Five good reasons to step out at Spring Fair

And I would walk 5,000 steps…that could well be the sound of Spring Fair as visitors and exhibitors are asked to put their best foot forward at the definitive shop for shops.

Spring Fair 2022 kicks off this Sunday (6 February) at Birmingham’s NEC for four days of the UK’s biggest trade show designed to support the retail industry.

Visitors can make walking 5,000 steps around the show – and donating £5 to charity partners the Retail Trust – the first of five good reasons to attend.

Above: Step out to support the Retail Trust Appeal.
Above: Step out to support the Retail Trust Appeal.

The show, owned and organised by Hyve Group is returning for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, and the Retail Trust has been protecting and improving the lives of retail workers for 190 years and were called upon to deliver over 6,700 counselling sessions, responded to 12,800 helpline calls and provided £779,095 in financial aid to retail colleagues last year – donations can be made via the QR code pictured.

Above: Donate to the Retail Trust Emergency Appeal via this QR code.
Above: Donate to the Retail Trust Emergency Appeal via this QR code.

“Will you be walking 5,000 steps at Spring Fair opening this weekend?” asks Alison Graham, key account director for the show, with special responsibility for the greeting card hall.

“I will be walking on average 15-20,000 steps a day. This Is such a great cause and a charity that supports retail workers. What a great way to get fit and donate to our industry’s charity. Comfy footwear at the ready!”

GCA members exhibiting at the show can get involved by having their cards featured on the Thinking Of You Week and Retail Trust Wall (located in the main greeting card hall, Hall 3, Stand R43), which will showcase the new designs as well as highlighting the work of the Greeting Card Association and the charity.

This is the last chance for publishers to get on the wall – all exhibiting GCA publishers have to do is select up to five Thinking Of You, blank, or similar cards that they would like to add to the display, affix a small label to the bottom right front of each with their company name and stand number, then pack them up labelled “For the attention of Alison Graham, GCA greeting card display” and deliver to the organisers’ office tomorrow, (Friday 4 February) at the NEC.

Above: (left-right) Hyve’s divisional MD Julie Driscoll, The Retail Trust CEO Chris Brook-Carter, and Amanda Fergusson, CEO of the GCA.
Above: (left-right) Hyve’s divisional MD Julie Driscoll, The Retail Trust CEO Chris Brook-Carter, and Amanda Fergusson, CEO of the GCA.

Getting back to business is the second good reason for retailers to visit the four-day event, which has three key buying destinations for Home, Gift and Moda Fashion across Halls 1-8 at the NEC, and runs through until Wednesday, 9 February, a day shorter than previously.

After almost two years of disruption, Spring Fair 2022 marks the return to normality for many, although Covid-safety precautions are the fore – ensuring the health and safety of exhibitors and visitors, everyone entering the NEC for the event, including set-up and breakdown, will need to show their valid Covid-19 pass or a negative result to a lateral flow test taken within 48 hours.

Appropriately, the third good reason to make the trip to Birmingham is the fabulous Greetings & Stationery area in Hall 3, with plenty to choose from including The Art File, Ling Design, Wrendale, Paper Salad, Rachel Ellen, Louise Tiler, and Eurowrap, who will be greeting visitors from their stands right at the front of the hall.

And the Cardgains Village is slap bang in the middle of the front row, with a strong line-up of suppliers including Abacus Cards, The Art Group, Cherry Orchard, Clare Maddicott, Enchanted Love, Enesco, International Cards & Gifts, Jackson’s, Marina B Designs, Nigel Quiney Publications, Paper Rose, Rainbow Designs, Sarunds, Scentiment Gifts, UK Greetings, Umbra, Widdop, Words ’n’ Wishes and Xystos.

The buying group’s joint managing director Chris Dyson said: “Following a lean couple of years of trade show activity, we kickstart 2022 with the Spring Fair. We have a great mix of suppliers joining us across cards, gifts, homewares, licensed plush, stationery, chocolates and home fragrance.

“We have a fantastic Cardgains Village planned this year at the front of Hall 3 with many of our major suppliers on The Village and many others from the Cardgains’ portfolio spread around various halls at the show.”

Above: Marina B will be showing Spotty Love on the Cardgains Village.
Above: Marina B will be showing Spotty Love on the Cardgains Village.

Elsewhere in Hall 3, as well as established publishers like Museums & Galleries, Dean Morris, Pigment, Jonny Javelin, Glick, Emma Ball, Holy Mackerel, Paper Salad and Emotional Rescue, there’s a special Debut section for GCA members exhibiting for the first time.

Among the companies making their Spring Fair debut in this area are By Olivia Bell, Chadbrook Cards, Colourful Kardz, Emma Nicol, From Jude, Ginger Betty, Heyyy, Jen Winnett Art, Mary’s House Designs, Nelly’s Treasures, Pankhurst Gallery, Sea Glass By Archie and Vida Natural.

Good reason number four is the list of great seminars on offer, running across all four days of the show and with so many great ideas to help retailers make the most of their business, particularly on the trends front.

From The Trends That Will Shape Consumer Behaviour In 2022 (6 Feb, 11.30am-12.30pm), and How To Use Bold Design In Your Store To Make Impact (6 Feb, 2.00-2.45pm), through Building A Business Online – Where To Start (7 Feb, 11.30am-12.15pm)  and Magic Marketing And Mindsets (7 Feb , 2.45-3.30pm) to Gifting Trends For 2023 (8 Feb, 10.30-11.30am) and Supporting Your People In Order To Thrive (9 Feb, 11.00-11.45am) there really is something for everyone – check out the full list at

And, last but definitely not least, the Sustainability Trail is the fifth good reason to take a good look around at Spring Fair and check out how your retail business can help the world at large.

Highlighting brands and suppliers striving to do their part to ensure a more sustainable and ethical future for all, Spring Fair recognises that companies are shifting their focus, from sourcing materials and manufacturing to the final product and packaging.

Above: Abacus Cards’ Springwatch range will be on the Cardgains Village.
Above: Abacus Cards’ Springwatch range will be on the Cardgains Village.

Among the Hall 3-ers on the list of those standing up for their beliefs are 2toTango, Artebene, The Art File, Bexy Boo, Cardology, Chadbrook Cards, Crumble & Core, The Eco-friendly Card Co, Ezen Trade, Flame Tree Publishing, Ginger Ray, Heart & Soul Studio, Jen Winnett Art, Laura Darrington Design, Ling Design, The Little Green Cracker Company, Lola Design, Middle Mouse Group, Museums & Galleries, Noel Tatt, Origamo, Paperlink, Penguin Ink, Pink Pig, Poet And Painter, Rocket 68, Sabivo Design, Sea Glass By Archie, The Seed Card Company, Seedlings Cards & Gifts, Tache Crafts, The Art File, Vent For Change, and Wrendale.

Progressive Greetings/PG Buzz will be at the show, with a presence on the N Smith stand (Hall 3 H41), the display solutions company which has sustainability at the heart of what it does.

To feast your eyes on just some of the new greeting card treats in store at the show, just take a look at the Innovations section in Progressive Greetings’ February edition.

Top: Greetings & Stationery in Hall 3 is a great reason to attend Spring Fair.

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