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Bath & body and stationery, cards & wrapping

Why retailers need loyalty programs

NEW WHAT’S The latest trends and
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Contents IN THIS ISSUE 04 retail inspiration from France 10 stationery, cards & wrapping a selection of the latest products 16 visual merchandising displays to inspire your store journey this season 22 inspired home show new layout and format pay off 28 bath & body products to inspire your winter store selection 32 gifts & premium all that’s new from Hong Kong 36 marketing loyalty programs are a must 42 technology AI facts and figures 44 winter warmers products to take you from autumn into winter 04 2
32 44 38 42 JUNE 2024 3



The French Global Innovation Award (gia) winner for 2024—Maison Empereur—offers customers a fascinating, heartfelt journey through a museum-like space that preserves the country’s history while shining a light on myriad artisans and esteemed manufacturers.

Maison Empereur
JUNE 2024 5 retail

In 1770, André Empereur established a craftsman’s workshop near Marseille’s main port, which he later handed down to his son François. Deciding to create a profitable business from his father’s original enterprise, in 1827 he created Maison Empereur— France’s oldest drugstore.

Since its inception, the store has been handed down through eight generations of the Empereur family—each one being guided into the future by the requests of its loyal customers. Today it is still a store, but also a ‘house, a museum and café’ with a unique accommodation offering.

Those familiar with the pivotal moments in France’s perfume and fashion history might know the story of how the most famous perfume in the world—Chanel No. 5—came to be.

Coco Chanel launched her signature perfume at her rue Cambon boutique by infusing the dressing rooms with the now-famous scent and she gave bottles to her favourite high-end clients. It was brilliant olfactory-based marketing and soon everyone wanted the exclusive scent.

Maison Empereur adopted a similar approach to marketing its signature scent that is a mix of polish, linseed oil and pure orange oil, based on the polish which is regularly used on the antique furniture. Customers loved the smell so much that a candle with the same scent was created, so that they could take a little piece of the store home with them.

Inside the house

Maison Empereur stocks products from more than 250 French manufacturers and artisans and almost as many from other countries. And because the Empereur family have their eyes on the future, with their roots still firmly planted in the past, they love sharing the history and stories of the product creators with their customers.

“From our past as artisans, our roles as ambassadors for historic manufacturers came naturally,” says CEO Laurence Renaux Empereur.

“Those which have existed for more than half a century are highlighted on our shelves and in our museum space, standing as a guarantee of timeless production and proven quality.”

He explains that the store’s displays are discreet yet omnipresent.

“In each department, dozens of small texts, published with the greatest simplicity, explain an unusual object, a manufacturer or perhaps a tradition. We like to go beyond commerce and find the meaning that we are all looking for. This is why we have devoted nearly 150 square meters to our museum space. We believe in the power of knowledge and the value of dedicating space to culture.”

The many spaces which host so many wonderful objects both new and old across two stores is like a rambling home. Furthering this feeling of homeliness, in each department pieces of the family’s precious heritage are displayed: a handwritten store order from 1836, family photos from the 1920s, manufacturer catalogues from the 1950s, all presented as a jumble of pieces under yellowish lighting to give the carefully constructed tableaus an old-fashioned feeling.

The layout of the store is mainly made up of family furniture and imposing professional furniture sourced by Renaux Empereur. The objects are arranged by ‘universe’—in other words, the different sections of the home. This gives customers the impression of being in an Ali Baba’s cave and being the master of their own discoveries.

“We’ve had to expand generation after generation, so that one reference does not drive out any other and this constant need to push back the walls has given us this joyful maze of 12 universes.

CEO Laurence Renaux Empereur
Maison Empereur

“Customers move from one department to another with a Maison’s shopping basket just like they would when strolling through the market,” he adds.

“And then finally they come to the tearoom and the museum space welcomes them—often at the end of their visit —for a moment of relaxation.”

If guests want to take this experience even further, the store extends into a unique guest house which offers the opportunity to experience a night in the back of the store.

“Just like in the olden days,” says Renaux Empereur. Indeed, the suite with a queen-sized bed is decorated with many wonderful products from yesteryear.

Marketing a French institution

Three staff work across marketing—social media and website—further sharing stories and news about the store, manufacturers, brand partners, products and traditions. And in 2023, Maison Empereur published a 260-page retrospective book, devoted to the history of the family, the factories

and the objects that make up the store.

The family embraces innovation, but, in line with its historical significance, without technological innovations taking centre stage.

“Our innovation is the preservation of what a local store is,” says Renaux Empereur.

“The store discreetly takes advantage of the effectiveness of new technologies to attract customers and maintain a regular audience, to manage stocks and relationships with suppliers. If we are at the forefront of innovation to ensure the performance of our business and our communication, that is not what we emphasise to our consumers as they are looking for an old-fashioned atmosphere.

“Every day, we are writing the history of everyday objects and sharing the knowhow from manufacturers and artisans. More than a store, Maison Empereur has become a place of wandering, discovery and pleasure which draws up with simplicity and perseverance a sort of inventory of the objects of our heritage. A place that appeals to childhood and

collective memory and invites us to discover or rediscover objects sometimes forgotten, sometimes dreamed of, sometimes sought after.”

Renaux Empereur says that they owe their longevity to their customers, because it is always their ideas that help to create the store’s next chapter. So much so that in the apron of each staff member there is a small cardboard box and a pencil for customers’ suggestions.

“An elderly lady may ask for a wringer, while a painter begs us to find him bitumen from Judea. A regular might suggest sardine-shaped moulds or a glass polishing paste.

“This is how our SEO is created over time. Our pride is this loyalty, this closeness, this unwavering bond that remains, even against the passing of time.” G

For more information about the gia retail program, contact Piritta Törrö at or visit Awards/gia-Retailing.

8 retail
Maison Empereur

A tribute to the enchanting beauty of the woodland and the delicate charm of wildflowers. Discover our latest home fragrance collection infused with the essence of five nature-inspired fragrances.

