Over the last four days, Spring Fair – the UK’s largest and longest running trade show for home, gift and fashion – has generated millions of pounds worth of business for exhibitors. Organiser Hyve Group said: ‘A return in buyer confidence and the buzz, enthusiasm and energy throughout the show has been backed up by reports of huge volumes of orders and average order values going up.’

Buyers attended from companies including John Lewis, Next, Morleys, Wayfair, Oliver Bonas, Fortnum & Mason, Fenwick, National Trust, V&A, Merlin Entertainment, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Argos, B&Q, Waterstones, Hobbycraft, and Matalan, as well as garden centres such as Squires, Notcutts, Dobbies, Blue Diamond, British Garden Centres and Barton Grange.

“It’s been a truly extraordinary four days. We’re so pleased to be able to hear the brilliant feedback from our visitors and exhibitors”

Julie Driscoll, divisional managing director of Spring Fair

Julie Driscoll, divisional managing director of Spring Fair, commented: “It’s been a truly extraordinary four days. We’re so pleased to be able to hear the brilliant feedback from our visitors and exhibitors.

“Backed up by our 72-year heritage and experience, Spring Fair continues to look forward, to listen to and understand the marketplace, to evolve and innovate, and to strive to deliver the ultimate buying experience and the best return on investment for our exhibitors.

Lesser & Pavey

“Despite the two-year break, we haven’t stood still. We have invested in our people and in new products such as Curated Meetings to ensure that we not only have our finger on the pulse of what our customers and the retail industry needs, but continually think ahead to create new ways of doing business. We look forward to putting on another retail spectacle at Autumn Fair.”

Hundreds of focused face-to-face Curated Meetings took place, leading to new partnerships and connections. Peter Allinson, director of Whirligig Toys said: “Curated Meetings are great for meeting new suppliers and contacts in a little more depth than you have from going around the stands. When I did the trial at Autumn Fair, I met three new suppliers that I’m now working with full time. I saw a product I wasn’t expecting to like, heard the story behind it, learned how it had been made, saw how it could relate to me, and I made an order. The value of Curated Meetings is the longer conversation: you’re not in a sales mode, you can just hear the story. I will do Curated Meetings every time I am invited to.”

“It’s very good to be back on the show floor talking to buyers”

Liz Ireland, founder and managing director of Bigjigs Toys

Exhibitors from across the show also reported success stories. Liz Ireland, founder and managing director of Bigjigs Toys, said: “It’s very good to be back on the show floor talking to buyers. The visitor attendance has been extremely high, and the quality of buyer has been fantastic.”

Gift of the Year Awards Judging

As part of Spring Fair’s ongoing partnership with the Giftware Association, the exhibition hosted the live judging of the prestigious Gift of the Year Awards 2022 on the final day of the show. Displays of all the shortlisted products took centre stage in Hall 4 with categories including Beauty & Wellbeing, Branded Gift, Cards & Wrap, Contemporary Gift, Design & Craft, Ethical & Sustainable Gift, Fashion Accessories, Home & Garden, My Gift of All Time, Kitchen & Dining, Novelty, Stationery, Under £15, and the overall Judges’ Choice winner, who receives a free exhibition stand at Autumn Fair 2022.

Judges including Helena Stopher from Products of Change, Lex Clarke from FY!, Maxine Lister from the Natural History Museum, Samantha Gibbs from independent gift shop Nest, Peter Allinson from independent toy retailer Whirligig Toys, Mairita Osipova from Wallaces Homevalue & Garden Centre, Alice Brook from National Gallery Company, Joanna Pollard from eBay for change, Alison Paterson from The Gift Cartel, Nitesh Sant from TJC, Jon May from Mooch Gifts and Home, Rita Rooney from the Museum of London, Michael Apter from Paper Tiger, and Steph Briggs from La Di Da Interiors. They all praised the high quality of the entries and highlighted the number of businesses incorporating ethics and sustainability into their products.

Shortlisted brands include Wanderflower, Yes Studio, Marmalade of London, Beefayre, Puckator, Gift Republic, Crafty You Crafty Me, The Beeswax Wrap Co, Willsow, Puzzle Post, St. Eval, Clockwork Soldier and The Bottle Baking Co.

“Although our virtual judging for the Gift of The Year Awards has worked over the past two years, there is nothing like seeing and touching the products in person”

Sarah Ward, CEO of the Gift Association

Sarah Ward, CEO of the Gift Association, said: “Although our virtual judging for the Gift of The Year Awards has worked over the past two years, there is nothing like seeing and touching the products in person. Being able to hold our judging within Spring Fair created the most wonderful environment and a perfect set-up for our shortlisted members. We would not have had so many great judges had it not been held there; they were able to get more value from their day, by both judging the Awards and being able to visit the show. Running within Spring Fair and being able to see exhibitors at the show also meant they saw the full spectrum of trends and came to the judging with the latest product trends.”

The winners will be announced on Monday.

For further Spring Fair information visit www.springfair.com.

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