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8 Giftware Review May/June 2014 *

GRNEWS. Great new stationery for kids

There’s been a concerted effort recently to get children to write again and it seems to be working. National Stationery Week, supported by The Post Office, picked up plenty of publicity which is great news for gift retailers looking for new lines. For too long the

emphasis has been on computers and mobile phones for youngsters rather than the written word and it has been at the expense of stationery products. So it was great to see so many new ideas for kids at the recent London Stationery Show held at the Business Design Centre. Stationery

retail expert, Henri Davis (above was there to support the event and also to chair the judging panel and she said she was ‘thrilled and excited’ to see so many new products on display. Judges of the show’s awards had 250 products to choose from and the winner of the kids section and also the overall best product was Maped with its Jungle Innovation (centre). A collection of colourful felt tip pens are

cleverly contained in a central base so that pen tops are not lost or walked on and the pens never dry out. The colours are bright and the good news is, the ink is washable. Great price at £4.99. Sales manager Jay Guest was delighted

with the win and explained the French company, Maped bought Helix Trading at the start of 2012 and the last two years had seen the brand developed and expanded with considerable success. Also highly commended in the

kids section was the Mum & Me and Dad & Me books by From You To Me which is no stranger to award wins. The clever books are designed to get parents and children writing about the stuff they care about from fun things to serious matters. Founder and

director, Neil Coxon remains as enthusiastic

as ever about the written word and has also come up with another great concept, Rant & Rave which encourages youngsters to write, draw and doodle about the things they really care about. The journal has a

fun twist since it can be turned over for an opportunity to rant and let off steam. There were also

plenty of notebooks and cards on display including Noodoll, a design-led brand featuring a cast of friendly monsters that have been capturing fans since the launch in 2010. Henri is convinced stationery is on the

up after years in the doldrums and that means more and more innovative products will continue to appear.

Maped Helix a double winner in 2014 Stationery Awards

Maped’s Jungle Innovation colour pens were the big winner in the Stationery Awards at the London Stationery Show, winning the Children’s Stationery category and a special Innovation Award from the judges. Over 250 entries were received

from 60 companies and judged by buyers from Sainsbury’s, The Pen Shop, Ryman and Osbornes, and Peter Robinson of The Guardian newspaper. The panel was chaired by independent retail advisor Henri Davis. The buyers were Alex Miles of

Sainsbury’s, Anita Molinari of Ryman, Louise Chapman of The Pen Shop and John Waits of Osbornes. The winners were:

Notebooks & Paper Products: Winner: Spring Innovative Workshop – Woot Woot – You’re Fab notebooks. Commended: Trinity Xtras – Daycraft Signature Duo notebooks. Fine Writing Instruments: Winner: Lime Internet – Monteverde Tool Pen Commended: Stone Marketing – Sheaffer Ferrari Duo Pen and Pencil Set.

Everyday Writing Instruments: Winner: Zebra Pen (UK) – Sarasa Rapid Dry Gel Ink Pen. Commended: Thien Long Group – Renown ball pen. Children’s Stationery: Winner: Maped Helix – Maped Jungle Innovation colour pens set. Commended: From You To Me – Mum & Me, Dad & Me journals. Home Office: Winner: Stabilo – Neon highlighters. Commended: Monolith – Gift Paper Cutter. Diaries & Calendars, Winner: Nightingale International – A5 Diary. Commended: Busy B – School Year Calendar. Social Stationery: Winner: Ryland Peters & Small – Seasalt Notecards. Commended: Abrams & Chronicle – Princeton Pattern Box notecards Made in Britain: Winner: Luckies of London – Deluxe Scratch Map. Commended: Sinclairs – Silvine Carbon Neutral note pads. Special Innovation Award: Winner: Maped Helix – Maped Jungle Innovation colour pens set.

Stitching up hobby and craft sales

It doesn’t seem long since ‘home- made’ sparked fear into any self- respecting youngster about to be dressed in mum’s best knitting or sewing. Nowadays it is the epitome of ‘cool’ with families everywhere embracing the craft culture. Sewing has

made a huge comeback supported by BBC2’s Great British Sewing Bee presented by Claudia Winkleman (above) which saw amateurs take on various challenges to become Britain’s best home sewer. Various projects from the TV show

were reproduced in a special supplement produced by the Telegraph. Not surprisingly the

trend has sparked huge opportunities for retailers to expand craft and hobby sections. And even customers who are never likely to get behind a sewing machine are getting in on the act as the latest range from MAD Beauty demonstrates (right). The sewing inspired

beauty products include cotton reel lip glosses, nail files with a matching

buffer attached and compact mirrors all decorated with cotton reel design. The colours are bright and fun and reminiscent of the 1950’s and 60’s when most self-

respecting teenage girls were happy to party in handmade dresses. The real appeal of beautiful handmade

product was clear at the recent British Craft Trade Fair held in Harrogate where more than 500 makers were staging their products. Show organiser, Margeret Bunn said: “British made and British crafts are in demand, consumers recognise that more

now and this has helped the fair hold its position and expand, even during the last years of recession. I believe the future is bright for British crafts.” The show operates strict guidelines -

only British and Irish produced crafts are accepted and there is a no nonsense policy to exclude foreign imported goods. All exhibitors are vetted for quality and design and new companies are offered help and advice to prepare them for supplying to the trade including seminars at the event. Margeret said

future aims include: “To push the boundaries of British high quality handmade crafts making them more desirable and accessible to retailers across the country.”

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