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Finmark Botany wrapping paper (POA).,

Gibson Gifts Anemones stationery collection (wholesale $3.95-$8.95).,

Koh Living journal and notebook by Jacinta-rai (wholesale $9.21-$9.97).,

Vevoke UWP 3D pop-up card (wholesale $5.45-$5.90).,

Candle Bark Creations Petite gift bag good vibes (wholesale $2.70).,


Earth Greetings everyday cards & wrapping paper (wholesale from $3.16).,

Intrinsic stationery sets (wholesale from $9.08-$11.81).,

Jeremy Boot Collections gift tag packs (wholesale $3.40).,

Jasnor (Australia) Disney Gifts Donald Duck book ends (wholesale $50).,

Alperstein Designs Aboriginal art A5 hard cover journals (wholesale $7.95).,

Lil’s Cards blank everyday stripe & ladybug greeting cards (wholesale $2.73).,

cards & wrapping
JUNE 2024 11

Finmark Pampas collection gift stationery (POA).,

Jeremy Boot Collections folders (wholesale $11.35).,

Candle Bark Creations ME Momentous card collection (wholesale $3.20).,

Optoco pencil case (RRP $16.50).,

Intrinsic guided journals (wholesale $13.63).,

Vevoke New Yorker gift bag (wholesale $4.08).,


Lil’s Cards birthday greeting cards (wholesale $2.73).,

Vevoke Girl Of All Work washi tape (wholesale $4.54).,

Intrinsic greeting cards (wholesale $2.95-$3.61).,

Finmark coloured hex wrap with gift tags & stickers (POA).,

Gibson Gifts Diamond Cut pens (wholesale from $2.95).,

Jeremy Boot Collections purse pad pairs (wholesale $2.95).,

stationery, cards & wrapping JUNE 2024 13

Jeremy Boot Collections note pads (wholesale $4.50).,

Candle Bark Creations big card range (wholesale $5.90).,

Lil’s Cards Baby Boho & Wooden Dummy greeting cards (wholesale $2.73).,,

Gibson Gifts Queen B stationery collection (wholesale $3.95-$8.95).,

Optoco black metal backswing bookend (RRP $39.95).

Earth Greetings stationery (wholesale from $7.20)., Finmark metallic mesh pens in gift box (POA).,, stationery, cards
wrapping EARRING STAND SET 18ct Rose Gold & Sterling Silver Reg. was $770 NOW $550 Retail $2,130 PROFIT $1,580 +61 425 306 430 1300 668 260
Vevoke E Frances little notes (wholesale $11.35).


Fall into


As we head into the colder winter months, here are some cool and creative store displays to inspire your visual merchandising story this season.

visual merchandising
JUNE 2024 17




18 visual merchandising
02 9986 3456 • • Contact us: Over 1000 new products join us this year! Visit us at Life InStyle Stand 1220K Melbourne Royal Exhibition Building 1- 4 August



20 visual merchandising


New show layout and strong exhibitor and retailer participation drive enhanced discovery, connections and commerce at the Inspired Home Show 2024.

The consolidation of the Inspired Home Show into three days and two halls has paid off, according to the International Housewares Association (IHA), which organises the fair.

The show wrapped on 19 March 2024, featuring 1,648 exhibitors from 38 countries showcasing their latest inventions to nearly 30,000 buyers from over 120 countries.

Derek Miller, IHA president and CEO says the overall feedback to the changes has been good.

“The 2024 Show built on the success of last year’s show with total square feet of exhibition space being slightly higher,” he says.

“The change to the format was very positive, making the show incredibly efficient—moving between the three primary expos, now consolidated into two halls rather than three, was very well received by both exhibitors and buyers.”

Indeed, many of the large brands returned for this year’s show including Joseph Joseph, Cuisinart and Scanpan while buyers from Amazon, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Crate & Barrel, The Container Store, Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma attended the fair.

“The Inspired Home Show opened our eyes to the world of design and product innovation,” says second-generation JK Adams owner, Malcolm Cooper Jr, who returned after an eight-year absence.

The Inspired Home Show has been consolidated into three days and two halls
inspired home show JUNE 2024 23

“As well as exposing JK Adams products to a much larger audience, an unexpected plus of going to Chicago was it gives all attendees a chance to see a huge array of products from around the world, to get a sense of new trends in design, marketing and promotion. Chicago truly opened our eyes.”

Traditionally, JK Adams has always been part of the gift and home trade shows. With much of their product line tied to kitchen and houseware stores, it is a natural fit to be part of this show.

“The show has always had a great creative energy,” says vice president, Sharon Rishell. “After a short hiatus, we are thrilled to be back.”

Kitchenware powerhouse, Made by Gather, relaunched its flagship brand at the Inspired Home Show 2024.

Founded in 2011, bella was created based on feedback from more than 5,000 consumers. Its Fits-anywhere kitchenware system is a fresh take on kitchenware that combines high quality and function for every space.

“As families spend more time in the kitchen, the stuff within those cabinets and on those countertops has also increased,” says Shae Hong, founder and CEO of Made by Gather.

“According to our consumer insights and data analytics, the average household has six small kitchen appliances and the majority of their counterspace is taken up by kitchenware. With the new bella, we want to give consumers their counters back without sacrificing performance or capacity.”

The Fits-anywhere system includes fold and store dual temp griddle; 4qt air fryer; flip and store blender; flip and store waffle maker; 2-slice slim toaster and VersaBrew 12-cup coffee maker.

Made by Gather, whose portfolio of brands also includes Beautiful by Drew and CRUX, showcased the new bella within a 2,580 square foot booth during the show.

An overhead skybridge of suspended bella waffle makers, blenders and air fryers served as an art installation attracting traffic to the stand.

