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November 2014: News from the GA

GA's 'Meet the Buyer' event with John Lewis Partnership is a big hit with suppliers.

Enthusiastic feedback from GA supplier members has followed the association's 'Meet the Buyer' event with John Lewis Partnership gift buyers in London on Tuesday, November 11th. Greg Waters, Enesco's UK sales director, commented: "We've struggled to arrange meetings with certain buyers despite having previously supplied John Lewis. Now that our product category ranges are expanding, it was even more important to connect with these specific buyers and The GA's event enabled us to do this. We're excited about what the future holds!"

The event was so heavily oversubscribed that places were allocated firstly on the date that people expressed interest and then on a first-come-first-paid basis. Existing, past and hopeful JLP suppliers were also asked about their readiness to supply John Lewis before pitching to them. "I'm looking at diversifying into new markets and the feedback from buyers at John Lewis was extremely valuable," said Bea Thackeray, owner/designer of Keep This Design. "It was a very worthwhile day." The John Lewis team comprised Anna Rigby, Head of Buying Home Accessories, Gifts and Seasonal; Dan Cooper, Buyer Seasonal and Calendar Events; Katherine Mitchell, Buyer Gift Food; Sara Allbright, Buyer Home and Gift Collections, and Vicky Angell, Junior Buyer Outdoor Living.

Attending companies were able to meet up to two of the five participating buyers and pitch their products in structured 10-minute presentations, with 10 minutes for questions and discussions. In the introductory session Anna Rigby outlined JLP's approach to newness and innovation and top tips on the best way to approach them. Brightcore chief executive Graeme Christie commented: "The event was a fantastic opportunity for us to present our strategies for the UK market to John Lewis who gave us invaluable advice and helped point us in the right direction. We'd definitely attend other events like this with The GA."

Said GA chief executive Isabel Martinson: "It's gratifying that we were able to facilitate meetings for members which resulted in such positive outcomes. I understand that John Lewis gift buyers also find this an efficient way to meet with suppliers, so we are planning to arrange more 'Meet the Buyer' events with them and other retailers in 2015 and beyond." For further news from The GA, log on to