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New Heritage is a very successful consumer fair for hand crafted products. It is a homage to quality, handmade and timelessness. We asked it’s founder Moritz Fuchs about the counter culture of hand crafted brands and the new breed of makers. New Heritage hosts venues in Munich, Düsseldorf and soon in Vienna.
Moritz, what exactly does New Heritage mean? What do you like people to think when they hear the name?
The New Heritage is a tribute to quality, handcraft and timelessness! An attitude towards life, a return to value and conscious consumption. We want to convey this attitude to life with our events. Surely, I would like people to think about a nice weekend at one of our events and the place where they found their new favorite item.
You have started organizing a consumer fair for hand-made products about the time when Makers Bible started to work on a publishing concept on craftsmanship. Why did this happen at almost the same time and in the same city?
This made me giggle. Maybe coincidence or destiny? I believe that this kind of awareness has risen in recent years and that people’s longings for these values are rising again. Why both started in Munich of all places, I sometimes wonder. But I don’t have an answer for you.
Moritz, when you had organized the first fair on Praterinsel in Munich last year, and by mid-day the whole area was buzzing like a beehive, how happy were you?
The crazy thing is that I can’t really remember the first event, because the days challenged me very much. I was heavily adrenalized and wanted to be the perfect host during the event. But when I saw the first pictures after the event. I had to rub my eyes very hard and I was very proud of us.
The third fair (in Munich) had more exhibitors, more visitors and a larger team. Was it more stress? Was it easier? Can you tell us “how far” you got in one year-and-a-half?
We were able to learn a lot from previous events, optimize our processes and thus further concentrate on details. It brings in a little more routine, but there is still a nervousness before every event, like on a first date. What makes me very happy is that we have always been able to improve the New Heritage from event to event and thus come a little closer to our expectations.
Are hand-crafted products a sign of elitism? Is it something for the upper in-come brackets?
It is a fact that high-quality products are more expensive at first glance, but the price represents a choice of materials, manufacturing and most important of labor conditions. I’d rather ask why paying for a label that promises something that won’t deliver?
Investing in quality and durability is a way to save money too. Everyone can decide for themselves, but I would also like it very much if we learned how to save again.
How do you curate your brands? What is the door policy at The New Heritage?
We have five criteria according to which we consider our applicants. Tradition, production, raw materials, standards and passion. With tradition we pay attention to the heritage of the company or, if it is a young company, to the traditional production methods they use. Under which methods and circumstances the products were manufactured is just as important to us as a comprehensible and conscious choice of raw materials. We have high expectations of our product and we expect exhibitors to have these expectations of their products. What unites all the criteria and our exhibitors is the passion they put into their product.
How do you tell the brands that are “real, true and honest” craftspeople from the pretentious brands that are spin-offs from larger corporate giants riding the wave of “raw and crafted”?
This is becoming more and more difficult. But the magic word here is to investigate and ask “nasty” questions. Real craft businesses can answer any question, most times with pride, because they are involved in the development process from start to finish.
How do you separate the artisan craft (Kunsthandwerk) from real craft (as in New Heritage or Makers Bible)?
The manufacturers who present themselves with us look first at the functionality and in the second step at the design. Unfortunately, I have also experienced that handicrafts do not always focus on the quality and choice of products.
How retro are the products and brands exhibiting at New Heritage and how retro is the expectancy level of the visitors?
Certainly, many people quickly think of a retro event when they hear the name New Heritage, but they are also very surprised that we also give modern brands their space.
It is important to us not to be put in a drawer, because quality has many beautiful faces.
Everyone talks about “experiences” and story-telling? Is that something that you will implement into the New heritage concept? What can visitors expect in the future?
This has been an important part of our events since the first edition. Through workshops, music and lectures, visitors should be able to delve deeper into the world of the manufactories and experience for themselves what true quality products are. There are some exhibitors whose products and history have knocked me out. Unfortunately, I am never a guest at my show, because that would be my Eldorado.
There are many “trendy” food and beverages stands on NH. How do you select those?
Obviously, quality also plays the most important role here, but we also want to show variety when it comes to food and drinks and invite guests to try out the diverse drinks and dishes.
How can the New Heritage grow? Will the number of people infected with the hand craft virus rise? Is this group saturated and therefore you can only grow on new territories? What is you strategy on growth?
I believe and hope that we are only at the beginning and that this topic has not yet reached the masses. It is often said that the theme of New Heritage is a trend, but I am firmly convinced that formats like the Makers Bible and New Heritage can make it a movement. Similar to the organic/bio movement. But for that to happen we must carry our message even further into the world. Therefore, next year will be very exciting for us, because in Vienna we will visit a new city with the New Heritage.