Made by Gather took stand design to a new level
The Hell’s Kitchen Hybrid line uses a ceramic coating

“The relaunch of bella is one more transformational step in Made by Gather’s future and we are just getting started,” continues Hong.

“I’ve been attending the trade show for over 20 years and this year we wanted to raise the bar in terms of how brands show up and share our unique culture that continues to disrupt the kitchenware industry.”

Hell’s Kitchen unveiled a new line of hybrid cookware featuring a ceramic non-stick coating. The new line boasts all the benefits of hybrid cooking technology without the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) used in most non-stick and hybrid cookware, says licensee Killer Concepts CEO, Jeff Leitman.

“PFAS are large, complex groups of synthetic chemicals that have been used in consumer products for decades,” he explains.

“They are integral in producing fluoropolymers, especially PTFE, a substance found in a majority of non-stick cookware items. PTFE-based coatings can release PFAS into the environment through high-temperature cooking, posing a possible threat to consumers as well as the environment.

“The Hell’s Kitchen Hybrid line instead uses a ceramic coating that creates a natural non-stick surface without the use of PFAS in manufacturing.”

The coating can be found in its full line of hybrid cookware including 8-inch, 9.5-inch and 11-inch stainless-steel hybrid non-stick pans; a four-quart sauté pan; a 7.5-quart pot; a 2.5 qt saucepan and a 12inch stir fry wok.

“Creating a cookware line with the Hell’s Kitchen brand means it absolutely has to be first-class,” explains Leitman.

“We have achieved that through functionality, beauty and the versatility of the product. We also placed significant emphasis on keeping PFAS out of our line. We were not only striving for the highest performing cooking experience possible but the safest one as well.”

New exhibitors at the Inspired Home Show included Blendi, JoyJolt and Water & Wines.

In celebration of Hello Kitty’s 50th anniversary, JoyJolt has teamed up with the iconic brand to create a collection of themed glassware. The products will be available for a limited time only and includes a collection of glassware in different styles like double wall mugs, stemless glasses, flutes and drinkware featuring Hello Kitty’s signature characters like Pompompourin, My Melody, Kuromi, Keroppi and Cinnamoroll.

“JoyJolt’s growth enables us to extend beyond glassware into additional home categories and exciting partnerships, infusing a modern flair into the company,” enthuses Adele Nasr, chief marketing officer at JoyJolt.

Water & Wines creates puzzles that guide you on a journey across wine and whiskey regions in the world including Australia and New Zealand.

“This expansion excitingly aligns more closely with our consumers, catering to their interests and desires.”

In collaboration with Disney, JoyJolt’s Star Wars collection has expanded into a new Dark Side sub-collection and includes a variety of stemless glasses, both tall and short, and its signature double wall mug, tailored for Star Wars fans to collect.

Launched in 2021 by two sommeliers, Swedish brand Water & Wines creates puzzles that guide you on a journey across wine and whiskey regions in the world including Australia and New Zealand.

“We created Water & Wines to inspire curiosity and meaningful connections through the joy of puzzle solving,” says founder Yamit Viitaoja.

inspired home show
Water and Wines puzzles cover many wine regions including Australia
JUNE 2024 25
The Inspired Home Show attracted close to 30,000 buyers from over 120 countries

Each puzzle goes beyond a typical jigsaw with hand-illustrated artwork showcasing the unique terroir, grape varieties, landmarks and culture of wine countries like France, Italy and California.

As you solve, you uncover cool facts and details about winemaking woven into the illustration. The boxes come with even more educational content about the grape characteristics and food pairing tips and more.

“Our goal is to make wine education accessible through playful, interactive puzzles.”

Exhibiting for the first time at the Inspired Home Show in Chicago, it has now expanded to 15 puzzles covering 11 famous wine regions, three whiskey origins and 100 beer styles in the world.

“We research beyond wine, geography and history to create the best puzzle out there that educates and captivates,” adds co-founder Mathilde Iwar.

“We hope our puzzles become part of our customers’ traditions and quality time spent with family and friends while exploring the world of wine.”

Hydration has always been a big feature at previous Inspired Home Shows and this year was no different. From Blendi’s portable blender to Splitflask’s dual chamber tumbler, there were plenty of innovative products to choose from.

Blendi was born in the summer of 2018, launching with 300 units which were sold out by the end of that same year.

“I wanted to create a portable blending solution after struggling with clumpy protein shakes,” founder Jon Katz explains.

“After six prototypes and two years of hard work, the final version was launched in 2018, revolutionising traditional blending by offering a cordless and convenient option.

The inspiration for Splitflask came from a simple yet common dilemma faced by founder Cheryl Nwosu, a NICU nurse who could only bring one drink container to her shifts.

“Our newest portable blender is called the Blendi Pro+. It features a blade cover and travel lid to function as a water bottle. It is available in various colours and next we are looking to branch out into cocktail making powders,” he adds.

Splitflask is a dual chamber insulated tumbler designed to carry both hot and cold beverages simultaneously in one sleek, convenient container.

The inspiration for Splitflask came from a simple yet common dilemma faced by founder Cheryl Nwosu, a NICU nurse who could only bring one drink container to her shifts.

“Forced to choose between coffee and water, she often ended up with neither fully satisfying her needs,” says her husband and co-founder Riz Nwosu.

“Recognising this daily challenge, I envisioned a practical solution that would

allow Cheryl and others to easily carry and maintain the temperature of two beverages at once. Thus, Splitflask was born—offering a unique solution to anyone looking to streamline their hydration and caffeination throughout the day.”

The show also featured multiple new and returning events including the gia retail and product design awards. Retail winners included Potten & Pannen – Stanek (Czech Republic), Maison Empereur (France), Kustermann (Germany), Kookx (Netherlands) and Divertimenti (UK).

Aussie kitchenware brand Dreamfarm’s Ozest won in the kitchen hand tools and cutlery category and the Corpeel was voted best product in the kitchenware category at the gia product design awards. Special projects manager, Cate McDermott, says that even after all this time it’s still an honour to win an award, let alone two.

