When Autumn Fair begins at the NEC in Birmingham on Sunday (2-5 September) there will be several card publishers exhibiting for the first time in the brand new GCA Debut area in Hall 4. This area is for card publishers who have never exhibited at Autumn Fair before.
Lizzie Parker, owner of Penguin Ink is making her NEC debut and is looking forward to the experience: “It’s been a tight turn-around from Home and Gift last month but I’ve managed to design 20 new designs, new catalogues and I’m also launching a new bespoke spinner for my little notes range. I can’t wait to see what my customers think of my new Baubles Little Notes collection as it’s printed on a new 100% recycled card stock from Fenner paper. I’m really looking forward to catching up with my stockists, prospective stockists, suppliers and agents all in one place it’s so efficient! I’m especially interested to see what they think of the new paper and the spinner.”
Another first timer to the Autumn Fair is Dominic Early, co-owner of Earlybird Designs. “We are looking forward to meeting new stores, possibly from the north of the county, as all our other trade shows have been in London. We are also hoping to meet some overseas distributors that would be interested in taking on some of our ranges.”
Although no stranger to the NEC Spring Fair, Mabel Forsyth, owner of Pink Pig decided to give Autumn Fair a go this year. “We’re looking forward to a few days away, the NEC fairs always feel like a holiday. We love staying in hotel and eating out every night – pigs by name and by nature! We’ll be showing off our Holly Berry Christmas cards- which feature an ‘add your own town’ range. Also hot off the press is the new floral range Too Blooming Gorgeous, we just hope we get the cards from printer in time!”
This year’s Autumn Fair also plays host to four exciting theatre and workshop spaces, each delivering dedicated retail insight and trend information. A highlight of the seminar programme will be an ‘Audience with Theo Paphitis’ on 4 September, where the ex-Dragon and leading entrepreneur will share his insights, and how he is championing the UK’s small businesses.
PG columnist and owner of Blue Eyed Sun, Jeremy Corner will talk about the rise in eco and socially conscious trends on the first day, while Charlotte Biggs, founder of the Card & Gift Network will speak on 3 September on why blogging is worth prioritising. Another cardie to look out for is Chris Fox, marketing manager of Wishes of Cudworth (and editor of the Gift Shop Hub) who will speak on running a shop and managing online websites and social media on 2 September.
There are around 1,300 UK and international exhibitors at Autumn Fair this year, including Cardgains, The Art File, Laura Darrington, Dean Morris Cards, Marina B, Lola Designs and Paper Salad among the greeting card exhibitors in Hall 4.
* The GCA is creating a designated Thinking of You Week display of GCA member exhibitors cards at Autumn Fair within the Debut are of Hall 4 at Autumn Fair (Stand C66).
Top: The Cardgains Village at Autumn Fair last year.