Gifts Today magazine

Good for Greetings at Autumn Fair

Largest number of exhibitors in leading trade event’s history

Autumn Fair2017, the season's most-attended home and gifting trade event, is gearing up for this year's show at the NEC from 3-6 September with the largest number of exhibitors in the Greetings sector in its 27-year history.

Despite the rise of e-cards, the greetings card industry continues to experience notable economic growth, as the exchange of handwritten notes remains popular for its irreplaceable and meaningful personal touch. As a reaction to our fast-paced age, millennials have become newfound paper devotees who enjoy the element of mindfulness when connecting with people on paper. As the popularity of paper-based products rises, card producers have expanded their product portfolios to include notepads, planners, journals, scrapbooks and gift-wraps.

As a result, Autumn Fair will feature a new four-meter long boulevard on the show floor to link Greetings with the Contemporary Gift & Living sector. The new layout means buyers from greeting card shops, gift retailer to garden centres will be able to choose from the widest selection of greetings and stationery collections. They will easily find all relevant suppliers and enjoy a one-stop-shop experience.

Additionally, new for this year, exhibitors and visitors will now be able to use Autumn Fair’s Appointment Planner online: a dedicated matchmaking tool that enables prospective buyers and exhibitors to set up meetings in advance and make the most of their time at the show.

According to the Greeting Card Association, the UK card industry is acknowledged to be 10 years ahead of the rest of the world in design, thanks to the nation’s strong tradition of card sending and display in the home. Consequently, buyers from major retailers and smaller independents around the world are guaranteed to source and learn about the best products, design solutions and the latest trends in the industry.

As ecological and environmental awareness increases, visitors can expect to see a wide range of eco-friendly, recycled and sustainable materials in the Greetings sector. This green value attitude reflects the trend of ‘wild urbanism’ which reflects our basic desire to reconnect with nature. Ripened greens and crisp mint shades, linen tones and sun-warmed neutrals are combined in rustic patterns of gardening and botanical illustrations, often resulting in a nostalgic retro look.

Buyers looking to source the next ‘must-have’ items will also find an array of beautiful products in pastel colours, often combined with metallic gold details for a subtle yet stylish finish. One particularly popular colour this season is Millennial Pink, a soft-tone pink colour that has been expanded to include a range of shades from a blush to a peach-salmon hybrid.

Striking black and white geometric patterns and bold monochrome designs with contrasting metal line work will also feature. Rose gold and copper remain the supreme choice for metallic details, and they will continue to appear on greeting cards, gift wraps and stationery this season.

Sue Peers, Owner of Truly Mint Vintage commented: 'I come every season to both Spring and Autumn Fair and spend two days at each, mainly to see existing clients as well as new brands so it's good to have time to look around. My focus is on greeting cards and gifting accessories, and this year has a much better offering than previous years so I'm very impressed - as usual!'

The Art File is one stand-out supplier in the hall. It uses the finest materials and the latest printing techniques available to create beautiful, quality cards and stationery. Brain Box Candy will also showcase its bold and colourful greeting cards with bright and humorous quotes for every gifting occasion. Additionally, Wraptious will also be present with a wide range of products from clocks to coasters, as will returning exhibitor Paper Salad who will be displaying their contemporary collection of quirky hand-made cards and gift wrap.

Among the new exhibitors in the Greetings sector will be Dolly Hot Dogs, a brand with a passion for still life and food Illustration. Inspired by the beautiful scenery and produce of Devon, Dolly Hot Dogs produces bold and beautiful wood-mounted prints, notebooks and home furnishing. Family-run creative business, Cardology is another newcomer of the season. With the overarching goal of taking the humble greetings card and offering customers something exceptional, the brand designs intricate 3D sliceform engineered cards. The fair also welcomes card designers Boggy Made This, who will be showcasing their range of original and tongue-in-cheek illustrated greeting cards.

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