“Double gias two years in a row, amazing,” she enthuses. “We are so grateful that 21 years on we’re still able to surprise and delight customers with our new ideas. After all, it’s why we’re here.”

Miller adds that the gia winners represent the cutting-edge innovation and creativity that is driving the housewares industry.

“Product innovation is the engine that keeps the home and housewares industry vibrant and profitable.”

The Inspired Home Show 2025 will take place 2 to 4 March at McCormick Place in Chicago. G

Blendi is a portable blending solution
Splitflask is a dual chamber insulated tumbler designed to carry both hot and cold beverages Source new products, find suppliers and read the latest news all in one place. Sign-up to receive our weekly eNewsletter. Scan and sign-up FOR HOME & LIFESTYLE RETAILERS. EST.1975

Cosy luxe cardi robe, pyjama pants and double walled coffee mug (wholesale $15-$34.30).,

Alperstein Designs 100ml Australian made boxed hand creams (wholesale $9)., Clover

Empire Australia vegan hand balm (wholesale from $4.33).,

Buckley & Phillips Aromatics Gumleaf Essentials relaxing bath soak (RRP $23.95).,

Fields Gone Fishing bars (RRP $11).,

Allgifts Australia linen shower caps (wholesale $10.95).,

Cocco Corporation Maine Beach hand & nail crème Discovery collection (RRP $29.95).,

Gibson Gifts Aromist essential oils (wholesale $4.50).,

Urban Rituelle Alchemy collection (wholesale $13.65-$17.25).,

Koh Living native frangipani body gift set (wholesale $27.25).,

JUNE 2024 29 bath & body

Jasnor (Australia) The World of Eric Carle The Very Hungry Caterpillar bath wash mitt & squirty set (wholesale $13.65).,

Buckley & Phillips Aromatics Gumleaf Essentials body lotion & wash (RRP $19.95-$22.95).,

AROMABABY Natural Skincare Clarity & Serenity essential oil blend (wholesale $29.95).,

Clover Fields Helping Hands scrub soap (RRP $11).,

Urban Rituelle Flourish Organics collection (wholesale $13.65-$17.25). au,


Empire Australia Classic White Florals hand balm and bath & body pamper set (wholesale $4.33-$13.02).,

Intrinsic hand creams (wholesale $12.70).,

(wholesale $10.95).,

Alperstein Designs hand cream and soap gift box set (wholesale $13.62).,

Gibson Gifts 4 in 1 pedicure tool (wholesale $2.25).,

bath & body JUNE 2024 31

Going GLOBAL with local flair

Sustainability, practicality and cultural heritage dominate at the HK Gifts & Premium Fair.

Returning to the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Centre, the HK Gifts & Premium Fair welcomed around 35,000 buyers over four days from 27 to 30 April 2024 and was held concurrently with the Hong Kong International Printing & Packaging Fair and inaugural DeLuxe PrintPack Hong Kong as well as the Hong Kong International Licensing Show (HKILS).

Over the years, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) has been committed to promoting Hong Kong as the regional creative hub and the four trade fairs contribute to the promotion of Hong Kong’s cultural and creative industries and development of intellectual property trade, says Sophia Chong, deputy executive director of the HKTDC.

“The Gifts & Premium Fair, Printing & Packaging Fair, inaugural DeLuxe PrintPack Hong Kong and HKILS bring together creative industry professionals and licensing industry players, providing a platform for exchange and connecting potential partners,” she says.

“Under the national 14th Five Year Plan, Hong Kong serves as a centre for cultural promotion and exchange, with the goal of promoting Chinese culture overseas. This year’s Gifts & Premium Fair and HKILS feature rich cultural and creative content, with the participation of numerous cultural and creative communities from Mainland China, which has been well received by buyers.

“In response to market demands, the Gifts & Premium Fair launched the Cultural & Creative Corner for the first time last year and again this year with a variety of products rich in craftsmanship, creative design, cultural characteristics and ‘intangible cultural heritage’,” she adds.

The Cultural & Creative Corner featured over 30 exhibitors showcasing designs with local cultural characteristics and products related to intangible cultural heritage from Shandong and Henan

JUNE 2024 33 gifts & premium
HK Gifts & Premium welcomed close to 35,000 buyers

provinces including ceramic products, Terracotta Army themed exhibitions, trendy toys and an augmented reality app that integrates cartoon drawing and colouring.

Research by HKTDC shows the most popular trends at the fair included green, environmentally friendly (60 per cent), chic and fashionable (40 per cent) and high-tech (31 per cent) products, while the gift and premium items with the most growth potential were considered to be sustainable gifts (16 per cent), figurines & decorations (16 per cent) and toys & baby products (16 per cent).

No more plastic

According to exhibitors, the focus on sustainability was driven by Hong Kong’s recent ban on single-use plastic.

For example, Matrix Promotion Limited launched Monopoly Go Green, which uses recycled paper and FSC-certified timber and incorporates eco-friendly concepts in the gam such as building a greenhouse to earn more rent.

“The HKTDC is dedicated in promoting sustainable development in the business sector through its diversified support services and online-to-offline sourcing platforms, assisting the industry to promote and procure green products and solutions,” adds Chong.

“The trade shows included green zones, while exhibitors offering green products at other zones were also provided with green labels for buyers’ easy identification.”

For ReGiftWrap founder, Naqiyah Talib, the amount of parties she was attending and the disposable gift wrapping paper that came with it was reason enough to create her own reusable gift wrapping paper eight months ago.

“I have two boys and just attended too many birthday parties, like 30 to 40 parties a year and that’s a lot of wrapping paper being thrown away,” she explains.

“So I started primarily with kids prints such as dinosaurs, sharks, the alphabet, roadmap, etc with, of course, the approval of my boys.

