Thousands of retailers visited Autumn Fair, the UK’s leading wholesale market for home, gifts, fashion and supply, yesterday at the NEC Birmingham to source new products from hundreds of exhibitors and enjoy a host of instructive and educational talks and inspiring parades. The showroom was bustling throughout the day and exhibitor feedback highlighted the volume of quality orders placed while visitors were delighted to learn about exciting new brands and products.
Until Wednesday 7e September, Autumn Fair provides the ultimate platform for retailers to discover, network, reconnect with peers, get inspired and find their next bestsellers for the Golden Quarter and the latest seasonal and Christmas designs. To make the journey to new discoveries even easier, a host of new features, including the Showcase of new products, Gift of the Year Winner Showcase in association with the Giftware Association, the Showcase of sustainable productsand the Power of One® support, offered curated product inspiration and created a visual and interactive space for visitors to make their sustainability commitments. Visitors also learned about Autumn Fair’s three Power of One® commitments to bring about positive change towards better sustainability and well-being, while watching talented artist Saroj Patel paint a striking mural.
Retailers present across the UK and overseas including White Magic, Pamela Shiffer, SUCCUBUS, Denby, Rumbul, Brown Thomas, Arnotts, Geschenke Direkt GmbH, Gibbs & Dandy Ltd, The Snug Room, Thomas Morans, Shoe Heaven/Hand Footwear, Lorraine Fire, Kosmelita, Lark London, Landmark Group, Home Sweet Home (SW) Ltd, Barkers, Chester Zoo, Elphicks Department Store, India Jane, Jigsaw, Next, TK Maxx, Yarton Home & Garden and many others, were thrilled to see the breadth of products offered across the 12 sectors.
Pamela Shiffer, owner, Pamela Shiffer; “We always come to the autumn fair and to MODA, for us it’s in the success of the season that we need. This year we have found some fantastic new brands, including FIKA and Candlehand. We have already stocked and very well made with FYG (candles) and they told us their sister brand of sustainable clothing FIKA was there so it was really exciting to see them here They are very wearable and affordable for a sustainable brand We love also Candlehand for fun Christmas gifts We love coming here and finding pieces like these as we can see how they will sit down immediately with pieces we have already purchased.”
Steven Morgan, Director of Imperial Games Limited said; “This is the first time I have visited the Foire d’Automne, I was surprised by the quality and diversity of the exhibitors as well as by the organization of the event team. I’ll be back next year!”
Nicky Quinn, owner of Quinns of Thorpe Bay said; “I’ve been coming to the Spring and Autumn Fairs for around ten years”, I love it. I come for the variety and to find new things – I met about 6 or 7 vendors today who I look forward to working with in the future.
Amy Mann, owner of Pretty Stories said; “I have been in the retail business for ten years; I have a bridal shop and opened my online clothing store about a year ago during lockdown as my bridal shop was closed. This year is fabulous we’ve only been here two hours but already have a few new suppliers and placed a few orders we’re wasting no time we saw one of the sustainability talks earlier this is interesting because we were looking at a new sustainable brand while it was happening.
Angela Teasdale, Director of Emporium Giftsltd said; “I’ve been coming to the Foire d’Automne for 11 years now, people come here to buy jewellery, gifts and fashion accessories. We always like to come to the show very much.
Ahmad Salam, Director of Fazaltex UK Limited commented; “We have been attending the Autumn Fair since 2017, we come back every year because with each visit we are looking for new suppliers. We have been here for a few hours and have already found two new suppliers that we will do business with after the fair.”
Emma Cable, Buyer at Alton Garden Center said: “We have been coming to the Autumn Fair for 5 years and find it useful to meet existing vendors and also nice to look around each hall to see if there is anything new that we can stock in our garden centre. .”
Marian Shaw, owner of Marian Shaw said; “The show was better than expected, there was a lot more to see than other shows we’ve been to.”
Delighted with the volume and quality of visitors, many exhibitors commented on the activity of the first day. MODA’s new Jewelery & Watches space aroused great interest.
Jo McLenaghan of iXXXi Jewelery said; “This is our first time at MODA and by noon we had already seen over 100 new contacts and placed 5 new stockists across the UK. Retailers love our comprehensive collection of men’s jewelery and our concept of change endless with rings and jewelry for women. »
Tom Betts from My Doris added: “Super busy morning! It feels like the busiest show since the pandemic. It’s also great to see a wider variety of international brands exhibiting.
As part of its ongoing strategy to deliver educational and inspirational content, the Inspirational retail scene presented a host of talks on sustainability.
In the opening panel What future for sustainable retail?, Helena Mansell-Stopher from the sustainable partner of Autumn Fair Products of change was joined by Futurist Tom Savigar and Georgia Bell, Co-cre8/Honest Sales and Marketing Managerto discuss the future of sustainability, unlocking the value of waste, embracing ESG values and new definitions of retail. Mansell-Stopher said: “We are in one of the most evolutionary periods, some say we started the 4e industrial revolution.” Savigar said that when he advises retailers on their sustainability strategy, he changes their definition of retail, “away from selling products to guide choice, to becoming a service business, not a retailer, so it’s not about money as an indicator of success.” They continued to discuss sustainability as best for business, providing a competitive advantage as consumers push for responsibly sourced products , adding that communication is key. Savigar suggested resetting the transmission speed of communications on “sustainability” to the consumer to ensure the facts are correct, saying that “story does not tell a story” is better for business.
Facing the Future: The Benefits of Sustainable Retail, saw Francisca Sassetti, Responsible Sourcing Consultant at SEDEX explore the benefits of sustainable retail and the impact of sustainability on all aspects, from the business, from own practices to suppliers and beyond. Francisca introduced the audience to tools that companies large and small can implement practices that put sustainability first. From mapping high-risk areas in supply chains, whether it’s waste, emissions or human rights issues, to opening conversations between peers and conversations with consumers for optimal transparency. The conference highlighted the importance of communication across all pillars of the sustainable journey, from visibility in the supply chain, to introspective trade policy reviews and how these expectations are embedded by suppliers and partners. before being presented to consumers.
Sarah Collins participated in the Inspiring Retail Stage during a conversation with Rae AdamFounder of FWP by Rae for Search for ethical suppliers suitable for your company. Sara and Rae discussed the journey of finding ethical manufacturers and suppliers, choosing the right one for your business, building relationships, and managing expectations. Collins said: “Small businesses often think they have to do everything perfectly, but it’s not about now, it’s about building a continuum and trust between suppliers and consumers. If you and your suppliers are working towards the same goal, this is the sweet spot. Build respect, makers are an extension of your team, you need to work as partners. »
The second day will offer another packed program of talks and panels, including presentations of trends in TrendBible and Promostylas well as the launch of Hyve’s new responsible sourcing fair Source Home & Gift taking place from 5-7pm on the Inspiring Retail stage and featuring drinks and dancing.