Gifts Today magazine

Happy 100th Joe Davies!

Spring Fair 2019 will be extra special for leading giftware importer Joe Davies, as the family owned business celebrates its 100-year anniversary. Visit them in Hall 5, Stand D50-E51

A lot has changed since Joe Davies founded the business in 1919 on his return from the war; but he would certainly approve and be very proud that his attitudes towards looking after independent customers continue to remain at the heart of everything the company does.

Joe’s first agency was with Benjamin Parkes selling Hearth Furniture, and within a few short years, Joe Davies as a wholesaler was born with just a couple of hundred lines.

One thing Joe would not recognise now is the company’s stand at the Spring Fair. This year there will be over 8000 lines on display at the Spring Fair. The offer is also a lot more exhaustive than fireside and hearth furniture. General gift, Equilibrium jewellery, fashion accessories, home décor, snoozies! foot coverings, a huge Christmas selection and gifts for all life’s special events are all on display.

It was 1928 when Norman Davies, Joe’s son came on board the business and by 1958, Norman’s son Peter, the current Chairman, joined the business (initially as floor sweeper and boiler stocker). At that time, the company had just six employees and was still based in Shudehill, Manchester.

Steve Davies, Peter’s son and the fourth generation, now heads up the business as Managing Director and has been responsible for the buying and development of the range over the last 20 years. For this Spring Fair, Steve and his buying team have worked very hard over the last six months and more to ensure that they have more than least 2500 brand new lines making their debut at the Spring Fair.

In the modern world Joe Davies have become renowned for their ability to adapt quickly to trends in the market place, making sure that the range is exciting and meets the needs of vibrant and hard-working independent retailers nationally. The company still delivers customer service the Joe Davies way, personally and from the heart. This consistent approach has seen the company voted, by their customers, as winners of the coveted ‘Best Service to the Independent Retailer Award’ sixteen years in a row; every year since the awards inception, Joe would be very proud.

Joe and his son Norman used to travel by steam train and show their wares around towns using a horse and cart as transport for the many samples they would take everywhere with them. Luckily, these days, the only horses you will see are on product. The company carried out its first exhibition during the 1980’s, not long after Norman and Peter started buying from the Far East.
Both events were revolutionary and propelled the company forward. Own label ceramics, fancy goods, silver plate and poly resin figurines, all developed in the Far East was sold and developed under the company’s own brand Shudehill Giftware.

Over the last 40 years, there have been more changes, including technology. Peter remembers receiving the first fax from the Far East; everyone was crowded in a tiny office in Shudehill and with expressions of awe everyone agreed this exciting development would truly change how we did business with the Far East. The only downside was it used to take suppliers at least two weeks to tell you the prices had gone up, now it was instant!

It was also nearly 50 years ago that the company first stared to distribute for Lessor & Pavey, and now are the country’s number one distributor of the Leonardo Collection to the Independent trade. Other brands have joined their Joe Davies range too, including Shudehill, Sunny By Sue and Equilibrium.

There will also be a strong showing of the company’s bestselling snoozies! Collection. Not socks and not slippers, Joe Davies call them ‘cosy little foot coverings’. These will be sitting perfectly alongside their Sock Society Collection of funky socks.

Perhaps the strongest reason to visit Joe Davies though will be to see first-hand their huge collection of outstanding giftware, all in one place at great prices. To enjoy the company’s hospitality, share in their 100-year anniversary celebrations and experience first-hand their philosophy of not making it difficult for people to do business with them. Minimum order value is just £100 with free nationwide delivery. If you are an independent retailer, a visit to the Joe Davies stand certainly will not disappoint.

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