“I also did a few girl designs and following a great response to all my prints, I decided to move into Christmas, which is now a big market for us.”

Inspired by the traditional Japanese wrapping method, furoshiki, Talib wanted to design something that was easy to use and sustainable.

“The wrapping paper uses 100 per cent rPET fabric made from recycled plastic bottles. Our mission is to develop ecofriendly and sustainable gift wraps to preserve and sustain our environment.”

Each wrap has two ropes on the corners making it easy to wrap and every ReGiftWrap comes with an illustrated wrapping guide to help get you started as well as a gift tag pouch. After each use, another gift tag can be placed in the tag pouch and the wrap can be reused multiple times.

The Hong Kong based brand is looking to branch out and has already had interest from distributors overseas including Australia.

Albert Chan, head of Greater China office at Coresight Research; Carol Chan, global business director of Pinkoi (HK) and Wilson Ng, head of mid-market, Google Customer Solutions ReGiftWrap wrapping paper is made of recycled plastic bottles
ReGiftWrap wrapping paper is made recycled plastic bottles

“We are currently working on a country-specific collection for Hong Kong and there is a Dubai range in the works as well, so there are plenty of exciting opportunities.”

Tiny but functional

Tapping into the latest trends, Hong Kong based brand Moral Bags launched a tiny backpack at the Gifts & Premium Fair in various on-trend colours.

Featuring a clean and simple design but still highly functional, the brand is all about improving the customer experience.

“Even with a small backpack like this, it still has so many functions with plenty of pockets and a push lock, so it’s more difficult to open the bag,” says general manager, Timmy Wong.

“It comes with two straps to either carry it as a backpack or crossbody, which is very popular at the moment. There is also an RFID zip pocket inside the bag to prevent illegal scanning.”

Available in pastels, yellow and pink, Moral Bags caters for different markets around the world.

simple but productive version of the sticky note when he launched Bravestorming.

“Our paper version was the first product to launch with the MoverBook or Pad, so you can easily reposition your tasks or ideas and every time you complete a task, you can peel off the piece of paper,” he enthuses.

During the pandemic Sum had time to develop the product as it evolved into a magnetic version with colour coding and different sizes books and notes.

“Many people like to visualise their plans, but not everyone has a big whiteboard at home, so we created a smaller version with magnetic sticky notes. It’s also more sustainable than the paper version.

“I studied finance and accounting, but I wanted to create something people would want to use including those that work from home, mums, etc.

“It comes with two straps to either carry it as a backpack or crossbody, which is very popular at the moment. There is also an RFID zip pocket inside the bag to prevent illegal scanning.”

“Tastes differ per region so for example, in Asia the pastels are very popular, while in Europe they prefer more neutral colours. We try to have a wide range of colours to cover all bases.”

The tiny backpack uses Moral’s new fast-degrading fabric. This means that it can decompose into natural elements with minimal environmental impact once its lifespan ends.

“The new formula of the fabric decomposes 100 times faster than conventional products, reducing the time required for complete decomposition and greatly improving resource utilisation efficiency.”

Moving around

Launched through Kickstarter in the US and Australia in 2019, Alex Sum says he just wanted to create a

“Making mover erase is not an easy task. We have tried many versions of movers, with different materials, proportions, magnets and after several failures, we have successfully created the perfect version. The patented mover design allows easy pick-up from surfaces by pressing on the edges.”

The company name is a play on brainstorming. “Mover erase is made for facilitating thinking processes like brainstorming, to enhance productivity and avoid being trapped in brain clutters and ruminations.

“It’s all about time management, completing tasks, setting goals and the accomplishments along the way and gradually you become a brave person. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you, it can be months or a year,” he explains.

Bravestorming won a Hong Kong Smart Design Award at the recent Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair and Sum says he will continue to evolve the product including adding an app.

gifts & premium
Moral Bags’ tiny backpacks are available in various colours
JUNE 2024 35
HK Gifts & Premium was held concurrently with 3 other fairs

“Some people do prefer a digital version, so we are looking to add value to the magnetic version with our own app.”

Food for thought

Marushin Sun Heart (HK)’s uniquely designed small bags and pouches in the shape of food items are popular in Europe and the United States and the exhibitor joined the Gifts & Premium Fair in order to bring these popular bags to Asian markets.

“At the fair, we transformed our booth into a supermarket and attracted a lot of new buyers—70 per cent came from Europe and the United States and the remainder from Southeast Asia,” enthuses Shoko Kodama, board director, Marushin Co.

“Their responses were very positive. So far, we have found 20 to 30 potential distributors. Some of our existing distributors have already placed on-the-spot orders worth a total of US$50,000 on the first day. We expect our on-site orders will amount to US$200,000.”

More than retail

Driving innovation and creating ‘more than retail’ experiences across online and offline platforms are the key factors to captivating the next generation of shoppers, fair attendees were told during the Perspectives on Lifestyle Consumers seminar.

Albert Chan, head of Greater China office at Coresight Research, highlighted three distinct traits that separates Gen Z from previous generations.

“Gen Z seeks innovation, values sustainability and prioritises experiences when making purchase decisions, making them essential criteria to be satisfied by companies aiming to cultivate long-term customer loyalty,” he explained.

He emphasised the importance for brands to go beyond traditional retail models and provide ‘more than retail’ experiences in their stores.

“A shop is no longer just a marketplace. It is like a temple of your brand, akin to an Apple Store. It serves as a platform for brand display and more importantly, as a means of engaging consumers beyond mere product transactions.”

Wilson Ng, head of mid-market, Google Customer Solutions in Hong Kong, emphasised the significance of maintaining a strong digital presence across different platforms as online and offline sales become increasingly intertwined.

A 2023 Google survey found 52 per cent of respondents had made their last purchase online, while 48 per cent said their last purchase was offline.

