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Posted by Louise Prance-Miles on 25 March 2022
CHSI Stitches 2022 saw a strong turnout, innovative new products from leading brands and high-profile speakers at its first post-pandemic show at the NEC in February.
The show, the first since February 2020, drew leading creative craft brands, showcasing new ranges, many of which were being displayed for the first time in person since the pandemic started.
Steve Mitchell, Show Director said: "While video meetings became the norm in the last two years, the enthusiasm for this year's show reinforces the fact that nothing beats face to face when it comes to creative craft. The way products feel to work with is key to any retailer and end customer, and the show allows visitors to really understand the products they are ordering. This year we invested heavily in our speaker programme, welcoming industry heavyweights from across the marketing and retail spectrum. We've had a great turnout to the sessions."
Sustainability was a key theme of this year's show. King Cole reported a very successful show.
Jo Humberstone, UK Sales Manager said: "We've made a business decision to be more environmentally friendly and our 100% recycled yarn is part of that. We also have solar panels on our warehouse so that during daylight hours we are using solar power. The recycled yarn is very popular. It is a great balance of good colours and feel so ticks all the boxes. While being recycled is important to customers, the product still had to feel nice, and these yarns are incredibly soft. We've had a great show, we've been busy both days meeting new and existing customers. We've met new business owners and retailers who are expanding to include yarn in their shops."
Hawthorn Handmade has also been focussing on sustainability.
Stephanie Carswell said: "We are working hard to reduce plastics in all our kits. Where we do use plastic, for instance in our wool boxes which need to be transparent for retailers, we use 100% recycled and recyclable plastic. We are also reducing the air miles for our products sourcing everything possible from the UK. The sustainability of our products and packaging is becoming more relevant to our customers and they particularly like the fact that we make almost everything in the UK."
The show saw new retailers attending the show for the first time, reflecting the growth in craft during the pandemic.
Independent retailer from Warrington, Stitch Station, was launched by Diane Hughes five months ago after lockdown. She was one of the many new businesses to attend the trade show."As a new craft business this is our first time at the show. The talks and insights sessions have been excellent and so helpful. It's been so wonderful to see products in 'real life' and to meet directly with brands at the show. I was looking for lines to complement our gift range that had strong sustainability credentials and I discovered a great range of products," she said.
CHSI Stitches 2023 takes place from 19-20 February at the NEC, Birmingham, UK.