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Autumn Fair 2023 Celebrated New Products, Design Innovations and Sustainability

Autumn Fair, the UK’s leading wholesale marketplace for Home, Gift and Fashion, came to a close yesterday after four days hosting over 500 exhibitors and their inspirational and innovative new products.

Thousands of retailers including Sainsbury’s, Next, Dunelm, Boots, Ocado, Waterstone’s, Osprey London, Brand Alley, Tropic Skincare, Scribbler, Clintons, Oliver Bonas, Fenwick Ltd, Cardzone, Lakeland, M&S, Matalan, Pengethley Garden Centre, Aldi, Tesco, TJX Europe, Toys R Us, The Works, WHSMITH, Wm Morrisons Supermarkets, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, British Garden Centres, Aylett Nurseries, English Heritage, After Noah, Barnado’s, Blue Diamond, Brown Thomas Arnotts, Chatsworth Estate, Cotswold Living, Avon Cosmetics, Holland & Barrett, Zoological Society of London, Liverpool FC, Jarrold, Lark London, Longleat, Ryman, JoJo Maman Bebe, Menarys, Ragdale Hall, Scotts of Stow, Caffe Nero, The British Museum Company, The Walt Disney Company, and more converged at the NEC Birmingham from the 3rd – 6th September to shop the show for their next bestsellers across a huge breadth of product categories within Home, Gift and Fashion. Many enjoyed special features including the New Product Showcase and the Gift Of The Year Showcase which took centre stage in Hall 6 as well as an insightful and visual content programme on the Inspiring Retail Stage & Moda Catwalk.

Daniel Mayhew, Event Director, of Spring & Autumn Fair says, “Both the Gift Of The Year Showcase and New Product Showcase displayed some of the best products in the show and buyers made a beeline for Hall 6 to discover the hottest designs for season ahead. We really enjoyed creating a dedicated space to champion our Autumn Fair newcomers, and love to see how much our visitors enjoy these and the stimulating content we offer on the Inspiring Retail Stage & Moda Catwalk. Thank you to everyone who has attended and taken part in the show.”

This season’s New Product Showcase championed the new home, gift and fashion brands joining the Autumn Fair line-up for the first time. Buyers on the hunt for newness discovered a curated display of over 50 new exhibitors showcasing over 100 exciting new products as well as the latest products from established favourites and some exciting new designs from returning brands, all situated in the heart of the Gift sector in Hall 6. (Discover more in our Spotlight on the New Product Showcase release attached)

Renowned for its inspirational and insightful content, the Inspiring Retail Stage and Moda Catwalk welcomed visitors to a programme dedicated to trends, sustainability, and business advice as well as the high-energy trend-led catwalk shows. On Monday, in collaboration with its trend agency partner TrendBible, the stage hosted two trend presentations focusing on the key lifestyle trends for home, gifting and celebration.

Naomi Pollard, Head of Publications at TrendBible offered vital insights into the Interior Lifestyle Trends for 2024 and an overview of four key Macro Trends that carry throughout the year, as well as 2024 Gifting and Celebration Trends offering visitors a head start on the key trends impacting consumers and the opportunities for celebration from Valentine’s Day through to Christmas.

On Tuesday, circularity took centre stage. Helena Mansell-Stopher, Founder of Products of Change, James George a Senior Strategist and Consultant in Circular Economy, and Mike Swain a Products of Change Ambassador for Packaging, opened with ‘Navigating the Future of Sustainability: Part 1’. The Products of Change team took the audience through significant changes to UK, European and Global legislation, from the UK’s new Packaging Tax, Europe’s Net-Zero pledge, the Digital Product Passport and 2024’s Extended Producer Responsibility (EDR).

Products of Change returned in the afternoon to panel a session with Ian Greaves, CEO at St. Eval, Tina Salt Founder of MAI (Making Animals Important), and Zoe Ryan Head of Marketing at Fizz Creations. In a frank conversation, the panellists explored their sustainability journeys; from St. Eval’s goal to achieving Net Zero by 2030, MAI’s launch as a small business during the pandemic, and Fizz Creation’s implementation of ethical practices across their global business. (Discover more in our Spotlight on Sustainability release attached)

Feedback from visitors highlighted newness, discovery, variety, atmosphere, and convenience. Lisa Wells from The Wardrobe, Dorking, Surrey said, “It’s our first Autumn Fair. We didn’t realise how big it is, we love it. We’ve just signed up with a new supplier of clothes, we’re really excited about this, we think their clothes will do well. There’s so much to see so we’re going to be here for the next few days. We like to build up our suppliers list, so this is the perfect place to do that.”