A majority of respondents had carried out online research before their purchases, regardless of where they ended up buying the products. Among the tools used by shoppers during their online research, search engines were the most popular, followed by online videos, retailer websites and social media.

Marushin Sun Heart designed its stand as a supermarket

“To engage consumers effectively, companies should leverage all these channels and ensure consistent messaging across those platforms,” he said.

He also noted the marketing trend transitioning from a topdown approach of relying on the star power of celebrities and big brands to working directly with end users. Instead of advertising with top influencers, Ng said companies are increasingly seeking endorsement from mid-tier KOLs with several thousand followers, because consumers find their reviews to be more authentic.

Carol Chan, global business director of Pinkoi (HK) was all about innovation during the seminar, highlighting the importance of bringing excitement to customers through innovative products.

“Crossovers between traditional brands with IP characters as well as collaboration between designers and independent illustrators are effective in boosting demand for products,” she shared.

On top of organising online marketing campaigns, she underscored the indispensable value of continuing offline activities such as trade fairs.

“It is always important to think beyond sales and offer an experience for customers that promises interactions and fun. If you want your customers to buy the product, they need to enjoy themselves in the activity.” G

Cultural & Creative Corner displayed
with local cultural characteristics JUNE 2024 37 gifts & premium



Eighty-three per cent of Australian consumers are loyal to their preferred retailers, with 18 per cent reporting increased loyalty program usage over the past year.

Research by Retail Doctor Group and Pureprofile shows almost all (95 per cent) Australian consumers are members of one or more loyalty programs with close to half (45 per cent) saying that a loyalty program would make them visit a retailer more often and 27 per cent saying a program would encourage them to spend more at said retailer.

“Australia currently finds itself in a unique economic situation and it is interesting to see how consumers are responding,” says Anastasia Lloyd-Wallis, COO of The Retail Doctor Group.

“The research has uncovered that loyalty programs weigh heavily when it comes to purchasing behaviour but that consumers have demands when it comes to these programs. They want personalisation, systems have to be easy to use and they want to see their loyalty rewarded quicker. In fact, access to special discounts was the most important consumer consideration with these programs.

“It is also important that loyalty programs are not a one-size-fits-all solution to consumer behaviour. The effect of programs decreases with age, with 70 per cent of Gen Z and Millennials reporting being influenced, but only 35 per cent of those aged 65+ reporting the same.”

The top reason for loyalty across homewares (63 per cent) was because consumers liked the look and feel of a brand or a retailer. Conversely, the top reason for disloyalty across homewares (54 per cent) was because consumers followed a sale.

“While loyalty programs are a key influencer when it comes to purchasing

Retailers are moving quickly to ramp up loyalty programs in the face of disappearing cookies to acquire and retain customers.
JUNE 2024 39

behaviour, consumers report that connection to a brand is the most important driver of loyalty, even more so than price,” says Martin Filz, CEO of Pureprofile.

“So retailers need to think holistically about the customer experience from fantastic in-store experiences to personable staff interactions and frictionless online journeys. Every touch point is an opportunity to win or keep loyalty which is of paramount importance in the current environment.”

Just as there are trends in consumer spending, on the business end, there are also trends in loyalty programs.

“Now that we are already well and truly into 2024 and cost of living challenges are influencing consumer spending and technology is transforming the way retailers engage with customers, we are seeing some interesting trends evolve in the area of loyalty programs,” Carly Neubauer, co-founder and director of Elevate Loyalty, says.

“These trends are so significant, they are going to change the way consumers shop in Australia.”

The underlying driver for rapid innovation in the loyalty sector is being driven by the removal of cookies. From 2024, Chrome and Google will ramp up third party cookie

One of the key segments to emerge is the premium loyalty program sector. This sector involves premium loyalty programs for luxury and exclusive experience brands. These programs are designed to offer brand and experience conscious consumers a bit more luxe for their life and the spend.

“Many require a fee to join. Not only does this tactic set them apart, but it also ups their luxe appeal. Some companies might only choose to offer a completely premium program. Others might offer a paid component of a free loyalty program, like a higher tier that gives better rewards.

“For customers, the benefit is that if they are paying to join a premium service, then they can expect that the benefits will be worth the premium they are paying for.”

“Companies and brands are acutely aware that customers are highly sophisticated and expect more from them. In particular, they want a shopping experience not a straightforward exchange of money for a product.”

restrictions to their users and cookies will become a tool of the past.

“This will significantly improve privacy protections for consumers but also reduce the ability of businesses to track and engage with consumers through cookies.

“Loyalty programs are now providing the new frontier for businesses to connect and stay connected with consumers in the absence of cookies. To do this, businesses need to quickly bring as many people into their loyalty program ecosystems as possible hence the extraordinary offers and incentives being wheeled out across retail to encourage consumers to sign up.”

Premium loyalty programs

“There are millions of loyalty programs around the world and businesses are struggling to compete in this sector given the level of crowding and market saturation. As a result, we are seeing innovative segmentation across the loyalty program market,” Neubauer explains.

Brand partnerships

“It was one of the biggest moves in retail last year when Kmart and Target merged in Australia. You can now find Kmart brand products in Target. This is a prime example of brand partnerships happening and I think we’ll be seeing more and more of these cross-overs, limited editions and partnerships because they pull from two sets of customers rather than one,” Naubauer says.

“This is definitely a trend that keen shoppers can look forward to. It can be really fun and exciting when two of your favourite brands do a collab. Many parent brands of multiple brands are also allowing loyalty program members to benefit from their full suite of brand offerings to entice more members into their eco system.”

Choice and flexibility

“Aussie shoppers are smart and savvy at nosing through deals to bag themselves a good discount. Companies know this

marketing 40
Carly Neubauer, co-founder and director of Elevate Loyalty

and they know that it’s not enough to keep them ahead of their competitors, they need to be going the extra mile to get customers in their stores. So they’re giving their customers better choices and flexibility in their loyalty programs.

