by Karen Alberg Grossman


Erik Ulin
Erik Ulin

In April, events company UBM bought BJI (owner of MR and MRket). So we decided to ask Erik Ulin, UBM’s President of Men’s, for his thoughts on the acquisition and its effects on trade shows and the magazine.

Q: Why did UBM buy Business Journals and what will this mean for men’s trade shows going forward?

A: We listen to our retailers and brands who have wanted a more consolidated market show for some time now. MRket is a very complementary show to Project, both in Las Vegas and NYC. The consolidation will make it a better experience for buyers, who will now save time, money and stress going back and forth (needing only one pass), and for exhibitors, who will get to see more buyers. In Las Vegas especially, the proximity of MRket to Project at Mandalay Bay opens up a whole cadre of opportunity for traditional retailers to explore and develop contemporary product for a new generation of customers. Both Project and MRket are great brands and our goals include building on the strengths of each.

Q: In this disruptive era for retailers and wholesalers, how might your trade shows help solve their problems?

A: We are aggressively expanding our calendar of events and seminars. We’re clearly in the midst of an industry shake-up and we view our trade shows as platforms not only for doing business but also for exchanging ideas so both retailers and exhibitors can learn and improve their businesses. Toward that end, we will be doing more events not only at shows but also in between them. For example, our recent “Swim Lessons” events in NYC and LA featured numerous experts (in logistics, legal, retail, etc) who shared their experience with both young companies entering the market and more established brands. By leveraging the collective knowledge of UBM and BJI, we can bring more content to the show floors.

Project Las Vegas Tents
Project Show

Q: UBM is an events company not a publishing company: what does that mean for MR magazine and mr-mag.com?

A: “Events First” does not mean “Events Only”. We are delighted to have MR and MR-mag.com as quality vehicles for more regular communication with our exhibitors and retailers. We value the magazine’s emphasis on industry issues and look forward to building on this focus, especially as these issues impact our exhibitors and retailers.

Q: What else should MR readers know about UBM?

A: We’re a global, public company based in London and we’re very entrepreneurial: personal initiatives are encouraged and supported throughout the organization. In other words, we’re a big company that acts like a small company. We’re very community-minded with core values that include an agile growth model, customer insight and innovation, operational excellence, standardized technology and a high performance culture. These are genuine pillars of our business, not just lip service.

Q: Could you tell us a little about yourself?

A: I headed up J. Lindeberg U.S.A. for more than four years. Since I’m fresh off being an exhibitor, (at The Tents at Project) I can empathize with the various issues and problems that brands deal with in this changing environment. I’m also a runner: I ran my first NYC marathon this past November in three hours and 14 minutes! In Las Vegas between 5:30 and 6:30 a.m., you’ll usually find me running five to six miles on the strip. It’s fun to see everyone coming back from their night-time partying and very cool to exchange nods of respect with the five or six other brave runners I pass. (I say brave because it’s already 90 degrees on these August mornings.) I find these early morning runs a perfect time for meditation before the trade show madness.