This year’s Spring Fair demonstrated 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 the average order values going up.

Buyers from the likes of John Lewis, Next, Morleys, Wayfair, Oliver Bonas, Fortnum & Mason, Fenwick, the National Trust, V&A, Merlin Entertainment, Tesco, Sainsbury, Argos, B&Q, Paperchase, Scribbler, Funky Pigeon, Waterstones, Hobbycraft, and Matalan, as well as garden centres such as Squires, Notcutts, Dobbies, Blue Diamond, British Garden Centres, and Barton Grange attended. Charlotte Overend,

Julie Driscoll, divisional managing director, Spring Fair & Moda, said; “It’s been a truly extraordinary four days at Spring Fair; we’re so pleased to be able to report on such overwhelming success stories and 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, to strive to deliver the ultimate buying experience and the best return on investment for our exhibitors. Despite the two-year break, the team hasn’t stood still. We have invested in our people and in new products such as Curated Meetings to ensure we not only have our finger on the pulse of what our customers and the retail industry needs, but also to continually think ahead to the future to create new ways of doing business. We look forward to putting on another retail spectacle at Autumn Fair and look forward to welcoming you all back.”

Curated Meetings continued to offer the wow factor with its super-charged and game-changing way of doing business. Hundreds of focused face-to-face meetings took place leading to new partnerships and connections.

Kirsten McNee, director, Fawn & Thistle said; “I did the trial last year and got some good stockists, so I thought [taking part again] would be another good way for me to meet people. I recommend it if you want to start up meaningful relationships with buyers and stockists.”

Exhibitors from across the show also reported their success stories. David Byk, Ling Design, said: “Thanks to everybody who’s come to visit us at Spring Fair this year, to all the customers, our friends, our colleagues. We’ve had an amazing show, we’ve written more orders, taken more leads and met loads and loads of fantastic people. See you again next year, we’ll be back at the front of Hall 3!”

“This has definitely been the best show that I’ve ever done. We’ve been going for seven years and I’ve done lots of Spring Fair’s and this has been the best one by far.”

Bex Hassett, Bexy Boo

Bex Hassett, Bexy Boo, said “This has definitely been the best show that I’ve ever done. We’ve been going for seven years and I’ve done lots of Spring Fair’s and this has been the best one by far.”

Visitors to the show also expressed how pleased they were to be back to in person trading again. Rachael Evens, Owner, New England Country, said; “It has been great to be back to see new products and new suppliers but also to meet with existing suppliers. Thank you for creating a safe environment to allow us to start getting back to normal.”

Marie-Louise Lucas, sourcing manager, Gibbons Company said; “It’s really exciting to be able to see products again and see the vendors face-to-face after two years. We love seeing the new trends, new designs this year at Spring Fair. I like the App too, with everything in one place including my badge, the meetings, it’s really good.”

Spring Fair 2022

Gift of the Year Awards Judging

As part of its ongoing partnership with the Giftware Association, Spring Fair hosted the live judging of the prestigious Gift of the Year Awards 2022 on the final day of the show. Beautiful displays of all the shortlisted products took centre stage in Hall 4 and 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 form Natural History Museum, Samantha Gibbs from independent gift shop Nest, Peter Allinson from independent toy retailer Whirligig Toys Limited, 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 Museum of London, Michael Apter from Paper Tiger, Steph Briggs from La Di Da Interiors, Naomi Mackay, Editor of Greetings Today, and Sue Marks from Progressive Gifts and Home commented on the high quality of shortlisted entries and highlighted the number of businesses incorporating ethics and sustainability into their products.

A selection of 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. Spotlight was shown onto new, exciting and innovative products including Beevive Ltd’s Bamboo Bee Revival Kit, a dual use keyring for sowing seeds, planting trees and saving bees; FYG’s Memories Candle Collection; Willsow’s world’s first ever plantable children’s book and Sass & Belle’s Cottage Garden.

Although our virtual judging for the 2022 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, Gift Association

Sarah Ward, CEO, Gift Association said; “Although our virtual judging for the 2022 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 at the Curated Meetings area within Spring Fair has 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 here, they have been able to get more value from their day, by judging the Gift of The Year Awards and being able to visit the show. Running within Spring Fair and being able to see all exhibitors at the show also means they see the full spectrum of trends and come to the judging with the latest product trends.”

Autumn Fair takes place from 4-7 September at NEC Birmingham. Visit www.autumnfair.com for more details.

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