Gifts Today magazine

Spring Fair now open!

With the Dining section featuring its strongest lineup of recent years, and with international exhibitors like Beatriz Ball debuting, Spring Fair 2017 has opened its doors and will run through February 9

The 2017 edition of Spring Fair is has returned to Birmingham’s NEC, running now until February 9, 2017, with the largest Home section in its 67-year history, a new DIY section, appearances from high-profile keynote speakers, including Mary Portas, brand-new masterclasses on store design, and more exhibitors from outside the UK than ever before, including design brand Beatriz Ball.

With 14 sectors on offer, delivering some 2,500 exhibitors, retailers – from multiples to independents to online retailers - can discover the latest creative designs and get a taste for the trends impacting their category.

Dining on the up
In Hall 9, the Kitchen, Dining and Housewares section brings together a diverse mix of suppliers offering tableware, wine accessories, cookware, bakeware, kitchen gifts, SDAs and storage.

“The exhibitors in Kitchen, Dining & Housewares make up almost 10 per cent of the overall show numbers,” says Nick Davison, portfolio director, “but that doesn’t include all the exhibitors in different halls that also have tableware and kitchenware offerings, from gift-focused mugs, to licensed cookware lines – so the actual number that cater for this market is even higher.

“At Spring Fair, we’ve enjoyed great success in bringing key suppliers and manufacturers back into the show for 2017,” says Nick, adding “this section has one of the strongest line-ups of recent years”.

Companies such as Le Creuset will show for the first time in a decade, while American award-winning artisan-made tableware company Beatriz Ball will make its Spring Fair debut. Sabichi will return to Spring Fair with a much-bigger stand, while textiles tableware company Turner Bianca, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, is making its Spring Fair debut.

“We’ve seen a discernable pattern of international companies looking to use Spring Fair as their Launchpad into the UK market,” says Nick. “Within this section, we’ve already confirmed the participation of brands from Australia, Turkey and America, and a host of others from European countries like Denmark, Spain and Holland. There has never been a better time for international companies to get into the market here.”

Nick says they are also starting to see existing exhibitors move into Kitchen, Dining & Housewares as it has strengthened – “the likes of Jersey Pottery and Navigate, and buyers can now find them in Hall 9 alongside the likes of Portmeirion, Churchill China, Meyer and Sabichi for the first time in years.”

These join a stellar line-up of tabletop exhibitors, including Denby Brands, Churchill China, Portmeirion, Jersey Pottery, Navigate, Sabichi, T&G Woodware, Creative Tops, Ulster Weavers, and The Rayware Group.

But that’s not all. Working in partnership with the Turkish Housewares Association, “we have successfully introduced a large Turkish housewares pavilion for the first time this year,” says Nick, adding “it will feature 10 exciting brands, all of which will be making their Spring Fair debut and showing everything from table accessories through to cookware.”

Retailers will also find dining and tabletop products in the Contemporary Gift section and the Summerhouse. Contemporary Gift in Halls 6 and 7, delivers original, exclusive gift and home designs from more than 350 suppliers, while the Summerhouse is an edited collective of over 40 exclusive exhibitors, offering visitors the latest in on-trend designs.

Big-name companies in the Summerhouse include Abigail Ahern, Nkuku, which produces homewares, including dining and kitchen; India Jane, a British interiors business offering a range of classic and timeless homewares.

And this edition, to help independent retailers and buyers from the larger stores really source new suppliers from specific geographical regions around the world, The Department of International Trade will host 30 UK exhibitors with an invested interest in exporting, as well as 70 international buyers.

And the rest
In addition to products, the Housewares Live! stand in Hall 9 will play host to a number of exciting product demonstrations every day, as “Malcolm Harradine showcases the latest innovations from exhibitors, alongside other big industry names, including the Hairy Bikers and Jeremy Pang,” says Nick.

The immensely valuable Meet The Expert sessions will return, this year including new masterclasses from the interior design expert Martin Holland on store design. Independent retailers will be able to book one-on-one sessions with industry leaders and ask for advice on any challenges they’re currently facing.

There will, as always, be presentations and seminars, offering a “range of talks by key industry figures such as Mary Portas,” says Nick, adding that this will “prove invaluable to retailers looking to keep ahead of the competition.”

On Monday, February 6, retail expert Mary Portas, widely acknowledged as a leading authority on the sector, will deliver a keynote speech on the challenges facing independent retailers today, with solutions on how to tackle them.

There will be further presentations, briefings and workshops, including how to increase sales with great product photography; how to reach new customers online, top tips for creating your own website, effective social media strategies for homeware retailers, and how to take your first steps in export. The ever-popular Trends Briefing from WGSN will return, outlining trends for AW 2017 Home and Gifts. Find the full line-up at www.springfair.com/Content/Whats-On.

On the awards front, the seventh edition of the annual DIY Week Awards will this year run in partnership with Spring Fair 2017, and as always, winners of The Gift of the Year Awards will be crowned during the show, while “the Housewares Innovation Awards will run concurrently with Spring Fair for the second year running,” concludes Nick.

Spring Fair takes place February 5-9, 2017, with the Volume and DIY sectors opening Saturday, Feb 4. www.springfair.com



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