International Vision Expo East Looks Chic at 30
By Elizabeth Johnson
Whether you see eyewear as a fashion accessory or functional tool, you could find it on display on the floor of International Vision Expo East at New York’s Jacob J. Javits Center April 14-17. This year, the event celebrated its 30th anniversary.
“We held a champagne toast on Friday afternoon which gave a very celebratory feel to the opening of the show,” said Ashley Mills, vice president of Trade Shows & Meetings, The Vision Council.
The event, which caters to the entire industry of optometrists, opticians, practice managers, eyewear designers and others, saw high attendance this year. In fact, it was on par with recording-setting years of 2012 and 2014, with about 16,000 professionals in attendance.
The industry combines the unique fields of fashion design and medicine and Vision Expo excels at presenting this juxtaposition of needs to its audience. Special exhibit hall zones, the Underground and Galleria, stand out with white and hot pink aisle carpet, respectively, and feature celebrity eyewear brands and chic designs. The rest of the floor showcases the latest trends in everything eye professionals need.
In addition to the Exhibit Hall, Vision Expo East delivers 350 hours of intensive education for vision doctors covering issues in clinical, optical technology and business solutions education.
“We showcase brilliant, creative designers and promote different ranges and options,” Mills said.
In order to meet its audiences’ needs, Vision Expo East continues to evolve. This year, it launched a new buyer program to help the attendees navigate through 650 exhibitors representing more than 5,000 brands. The program was designed to be seamless, convenient and help buyers feel good about purchasing.
Also new were Take 30 Lounges scattered throughout the event. These posh, modern-looking lounges complete with iPads offered show participants a comfortable place to take a break, charge their devices, hold meetings or network without leaving the exhibit hall.
Finally, this year was the first time Vision Expo East’s social media zone was sponsored. The zone gave attendees a place to charge their phones, access free Wi-Fi and post or see selfies on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Google+. The show also utilized Snapchat filters on Friday and Saturday. The zone is one feature for engaging a younger audience.
“We are always trying to innovate. We are a platform for what’s new in the industry,” Mills said.
The show is a strong supporter of Think About Your Eyes, a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of vision health and annual eye exams.
“The success of Vision Expo is what makes programs like Think About Your Eyes and others possible,” Mills explains. “International Vision Expo brings together the entire industry to support, strengthen and grow the optical community. Think About Your Eyes allows the entire industry to have collective impact, reaching consumers and affecting their behavior. Ultimately, together, we are connecting consumers with optometrists to improve their vision health.”
“The show is moving the needle, driving people to get an eye exam,” she added.
International Vision Expo East is co-owned by Reed Exhibitions and The Vision Council. The next event will be held March 30-April 2, 2017, at the Javits Center. International Vision Expo West will be held Sept. 14-17 in Las Vegas.