Lakeland is not leaving the discovery of new products at next February’s Spring Fair to chance – the retailer’s buying team are actively encouraging suppliers to bring them their ideas.
“However carefully you shop a show, particularly one as large as Spring Fair, for one reason or another there are always those whose stands you miss,” says director of buying, Matthew Canwell.” So last year we came up with the idea of a two-prong attack.”
With the cooperation of the fair, in addition to combing the halls Lakeland took a room at the show and invited exhibitors and non-exhibitors alike to make an appointment in which to pitch their products. Each company was given a 20-minute slot and guaranteed complete confidentiality.
The idea worked, and now the company plans to repeat it at the 2008 show.
Spring Fair exhibitors who want to pitch to Lakeland should email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment at the show. It is not even necessary to have a finished product. “We can work with people in multifarious different ways,” says Canwell – “but you do need a great idea.”
At least a dozen of the items featured in this year’s Lakeland catalogue were sourced in this way. A particular success story was Trax, a new game presented to Lakeland by a Spring Fair exhibitor and which has gone on to become a significant commercial hit.