Gifts Today magazine

Scotland’s Trade Fair a rip-roaring success

Rain did not dampen spirits.

As it closed on Tuesday, after three days, there was an 8.4% growth in attendance figures and a huge 15% growth in exhibitors, making it one of the most successful shows in recent times. Throughout the Hall, which encompasses Scotland’s Speciality Food Show, there was a general buzz as orders were placed, new suppliers found, innovative ranges launched and a general positive feeling abounded.

After an unpredictable year in 2015 many independent retailers reported decent pre-Christmas sales, so were ready to re-stock or at least re-source for 2016.

Many were delighted by the quality of the products and the originality of the producers, which allowed them to source some genuinely innovative goods.

Across the whole show visitors were impressed with the quality on offer. This show has an extensive variety of products appealing to tourists, locals, big spenders and overseas visitors. Such was the variety that many of the large buyers had to extend their visit to the show to ensure they completed their buying.

The Best Product Awards (below), judged by three leading Scottish retailers, were equally successful. The winners showed how they had combined originality with customer appeal, mixed with value for money.

Judge Pat Davidson, owner of gift shops The Liquorice Tree and Memento M said: “The companies producing goods that sell are those who have thought of everything from design, packaging, quality and pricing and all us judges were impressed with the quality of the entries. The Scottish Trade Fair is the show I can rely to find the best that Scottish makers have to offer. We did 20+ orders at the show and have pencilled in time to meet with many of the exhibitors after the show. It's a very efficient use of my time and my managers also enjoy buying in a relaxing environment”

Food and drink continues to strengthen with an ever-increasing abundance of delicious, original products. Many gift and home retailers are now venturing into stocking food items too to offer a wider range.

A big attraction at the Show was the interesting line up of seminars and workshops. With record numbers attending, they learnt the benefit of Google, social media, merchandising, PR and trends to improve their business.

Mark Saunders, Director of Scotland’s Trade Fairs, said: “We have been pleasantly surprised by the success of this Show in what are still turbulent economic times. It is encouraging to see so many successful independent shops expanding and doing well, principally because they are marketing savvy, price conscious and are keeping ahead of the market in how they do business and what the offer. Equally the highly successful exhibitors are the ones doing exactly the same thing and who aren’t afraid of change.”

Sheila Fleet from Sheila Fleet jewellery, added: “Business has been steady throughout the Show and there is a much greater degree of positivity. We saw nothing but serious buyers and good new customers.”

Best Product Awards
Home & Giftware:
Winner – Dibujo Design - coasters.
Runner-up – Cathedral Cask – Harris tweed clock.
Highly commended – Highland Stoneware – dish and Poppydaisy Ltd – money wallets

Clothing & Textiles:
Winner – Fraser Knitwear - scarf
Runner-up – JM Cooper Knitwear – poncho
Highly commended – The Edinburgh Bow Tie Company – bow tie and Spike Leisurewear – T-shirt.

Jewellery & Fashion Accessories:
Winner – Gist Jewellery – silver jewellery set
Runner-up – All Fired Up – thistle jewellery.
Highly commended – Kathryn Williamson – necklace and Skaramanda - brooches.

Launch Gallery:
Winner – Pop up Designs – 3D cards.
Runner-up –Snow Paw – Harris Tweed boots.
Highly commended - Scott and Robson Designs - cards and Weft Blown - shawl.

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