As the doors closed on the British Craft Trade Fair on Tuesday, there was a great buzz all around, with organisers and exhibitors all enjoying the three-day trade fair especially for British designer-makers.
“The 2018 show has had a great atmosphere, and although we are still awaiting the final figures, numbers are up on 2017,” says organiser, Margaret Bunn. “This is our second year in the new hall, a wonderful, purpose built venue which provides the perfect environment for buyers to source new products. Feedback from both exhibitors and buyers has been overwhelmingly positive and we are delighted at how the show has been received, a good time has been had by all.”
This year there was a strong contingent of greeting card exhibitors, and numbers in this sector were up on previous years, alongside many first class British designer makers across other categories, including ceramics, jewellery, glassware, fashion accessories and more.
One of the highlights for exhibitors is the award ceremony on the Monday night. There are seven awards in total, including best newcomer, award for excellence and the greeting card award.
Gift Association chief executive, Sarah Ward, a member of the awards judging panel said: “I thought the cards this year were much stronger. I found it quite difficult to narrow down but I finally managed to shortlist 15 [for the greeting card award].”
The winner of the Greeting Card Award was Faye Stevens, a pop-up card artist. Faye said of winning the award: “I was quite overwhelmed to win an award. I spend so much time thinking about and developing my designs and it is so nice to get some recognition… I am very grateful.”
First-time exhibitor, Robert Askew from Artinker received a Commended award in the greeting card category and told PG Buzz: “We had a good first show and had a great response to our brand new range of cards launched at BCTF. We were really pleased to receive an award recognising the quality of our cards.”
It was a successful show also for artist Katie Bell, who launched her first collection of cat and dog designs on coasters, cushions and greeting cards. “I had really positive comments on the cards and coaster, people love the colours I’ve used. I think the limited colours (black and another colour) have really appealed to buyers here. I’ve had card orders from around the country so it’s been a really positive experience.”
Another publisher picking up new stockists was Joanne Wishart from Joanne Wishart Art. Her coastal cards are especially popular with seaside-based stockists. “BCTF attracts a great selection of interesting independent gift shop and gallery type buyers that are looking for quality art cards, so the show suits our business perfectly,” Joanne said. “All of my seaside-based stockists were pleased that we use biodegradable sleeves as there is a big movement to clean up plastic pollution on the British coastline. Many said their customers would see this as a positive selling point.”