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Star Wars ambassador headlines Brand Licensing Europe

Organisers of Brand Licensing Europe 2011 say it is shaping up to be the biggest in its 13 year history with over 90 brand new exhibitors, even more properties on display than ever before and a seminar theatre packed full of exciting and innovative sessions. Among the recent announcements is the news of their much anticipated big interview at this year’s Licensing Academy on the subject of “Star Wars™- The Force for Three Generations” with Howard Roffman, President, Lucas Licensing. Few people are closer to the Star Wars brand than Howard Roffman, who has been with Lucas Licensing for 31 years. In this interview, he will discuss his work with the Star Wars brand, the keys to its longevity and the plans for its future. He will share his unique insight into what it’s like to work with the Force and to unite three generations of fans. This session is a must-attend and is a rare opportunity to hear Howard Roffman

address the European licensing community about Star Wars, the fi rst time Lucasfi lm has ever done so at an event like this. The Big Interview takes place on Wednesday 19 October at 1pm.

Also of note is the keynote session with Michael Acton Smith, creator of Moshi Monsters, and the brains behind its ongoing success. In addition the show hosts a Dragon’s Den style challenge called License This! The live competition seeks out the best new creative concepts with licensing potential which are rooted in design, television, new media or publishing. Four short listed ideas will be pitched to a panel of judges on 20 October at BLE with the winner receiving a stand at next year’s event.


Two of the major autumn trade show organisers have reported an increase in visitor numbers and quality buyers to their events this year. Visitor numbers were up at both Top Drawer in London and Autumn Fair in Birmingham by 12 per cent and 3 per cent respectively.

Autumn Fair Autumn Fair International which is second only to Spring Fair International for size and scope in the UK exhibition calendar, and the only show to be independently audited, credited its signifi cant investment in marketing initiatives and new show features as the reasons it delivered a top quality buying audience, with the highest footfall reported at the show since 2006. A total of 32,223 buyers arrived at the show to source new ranges and

increase their product offering in the vital festive trading period. Previewing new ranges for spring was also a primary goal for visitors attending AFI, as an increasing number of larger retailers attended the show to plan their buying, including: Fenwicks, House of Fraser, WH Smith, Lakeland, John Lewis, Amazon Debenhams and Hamleys. A major investment in new features and a strong focus on future trends to help guide buying, created a directional event that was the perfect launch platform for 60,000 brand new products from over 1,500 exhibitors, 900 of them exclusive to AFI this season. 400 companies exhibited at AFI for the fi rst time this year and 150 suppliers from 33 different countries were represented at the event. The show had some glowing reviews from exhibitors. Darren Runnette of Art Marketing said: “Last year’s Autumn Fair was the best for some years and surprisingly AFI 2011 was even better. There was a renewed hint of optimism in the air in the sense that the high street is fed up about being fed up and wants to give the run up to Christmas a good run for its money and retailers that attended the at the show were defi nitely there to buy and not window shop.” The managing director of show organiser Emap Connect Home & Gift, Louise

Young, said: “AFI 2012 will see further investment, as we start to assert the show’s stature as one of Europe’s most important sourcing opportunities for this time of year. AFI is the fi rst show of signifi cance on the international buying calendar to view festive ranges, and of increasing importance for retailers at this time of year to also see spring ranges.”

Top Drawer

Best exhibitors at Top Drawer

Sally Scaffardi was named winner of Best New Stationery & Greetings Product in the much anticipated Top Drawer Awards after a successful fi rst day of trading at Olympia, London. The Top Drawer Awards recognise the best new products at the show from each product category plus Best Dressed Stands under and over 24 sqm. Sally Scaffardi’s fl oral range of cards captured the attentions of judge Bridget McCombe, owner of Bridget commented “A very commercial, sellable product with eye-catching designs. These cards are vibrant, good quality, distinctive and contemporary. An accessible product that appeals to all age groups.” Nigel Carrier, Creative Consultant for Clarion Events judged the Best Stands Under and Over 24sqm. The winner of Best Stand under 24sqm was Alex Pole Contemporary Ironwork; Nigel was impressed by their simple approach which supported the product well. The Best Stand Over 24sqm award went to Authentics. Nigel’s comments on their stand included “From a company that has been promoting good design and presentation for many decades. The sub-brands are neatly and clearly identifi ed.” For the full list of winners visit

Clarion Events has seen a 12 per cent increase in retailer attendance at London Top Drawer show last month compared to the 2010 show. Visitors fl ocked in their thousands to view and buy the latest design-led gifts, lifestyle and fashion accessories due to hit the high street for the festive season. From large department stores to quirky independent retailers, Top Drawer attracted a large number of key buyers to Olympia, London. Top names in attendance included: Harrods, the Saatchi Gallery, Fenwick, John Lewis, Anthropologie and the Conran Shop. In addition, International visitors increased by an impressive 40 per cent. Show Director Raj Gill also announced the new dateline for September 2012, stating: “The change of dateline to September 16-18 will help retailers plan their buying with ease and increase international attendance, as Top Drawer will no longer clash with Maison et Objet in Paris.” Visitors searching for the new and exciting design talent were catered for in abundance with ‘Spotted’ by Charlotte Abrahams. Located at the heart of the show, ‘Spotted’ showcased 12 handpicked design based businesses who had never before been seen at a major UK trade fair, exhibitors included Emmeline Simpson, Goodwin + Goodwin Design and Nikki McWilliams. The talented Trend Bible created a series of popular trend features displaying the themes destined to infl uence consumer buying behaviour for autumn/winter 2011 & spring/summer 2012. Trend Bible sourced products from exhibitors at Top Drawer London for each feature. Key trends included ‘Crafty Christmas’ and, for spring/summer 2012 – ‘British Street Party’-refl ecting the forthcoming Queen’s Jubilee.

Show Director Raj Gill commented on the clear success of Top Drawer

London “Top Drawer proved it was more than just an exhibition, it had a buzz - just like London. We enjoyed a healthy increase in buyers who wanted our design-led offer, plus instant inspiration and chose not to miss out on those unique products. We look forward to another successful Top Drawer this Spring.” 17

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