Helen Whitehouse from Aurora Homeware, Walsall, “This show’s been really informative, we’ve built a few networks here already. There are a few stands that we already work with but we still go to visit them because there’s nothing like seeing a product in front of you so you can really get a feel of it.”

Simon Withey from Just Lily, Cornwall commented, “We love Autumn Fair, it’s the best show and we come every year. We’ve already discovered some great new products for our 4 stores in Cornwall and we’ve only been here a couple of hours.”

Ann Dicken from At Home Furnishings, Stockton-on-Tees said, “I’ve been coming to this show for about 20 years, this year is good, we’ve seen some new suppliers. This fair is great, it’s big so you can walk around a few times and still find hidden gems. It’s my favourite show, it’s less stressful compared to the other shows I attend.”

Mark Warr from Bumble Living, Monmouth said, “The show is good, there are some interesting things here. There are some nice smaller brands exhibiting, it’s nice to see something a little bit unusual. We are out looking for something a little bit different to what we are currently doing. We are looking for anything that fits really, we found some nice greeting and note cards. We also found some cool umbrellas by Emily Smith. The New Product Showcase is handy and The Gift Of The Year helps direct us where to go.”

Laura Wright from Flutter Home & Gift, Derby loved the variety saying, “There’s loads here, such a variety. It’s really great to be here. I’m having a little pit stop to gather my thoughts as to what I have seen. I have a list of existing suppliers I want to go and see and I’m also trying to find new ones. I have a list of new ones I have found today.”

Marianne Lindsay from Wilkies Trading Ltd, Scotland said, “It is great to see everything under one roof. There is a good assortment of brands and categories, it works really well for us. It’s nice to see suppliers you have, especially being in Scotland with no showrooms up there. It’s good to pick up some newness and excitement. When you walk around the trends start to show, and you don’t see that if you don’t visit trade shows. I love the New Product Showcase.”

Steve Haspell from Barsleys Kent, “I am buying for our family-owned department store, currently in our 4th generation. I am here buying gifts and furniture accessories, I am finding things that I didn’t intend to buy today. Shows have changed, I have been coming here 10 years, the layout has changed so you are throwing me into areas that I was missing before so I am finding new suppliers.”

Ann-Sofie Widegren from A&M Restoration & Conservation, London said, “It’s our first time visiting the Autumn Fair and it’s been a great positive surprise and a great atmosphere. We have enjoyed meeting new sellers and also have been able to make orders with suppliers that we are already using. We will definitely come back again!”

Karen Eatough from Dolly & Joes, Abbots Bromley said, “We have visited for approximately 13 years and love coming to Spring Fair too, we spend some of our budgets here and love finding new suppliers. Everyone is so friendly, and we love finding new products, always something new to see, and never want to leave.”

Jill Donaghy from Stockeld Park, North Yorkshire said, “We love coming to Autumn Fair; it is easy to walk around and we always find new suppliers and find things we normally wouldn’t see.”

Annie Jones from Clay Cross DIY, Chesterfield, “We’ve been in business 35 years and been coming forever, and always find new suppliers. Would definitely recommend the show and wouldn’t want to miss it, we actually book our holidays around the show. It’s also great to look at stuff we don’t usually sell.”

Hayley Lambarth of Annie Violet, Suffolk said “We really enjoy our annual trip to the Autumn Fair. Lots of newness to discover! Love how it’s all set out and would definitely recommend it to everyone.”

Ann Marie Finn Bridge from Atlanta Finn Lld, Ireland said, “I come to Autumn Fair-most years, it is great to attend to top up. My budget to spend ranges from £10-15k and I mainly come to look at gifts, clothing and footwear. Brands I come to visit in particular include Joe Davies, Widdop and Langs.”

