The COVID-19 pandemic has definitely left its mark on the world as we knew it. We particularly miss the face-to-face contact between partners, importers and manufacturers. Physical trade fairs were the ideal place for this group to develop relationships and become acquainted with new companies, products and trends. The fashion industry is certainly no exception here - just think about all the large-scale trade fairs in Paris or Milan. Fortunately, a huge amount of effort is currently going into realising virtual alternatives: a welcome solution for the many fashion companies eager to be active in the market again, but struggling to remain visible during these difficult times. 24 fashion labels from Belarus and Moldova are participating in an online matchmaking event which will take place on 21st and 22nd April 2021. The aim is to connect the Eastern European clothing manufacturers with potential buyers from the EU market.
This isn’t actually a stand-alone event, but forms part of the Ready to Trade project set up by the CBI (Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries) and the ITC (International Trade Centre), commissioned by the European Union. Under the guidance of Dutch fashion experts, these fashion companies have been focusing themselves on the European market since 2019. A number of them have already managed to participate in either digital or physical trade fairs and are hoping for some productive days in April. According to the co-owner of the Belarusian women’s clothing company Vladini: “We see the matchmaking sessions as a unique opportunity to present our company and collections to the EU buyers and to subsequently expand our exports from Russia to Europe.”
Belarus and Moldova’s attractiveness
The matchmaking days, being co-organised by Export Partner, are a fantastic opportunity to make connections between manufacturers and potential buyers. These two groups are brought together on an online Export Partner platform. Each Eastern European fashion company has specialised in one or several sectors, for example women’s and children’s clothing, bridal wear and loungewear, as well as workwear. In addition to this diverse range in the middle and high segment, there are a number of other reasons why it’s interesting for importers to opt for Eastern European players, They are located close to the European Union borders and the high production process standards can inspire buyers to focus on this specific group. Afke van der Woude, programme manager at CBI’s Ready to Trade says: “Even though these companies naturally find themselves in the midst of challenging times, we have seen incredible levels of creativity and adaptability in our participants. They are now ready to enter the European market and can certainly offer some fantastic products with a unique style.”
1-on-1 conversations with matches
These matchmaking days are an excellent opportunity for the Belarusian and Moldovan companies to become better acquainted with the European market. Prior to the event, there will be a preparatory webinar which focuses on doing business in the European Union. The highlight of these days will be the 1-on-1-sessions. This is where suppliers and potential buyers are connected with each other, allowing them to take a more in-depth look at the products. We are expecting between 2 to 5 interested parties to be matched per company.
In short, the event is a great chance for both buyers and suppliers within the fashion market to get to know each other better and offers excellent opportunities for new collaborations. Interested buyers and importers can register for the matchmaking for free via this link.
The Ready to Trade project is implemented by the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries and the International Trade Centre and is financed by EU4Business, an initiative for SMEs in the EU’s Eastern partnership countries. More information about the companies and programme can be found here. You can contact the companies via the CBI programme manager, Afke van der Woude (email@example.com)