Gifts Today October 2021

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Exhibition News BLE Retailer Content

Brand Licensing Europe has announced exclusive retailer content for this year’s event including five live sessions in the Retail Trends Lounge. The event takes place in person from November 17-19 at ExCeL London and visitors can register for free at All five sessions, plus the live final of the Kelvyn Gardner License This! competition (which is open to all), will be recorded and available to all attendees to watch on-demand as part of the BLE virtual follow-up running from November 30 –December 1. The sessions include A Future Forecast 2022 by Nick Richardson, Founder and CEO The Insights Family which will provide a practical perspective on the opportunities and challenges family trends pose to retailers. Saphia Maxamed, Founder, Black Lives Matter Licensing Movement will discuss the importance of diversity and inclusion in Licensing. Catrina O’Brien, Retail Development Director, UK, Europe & Asia Licensing, and Jade Snart, Sustainability and Compliance Expert, George at Asda will talk about the ‘Plant with Peppa’ programme that’s teaching children about the importance of trees in the world. Peppa and Asda are pledging to plant 10,000 trees in the UK to help to rebalance the Earth’s atmosphere. The Agility and Creativity in Omni-Channel Retail session will look at what retailers need to focus on to maximise potential, and how to embrace the use of new technology to benefit both online and offline presence and profit. And finally, Gary Pope, CoFounder and CEO, Kids Industries will share original and never seen before data to explore how families like to shop now and how these behaviours have amplified following the pandemic. Anna Knight, VP of Licensing, Informa Markets: “BLE is hosting brilliant content for retailers both in person and online. For those attending in-person, we invite them to discover What’s Next in retail by joining the trend sessions, visiting the Sustainability Activation and also walking the show floor to gain inspiration from the thousands of products on display and see how brands could fit into their future product ranges.”

Stationery Community Reunites Both visitors and exhibitors alike were reunited with much-missed friends, colleagues, and clients, at the recent London Stationery Show and it didn’t take long before stationery buyers were placing orders, keeping up-to-date with trends and getting hands-on with new products. “It’s great to be back seeing our clients again. Being able to present products, not over video calls, but at the show where visitors can touch and feel the products”, commented Glenn Bowen of Pukka Pads. In place of the Stationery Awards for 2021, the Buyers Choice Award was introduced. Visitors viewed and voted for 100+ hero products put forward by exhibitors in order to win ‘best in show’. Despite a close battle, there was a clear winner with Nice & Graphic and their handmade letterpress print picking up the inaugural Award. The Retail Matters live talks returned and proved a big hit yet again, with Martha Keith, Founder of Martha Brook mentioning “I had such positive feedback on the presentations and visitors seemed to take away a lot of advice”. Martha’s presentation focussed on how stationery and gift retailers can build their brands through effective use of social media. Whereas Catherine Erdly, Founder of the Resilient Retail Club, gave all the latest information on how retailers can move on from the disruption caused by COVID. “We’re so thankful for all those who were involved in this year’s show. We’re excited about what London Stationery Show 2022 will bring and can’t wait to get stuck into the planning for another stand out event,” said Alex Butler. The show will return next year on its more traditional dateline, on May 17 – 18, 2022.

8 Gifts Today

Julie Driscoll and Karin Houseman

Julie Driscoll talks Autumn Fair Just six weeks after restrictions were lifted, Autumn Fair opened its doors to exhibitors and buyers keen to get back to business. We chatted with Julie Driscoll, Managing Director, Hyve Retail, Fashion & Digital Marketing about the event and the new launches that took place. “Six weeks ago, it was Freedom Day and look at what we’ve achieved in that time. It’s been pretty phenomenal in terms of all of the customers that are here. The density is a big thing we are focussing on and the visitors to square metres and the density is significantly up. We have had so many exhibitors say it has been their best trade show ever. More international exhibitors are here than we thought because of the travel situation. Even three weeks ago there were so many more restrictions in place, so those international exhibitors that could get here have done a marvellous job and we feel so proud that we’re really leading the industry. And I think its that sense of community that you can feel on site. It’s that real omni channel approach, that we are a company that is investing in digital to in order to facilitate and magnify what we’re doing on site. All the investment that we’ve done, really feels like it has come to fruition. We’ve launched Curated Meetings, which was a big investment in technology to drive efficiency of the physical event. The App has been a phenomenal success. Plus, one of the things our customers were asking for was a 24/7 year-round trading platform and that is why we’ve launched Online Marketplace – to be a continuation of the brilliant trade that you see people doing here. There are absolute peaks in the trading year, but people want to top up in between and that is where the online marketplace steps in. Some retailers, they’ll only ever shop here. Some retailers will do both. Some retailers will mix the integrated meetings, the online marketplace and the physical event. Ultimately we’re a marketplace whether its on or offline. It’s about giving people choice and flexibility. We’ve really focussed on the customer experience for both the exhibitors and visitors. We really, really tried to ensure that the first show back is a really positive experience.”

Top Drawer S/S22 Registration is now live for Top Drawer S/S 2022. As the first event of the buying season, discover the latest trends, the newest product launches and industry insight from expert speakers to start you off into the new year - all under one roof at Olympia London. Save the date January 16-18, 2022.