Here is a selection of features from Gift Focus magazine.

Top trends

Setting the scene for the new year, design-led retail event, Top Drawer, has released their spring/summer 2021 trends forecast based on new designs and product launches by their network of more than 500 leading lifestyle brands across the show's virtual platform, On Demand.

Purely personal

Thomas Bradley, a content writer at Schaetzl, looks at how the nostalgia trend is driving sales of personalised products. The personalisation of gifts has boomed over the last few years. Everything from drinking glasses to sweet jars and suitcases with people's faces on are available to buy as personal products. It's estimated that the global market for personalisation will reach $31.6 billion by 2021. The growing gift culture is certainly helping to spearhead these predicted figures. The use of mass customisation means businesses can produce on a large scale while satisfying a customer's needs for individuality. One trend that is helping to drive the sales of personalised products is nostalgia. Retro sweets, jigsaw puzzles, personalised comic books and other forms of memorabilia are pulling at the heartstrings – and purse strings – of consumers across the UK.

Bad press

FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry looks at the ramifications of fake reviews for small businesses, and calls on the Government to do more. In the 1990s, we could only dream of a world where we could buy anything at the click of a button from the comfort of our homes. But today, it's a multimillion-pound industry taking the world by storm, with small firms everywhere embracing the digital trade revolution to sell their services across the globe.

Back to basics

Admittedly, if you want to be an IP lawyer you need to know a great deal about this complex set of laws but for a designer, in whatever discipline or sector, learning the basics about the intellectual property rights that you create and putting some common sense and practical protocols in place can stand you in good stead towards design protection to achieve growth. With a seismic shift towards online trading, it is now more important than ever to create a simple, proactive approach to the intellectual property you are creating to ensure that your designs are safe, from idea to marketplace.

12 gifts that’ll rock your windows

Even with the focus shifting to online trade during this tumultuous year, the window display remains king, says Wild Things Gifts. Retailers who overlook this powerful part of the customer journey do so at their peril, because even if the door is closed, potential customers still routinely engage with what may be the greatest opportunity to drive sales. The right stock coupled with a strong directive on where to buy it – be that online or when the store is next open – can make all the difference.

Realising the potential of hobbyist gifting

Lockdown has seen the spread of mental wellbeing and self-care into the hobby world. From crocheting to watercolours, creative pursuits have become more important than ever to consumers looking for something different to pass the time. Early indications suggest this trend has no signs of slowing. As more people are interested in productive and creative hobbies, how can you capitalise on this gift market? Autumn Fair posed the question to our expert panel, to find out their views.

Festive Planning

Christmas is the biggest season of the year in retail. As retailers we want to make the most out of the last quarter, which is why it's vital to plan, plan, plan. We, like others, have no idea of what the next year may hold, so it's important that we put things in place and think outside of the box. Natasha Necati from CraftyArts gives her advice. Natasha Necati runs the family business together with her husband. CraftyArts is a multi-award-winning e-commerce retail outlet, where Natasha has gained over 12 years' experience in running the business. She's an expert in this field, enabling Crafty Arts to grow to become a multi-million-pound company. They also run Art of Business which is a teaching platform for shop owners and online retailers wanting to grow their business

Eco warrior

by Molly&Izzie began in 2015 as a side hustle when founder Sarah Patterson decided to use her graphic design training to launch a range of wedding stationery. This business gradually expanded to include art prints based around celebrating important moments. The business grew slowly and by early 2016 I was also designing and producing business stationery for small businesses. Here, Sarah Patterson talks us through the brands evolution from wedding stationery to the newest eco-jewellery range

Gardening a lifesaver in lockdown, says Squires Garden Centre

Squire's Garden Centres has released the results of its recent "Gardening during Lockdown" survey, with the results making for positive reading for the gardening industry.

Message to sender

With messages of love, condolences and congratulations happening even during the hard times of lockdown, greeting cards have remained steadfast sellers, and its not hard to see why with this stellar lot

Packages of support

The UK Government has supported wages of 1.73 million workers across wholesale and retail sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here's more information about the schemes

Effective working from home

Nick Howes, managing director at Leadership Management International UK, discusses how to maintain business productivity during a period of disruption with clear actions to undertake

A man's world

We throw the spotlight on some must-have accessories for men, which are set to be great pick up gift items in-store or online as lockdown rules loosen

Hyve Group launches three virtual forums in September 2020

Hyve Group is pleased to announce Autumn Fair @ Home, Glee Gathering and Fashion Together (comprising Pure, Pure Origin, Moda and Scoop), three completely virtual forums happening this September. These forums will provide exhibitors and attendees with the opportunity to showcase and discover new products, engage with suppliers via "The Virtual Showroom", and hear market leading content from retailers and trend forecasters on what 2021 may hold for the industry and how they can kick-start their own sales now.

HMRC Packing Tax Consultation

At the March Budget, the government announced key decisions on the design of the Plastic Packaging Tax ahead of its commencement in April 2022. This included extending the scope of the tax to plastic packaging which has been filled before being imported into the UK (i.e. bottles which are filled with liquid). Alongside the Budget announcement, the government launched a consultation to provide more information on the tax design and seek views from stakeholders. As a result of COVID-19, the government extended the consultation period by three months, with a new closing date of 20th August, 2020.

Sunglasses with soul

Having started the company with a desire to find a role with purpose, Founder John Pritchard and his team have evolved Pala Sunglasses into a classic eyewear brand with sustainability and ethical practice at its core

BCTF welcomes hundreds of buyers to online event

The first online edition of the British Craft Trade Fair ran from June 14 – 15 to support the designer-makers who were due to exhibit at BCTF 2020 before it was forced to cancel during lockdown.

Sign on the dotted line

Amanda Hamilton, CEO of National Association of Licenced Paralegals (NALP), chats to Gift Focus and looks at where your business stand with regards contracts and the coronavirus

UK Government supports wages of 1.73 million workers across wholesale and retail sector

Since the launch of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), the UK Government has supported the wages of 1,736,800 jobs in the wholesale and retail sector.

Self gifting soars amidst COVID-19 pandemic

UK consumers are increasingly purchasing gift cards to spend on themselves, according to the latest industry research from the Gift Card & Voucher Association (GCVA), in partnership with research and data specialist GlobalData.