Here’s Why You Should Visit Spring Fair 2016.
Running from Sunday 7th -11th February, Spring Fair 2016 is one of the UK’s biggest trade shows for the greetings card and gift industries.
This year the show will span 14 sectors, with organisers playing host to 3,000 exhibitors from the card, gift, fashion and homeware industries.
Over the last decade I’ve visited the show many times as both an exhibitor, a visitor and for the last few years as a guest speaker; most recently talking about how to create compelling social media content.
It’s such a huge show with so much on offer that it’s tricky to summarise exactly what you can expect from attending the show. I am however going to attempt to give you a run down of a few of the main highlights of this year’s show.
New developments, new additions and changes that the show organiser’s hope will make this year’s show better than ever.
& stay to the end to find out how you can get FREE marketing advice from yours truly!
Spring Fair 2016’s Highlights.
The New Greetings & Gift Sector.
Under the new banner of ‘Greetings & Gift’, greeting card and gift exhibitors will be moving to Hall 3, where they will be alongside complementary products in The Party Show. The new re-edited sector will also host a contemporary “greetings and gift boulevard” near to the Gift exhibitors in Hall 4. This special boulevard is designed to present card publishers who have diversified into gift ranges. Look out for: Santoro, Caroline Gardner, Talking Tables, Bluebell 33, Wrendale Designs (who you may remember for their fabulous nature Christmas cards), The Little Dog Laughed, Belly Button Designs, White Cotton Cards, Quotable, Alex Clark Art, Rachel Ellen and Paper Salad in this new section.
Boasting the biggest selection of greetings cards, gift wrappings and stationery to be found under one roof anywhere in the world. Spring Fair’s organisers are excited to see a growing number of card publishers joining this year’s show. The hall will play host to over 300 greeting card, stationery and gift wrap suppliers, reflecting a growing sector and market trends for stationery and paper goods. Companies in this category you can look forward to seeing include: Go Stationery, The Gifted Stationery Company, Leuchtturm and Goldbuch Georg Brueckner.
Alongside established publishers, Spring Fair 2016 is keen to support the creativity of niche publishers and contemporary designers and will showcase an impressive raft of design talent. Artists, designers and new publishers including: Laura Sherratt (whose new greetings cards we’ve previously featured on the blog), Rose Hill, Jo Stockdale, Bird, Madam Treacle, Berni Parker, The Little Bells and Kali Stileman (formerly The Square Card Company) are just some of the fabulous companies taking part in the show.
The Gift Selection.
Another core sector getting a makeover this year is ‘Gift’, a presentation of general gift products available to the trade. Located in Halls 4 and 5, Gift incorporates 430 companies, with 60 first-time exhibitors and 50 joining from overseas.
Alongside the core offering of gift exhibitors showing in Hall 3, visitors can also expect to see ‘Contemporary Gift’ companies in Halls 6 and 7 and a selection of high end gift and homewares in ‘The Summerhouse’, which will be located in Hall 8.
Put plainly if you’re at all interested in gifts, Spring Fair 2016 is the place to be with an epic array of designers and publishers from across the world uniting in one place.
A New Look for Fashion.
Spring Fair’s crucial Fashion sector – formerly Fashion Jewellery, Accessories & Luggage – will be rebranded for the 2016 event. Giving a fresh look and feel to a much-loved sector of the show.
With more accessories brands under one roof than any other UK show, Fashion at Spring Fair incorporates hundreds of the most renowned and well-respected companies in the fashion trade.
The 2016 Fashion presentation will include a brand new, carefully curated mid-high end area that will offer innovative products for discerning buyers.
Located in Halls 19 and 20, Fashion at Spring Fair 2016 will offer a broad product mix that takes in the full range of fashion accessories, luggage and costume jewellery, including: handbags, purses, scarves, shawls, t-shirts, belts, gloves, hats, suitcases, travel accessories and iPad cases.
Look out for the latest products from some well-respected brands including: Radley, Jackie Brazil, Smith & Canova, Tula, Nova Leathers, Joe Cool UK Ltd, Boardman Bros Ltd, No Tail, Design Go Limited and Bessie handbags.
The Volume Halls.
Unlike a lot of the other trade shows, Spring Fair plays host to the volume gift and home sectors. Opening a day earlier than the rest of the show (on Saturday 6th February), this speciality sector will host 230 exciting exhibitors, occupying Halls 10, 11 and 12.
For the volume halls Spring Fair 2016’s organisers will be introducing an express registration entrance and a new walkway, making it easier for visitors to navigate their way around the show.
The volume sector will be welcoming a host of new exhibitors from both the UK and overseas, including: Ansio, Centurion Europe, CSC Imports, Manchester Picture Frames, S Green & Sons, Simply Essentials and ZBH. Joining regular exhibitors: PMS International, What More UK, Whitefurze Limited and UP Global Sourcing to name but a few.
Visitors should also look out for Halll 12’s group pavilion hosted by the Trade Development Authority for Pakistan. This area will incorporate a dozen stands exhibiting a mix of clothing, gift and textiles.
Home Sweet Home.
Since its relaunch in 2014, the Home sector has grown by 15 per cent and the quality of exhibitors has risen exponentially as more leading companies join the show. This year Spring Fair’s Hall 1 will host over 130 exhibitors, including almost 40 new exhibitors and 16 international companies. New for 2016 are: RV Astley, Riviera Maison, Bluebone Imports, MYB Textiles, Cotton & Quilted, Abigail Ahern, Rowico, XYZ Agencies Ltd and Clarke & Clarke, to name just a few.
The Party Show.
As the UK’s only dedicated show sector to all things party-themed, ‘The Party Show’ mixes costume makers, balloon specialists and partyware suppliers.
Highlighting a fun, vibrant industry, visitors can expect to see exciting new products for every party occasion, from Halloween and Christmas through to weddings, hen and stag parties.
The sector has over 100 party exhibitors (located in Hall 3) and its own ‘Party Show Stage’, sponsored by Rubies. One of the most popular features of Spring Fair, the Party Show Stage features daily catwalk shows from fancy-dress manufacturers and always draws large crowds.
The Stage will also provide a series of balloon crafting demonstrations and seminars in between runway shows.
Seminars for Success.
As well as taking in the latest products Spring Fair visitors have the chance to attend a wide range of in-depth business seminars, trend presentations, merchandise demonstrations and other educational events. As part of the show’s content programme, these seminars are free to attend and a great way to pick up retail, e-Commerce and trading tips.
The seminar schedule has become a big part of the show for me personally and I am delighted to have been invited back this year to give another seminar in Hall 6’s eCommerce theatre. This year I will be talking about ‘How Blogging Can Boost Your Business’. We’ll go through what blogging is, how it can make money for your business and how The seminar is at 11:15am on Monday 8th February so please do pop by, say hello and soak up what I’m sure will be some fab blogging advice.
The keynote speaker for Spring Fair 2016 is technology entrepreneur Michael Acton Smith, OBE, founder of online retailer Firebox, entertainment company Mind Candy and creator of the global online brand Moshi Monsters. I often use Firebox as an example of a world-class eCommerce site so I highly recommend you going to see this Keynote speech if you’re attending the show on Sunday.
New for Spring Fair 2016 the show’s organisers have arranged a series of 1-2-1 eCommerce clinics where you can pick up advice on a variety of subjects from social media marketing to selling on marketplace sites like Amazon and Ebay. As with the seminars I will be taking part in this part of the show too, where I will be helping 6 businesses with their blogging strategy.
If you’re keen to start a blog or need some help ensuring your blog gives you a return on your effort then these sessions are for you.
I believe in making marketing easier for small businesses so I’ll be making sure I make things easier and not harder for anyone who wants to take up blogging. I only have 6 spots available so be sure to grab your place, before it’s gone.
Be sure to also look out for Jeremy from Blue Eyed Sun who will also be volunteering at the 1-2-1 clinics offering a social media health check to 6 lucky retailers.
Exporting Advice from UKTI.
If you’ve ever wanted to expand your business overseas this show highlight is for you. UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is the Government Department that helps UK-based companies achieve their potential globally.
At Spring Fair 2016 UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) will be bringing along their exporting experts to speak to UK-based businesses about opportunities for export in exciting global markets.
They will be hosting a number of engaging, and informative sessions located in the International Business Theatre (Hall 2). Bringing together exporting experts, experienced exporters and UK SMEs to deliver bespoke advice and first-hand accounts of businesses going globally for the first time.
Get Your Spring Fair 2016 Ticket.
If you like the sound of the show, register for your free ticket now at the Spring Fair website.