Thousands of retailers and buyers have been travelling to the event at the NEC in Birmingham in search of new products ahead of the next big gifting occasions of Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Easter.
Attendee Laura Flynn, manager of home and giftware store The Crafty Fox in Northern Ireland, commented: “Autumn and Spring Fair are where we find new and innovative products. It’s a great opportunity to see and touch everything all in one place. We find it’s perfectly timed for us to purchase stock ahead of Christmas.”
With more than 1,300 suppliers presenting thousands of gift and homeware products, Autumn Fair has been “a hive of activity,” Ascential said.
Among exhibitors launching new products is Dollyhotdogs, which burst onto the scene last year. Having seen huge demand for its textiles and prints, it has expanded its portfolio to include a range of giftware and home furnishings, including notebooks, cushions, tea towels, aprons, enamel mugs, placemats, chopping boards and worktop savers.
In addition to the wealth of sourcing opportunities presented by Autumn Fair, Ascential reported that the new ‘Inside Retail Hub’ feature has been popular with visitors.
Educational sessions about creating professional in-store displays ran on day one, while accountancy firm Grant Thornton and eBay were among the businesses offering advice on day two.
Catherine Esbester of Taunton-based gift shop Ginger Fig attended a session about trends for spring and summer 2018 from trend forecasting company WGSN. She said: “The talks are really interesting to listen to and it’s great to come away from the show with insight into upcoming trends and tips.”
Today (Tuesday September 5), retailers will be able to hear from experts on a diverse range of subjects. Yazhu Zhang, the vice president of Brands of China, will explain how UK stores can benefit from working with Chinese suppliers; Martin Holland, the winner of BBC’s ‘The Great Interior Design Challenge,’ will help visitors design their dream store; and Ilaria Leone of made.com will speak about engaging with customers online.
Autumn Fair runs until tomorrow (Wednesday, September 6) Retailers interested in attending can register for free at www.autumnfair.com.
Ascential bills Autumn Fair as the second largest trade show in the UK and the most-attended home and gift event in the UK after Spring Fair. It covers key buying sectors including homeware, gifts, jewellery and greeting products. The annual exhibition attracts UK and international buyers, from independent and multiple retailers to e-commerce specialists.