I am grateful for the opportunity to visit the UK Spring fair last week in Birmingham.
Several times the size of Australia’s largest gift fair, we got to see suppliers not currently represented in Australia as well as broader ranges from suppliers already represented. It was also good to meet Aussie suppliers to show what we liked.
It was wonderful seeing how suppliers presented their ranges, like Paper Salad, which is available in Australia via Waterlyn. The stand was stunning and inspiring.
Spring Fair is far more diverse in product categories than we see in Australia. We bought from several suppliers not represented locally. We also picked up some visual merchandising as well as product ranging tips that I think we will be able to use in-store.
A big trend at the fair was British made. This was good to see. While cheaper offshore sourced products from bigger companies tended to have bigger stands, the British made message did stand out. Another noticeable trend was ethically copurced, sustainably sourced. These trends of product source and sustainable supply matter especially to Gen Alpha and Gen Z – important co-horts to our businesses.
I appreciate not everyone can get to overseas trade shows. If you can, go. If you can’t see if your marketing group has people who go and can share their insights.
Retail continues to evolve apace, especially in our channel. What we are and what we can sell continues to change and in this there are many opportunities. Getting offshore to see some ahead of us can be helpful, advantageous.