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RETAIL ADVICE WITH HENRI DAVIS

 Pioneer Europe

 Gisela Graham

Any excuse for a party! People pull together at times of crisis and, with the Brexit uncertainty still looming large, celebrating everything with family and friends keeps the connections going, while firms are also meeting the need for eco-friendly partyware, as Henri Davis reports.

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S I WRITE this we’re having another week of amazing weather and I’m slowly melting on my journey home.

them there are some really interesting alternatives becoming available – on Kikkerland’s stand at Home & Gift in Harrogate I was amazed by the choice available (left). Having produced paper straws for 19 years But the great thing about which are still the best disposable ones, they fabulous weather is it gives us a now offer more than 20 styles of reusable and perfect excuse to get together eco-friendly straws made of paper, stainless with friends and, if there’s steel, reusable food-safe plastic, organic something to celebrate like the bamboo, borosilicate glass, and weekend, let’s make it a party! natural straw! The last three years since the Historically there are strong links referendum vote have been quite between licensing and partyware difficult for most of us as we with the latest children’s TV or film realise we have very little idea character in huge demand for little how this is all going to turn out. ones’ parties so it will be interesting This uncertainty in both to see how the businesses here business and personal lives respond with reuseable and encourages us to turn to family  Kikkerland eco-friendly products. and friends for moral support and Pioneer Europe reassurance, keeping in contact are already on the and acknowledging them more, which helps us case with their compostable plates feel connected and part of something we value. and cups, and recyclable napkins This is great news for those working in the card, gift available in a broad range of and party industries so we need to make sure we’re licensed designs, including Disney offering consumers great products they will really enjoy. Minnie Mouse Unicorn Dreams, While there is an increase in demand for Disney Pixar Cars High Speed partyware the sector is affected by other trends range, and Marvel’s Spider Man – namely the reduction of single-use plastics and Super-Hero (top right). the desire to buy products with longevity – and this Eco-friendly tableware is is proving a challenge as suppliers work out how to definitely increasing in popularity respond and how quickly it can be done. and Fallen Fruits benefited from Blue Planet 2 has been very influential in the eco this when they won Gift Of The debate and the programme’s image of a turtle with Year 2018 with their Green Picnic a drinking straw in its nostril put that product under range (far left). Suitable for hot and cold food, the the spotlight. When I was young, straws were plates and bowls are made from palm leaves while always part of the the cutlery is birchwood – all 100 per cent organic  Fallen Fruits party fun but there and compostable so they can go thrown away with are probably few your organic waste. scenarios where This move away from single-use plastic products they’re really encourages people to focus on the special things necessary. used for specific events, helping create family For those who traditions and excitement. still need to use A good example is perpetual, refillable, advent

calendars where each drawer or stocking has a little treat for each day in the run up to Christmas. Heaven Sends have great success with their Advent Train (right) which seems to resonate with young and old alike. Easter and Halloween are becoming much bigger ● Heaven Sends occasions for UK retailers and consumers helped as they both tie into school holidays. While Easter is a religious holiday, I think its increase in popularity isn’t particularly a religious move. The bright fresh colours of spring, lighter, warmer longer days and, usually, a four-day long weekend are reasons to relax, enjoy, and hopefully get outdoors. And when Easter falls in the middle to end of April it’s the perfect time to drive outdoororientated sales with garden centres really seeing a difference in their spring quarter reviews if the long bank holiday weekend has been cold and wet. This Easter wreath from Gisella Graham is a good example of how a pretty spring decoration can lift a room (top left) and their ( commercial director Mark Jones said: “Easter is now comfortably our second largest seasonal range behind Christmas and has a huge impact on our customers’ businesses. “Whether they display a full collection of Easter goodies, or use it to accent around new spring gift and interiors, it’s become an important way of attracting customers in early spring.” Talking Tables are seeing a similar increase in sales at Easter, and Halloween is growing in importance too with decorating gardens, dressing up and buying pumpkins and sweets for trick or treat all very much part of it. and there’s definitely an air of excitement around the preparations (right). Now, with the August Bank Holiday approaching what excuse will you use to get together with friends – for me ● Talking Tables it’s a pal’s 60th birthday!

Blue Planet 2 has been very influential in the eco debate

Henri Davis is an independent retail advisor to businesses in the cards, gifts, stationery and heritage industries, with 35 years of retail experience. She has worked for Habitat, Next, WHSmith and the National Trust and now advises small and medium-sized businesses, including retailers, visitor attractions, manufacturers and suppliers. She is the first retailer deputy chairman of the Giftware Association and the recipient of this year’s Greats Honorary Achievement Award. For more information visit www.henridavis.co.uk.

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