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Posted by Rachel Westall on 7 February 2022
Thousands of retail buyers, and owners of independent stores from across the UK flocked to Spring Fair at the NEC Birmingham on Sunday as it opened its doors for the first time in two years. As the largest and longest running wholesale marketplace encompassing the very best in home, gift and fashion, the busy aisles and stands across all eight Halls showing that retailers are ready for a return to business as usual and in-person trading, with a palpable thirst for newness and desire to re-stock their stores with the latest products and innovations.
Open until Wednesday 9th February, the show is expected to generate tens of millions of pounds worth of business, refuelling the retail industry and injecting newness. Julie Driscoll, Divisional Managing Director, Spring Fair & Moda says; "The show has been bustling all day today, exhibitors are excited to be back and retailers have flocked to the show to return to face to face business and networking. We are still on a high after winning AEO's Trade Show of the Century Award, and feel genuinely proud to continue to successfully put on the UK's largest and longest running tradeshow. We can't wait for the next three days, for the start of Curated Meetings on Monday, and to see retail flourishing once again."
Exhibitor, Liz Ireland, Managing Director and Founder, Bigjigs Toys said; "It is very good to be here and to be back on the show floor talking to buyers, the visitor attendance has been extremely high for the first day and the quality of buyer has been excellent."
Exhibitor, Allana Holmes from Hunter Price, said: "This is an exciting time for the business, with new launches on our toy, craft and stationery ranges as well as new homeware collections with Billie Faiers and Style Sisters. We have had a lot of interaction on the stand today with positive reactions and interest in the new products. The buyers we have seen are also looking for ranges with strong visual branding."
Retailer, Anne Marie Murray from Willow Home & Interiors says: "Spring Fair has been great, fresh looking and its very contemporary. It's well laid out and easy to get to and find products. It has been a great day so far and we've picked up a few names of new companies we didn't know before."
Moda settled beautifully into its new home as the Fashion destination at Spring Fair, offering retailers the most diverse fashion buying destination in the UK with a comprehensive and inspiring line-up of industry leading womenswear, jewellery, accessories, footwear, and sustainable brands. Jewellery & Watch had its own distinct edit within Moda giving fashion and jewellery buyers the chance to see the widest collection of new season pieces across a wide variety of price points and explore crossover buying opportunities – all in the one location.
The bold and triumphant return of the Moda catwalk was a welcomed by visitors who were treated to a vibrant edit of looks including the playful and colourful Childhood Dreams, the urban traveller Off The Grid edit, and glam 70s style metallic Liquid Metal trends, as well as sponsored looks from Jayley, Saloos, and One Hundred Stars.
Antony Wright from Barrhead Leather said; "This is our first time showing at Moda at Spring Fair and it's all going according to plan. In the first morning I've signed five new customers, so I'm delighted with the results so far."
On the Inspiring Retail Stage, visitors were encouraged to hear from Karl McKeever, Founder of FutureView, about the opportunities that have arisen as a result of Covid, with many businesses unlearning and relearning behaviours, developing different ways of thinking and doing things, and becoming increasingly creative and collaborative in the process. Interior designer and finalist of TV show Interior Design Masters, Paul Moneypenny discussed his love of design, how to be brave with colour.
As the show came to a close, visitors gathered on the Stage for the Good Retail Awards 2022. It was noted that there was a real sense of optimism and the start of a return to normal in the retail industry.
This year, as part of its re-launched Power of One campaign, the Good Retail Awards introduced the Power of One Award with the purpose of recognising a business that has made one small change to their business that has made a significant impact. Plastic-free beauty business Whitfords won for the creation of a sustainable, multi-purpose alternative to commonly found packaging.
Spring Fair takes place on 6th – 9th February 2022 at NEC Birmingham.
For further Spring Fair information please visit www.springfair.com