Ivory Coast’s Lifestyle and Beauty Festival aims to bring together and develop growing sectors



Abidjan- In 2017, the Ipsos Social Research Institute carried out a
study entitled “the women of Africa:
a central motor driving the African economy”. It found that fashion and
beauty occupy the second and third spot in the list of what the women of
the Ivory Coast spend their disposable income on, accounting for 14 and 13
percent of their budget respectively. With this in mind, the Lifestyle and
Beauty Festival (LSBF) came to life.
“The sectors of fashion, cosmetics and lifestyle are quite important in
the country, but still need to be organised. We realised there was a need
to create a framework to promote the development of these sectors that also
takes into account the entire production chain”, explains Agara Konan Yao,
the exhibition curator, to FashionUnited. He also notes that this
initiative is unprecedented in the country: “traditionally, we see more
fashion and cosmetic shows, but there has never been a show that brings
together fashion, cosmetics and well-being under one roof. Bringing all
these stakeholders together in a single space is a considerable
challenge”.

Facebook Lifestyle and Beauty Festival

The LSBF took on this challenge on 21, 22 and 23 May 2021 at the Sofitel
Hôtel Ivoire, one of the country’s most prestigious venues. In an area
spanning more than 8,000 square metres where 3800 square metres of
expedition space are spread across three specific zones, there are more
than 45 brands and companies which convene to meet both the public and
professionals in connection with workshops, round tables, stands and
fashion shows.

One festival, two target groups: consumers and professionals

“For this festival, we wanted to attract professionals from the worlds
of fashion, beauty and lifestyle. With their skills and expertise, it is
important for them to get to know one another, interact and perhaps even
develop new markets”, explains the commissioner. “At the same time, we also
wanted to attract consumers. First of all, because in this way, they can go
meet professionals and get the best tips and advice. They can also make
attractive business deals, buy quality products and respond to their needs
and all this in the same space”.
In order to allow as many people as possible to benefit from these brands
and professionals, the festival’s organisers focused on making it
accessible with an admission ticket price of 2000 FCFA (the local currency)
equivalent to 3.05 Euro for adults and 500 FCFA equivalent to 0.75 Euro for
children aged 7 to 12. “By offering this price, we can be certain that the
people who come to the LSBF can shop on location and take advantage of the
articles offered at the stands and in the surrounding area since the show
takes place in the most prestigious venue on the square. Profits came from
sponsoring and rental of the stand for the brands, but one should also keep
in mind that the revenue from admissions was also considerable”. This was a
choice that very much paid off considering the huge response on the part of
visitors.
A total of 15,530 participants were registered during the three-day
event : On the opening day, Friday 21 May, the LSBF welcomed 4,605
visitors. Saturday attracted the most people with a total of  6,220
visitors. On Sunday, the final day, a total of 4 705 persons attended the
event.

FashionUnited

Attract as many people as possible thanks to… reality TV!

The Voodoo communication group and the Life TV channel were behind the
lifestyle and beauty festival. In order to attract as many people as
possible to the festival, the two organisations ingeniously decided to
launch a reality TV program. The idea?
To bring together four influencers from French-speaking Africa:
Emma Lohoues with 2.7 millions followers on Instagram, Coco Emilia with
2.2 million followers, Nathalie Koah who accounts for 1.8 million and
finally, Suy Fatem, former Miss Ivory Coast in 2018, with 350 thousand
followers. Apart from being influencers, these women are known for their
undertakings in the fashion and beauty sectors in the Ivory Coast for Emma
Lohoues and Suy Fatem, and in Cameroon on the part of Coco Emilia and
Nathalie Koah. In connection with this program that blends business,
entrepreneurship and clashes (like all good reality TV), the production
team also managed to showcase the festival and the idea behind it to a
large audience. Through each of their vast social network communities, it
was possible to reach a considerable number of viewers who then became
participants.

Facebook Lifestyle and beauty Festival

LSBF, what’s in it for professionals?
Numerous big names from Africa’s and particularly the Ivory Coast’s fashion
scene responded when the event was announced. This was the case for the
high fashion brand Wafa Couture, which always strives to be closer to its
clientele: “The brand has existed for 16 years, even though we are known in
the country, we still have a need for visibility. It is important to remind
our customers that we are there and that we exist. When a brand “makes
noise”, it stays in the customer’s mind. If we don’t do that, even if we do
good work, there is a risk that our customers will forget us. Communicating
and staying in contact with our clientele is essential, particularly in the
wake of this health crisis”, explains Wafa Sarkis, creator of the brand.

FashionUnited

Although many small and medium enterprises responded to the call, the
organisers were also confronted with reluctant professionals: “From the
first press conference on, big names from the fashion world joined the
initiative, but it is also true that things didn’t come quite as easy when
it came to the professionals themselves. They are sales-oriented whereas
shows are traditionally places where products are put on display. The
professionals have a clear goal: immediate profitability. We had to track
them down and convince them that plenty of people with considerable
purchasing power will be in attendance. I must say that this was one of our
biggest challenges. Some opted to watch this first instalment from the
sidelines and told themselves that they’d take part in the second one”,
notes Agara Konan Yao.

Has a date been set for 2022?
Following the success of this first instalment, the commissioner is already
announcing plans for the next instalment: “We are envisioning a larger
second instalment with even more representation from the entire value
creation chain. We want to have more stands, more participants and more
institutional involvement, particularly on the part of ministers. This
year, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce opened the show, but next year,
we hope to be accompanied by other ministers”, he concludes.

Crédit : Lifestyle and Beauty Festival

This article was originally published on FashionUnited.FR,
translated and edited to English.



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