Gifts Today magazine

Spring Fair was' immense success'

Over 2000 exhibitors built relationships and signed deals with retails biggest players at Spring Fair 2019, as the industry continues to push to defy expectations, say organisers

Over 600 new exhibitors showcased their ranges to a growing number of top tier buyers, allowing them to get their hands on the products set to drive sales and profit throughout 2019’s major selling periods.

The show saw buyers attending from big-name, tier one brands, including the likes of M&S, Topshop, ASOS,, Liberty, The White Company, Wayfair, John Lewis and Selfridges.

The quality of buyers attending the fair ensured strong results for both retailers and exhibitors alike, with more connections made and more quality products sourced than ever before. As a show of confidence in the sector as a whole, a significant number of exhibitors have already rebooked for 2020.

Julie Driscoll, Managing Director, Spring & Autumn Fair said: 'In spite of a mixed Christmas trading period and continued Brexit uncertainty, Spring Fair 2019 has been an immense success. We’ve enabled more connections, more sales and helped forge deeper business relationships across our sectors. We’ve brought together thousands of buyers and exhibitors to prove that retail is indeed resilient, prepared and well-equipped in the face of the year ahead.'

At the show, a leading line-up of the best and brightest from the industry took to the stage at the fair’s three live theatres. Speakers from Louis Vuitton, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Green and Blacks and Insider Trends all provided new ideas, insight and inspiration for the year ahead, focusing on topics including driving profit, ethical consumption, SEO and social media strategies. Buyers gained valuable market insights and updates on current trends that are driving consumer spending.

Throughout the event, visitors were able to explore the show’s expanded First showcases, designed to support unique and first-time exhibiting brands and spotlight the most individual and intriguing new businesses across specific sectors. TasteFirst, ToyFirst and NurseryFirst all debuted at the show alongside the returning FashionFirst and DesignFirst, which premiered at Autumn Fair 2018.

With sustainability high on the Spring Fair agenda, as well as the social consciousness of the public at large, retailers and buyers were encouraged to pledge their sustainable individual or business change as part of the event’s Power of One campaign. The initiative saw visitors and exhibitors commit to stopping the usage of single-use bottles and straws, cutting down on packaging, reusing shopping bags and more. Attendees sharing their pledges on social media alongside images of recycled furniture on display were awarded with a sustainable MyBento hydration bottle, donated by exhibitor Summit International.

The increased demand from retailers to identify and supply ethically-sourced and sustainable products was further confirmed with exhibitor launches of eco solutions on offer across the show in support of this growing trend.

To further the ethical discussions, visitors to the main stage on Sunday also had the opportunity to hear about the growing Power of One movement, from new Spring Fair Managing Director Julie Driscoll and broadcaster and fashion commentator Caryn Franklin MBE (pictured). They joined forces for a dedicated speaker session on the growing movement, summarising what the campaign means, and how retailers are embracing the philosophy.

Caryn tweeted ahead of the talk: 'Thrilled to be #springautumnfair to make my #PowerofOne pledge. I’m talking about the power of each of us to commit to small changes so that collectively we can play a part on environmental justice.'

Talking about Spring Fair’s new sustainability commitments, Julie commented: 'With this year’s show we really wanted to embrace growing consumer demand for a greater choice of sustainable and ethically sourced products, with a new commitment to supporting retailers and exhibitors who want to do more for the environment. Those retailers looking for products aligning with this trend were able to get their hands on new products from across the show which launched with this very trend in mind.'

Across key 2019 sectors, feedback was positive, with exhibitors reporting increased interest and strong footfall.

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