Day two of the UKâ€™s leading wholesale marketplace for home, gift and fashion, Spring Fair, saw the official opening and launch of the game-changing Curated Meetings programme uniting actively sourcing buyers from retailers and destinations including Asda, Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, and Houstons, with brands such as Filofax, Hill Interiors and Letts of London launching new collections.
Three rounds of Curated Meetings sessions took place today comprising a series of 15 minute meetings between buyers and suppliers. Monica Todd, Product Manager, was delighted with the first day, saying; â€œThere was a great buzz in the Curated Meetings lounge today as over 100 new business connections were made. So many businesses enjoyed and benefited from the experience, and we were delighted to hear the feedback from ASDA. Offering an intelligent roadmap to ROI, the future for Curated Meetings is very exciting and I canâ€™t wait to get back to business again tomorrow for day two.â€
Drew Stevenson, Source Specialist, from ASDA commented: â€œWe joined Curated Meetings to get a better view of selected suppliers, an overview of the show and to open a dialogue with suppliers we have not spoken to previously. It was good time spent as we were able to see a number of suppliers in the shortest time possible. We did do some groundwork in advance to identify the right meeting opportunities. The most valuable part of joining Curated Meetings was to sit down with people and scope out products that we have not sourced previously but that are good opportunities for us. It has been well organised, easy to find, and been an excellent experience. I was here looking at Party, Festive and Stationery products, but would expand on these sectors. I will join Curated Meetings again and advise our trading teams to do the same.â€
Carolyn Johnston, Retail Operations Director, Houstons said; â€œI wouldnâ€™t have stumbled across some of these suppliers if I was just walking up and down the aisles.â€
Emma Newborn, Lead Buyer Sappro UK added; â€œThis is our first time at the show, we have a shop in Lincolnshire and also our online platform selling gifts and homeware. We have used Curated Meetings to explore new opportunities and find new brands and products. It is quick, easy and efficient.â€
Mark Shashoua, CEO, Hyve Group plc and organiser of Spring Fair and Curated Meetings, visited a session today, he said; â€œIt is great to see strong engagement from some of our top buyers and suppliers. Curated Meetings is going from strength to strength and I canâ€™t wait to see it again at Autumn Fair 2022.â€
Across the rest of the Spring Fair, the aisles and stands remained as busy as day one with exhibitors reporting a high quality and steady flow of retailers. Lewis Stevenson, Director, The Seed Card Company said: â€œItâ€™s been another really busy show for us with a steady flow of buyers including independents and lots of garden centres. We have secured a particularly exciting new account and have already rebooked for Autumn Fair 22 and Spring Fair 23.â€
â€œSpring Fair has enabled Denby to showcase its new made in England Porcelain and artisan ‘Kiln’ Collections, both of which have received a great response with orders coming from loyal and new customers”Jason Maughan, Head of Sales, Denby
Jason Maughan, Head of Sales, Denby said: â€œSpring Fair has enabled Denby to showcase its new made in England Porcelain and artisan ‘Kiln’ Collections, both of which have received a great response with orders coming from loyal and new customers. Visitors are more focused and placing orders. As with any long-standing brand, there is a continual need to educate people of all ages about the new designs that Denby offers and a show such as Spring Fair is an important part of that process and also enables us to receive important feedback.â€
Celebrating 60 years, Powell Craftâ€™s Sam Carter said: â€œItâ€™s our 60th anniversary this year and weâ€™ve done the show every year. We started off small and have gradually grown into the brand we are now. For us the show has been great, thereâ€™s quality buyers and strong customers. Very happy with how itâ€™s going so far!â€
Mark Sweet, Director, Incadescent, said: â€œWeâ€™ve had a great show so far, even compared to Spring Fair pre-lockdown, more footfall more people. All in all well organised with good quality buyers, our orders are up and generally itâ€™s a good show.â€
On the Inspiring Retail Stage, Jo Fairley, Founder of Green & BlacksÂ delivered an inspirational talk on doing good through doing business, recalling her own personal journey and experience of founding a business during a recession. She said: â€œPutting yourself in your customers shoes is a great place to start when it comes to dreaming up new products and new ideas. Underpinning products with good values is a recipe for success.â€
â€œIâ€™m one of those people who constantly takes inspiration from wherever I am â€“ whether itâ€™s when I go on holiday, if Iâ€™m in a hotel, a restaurant, anywhere â€“ Iâ€™m always taking photos and getting design inspiration”Hunter Price, TV personality Billie Faiers
Launching her new collection for Hunter Price, TV personality Billie Faiers took to the stage this afternoon to talk about her inspirations and the design process behind her new interiors range, saying: â€œIâ€™m one of those people who constantly takes inspiration from wherever I am â€“ whether itâ€™s when I go on holiday, if Iâ€™m in a hotel, a restaurant, anywhere â€“ Iâ€™m always taking photos and getting design inspiration. Adding â€œWith everything I work on it has to reflect what Iâ€™d wear, what Iâ€™d have in my house or what I like, Iâ€™d never put my name to something just because itâ€™s another opportunity to work with a brand. I think because I made that really clear with the team at Hunter Price from the outset, they liked that, they welcomed my input from designs to branding, and we have worked well as a team, it makes you wonder whatâ€™s comings nextâ€¦â€
The day closed with a celebration of all that is great about garden centres at Christmas with The Greatest Christmas Awards. Garden Trade Newsâ€™ Editor Trevor Pfeiffer presented a host of awards to garden centre teams from across the UK. Coming together to celebrate great work across the festive season and reflect on a unique year of retail highlights included Pengelly Garden Centre winning Gold in The Greatest Christmas Community / Charity Initiative Award for their work with local food banks at Christmas, and Cherry Lane Poddington winning Silver for their sensory grotto for autistic children. Other categories included The Greatest Small Garden Centre Christmas Team won by Silverbirch in Scotland with Gold, and The Greatest Large Garden Centre Christmas Team went to Bents.
Anyone entering the NEC venue at Spring Fair (including those during build-up and breakdown) will need to show their valid Covid-19 Pass, or a negative result to a Lateral Flow Test taken within 48hours. More details available in the above link.