The Giftware Association (GA) hosted two Meet the Buyer events in one week in its home town of Birmingham earlier this month.
Buyers from Homesense (part of the TK Maxx family) visited on June 6 seeking non-perishable food goods and viewed wares from suppliers of chocolate, home-made oils and small batch alcohol including Champion & Reeves, The Great British Exchange and Hobson Brewery.
A larger-scale event held on June 8 featured a first for the GA’s Meet the Buyer initiative: a panel discussion of buyers which included John Lewis gifts and candleshop buyer Sara Allbright; Oldrids buying manager Lauren Wilson; Fenwick gift, stationery and Christmas buyer Louisa Brenton; and Stratford Garden Centre head of buying/departmental manager Rachel Mewies.
They answered questions from the audience covering topics including the best way to contact a buyer, what a buyer looks out for in a new product and ‘learning to take rejection gracefully’.
GA business development manager Simone Rose commented: “The day was great, with a lot of happy buyers and suppliers – which is always the aim for these events. With the added element of questions fielded to the buyers, I think the suppliers got to learn something about the inside of buyers’ minds and the processes they go through – as well as the unique opportunity to have one-on-one time with them.”
The GA’s AGM and Members’ Day takes place on Wednesday (June 20) at the Mockingbird cinema in Digbeth, Birmingham.
The AGM will be held in the morning and will include the election of a new chairperson of the national committee, and a report from the current chairperson. This will be followed by a presentation by headline speaker consultant Michael Weedon, managing director of exp2 Ltd, who will discuss retail performance.
In the afternoon, three panel debates will focus on ‘preparing your business to be fit for the future’. Themes include ‘compliance’ (CDPR, cybersecurity, CE marking) featuring experts on security and GDPR; ‘the value of industry awards’, featuring industry award winners, judges and buyers; and finally, ‘routes to market: futureproofing your business’.