Trade show season is now pen and with so many tightly squeezed in two months there is so much to think about, whether you are an artist or a retailer. So, I decided to do a little round up of the most important ones in the UK and some abroad.
Everybody from the supplier side of retail knows that Christmas is the golden time for retailers (sometimes accounting up to 20% of their business) and January and February is the Christmas time for suppliers. In the greeting card and gift industry the Spring Season is when everybody shows up their sleeves their most exciting everyday designs, i.e. the products they are going to sell throughout the year. In order the suppliers to meet the retailers, ‘trade only’ shows come into place. They would normally be attended by buyers from department stores, multiples, mail-order, online, tourist attractions and independent retail outlets.
First up is Giving and Living, down in Exeter where 500 companies display their products to around 7000 trade buyers. The show has strong coastal and tourist feel and this year it runs 11-14 January 2015.
Next one is Top Drawer, which sees over 800 leaders in UK and international design, who are all pre-selected for only the best suppliers, the ones combining great design with commercial acumen. As it is located in London, it attracts strong following of trendy, design-led retailers and upmarket galleries and luxury multiples. This year it runs 11-13 January 2015. You have now guessed right that as an exhibitor or visitor, unless you have several employees, you can’t possibly exhibit at both shows mentioned above.
We launched our publishing business at Top Drawer in 2013 and it is said that you never forget the first of everything. It is certainly true, we had an absolutely amazing show! This was our stand when we just finished setting it up.
Wales is also running its own Welsh Trade Gift Fair (Llandudno) from 18-21 January 2015 but at time of writing there are ~40 exhibitors, so my best guess is that it is suitable for the welsh market only and not a massive one.
The Scottish Gift Trade Fair is in Glasgow and this year it runs 18-20 January 2015 and is heavily influenced by all things Scottish, as you can imagine. Over 500 companies exhibit thousands of products across 3 areas, so if you love to design and make puffins, tartans, shortbread etc. around 5000 trade buyers will hopefully see them.
Undoubtedly the biggest trade show in the UK is Spring Fair, at the NEC in Birmingham and it’ll be in a couple of days running 01-05 February 2015 (the image at the top of the post is our first exhibition at Spring Fair in 2014). It is massive as 3000 exhibitors would be there and the show normally attracts 70,000 retailers (from the UK and abroad), so if you have missed the other shows, this one is definitely not to be missed. The show is famous for having anybody and everybody as there is no pre-selection criteria, which makes it very easy to enter the exhibition arena. We will be returning again and if you are reading this post and planning a visit, we would love you to pencil stand 4J05. Until then, this is our show profile and we hope you like what you see.
Hope this post was helpful for your planning and in the next one I will round up the new ranges we are showing at Spring Fair.