“Customers want to choose how they’re rewarded and they want to be able to opt in or opt out with whatever they feel comfortable with. It’s a very fragmented market so businesses are now working harder to win over their customers with more flexibility and options in terms of how customers can utilise their reward benefits. This is a key area of innovation and change for many loyalty programs.”

Spend with other brands is captured

This is a big area of change for many loyalty programs.

Traditionally loyalty program members had to shop with the program’s store to generate rewards, now this has changed.

“Brands are recognising the power of ‘catch all’ spend and are building complex relationships with other likeminded business and brands that offer non-competing but complementary products and services in the market that their customers may wish to buy,” she adds.

“Brands are now building ecosystems of loyalty programs that enable consumers to be rewarded by their loyalty program if they spend money with another brand. Qantas has really pioneered this concept in the market and now it is being adopted and revolutionised across the retail sector.

“Under the bonnet, it is another means of rapidly expanding the loyalty program’s database of customer information which is shared among its ecosystem of business members.”

Engaging with customers

“Companies and brands are acutely aware that customers are highly sophisticated and expect more from them. In particular, they want a shopping experience not a straightforward exchange of money for a product,” Neubauer says.

“Brands are now going all out to develop deeper connections with their customers because this sort of engagement with their customers also feeds them with first party data about their customer base. It’s how Netflix seems to always know what to recommend for you to watch next.” G

JUNE 2024 41 rugs, doormats, home & garden
95 per cent of Aussies are part of one or more loyalty programs


We take a look at how brands are implementing AI to build better relationships with their customers, where AI is yielding the most return on investment for brands and what engagement trends are most important to consumers.

Businesses are successfully using artificial intelligence (AI) to create more personalised, intelligent interactions with their customers, but face challenges around transparency and lack of customer data, according to new research from customer engagement platform, Twilio.

Australian brands overestimate customer perceptions

Its fifth annual State of Customer Engagement Report states that Australia has the widest customer experience gap—86 per cent of businesses say they provide good or excellent customer engagement, yet only 54 per cent of consumers agree.

Additionally, Australia has the widest brand perception gap of all APAC countries, showing a whopping 45 per cent difference between a brand’s perceived understanding of their customers and what consumers actually think (compared to 27 per cent in Singapore and 15 per cent in Malaysia). Globally, only five countries—France, UK, Spain, Brazil and Italy—show larger perception gaps.

The main reason for this wide gap is poorly connected data, with half (51 per cent) of Aussie brands saying that

connecting customer data across channels, sources and platforms is their biggest challenge and close to half (46 per cent) indicating they struggle with turning data into customer insights.

AI can bridge the disconnect

Globally the report found AI is helping businesses close their perception gaps and improve their customer engagement. For example, seven in 10 companies already leverage AI to personalise content and marketing.

As a result, these forward-thinking brands are realising a number of benefits including higher customer satisfaction scores (45 per cent of companies), better data-driven decision-making (41 per cent) and improved market segmentation and targeting (41 per cent).

In Australia, however, 85 per cent of brands believe AI will improve customer engagement, but only 22 per cent of consumers agree. Again, indicators point to poor activation of data as a reason for the disconnect and this struggle is felt globally.

While more businesses are embracing AI, only 16 per cent of brands globally strongly agree that they have the data they need to understand their customers and just 19 per cent of businesses strongly agree they have a comprehensive profile of their customers.

“Customers today expect personalised experiences, but Australian consumers are notoriously sceptical,” says Liz Adeniji, area vice president of APAC sales for Twilio Segment.

“Here we are seeing a lot of brands pouring resources into creating these

experiences and deploying AI initiatives, but they are still not properly collecting and unifying the data they need to execute them properly and consumers can tell.

“Brands need to invest in more foundational work around their use of data and consider other measures like improved data security to instil greater trust and ensure their AI and personalisation attempts aren’t missing the mark.”

The most effective way to maintain trust

As businesses embrace AI to drive personalised customer engagement, they gather every customer’s click, share, follow, like and purchase to understand their preferences and needs. More than ever, businesses must keep their customers’ data safe to maintain their trust.

This year’s report found that six in 10 consumers say protecting their data is the

42 technology
AI is here to stay and businesses need to better understand how to use it to their benefit
This year’s report found that six in 10 consumers say protecting their data is the top way for brands to earn their trust. Almost half (49 per cent) say they would trust a brand more if it disclosed how customer data is used in AIpowered interactions.

top way for brands to earn their trust. Almost half (49 per cent) say they would trust a brand more if it disclosed how customer data is used in AI-powered interactions.

Consumers aren’t the only ones worried about data privacy. Forty percent of businesses surveyed report that finding a balance between security and customer experience is one of their most pressing challenges this year.

One particular area of focus for brands is reducing friction during the account signup process, while keeping customer data safe. In 2024, 40 per cent of brands say they’re prioritising simplifying the signup and login process to improve customer engagement.

“It’s imperative for brands to be clear about how they use AI, ensuring that they balance how they deploy it with equally

robust measures to protect customer privacy. Transparency is not optional—it’s a critical component of building and maintaining customer trust and loyalty,” Adeniji adds.

Boosting the bottom line

Despite data usage challenges, when AI-powered personalisation is deployed effectively, global consumers reward them by spending an average of 54 per cent more with them compared to brands that do not.

Additionally, 55 per cent of respondents globally are willing to spend more money for a customised experience, while 48 per cent say they’ve made a repeat purchase from a company based on the level of personalisation they received.

Consumers expect brands to deliver highly individualised experiences and have little patience for those that don’t—64 per cent of consumers surveyed would quit a brand if their experiences aren’t personalised, while 31 per cent say it’s pushed them to purchase from a different brand entirely.

That is especially true among younger generations—almost seven in 10 Gen Z-ers and Millennials would stop using a brand that doesn’t deliver personalised experiences on their preferred channels. Additionally, more than one-third of them will abandon a brand that doesn’t engage with them directly in real-time. G

JUNE 2024 43





The latest products to take your store from autumn into winter

1. Janod polar animals magnetic book, wholesales for $19.50. Bright Wonders, 08 7425 1400,,, 2. Grandmother Country or Wildflowers scarf, wholesales for $20.43. Koh Living, 1800 811 598,, 3. Cozy winter Pusheen, wholesales for $24.95. Jasnor (Australia), 03 9562 9900,,,, 4. NF Living cotton throws, wholesale from $23.95 to $33.95. Nicholas Agency, 02 9579 2200,,,,





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1. Chiswick cashmere/merino blend throw, wholesales from $70 to $80. Codu, 1800 002 638,,,, 2. Maine Beach ultra sonic diffuser, retails for $79.95. Cocco Corporation, 08 8383 0715,,,, 3. Knit polar neck topper, cable knit snood & beanie set and double walled coffee mug, wholesale from $15 to $30. Annabel Trends, 07 5593 4755,,, AnnabelTrends, 4. Beret Bear tea for one set and mug, wholesale for $33 and $27.20. J Style, 02 4225 8811,,,,

5. Limited edition aromatherapy candle, wholesales for $ 42.40. AROMABABY Natural Skincare, 03 9464 0888,,,, 6. EQLB mens boxed scarf, wholesales for $12.95. Gibson Gifts, 03 9581 3666,,,,

JUNE 2024 45 winter warmers



4 6


1. Corten balls, wholesale from $75 to $125. Alfresco Gardenware, 03 9118 4333,,,,

2. Janod winter wonderland puzzle, wholesales for $20. Bright Wonders, 08 7425 1400,,, 3. Nordic Forest Mist candle and diffuser, wholesale for $16.50 and $14.95. Bramble Bay Co, 07 3492 0951,,,, 4. The Dua, wholesales for $14.99. Sage and Cooper, 0403 739 114,,,, 5. Marianne Burton fine bone China teapot, wholesales for $31.80. Alperstein Designs, 03 9584 5333,,,, 6. Fabelab butterfly wings, wholesale for $22.95. Axis Toys, 02 9986 3456,,,,


1 2





1. Hampton 80% merino blended throw, wholesales from $70 to $80. CODU, 1800 002 638,,,, 2. Home electric lamp and ‘We are one’ candle holder by Jacinta-rai, wholesale for $180 and $16.13. Koh Living, 1800 811 598,, 3. Mugs range, wholesales for $12.70 each. Intrinsic Enterprises, 08 8232 2366,,,, 4. Essence plush scarves, wholesale for $9.95. Gibson Gifts, 03 9581 3666,,,, 5. Squishmalllows cottage collection, wholesales from $6.80 to $12.25. Jasnor (Australia), 03 9562 9900,, www.jasnor.,, 6. NF Living all decorative florals, wholesale from $3 to $15. Nicholas Agency, 02 9579 2200,,,,

JUNE 2024 47 winter warmers


5 6

1. Airport trolley sets, wholesale for $272. Catherine Manuell Design, 0414 765 117,, 2. Neotech red harness, wholesales from $27.27 to $31.81. Outback Tails,,, 3. Nordic Alpine Meadow candle and diffuser, wholesale for $16.50 and $14.95. Bramble Bay Co, 07 3492 0951,,,, 4. NF Living cushions, wholesales from $15 to $40. Nicholas Agency, 02 9579 2200,,,, 5. Citrine natural soy candle with citrine crystals, wholesales for $27.50. Lisa & Alex, 0450 434 192,,,, 6. Mood bracelet, wholesales for $3.75. House of Marbles, 02 9426 0955,,,, 1




2 5 1 6



1. Mid steel rust swall stakes, pack of 4 wholesales for $22. Alfresco Gardenware, 03 9118 4333,,,,

2. Sassi puzzle and book sets, wholesale from $10.85 to $14. Axis Toys, 02 9986 3456,,,, 3. Essence adult and kids beanies, wholesale from $7.95 to $8.95. Gibson Gifts, 03 9581 3666,,,,

4. Travel cups, wholesale for $15.68 each. Intrinsic Enterprises, 08 8232 2366,,,, 5. Midnight Blooms cotton throw, wholesales for $42.90. Annabel Trends, 07 5593 4755,,,, 6. Jack straws, wholesale for $4.50. House of Marbles, 02 9426 0955,,,,

JUNE 2024 49 winter warmers



1. Flower heatable pillow and cosy luxe waffle bath robe, wholesale from $12.85 to $42.70. Annabel Trends, 07 5593 4755,,,, 2. by Astrup blond hobby horse, wholesales for $44.50. Axis Toys, 02 9986 3456,,,, 3. Natural stone wrap bracelets, wholesale for $24.75. Bramble Bay Co, 07 3492 0951,,,, 4. Brighton 100% pure NZ wool throw, wholesales from $70 to $80. Codu, 1800 002 638,,,, 5. Janod polar table and chairs, wholesale for $122. Bright Wonders, 08 7425 1400,,, 6. Singing bird pot sitter, wholesales for $3.50. Alfresco Gardenware, 03 9118 4333,,,, 1 2 3









1. Coconut lime sorbet natural soy candle, wholesales for $25. Lisa & Alex, 0450 434 192,,,, 2. Swim Essentials koala dive buddies, wholesale for $12.09. Axis Toys, 02 9986 3456,,, , 3. Wooden rubber band pistol, wholesales for $9. House of Marbles, 02 9426 0955,,,,

4. Hydrate+ two-in-one water bottle and coffee cup, RRP $59.95. Sttoke,,,, 5. NF Living FramePop frame, wholesales for $7.95. Nicholas Agency, 02 9579 2200,,,, 6. Green car restraint, wholesales for $9.09. Outback Tails,,,

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winter warmers

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