Organised by Clarion Events, the exhibition was held at Olympia from May 14 to May 16. It promised to feature ‘inspiring new gifts, modern living and fashion accessories’ with a strong emphasis on emerging designer-makers and new launches.
Big retail names that attended included Arcadia, Aria, ASOS, Bentalls, British Museum, Debenhams, Fenwick, Harrods, House of Fraser, John Lewis, Liberty, Made.com, National Trust, Notonthehighstreet.com, Oliver Bonas, Scribbler, Selfridges, The Conran Shop and The White Company.
Jane Hall, buyer at Snape Maltings in Suffolk, said: “I love coming to Pulse as there’s always something new and different. The focus on emerging designers provides something that we know our customers won’t have seen before. Products are really specialist and niche.”
Stuart Delahoy of Leicester gift shop Set Design Limited added: “Pulse is a great mid-season show, I find it more intimate than other trade shows, and more curated, which means the quality is amazing. It really is an interesting day out.”
Clarion Events said its launch at Pulse of ‘Makers’, billed as the UK’s first trade event dedicated to emerging creative talent, was ‘very well received’.
Over 150 designer makers exhibited including Bhavin Taylor Design, Promises Promises, Jacqueline Colley, Bird Brain and James Barker.
Also new for 2017 was ‘Brands’, featuring launches from established names including Bronte by Moon, Cubic, Newgate, Nkuku, Notable Designs, Sass & Belle, S-c Brands (formerly known as Scandi-chic) and Tatty Devine.
Another highlight was the daily Shop Talk conference, which offered a series of presentations and workshops. Presented by events organisation 5X15, the agenda included three keynote speakers.
Kirsty Whyte, product and design manager of five-strong housewares and homeware chain Heal’s, spoke on the subject of ‘Designer Collaborations: Who? What? Why?’
Heal’s has a long history of collaborating with prominent designers, as well as discovering stars of the future. Kirsty explored what a designer collaboration looks like and why it can be mutually beneficial for both retailers and designers.
Ruth Wasserman, head of design at Made.com, discussed ‘Knowing Your Customer’. She gave an insight into what Made.com does to understand its customer and how research about their lifestyles informs its product offering.
Made.com designs and retails homeware and furniture online, with three showrooms in London, Liverpool and Yorkshire.
Finally, Rebecca Hossain, head of retail and publishing at The Design Museum in London, shared her top ten tips for impactful visual merchandising that can be replicated on a shoestring budget.
The Design Museum is devoted to contemporary design in every form, from product, industrial and graphic to architecture and fashion.
There were also three panel discussions on the topics of: using social media effectively, getting the media on your side, and the rise of personalised shopping – how it works and what the benefits are.
The winners of the Pulse Awards, which celebrated outstanding products at the show and exceptional stand design, were announced at the event too (see separate story).
Pulse returns next year from May 15 to May 18 at Olympia London.