With a full talks and workshops roster, as well as raft of new product launches, the imminent Autumn Fair, which takes place 1-4 September in the Atrium at the NEC, will provide food for thought as well as a feast for the eyes.
With consumers demanding products that eschew plastic and that are kinder to the planet, sustainability is growing in importance for all retailers, something that is reflected in the talks and workshops at the show.
Following a major study conducted by Autumn Fair, Spring Fair and Pure London, part of the ITE Group, two thirds (66%) of UK retailers believe it will take their business three years or more to achieve true sustainability. UK retailers said that they hoped to increase the percentage of products that are sustainable by 33% on average by the end of next year.
Among those speaking on the subject of sustainability, is Jeremy Corner, managing director of Blue Eyed Sun (and PG columnist) who will be showing how retailers can cut single-use plastics. “I recently shot, edited and shared 31 videos about my Plastic Free July Challenge to raise awareness and experience how challenging it was,” Jeremy told PG Buzz, “and I will be sharing that with attendees in my talk Going Plastic Free: Where do you start and why?” (Blue Eyed Sun will be exhibiting in Hall 6; stand A43).
Other sustainability leaders at the show include James George, business engagement manager at the Ellen Macarthur Foundation, who will be discussing the evolving nature of the circular economy and what true sustainability looks like; Agnès Gendry, head of buying at Lush Cosmetics, who will be explaining how the company works with suppliers to understand their ethical and sustainable credentials in order to drive visibility in their supply chain; and David Meller, responsible sourcing director at NSF International, whose session ‘Plastic Isn’t The Problem’ will educate buyers on the bigger plastics picture.
Visitors to the show will also have the opportunity to hear the ‘Queen of shops’, retail consultant, broadcaster and author Mary Portas speak.
Mary will be sharing her insights at the NEC show (on Monday September 2 at 2pm) into where the high street is thriving, and will also be explaining how retailers can save their stores through the relationships they build with their customers.
Adding to the occasion, attendees will have the chance to receive one of 50 signed copies of Mary’s new book, Work Like A Woman: A Manifesto Of Change.
Another ‘celeb’ making his way to the show is retail entrepreneur and former Dragon Theo Paphitis. Following the success of the #SBS Pavilion at last year’s Autumn Fair, the show has once again teamed up with Theo Paphitis, who will be sharing his views on the last 12 months in retail at 2pm on Tuesday September 3.
Among the greeting card companies who will be exhibiting at Autumn Fair include Rachel Ellen Designs, The Eco-friendly Card Company, The Art File, Sabivio Design, Megan Claire, Berni Parker Designs, Rush Design, Paper Salad and Earlybird Design.
To get a peek at some the launches, see Innovations in the September edition of PG.
Top: Theo Paphitis (right) is set to make an appearance at this year’s Autumn Fair.