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Spring Fair highlights Exceptional Spring Fair 2015


Think big and have a huge vision because ‘this is one of the best times in history to be an entrepreneur’, according to Spring Fair’s main speaker, Michael Acton Smith of Firebox. Just one month


on and buyers and suppliers at the 2015 show are still excited by the overwhelming success of this year’s event. David Willan


“The general concensus among exhibitors is very positive”


of Coach House spoke for many when he said: “Spring Fair is always fabulous but this year it has been exceptional. The general concensus among exhibitors is very positive, it’s been one hell of a show.” Senior buyers from all the main UK stores


were in attendance including Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Selfridges, Liberty, Fortnum & Mason, John Lewis and many more from across the world. And one


of the big attractions this year was the strategic move of Home to the front of the exhibition. The main Gift Hall of the show was also buzzing as was the rebranded Table & Kitchen sector which had a strategic move to Hall 9. Another new development was the launch of


Retail Shop in Hall 4 where exhibitors represented a multitude of products and services that are crucial to


Encouraging his packed audience to, “think big,


have a huge vision and mission” he reminded us that two billion people have access to the internet and the figure will double in the near future. “There are more smartphones on the market than toothbrushes and this is one of the best times in history to be an entrepreneur.” The show also saw the launch of the Buyers


multi-channel retailing. Central to the sector was the e-Commerce seminar theatre and it was here that Firebox founder, Michael Acton Smith OBE was the keynote speaker. Michael first


attended Spring Fair in 1999 when he brought his products to market


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and he described his meteoric career as “an amazing, rollercoaster journey, one big crazy adventure.” He too said he was inspired by being at the show again and seeing all the stands and new ideas.


Power List Awards to celebrate the people at the pinnacle of British retail. Winners were: Best Independent Retail Buyer or Team – Temptation Gifts; Best Multiple Retailer or Department Store – John Lewis; Power 30 Winner – Gillian Leahy, buying manager for Ocado. Already, new plans for Spring Fair 2016 have been announced with the news that its crucial Fashion sector – Fashion Jewellery, Accessories & Luggage - has been rebranded as Fashion at Spring Fair. The sector will be located


“more smart phones on the market than toothbrushes”


in Halls 19 and 20 and will take in the full range of fashion accessories, luggage and costume jewellery


including handbags, purses, scarves, shawls, t-shirts, belts, gloves, hats, suitcases, travel


accessories and iPad cases. One of the most stunning Spring Fair


features, the Fashion Catwalk, will be located


within the sector with runway shows taking place three times a day.


English garden inspires winning ceramics


The serenity of an English country garden and the birds that feed in it was the inspiration behind ceramic designs that took the Gift of the Year Awards by storm. The Songbird Grey Ceramics designs were the


work of the renowned Hinchcliffe & Barber and Manchester-based, My Gifts Trade was captivated by them at Brand Licensing in 2013. A deal was struck after a meeting at Spring Fair last year and the two businesses worked together to make the designs more accessible. Their success was recognised when Gift of the Year


judges awarded the product the winner of the Made in UK award and also the overall winner as the Judges


Choice for 2015. My Gifts Trade director, Paul


Connett said: “We were delighted to be shortlisted for an award and stunned when we won our category and selected as the best of the best.” Nikki Courtney, head of business


development said the family business was started by her grandfather who opened a shop in Manchester which blossomed into a wholesale company owned by her father Steve. The company wants to broaden its base and become a supplier of general gifts and homeware. The Songbird Ceramics are produced in Stoke-on-


60 Giftware Review & Home Interiors March / April 2015


Trent and My Gifts Trade is keen to develop the ‘great partnership’ it has with Stoke’s potteries. Nikki said: “We don’t want to be a licensing company which insists that people put their designs on all sorts of things. We like to talk with each designer and understand their ethos.


“We also discuss their packaging requirements


which we are happy to work on with them, as we did with Hinchcliffe & Barber. Everything must be designer bespoke. We’ve had some great PR from the GA. The next step is finding a major retailer to stock our products.”


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