Gift of the Year opens doors
Gift of the Year 2015 winners who exhibited at Home & Gift spoke enthusiastically about the competition and how their businesses are developing.
My Gifts Trade not only won the Made in UK category for Hinchcliffe & Barber's Songbird Grey Ceramics, but also scooped The Judges' Choice award with the same range.
My Gifts Trade Director Paul Connett said that winning had "opened doors". Anna Rigby of John Lewis had voted for the range, but the company was advised by the retailer at a GA Meet the Buyer event that it should consider widening it, as JLP would need more product before merchandising it in its stores.
"We listened to what they said and their feedback has helped. We've expanded the range with the same designs and now have gardening products and more homeware. Nearly everything we have produced they like and they've signed off most of it."
Stone Glow Candles won the Home Fragrance category with its Modern Apothecary Candles and the range was due to go into John Lewis stores at the end of July.
Stone Glow Chairman Perry Simmons said, "Gift of the Year has a lot of credibility and holding it at Spring Fair certainly drives people to the stand. We've given out the winners' cards to our stockists so that they can display them next to the products. We're now working on a range to enter into the 2016 competition. It would be nice to win two years in a row!"
Demand for The Art File range FORM continues to increase, according to Sales Co-ordinator James Mace. It won the Card and Wrap category as a first-time entrant and the three skyline cards - of New York, Paris and London - "sell tremendously well". Two more will be added towards the end of the year.
"Getting an accolade from Gift of the Year is a great achievement as there are some pretty handy people looking at your products and passing their judgement - and we're very thankful for that. We got a lot more interest after winning, and having the presentations at Spring Fair helps quite a lot. The award stands tall in the entrance hall of our offices in Nottingham," said James.
Beefayre won Body, Bath and Spa with the Waggledance Collection, whose products are free from parabens and sulphates, vegan friendly and PETA certified. Its founder, Sharon Jervis, commented, "Winning raises your profile. People came onto our stand and bought after seeing the product in the showcase at Spring Fair. We'll be entering this year and have a few little surprises that we're working on and nominating those."
Adam Langley, Professor Puzzle's head of sales, said that the Fascination Star Wars 3D Metal Construction Kits "really kicked us into licensing and is one of our best-selling lines".
It took the Branded/Character prize and the company was "really excited to have the range and to have won the award", which drove traffic to its stand at Spring Fair.
Laura's brush with success
Internationally-known designer Nick Munro presented The Giftware Association's prize for students at this year's Pewter Live event, the annual competition staged by The Worshipful Company of Pewterers to promote the versatility of pewter and its use in the manufacture of contemporary household objects.
Laura Colebrooke of Truro College won the award for her 'Camelia' make-up brush set, which was adjudged to be on-trend and have real commercial viability. Highly commended for The GA prize was Stacey West from Plymouth College of Art and Design whose Found Treasures hand-made necklace mixed pewter with silver and precious gemstones.
As winner, Laura will benefit from free membership of The GA - should she decide to go into business when she leaves college - and free entry for her designs in Gift of the Year 2016 or a future competition, as well as free publicity in the gift trade media.
GA vice-chairman Henri Davis will hold seminars at Autumn Fair on Setting Up in Independent Retail, on the High Street or Online. Please check the website www.autumnfair.com nearer the show for venues, dates and timings.
Joining The GA
The GA signed up 45 retailer subscribers and 12 new members at Home & Gift.
For The GA, log on to www.ga-uk.org