All set for Spring Fair

Elevated buyer experience as biggest trade show of the season kicks off on Sunday


There are just a few days before the biggest trade show of the season kicks off with over 125 exhibitors in the greeting card, wrap and stationery sector at Spring Fair.

Running from Sunday to Wednesday, 4-7 February, at Birmingham’s NEC, the show has announced that it’s ramping up the buyer experience with a raft of new activations to enhance the visit.

Spring Fair event director Soraya Gadelrab said: “This year’s show is all about creating a seamless buying experience that ensures successful sourcing and brings maximum delight and efficiency.

“Over the past year we’ve spoken with our community about how to enhance the Spring Fair buying experience, and we’ve listened so we can offer a smoother and more enjoyable purchasing experience.

Above & top: Spring Fair is the biggest trade show of the season and starts on Sunday
Above & top: Spring Fair is the biggest trade show of the season and starts on Sunday

“We’ve introduced new initiatives and improvements including a one-step registration for buyers ensuring a more personalised experience pre-show and new onsite information points offer quick resolutions to buyer’s queries during the show.

“The Little Black Book has returned, alongside the Show Guide and the Spring Fair app, giving buyers the tools they need to plan their visit, and we’ve paid for parking so all visitors can park at the NEC, completely free of charge. We also hope the new Sip & Shop Happy Hour will be a very welcome distraction to close a successful day’s sourcing.”

And to keep everyone hydrated while walking the halls there’s free tea and coffee in Buyer Lounges which all buyers have access to – with two in the greetings hall where free cards will also be available to send fun messages to exhibitors at the show, along with pre-written letters for people to sign and send to their MPs to amplify the greeting card industry’s concerns over the threats to Royal Mail’s services – as well as subsidised cloakrooms, abundant seating areas to relax and recharge, and discounts at Resort World.

The Cardgains Village will be at the heart of the Greetings section, with stand 3M10-N11 including the buying group’s members such as IC&G, Jacksons, Rainbow Designs, Sarunds, UK Greetings, Word ’N’ Wishes and Woodmansterne.

Above: Princess of punk Dame Zandra Rhodes is appearing at the show on Wednesday
Above: Princess of punk Dame Zandra Rhodes is appearing at the show on Wednesday

Other names in the greetings, wrap and stationery hall include Five Dollar Shake (3P31), Glick (3Q15), Cardology (3R02), Cath Tate Cards (3P34), Berni Parker Designs (3P32), Jonny Javelin (3N40-P41), Bewilderbeest (3P48), Danilo (3L01), Emotional Rescue (3R15), Mint (3L30-M31), Paper Salad (3R10), Tracks (3M20), Ling Design (3L10-M11), The Art File (3P11), The Eco-friendly Card Co (3M52), and Wrendale Designs (3P10-Q11), along with newbies such as Cardiau Nico Cards (3R25), Irisha’s Card Art (3S51) and Silver Birch Cards (3Q37).

To help buyers identify key products look out for the Trend Trails for Sustainability, Licensing, Made In Britain, and those looking for a distributor. For inspiration the popular New Product Showcase returns presenting a curated edit championing new products launching at the show located alongside the new Trend Talks stage in Home, Living & Décor in Hall 6.

On the trends front, Spring Fair’s official trend partner The Future Collective will be hosting their annual event Design For Better on the Trends Talk stage on Wednesday, 7 February.

It’s a dedicated day of trend-led industry forecasts and inspiration aimed at shaping the future of retail design and sustainability with six sessions, and Spring Fair’s senior content manager Keterina Albanese said: “The forum aligns perfectly with our focus on sustainable and innovative retail practices – you will undoubtedly walk away with your head fizzing with ideas!”

As well as hosting the live judging for Gift Of The Year, buyers will also be able to immerse themselves in an art gallery-style display in Hall 5 of the shortlisted products, and an education and information space including a historic photo timeline of Spring Fair’s partnership with the Giftware Association and GOTY.

Above: The speaker line-up includes BRC’s Kris Hamer (left) and retail entrepreneur Theo Paphitis
Above: The speaker line-up includes BRC’s Kris Hamer (left) and retail entrepreneur Theo Paphitis

And Spring Fair has three show-floor theatres – Inspiring Retail Stage featuring the Moda Catwalk, The Masterclass Studio, and Trend Talks including Pitch Live – will offer hours of free educational support, inspiration, and advice, and hosts industry icons and fashion pioneers Dame Zandra Rhodes, entrepreneur Theo Paphitis, Kris Hamer of the British Retail Consortium, and ESG pioneer Paul Wright sharing their experiences, stories and advocacy. The full stage programme is available here and the list of speakers is here.

And that’s not all as back by popular demand will be the PG Pub, with corks being popped and beer served to PG friends at from 5.40pm on the N Smith stand 3K41, and the cardboard maestros will be coming up trumps with a bar creation.

To register for a free badge to attend Spring Fair click here.

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