Monday, 17 September 2012

Review of Manchester Gift Show

Manchester Gift show at the start of September was an exciting opportunity for us to show our new products which were carefully hand selected to represent our “Rethinking” ethos as well as to suit a whole exhibition full of established UK companies displaying a fine selection of wide ranging gifts. Displays included homeware, accessories, wellbeing, hand crafted products, jewellery, art, ceramics, glass, greetings cards and toys. So as the show drew near, we prepared every single detail to be ready for many potential trade customers to show them our newest and best selling design-led giftware products, demonstrating them physically on stand and by being on hand to answer questions and explain the value in design-led wares.

By definition a “gift” is something designed to be purchased and given to another without payment as a sentimental token of goodwill. With this in mind, there was a huge variety of different items available for trade buyers to peruse. We are sure that from what was at hand, in the show as a whole, impressed a wide range of buyers with very different focuses for their purchasing budgets, the range of different sectors exhibiting together may also have opened up the minds of a few buyers with very specific ideas about their customers tastes and perceptions, encouraging them perhaps to expand their existing ranges beyond a particular target market and therefore expand their reach and brand awareness. The drawback to such a wide array of gift categories on show was that many of the buyers encountered were very much “giftware generalists” seeking to find affordable items with proven sales potential in a tight market and less willing to experiment with new ideas limiting the sales potential for those with forward thinking ranges.

Speaking from the perspective of a potential customer walking through the exhibition, I would welcome better organisation of stands sorted by item or market category. This would direct me better to the point of my interest and help me with easier comparison of products with a specific focus. Being a new show in just its second year of trade, this would be a difficult task in convincing a greater number of companies with similar production lines to exhibit in a new location and particularly in a new city away from both the capital and other established locations in the north such as Harrogate. With fewer companies than normal, the show was small and very diverse. There was little in the way of design led gifts, particularly gifts with a homeware focus. This was both a help and a hindrance as we certainly had a USP in offering something thoughtful, quirky and eyecatching as well asfunctional designed to appeal to those who would appreciate intelligent items, however we were somewhat unexpected and stuck out like a sore thumb, so despite having little competition, we also discovered that there was a lack of appreciation for our offering on the whole.

Compared with our experience from design led shows, The Manchester Gift Show was certainly more cost effective and food for thought in terms of meeting new suppliers for ourselves who would adapt their ranges for bespoke innovation, however, the show, in the end brought us only a few new customers as there didn’t seem to be much in the way of a “Buzz” felt at the show which usually comes about from widespread advertising. If the relatively low visitor numbers were taken into account alongside consideration for the shows infancy, we essentially did well.

This show has the potential to be something great and a real must visit for buyers in the north, but in order to achieve this I cant help but feel that the organisers need to be more ambitious from the outset, increase their budget and go big. Making big promises to exhibitors and following through by advertising properly through a more expansive network. This show needs to guarantee a higher number of both categorised exhibitors and potential visitors to really make its mark. 

Kaspa Ghost Light - Hanging versions now In stock in time for Halloween!

Its nearly October already, and with the days getting shorter and weather getting colder spare a thought for our Kaspa. He loves this time of year especially when Halloween comes around, unlike all other ghosts and monsters, he likes to prove that not all ghosts are scary!

In stock right now, we have lots of hanging glow and plain Kaspa lights, perfect for those long nights as he provides an ambient soothing glow without prolonged energy use. His clever ectoplasmic like shell gives a completely safe - non toxic way to surprise your guests with an aura of green or blue long after the bulb has been switched off, he really is the eco-friendly ghost!

Click here to see the range and purchase a single hanging version 
Click here if you are a stockist interested in placing a wholesale order in time for halloween!