Expert selects top picks for Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival

The Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival has invited Sharon Dale, property and interiors editor for the ‘Yorkshire Post’ newspaper, to take a sneak peek at the line-up of brands that will be exhibiting at the Harrogate trade show from July 17-20.

In just under a month’s time, thousands of retailers will be descending to the North Yorkshire spa town to check out thousands of products from over 850 brands – 20 of which are brand new to the show.

The visitor list includes Aria, Bentalls, Bentley’s, Boots, Debenhams, Fenwick, Habitat, Harrods, Hoopers, John Lewis, Laura Ashley, London Zoo, National Museums Liverpool, National Museums Sheffield, New Look,, QVC, Robert Dyas, Royal Albert Hall, RSPB, Scribbler, Science Museum, Selfridges, Skandium, TK Maxx, WHSmith and many key garden centres.

Here are the top five products that have won Sharon’s seal of approval:

Ulster Weavers (stand number DP2-9): “I’m a big fan of home décor brand Mini Moderns and its new Modern Kitchen Collection is predictably impressive. Produced in collaboration with Ulster Weavers, it features the Irish firm’s best-selling prints, including Darjeeling and Paisley Crescent. There are oven gloves, tea towels, aprons and a set of china mugs. The tea towels are a work of art and would look great framed.”

Baa Stool (M9): “I love this clever use of British sheepskin and the fact that this product, made in a cruck barn in Wales, has all the hallmarks of great design. You want to stroke it, it makes you smile and it’s eminently practical. Imagine coming home on a cold winter evening, kicking off your shoes and putting your feet up on this. Top marks too for the clever play on words.”

Amica Accessories (DP1-48): “Freddie fox terrier by Amica Accessories has passed the European Toy Regulation test but he is almost too good to play with. Handmade from 100% wool felt, and with impressive Fairtrade credentials, he’s very decorative. Freddie would also make the perfect, low maintenance companion.  Cuddle him, tell him your troubles and settle down together with a box set – the Ultimate Crufts Collection, of course.”

Lorna Syson (G40): “Many of Lorna’s designs are inspired by the British coast and countryside, which is what makes them so appealing. Her patterns and illustrations adorn everything from lampshades and wallpaper to fabric and cards. My favourite is Broom and Bee Sky. It was inspired by Lorna’s honeymoon hideaway in rural Leicestershire. The Broom’s yellow blooms signal bounty for the bee, radiant against a May sky: so poetic and romantic.”

Memelou (DP5-29a): “Surface pattern designer Michelle Gemmel puts all her creative energy into designing greetings cards and prints.  I especially like her wedding range. A good wedding card is hard to find. Most are too syrupy and over-embellished so it’s refreshing to see something different. This Mr and Mr card is my favourite as it signifies equality, looks fun and has a French theme. The beret, the matelot top and the wink… naughty but nice, non?”

The Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival is organised by Clarion Events. Register now for your tickets at


‘Naughty but nice’: Mr and Mr card from Memelou


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