Spring Fair International 2015 was recently held at the NEC in Birmingham and featured over 300,000 new products across 13 sectors and many inspirational features. Here are some of our highlights from this popular trade show:
On Sunday I had the pleasure of speaking to an audience of over a hundred retailers about digital marketing and social media. My talk included case studies of independent retailers who use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram to engage with customers and grow their sales. All the slides of my talk contain links to the case studies:
I also had the privilege of warming up the audience for Michael Acton-Smith, founder of Mind Candy - creator of the hugely successful Moshi Monsters phenomenon and Firebox the online retailer, who spoke shortly after my seminar. Despite some initial set backs, his business has seen incredible growth. It was fascinating to hear his story and to see some of the new projects he is working on including World of Warriors and PopJam. He's a lovely guy and was kind enough to sign a picture for my son, Sam, who is a big Moshlings fan.
On Sunday evening the Gift of the Year 2015 awards were held at the show and featured a wonderful array of innovative products. The event is always great for networking and catching up with industry friends, several of whom were up for awards including Soula Zavacopoulos from The London Studio and Ged and Karen Mace from The Art File who picked up the award for Best Greeting Cards this year with their lovely pop up cards: Form. The evening was compered by design guru Sebastian Conran.
One Minute Product Pitch
I was invited to be a judge in a new feature at Spring Fair International 2015, which involved assessing pitches from several different gift companies at the show. My fellow judges included Isabel Martinson from The GA, Sally Robinson from Mrs Robinson Store, Jane Hudson from mail order retailer Qwerkity. Eight exhibitors each had sixty seconds to pitch their products for our feedback. We scored them and the winner won a bottle of champagne. My favourite pitches were Rocknife and Mous - the overall winners of our session with their clever phone cover that neatly stores your headphones.
Buyers Power List Awards 2015
It was a busy week for events with lots of exciting ideas from the show organisers i2i Events who keep trying new things. One of these was the Buyers Power List Awards which were held at the show for the first time. The awards aim to recognise influential buying teams and individuals. We were thrilled to see our lovely customers Temptation Gifts win Best Independent Retail Buyers. John Lewis won Best Multiple Retailer and Gillian Leahy of Ocado won the Overall Power 30 Award. I was lucky enough to be invited and had a great time networking with retailers and catching up with Tracy Bearton from Greetings Today and Jo Barber from the Stationery Boutique.
Export and International Distribution
After judging the pitches I had to leg it over from Hall 20 to Hall 4 to give a presentation in the UKTI theatre on Export to fellow publishers and suppliers. We've been successfully growing our business internationally into fifteeen different countries since 2012 and have learnt some valuable lessons. This seminar was a chance to share our experience with those planning to sell beyond our shores. This seminar follows on from a talk I gave in the UKTI thatre at Autumn Fair International last year and was blogged in Overcoming the Challenges of Exporting Overseas.
We also launched over a hundred and thirty new products at Spring Fair International 2015 including our new everyday Enchantment cards and additions to our best selling Vintage greeting cards. We were also very excited at the response to the sneak preview of our Christmas ranges for 2015. Our large Allotment cards were also very popular at the show
It was lovely to catch up with so many of our wonderful customers and industry friends. Even though the NEC isn't our favourite destination, we miss the hustle and bustle of it already. We'll be back in Birmingham for Autumn Fair later this year and again next year for the newly revamped and edited Spring Fair International 2016.
If you missed us at the show you can request a login to access our trade only store and see all of our designs plus order online. You can also request a brochure by clicking here. Remember to quote coupon code SFB15 on all orders until the 15th February 2015 for FREE CARRIAGE.