As an example of a positive aspect, digitalization has been accelerated in our company. On the other hand, we also discovered the limits of virtual worlds.

 

What other lessons have you learned from the pandemic?
I have a feeling that cohesion in the industry and understanding of each other have become even greater –among global trade fair organizers too.

 

How do you recharge or take a break?
I have three daughters and two dogs – each of them is a perfect stress reliever!

 

What’s the first thing you usually notice about people?
Do they look into my eyes and is their smile real?

 

Thank you for taking time to answer our questions thoughtfully and with a sense of play!

Spielwarenmesse eG Nuremberg Toy Fair Spielwarenmesse Digital SPIEL Essen Game Fair Internationale Spieltage International Game Inventors Convention toy fair game fair toy and game industry