Anticipation was high and the queues were long as retailers gathered to enter Spring Fair, the UK’s leading marketplace for wholesale Home, Gift and Fashion, which opened today welcoming thousands of buyers eager to discover their next best-sellers and the forthcoming year’s retail trends.
Putting the spotlight on 14 product sectors across eight halls including Beauty & Wellbeing, Gift, Greetings & Stationery, Kids, Toys & Play, Party & Celebrations, Christmas, Floral & Seasonal Decorations, Home, Living & Décor, Housewares, The Summerhouse, Everyday, and, within Moda, Womenswear, Fashion Accessories, Jewellery & Watch, and Footwear, with its 74-year heritage, Spring Fair is firmly established as UK retail’s shop for shops.
Buyers flocked to the New Product and Sustainability Showcases in Hall 4 for a curated edit of the newest and most sustainable product launches, while in Hall 5 expert judges from the industry converged to make their top selections from the 2023 Gift of the Year display by the Giftware Association.
Nicola Meadows, Portfolio Director at Spring & Autumn Fair says; “It has been an incredible opening day at Spring Fair, it was fantastic to see such long queues outside the halls this morning and it’s remained very busy all day. I’ve had so many conversations with our exhibitors and buyers who all express what a hugely positive impact the show has on their businesses. Spring Fair is such a key event in the buying calendars and an unrivalled marketplace for new products, networking, insightful content, and trends. We welcome the entire retail industry, including large and small retailers, buying groups, agents, associations, changemakers, and creatives, and it has evolved to become more than just a trade show, Spring Fair is an experience.”
Exhibitors also expressed how important the show is and gave their feedback from the first day. Ailsa Cunningham from The English Soap Company says, “We’ve had a positive first day, we have a really good location and have met new customers as well existing. It is really important for us to keep in touch and but also get new business. We have launched products and we hope to attract new customers. Spring Fair is an important show for us to launch new products.”
Krissy Karl from By Eloise adds, “We are so happy and impressed with everything at Spring Fair, you have made it easy for us to exhibit here. We have had amazing first day, so many orders, many of them new customers, especially from the Midlands and North of the country. We have opened up a whole new customer base.”
Renowned for its outstanding content and trend inspiration, the Inspiring Retail Stage welcomed a host of experts advising on business health, navigating the metaverse, and the latest innovations in sustainability messaging. Business media personality and international brand consultant, Kubi Springer wowed the audience as she discussed the importance of personal branding. The entrepreneur, who has spent over 20 years working with some of the world’s largest brands including Nike, L’Oréal, Aston Martin and celebrities from Justin Timberlake, and Diddy to Beyoncé and Mariah Carey, gave visitors insight into the what, how, and why of branding.
A new year called for a bold start to the season in Moda. Alongside a fresh edit and the latest collections from over 300 womenswear, accessories, jewellery and watch, and footwear brands, Moda is leading the way in celebrating up and coming design talent. Two new initiatives are putting the spotlight on jewellery and footwear giving talent invaluable access to industry support.
In a brand-new collaboration with the National Association of Jewellers (NAJ) to support the next generation of jewellery designers, Moda’s New Jewels Bursary sponsored by Curteis Creates announced its winner at an awards ceremony on the Moda Stage this afternoon. The Bursary was awarded to Liz Crow who will receive one-to-one mentoring sessions with Chris Oliver, Head of Professional Training at Goldsmiths Centre, Emma Richards from Intellectual Property Office (IPO), Editor of The Jeweller magazine Belinda Morris, jewellery designer Arabel Lebrusan, and Sharon Good from Good Results PR. The winner will also receive marketing and PR exposure across Spring Fair and the NAJ’s marketing channels, a video interview recorded at Spring Fair’s state-of-the-art London-based studio, a complementary stand at the next show and discounts on the following consecutive editions.
Judges said they were impressed with the story and experimentation of Liz’s work and felt it would have an ideal home showing at Spring Fair.
Ben Massey from NAJ says, “It was close, but all the judges were in agreement. It is fantastic to celebrate what a great platform the new bursary is for designers and hopefully it will capture the imagination of future new jewellery designers.”
Liz Crow adds, “It’s amazing to win, I can’t wait to start working with the mentors. It will really accelerate my business and my next range will be working towards the goal of showing it at the next Spring Fair.”
In a vibrant showcase of up-and-coming footwear designers, designs by 16 final year BA (Hons) Footwear Design students from De Montfort University also culminated in an awards ceremony on the Moda Stage.
Nicola Meadows said, “We are delighted to collaborate with De Montfort University supporting the local talent and the future designers to the footwear industry. The standards were very high and the innovation and creativity from the students is inspiring. The initiative showcases incredible young talent and the future of footwear design.”
The Moda panel chose nine finalists, and the winning designer is Woosung Kim, whose hybrid design was inspired by orienteering with a Western aesthetic. Visitors also have the opportunity to choose their favourite by visiting the Footwear Design Initiative feature by the Moda Café, and the designer with the most votes will receive the People’s Choice Award.
The Moda Stage delivered trend-led fashion shows and invaluable insights from a fantastic line-up of speakers including TV’s All That Glitters winner Piers Carpenter. Belinda Morris, Editor of The Jeweller, sat down with Piers to discuss his journey to winner of All That Glitters.
The show also welcomed TV personality and designer Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen who was launching a new collection of wellington boot designs with Lunar.
Forthcoming highlights over the next two days include:
Opening the Inspiring Retail Stage tomorrow morning, join CEO & Chief Mentor, The Conscious Innovator Sara Simmonds as she shares her expert roadmap that is enabling business owners globally to stop wasting time and be able to re-imagine their businesses so they can stay relevant and lead in a world that no longer wants more.
Don’t miss How to Sell on TikTok on the Moda Stage at 1.30pm. Therese Oertenblad, Founder of Small Business Collaborative will share her top tips for selling with soul in order to grow your community and sales, and speak to Fashion & Textiles Brand Consultant Elizabeth Stiles who will share tips on how you can get more from the platform, answering your questions to help you grow your customer base.
TV Dragon and retail entrepreneur Theo Paphitis attends the show on Tuesday to see the #SBS Small Business Sunday designers who are exhibiting at the show. At 2.30pm Theo takes to the stage to delve into some of the current challenges facing businesses across the UK, as well as the opportunities that can often arise out of tougher trading conditions.
As the buyers one-stop marketplace for everything new and on-trend for 2023, Spring Fair is the leading Home, Gift and Fashion buying showcase. It runs until Wednesday 8th February 2023 at NEC Birmingham. For further information please visit www.springfair.com