Lynn Walton from Timothy Guttridge, Newcastle-under-Lyme said, “I’ve been coming to Autumn Fair for 18 years. I love to come and see everything in one place for convenience. It’s important for me to come and see products in person because you get to touch the products which you don’t get when ordering online. Because I’ve seen the products in person, I’ll then continue to order from that supplier online throughout the year. I aim to spend around £10k each time I attend, not including the amount spent during the year with these suppliers.”

Caoimhe Thornton from Accessorised by Elite, Newry, Northern Ireland, said, “We were very impressed with the show, a lovely atmosphere, good crowd and good selection of exhibitors. We purchased from new and existing accessories brands; it was nice to find something new to add to our in-store brands.”

Positive feedback from exhibitors included Adam Langley, Sales Director, Professor Puzzle commented, “We have had a great show, it has been really busy today and yesterday.  Yesterday we took a very good amount of orders and today we have seen a good amount of great customers from both independents and majors, We have had people from a real cross-section of the market, WHSmith, Lakeland, and we have had meetings with The Works. So far Sunday and Monday have been a great and solid show, with a good level of business.”

Simon Mitchell from the new brand Green Laurels says, “As a new business this is our first experience at a trade show and it’s going really well – we are delighted to be included in the New Product Showcase. The community amongst exhibitors is lovely and the atmosphere and quality of visitors is fantastic at Autumn Fair. We’ve made some really interesting connections and buyers seem very keen to discover new, made-in-England and particularly sustainable and ethically produced products like ours.”

Oliver Butts, Managing Director, The English Soap Company was also over the moon saying, “The show has gone fantastically well, we’re delighted with the Autumn Fair. It is great to get the orders in and then you can plan for Christmas as well. We have definitely seen the people we wanted to meet, a combination of new customers and new businesses as well as our key existing customers. We sell hand creams, hand soaps, washes and similar products and the show environment is essential for customers to come and try, feel and smell our products, The trade shows really do anchor our business.”

Rob Franks, Managing Director of Nova Leathers, was buoyed by the new business opportunities, “We have had a really good show, it has been really positive. We have been able to meet with lots of our clients and also just as importantly picked up new stockists across boutiques and garden centres.”

Kieran McNamara from Winning Moves UK highlighted the key trends for toys and the main successes at Autumn Fair, “We’re seeing the kidult pound really growing; adults buying games for themselves more and more which is something we’re tapping into. The showstopper for us at Autumn Fair is our Squishmallows Monopoly, we’ve already won really nice awards for it. We’re working with various retail partners like Game, Entertainer, WHSmiths, Asda, Argos and Sainsbury, it’s gaining huge momentum. What’s great about this is that we’ve been able to bring out an exclusive version of Cam the Cat, the first ever Squishmallow plush that was released, with our relationships we’ve been able to create a collector’s item with it dressed as Mr Monopoly. The interest for this at Autumn Fair has been amazing, We’re oversubscribed on Squishmallows already, and we’re already having to ask retailers to reforecast so everyone can get a flavour.”

For further information visit www.autumnfair.com

Spring Fair takes place on the 4th – 7th February 2024, visit www.springfair.com.

 

About Autumn Fair

As the buyer’s one-stop marketplace for everything new and on-trend for 2023, Autumn Fair is the leading home, gift and fashion buying showcase. It runs from 3rd – 6th September at NEC Birmingham. Offering a treasure trove of new ideas and new trends just waiting to be discovered and displayed in shops, garden centres, showrooms, or e-commerce platforms, Autumn Fair is the place to touch, feel, and experience what’s new and innovative across the home, gift, and fashion retail industry. The show encompasses 11 sectors within four destinations – Home which includes Home, Living & Décor, Everyday, and The Summerhouse; Gift including Gift, Beauty & Wellbeing, Greetings & Stationery, and Kids, Toys & Play; and Moda fashion featuring its own Catwalk as well as Jewellery & Watch, Clothing, Fashion Accessories, and Footwear; plus, with the newly launched responsible sourcing show Source Home & Gift, the variety of products at Autumn Fair is unmatched. From contemporary gifts to greeting cards, candles and garden accessories, children’s toys and outerwear, footwear and furniture, there are endless opportunities to find your next bestsellers.

 

 

 

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