An impressive design presentation of Pollyfields, a family run business based in North Devon, England
This month I am back at the Autumn Fair after 2 years of missing the event. This is my 6th visit so far. As usual, it does not disappoint. It remains to be a great place to see and learn what have changed and what’s new in the gifts and home retail business. This event is a platform for sourcing gifts and home accessories and gadgets. This is the best show in the UK for these sectors during this season. The show is organized by ITE Group plc. The company has about 200 events every year across different sectors in different countries, mostly in Russia.
The fair’s main stage for talks
The exhibits were well-organized across 5 halls of the NEC (National Exhibition Centre) in Birmingham. It is one of the largest exhibition venues in the UK. I tried to take some products samples from each hall. There are always new products every year that will inspire retailers, designers, hoteliers and other buyers in related sectors.
Hall 4 was dedicated to Greetings, Fashion and Jewelry sectors and the Children’s Gifts, Toys and Gadgets were at Hall 5. Here’s some adorable soft cuddly toys from Doudou of France for the little ones. They look so pretty, and sweet. What kids can resist these beauties. Even the pair of shoe is adorable and looking very comfy. Doudou is a entrant in the show.
Hall 3 and part of Hall 2 were allocated to Home Contemporary Gifts and Living. These bar set from Coach House shows that bright colors combination can look classy.
Here’s some pretty gifts for mother dear for Christmas, birthdays, Mothers’ Day or for an occasional ‘Thank You, Mum’ moment. These collections are from Lang, a distributor which is a regular exhibitor in this show.
More collections from Coach House. Luxurious gifts for the discerning ones.
These soft furnishings from Cozy Living of Copenhagen will make a room brighter and cosy. Together they look vibrant, happy and relax. These are space savers too and are easy to transport from one place to another.
The tiny lizard has a big impact on this bright orange cushion. It looks luxurious.
There were collections for Christmas season, just in time for retailers to stock up the shelves just before the Christmas shopping starts. This beautiful, elegant and cuddly cushion is from the distributor, Heaven Sends. They are regulars on the show.
More Christmas decor which include these lighter color shade ornaments for customers who may wish to give the traditional red and green a rest.
There seems to be a lot of gold-inspired furnishings in the show this year, like these side-tables and table lighting. The cobra-looking legs of this table makes it look unique and elegant.
This unique industrial-inspired clock coffee table with antiquated glass top will be a nice gift for special occasion.
I have noticed some plants-inspired designs recently. This gold tree lamp will suit an eccentric homeowner. I can also see this in a hotel lobby.
In Hall 2 was the Light Show. There was a wide variety of collections from different makers and wholesalers, including the 7 new entrants that joined this sector this year. There were lighting for homes, offices, commercial and industrial places. According to few design sources, industrial home furnishings are the trend this year, which include industrial lighting. This area showcased various designs ranging from chandeliers, ceiling and wall lamps, pendant lighting to table and floor lamps. Some are vintage, industrial-inspired, classic and modern. The collections also include outdoors lighting.
Beautiful chandeliers and pendant lighting from Serene, a new entrant in this sector.
Hall 1 housed the Volume Products, Housewares and Retail Solutions. Most of the volume products on exhibit are similar to those we see and buy from large supermarkets and department stores here in the UK. They are the show’s volume buyers. With the rapid changes in technology that affects behaviors of consumers and the sector itself, this area offers relevant solutions for retailers to catch up with their changing environment. You may find companies here that offer ERP, EPOS, BI, data management, warehouse management, stock control management, payment solutions and other related technologies.
For new product creations or designs, the show has a dedicated area for these. Businesses, product creators and designers can use this area to introduce their new products and product design.
And there were many stands for Chinese manufacturing companies. The area is called ‘The Brands of China’. Visitors and wholesalers/exhibitors have the opportunity to discuss in person a future business partnerships with the Chinese manufacturers.
Talks and Tips
The show offers free talks from successful people in this industry for the benefit of both the visitors and exhibitors. These are held at the main stage (post cover photo). This year’s special guests was Theo Pahitis. He is one of the known names in the retail industry and one of the UK’s Dragon Den investors. He shared some of his insights from his journey as an entrepreneur. Take it from the pro!
Theo in action. (Photo credit: the fair’s organizer)
Here’s the topics presented during the show.
The Venue & Accessibility
The NEC in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
This is my favourite venue in the UK. Maybe I am bias because it is the nearest one where I live and most of the exhibitions that I go to are held in this venue. Other factors that make this place my favorite as a visitor are the huge parking spaces around the premises and the free shuttle bus services for the larger international events. In most smaller events, parking is not free. For more information about the venue, here’s a video that tells more.
(Video credit: The NEC)
Basic Stats of the Show
Visitors – 24,000 + (81% of the 2017 show were decision makers). Exhibitors – 1,300 + which includes manufacturers, suppliers, distributors/agents, licensors, brand owners, inventors and startups.
The Show’s Benefits To New Visitors
If you are considering joining or maybe you are new in this sector, the Autumn Fair is the season’s platform that will give you exposure, learn from the pro, meet business connections and generate business leads. For the aspiring exhibitors, this is the place to gain ideas and inspiration about what’s new in the industry. To know more about exhibiting, please click here.
For more products photos, I will post some in my Instagram