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Posted by Danielle Harvey on 20 October 2021
"Having had a tumultuous two years, we were ecstatic to finally get back to the Business Design Centre (5th to 6th Oct) and bring the stationery community together once more," says Event Director, Alex Butler.
At the London Stationery Show, both visitors and exhibitors alike were reunited with much-missed friends, colleagues, and clients, and it didn't take long before stationery buyers were placing orders face-to-face, keeping up to date with current 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.
Rachel Owen, who heads up the marketing for Staedtler UK said that "it's great to be back seeing customers face-to-face and having those quality interactions, as well as being able to meet new customers".
Simon Fawke from Snopake was just as delighted to be back, commenting "this is a great opportunity to meet customers we've not seen for so long and put our products in front of them. It's a great return on investment being here".
This year's visitors included Amazon, Anthropologie, B&M Retail, Costco Wholesale Ltd, Disney, Fortnum & Mason, Hallmark, Harrods, Hobby Craft, Marks & Spencer, Merlin Entertainments, Ocado, Paperchase, Ryman, Scribbler, Selfridges, Smythson of Bond Street, Staples.co.uk, Tesco, The Works, T K Maxx, Waterstones, WH Smith and WM Morrison Supermarkets PLC.
There were also representatives from heritage sites, independent gift shops and specialist stationers including, Bartrums & Co Ltd, Blenheim Palace, Colemans, Creoly, Essex County Council Library Services, London Graphic Centre, Royal Museums Greenwich, Scriptum Fine Stationery, The Southbank Art Company, Under the Rowan Trees Ltd and Whipsnade Zoo.
This year's Trends Hub was curated by Sally Angharad, who searches out the latest innovations and identifies new design directions for designers, manufacturers, and retailers. The overall theme was based around 'Being' and focussed on four key elements – living, restoring, connecting and escaping. Each of the four elements related to different colours, types of materials, textures and sustainability – all correlating with new product launches on display at the show.
In place of the Stationery Awards for 2021, we saw the introduction of the Buyers Choice Award. Visitors were able to view 100+ hero products put forward by exhibitors in order to win 'best in show'. Visitors voted in their hundreds, and at the end of day one it was proving to be a close battle, but by the end of day two, there was a clear winner in sight, with Nice & Graphic and their handmade letterpress print picking up the inaugural Buyers Choice Award.
LaunchPad, the competition for new stationery suppliers looking to break into the dynamic, design-led stationery market, gave the opportunity for Love Writing Co., My Happy Journal, O What A Feeling and Wrag Wrap to exhibit and showcase their products in front of a large audience for the first time.
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 – from our ground-breaking exhibitors to the speakers who shared their expertise, and every visitor who came to celebrate our industry's big reunion. 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", commented Alex Butler.
The show will return next year on its more traditional dateline, taking place at the Business Design Centre, London, on 17th to 18th May 2022. Check out more here.