Craft Focus - October/November 2022 (Issue 93)

24 The Future of Retail at Autumn Fair Four days, four destinations, 12 product sectors, thousands of retailers, hundreds of exhibitors showcasing millions of new and innovative products including homeware, décor, gifts, greetings and stationery, Christmas, beauty and wellbeing, womenswear, fashion accessories, jewellery and footwear, Autumn Fair 2022 ended on a high with a focus on collaboration, community, and conscious retailing. The inspirational show, which took place from 4th to 7th September at NEC Birmingham, offered the UK and Europe’s retailers a space to meet, re-connect, network and source, as well as learn about sustainability, responsible sourcing, circularity, and advice for creating a buoyant future for retailing, all under one roof. New features on the show floor included the New Product Showcase which successfully launched at Autumn Fair 2022, giving exhibitors the perfect platform to launch their brand-new developments. From odd socks advent calendars to dog biscuit baking kits, the New Product Showcase was the place to discover a curated edit of the most individual and innovative products. This year, a whole stand was dedicated to the Power of One® campaign with curated product inspiration and a visual and interactive space for visitors to make their own Power of One pledges, a Self-Reflection mirrored wall, and live art. The Sustainability Product Showcase put the spotlight on an edit of eco-conscious exhibitors, and Autumn Fair’s headline sponsors, Products of Change collaborated on the Power of One stand offering their advice and one-on-one sessions on how to make businesses more sustainable. As one of the industry’s most highly respected industry accolades, aimed at recognising the best new products, talent, and inspiration in our industry each year, Autumn Fair partnered with the Giftware Association to create a beautiful new showcase of all the Gift of the Year 2022 category winners enabling visitors to see them all collectively in one handy space. Being crowned a category winner provides industry-wide recognition and previous entrants have seen a huge boost to their sales and revenue – the winners on show will become the next year’s bestsellers. Buyers from retailers including John Lewis, Fenwick, Fishpools, M&S, TJX – TKMaxx, The Dressing Room, Pamela Shiffer, Between the Lines, Wayfair, Dunelm, Next, Paperchase, Hallmark, Rymans, Blue Diamond, Dobbies, Chester Zoo, The Science Museum, Kew Gardens, The Works, The Hut Group, Homebase, and thousands more flocked to the show. Many commented on the importance of seeing products and meeting people in person, the scope created from cross-buying opportunities, and the benefits and value generated by the inspirational talks and presentations on the Inspiring Retail Stage and MODA Catwalk. Nicola Meadows, Portfolio Director at Autumn Fair commented on the final day of the show looking ahead to Spring Fair in February 2023: “There’s been so much to celebrate at Autumn Fair, and as the doors close today, I feel immensely humbled by the response from our community and the passion, drive, and enthusiasm to work together to refuel retail and work towards a better, more responsible and kinder way of doing business. I’m very excited to look ahead to Spring Fair and delivering another memorable show for the home, gift, fashion, and sourcing markets.” Spring Fair takes place from 5th–8th February 2023, at the NEC Birmingham. Please visit the website for more information. Giving & Living returns As we head into the ‘Golden Quarter’ and retailers start gearing up for their Christmas merchandise displays, plans for the next edition of Giving & Living are well under way and a host of suppliers are lining up to join the premier Coastal sourcing event in the UK buying calendar. Running from 15th17th January, 2023 at Westpoint, Exeter, Giving & Living is a very important trade event for home and giftware in the southwest of Britain, covering more coastal regions – and with more dedication – than any other exhibition. The variety of products which directly target the booming British holiday trade is unrivalled, bringing a relaxed and friendly atmosphere to Giving & Living and reflecting its enviable location in one of the UK’s most beautiful regions. It isn’t only about the coast, of course, with general gift and homeware also constituting mainstays of the show, which includes a strong contingent of artisan companies that are producing their work here in the UK. Official show features for 2023 include the Coastal Path, Newcomers, Naturally, and Designed and Made in Britain. The enormous variety of products on display will include ceramics and tableware, greetings cards, stationery and wall art, wellbeing and beauty, beachwear, fashion accessories and books, soft furnishings and home textiles, trinkets, jewellery, and souvenirs. Retailers will also be able to find companies able to provide them with bespoke and own-brand merchandise, as well as multitude of wonderful niche products which reflect Britain’s heritage. The early January buying date offers an important opportunity for retail buyers to get ahead of the crowd having taken stock after Christmas. With many products exclusive to Giving & Living in 2023, there is always the chance to find something that little bit different to draw in both the tourist trade and tempt local shoppers as we head into the allimportant spring season, the 2023 holiday season and beyond. For more information about the show visit the website: