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‘Buzzy’ London Stationery Show lifts the mood

By Mark Hayhurst 10 May 2019

After the political turmoil of recent months, this year’s Stationery Show, which ran in London’s Business Design Centre last week (30 April and 1 May) enjoyed a stimulating and positive two days.

The show brings together the UK’s key stationery suppliers, brands and retailers and influencers to enjoy two stationery focused days – right in the middle of National Stationery Week (29 April – 5 May).

Barry Heath, of Tallon International, said: “I can happily say it was the buzziest show yet.”

Nikki Devine of long-standing exhibitors, Studio Pens, which also won the ‘Everyday Writing Instruments’ with their new ‘Frosted’ Kaweco Sport Series pen, said: “Thanks for another great show - our best year yet I think!”

Amanda Walker, of the award-winning Cult Pen, added: “We identified some really interesting new opportunities. A great show and to have this topped by winning an award made the day even more superb!”

The Stationery Trends Hub, newly located to the centre of the show floor this year, was a huge hit with visitors and exhibitors alike. The team of trend forecasters at Scarlet Opus research and devise the display, offer Trend Tours of the show and run trend presentations for visitors.

They were kept busy for both days sharing information not only about the consumer and design trends emerging for Christmas 2019, but also looking ahead into spring and summer 2020. Their information is increasingly being used by suppliers to aid and inspire new product development and by retailers to develop product portfolios and merchandise stories that attract new customers and maintain their interest.

This year’s visitors included Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, Tesco, Paperchase, The White Company, ASOS, Cass Art, Ryman, Waterstones, Scribbler, TJX Europe, Hochanda, Anthropologie, John Lewis Partnership, Foyles, the British Library, B&M Retail, WHSmith, Office Club, Clintons, Accessorize, Fortnum & Mason, Jojo Maman Bebe, National Gallery, Spicers and Colemans.

In addition, it also attracted a great range of independent gift shops and specialist stationers such as Calliope Gifts, Jane Armour Trading, the Retailer Stationery Award-winning Scriptum Fine Stationery, London Graphic Centre, Colemans of Towcester, Jarrold & Sons, Mantons Cards, Morgan’s Stationery, Pen to Paper, Pencil Me In and not forgetting Marple Stationery Supplies, which spearheaded this year’s #StationeryShopSaturday campaign as part of National Stationery Week!

Henri Davis, chair of the Supplier Stationery Awards judging panel, independent retail consultant and deputy chair of The Giftware Association, said: “The show had a fantastic vibe and there were so many new and innovative products on show, which confirms the industry is still in good shape.”

This year’s crop of eight LaunchPad winners also managed to take home a product category win when Makers Cabinet won the ‘Desk Accessories’ with its Høvel pencil planer.

As in previous years, the Supplier Stationery Award Winners took centre stage in the show’s New Product Showcase which greets visitors as they enter the show. This year, with the support of AT Cross, which sponsored the Retailer categories, and GO Stationery, which sponsored the new Designer category, the Stationery Awards were given their own website and opened up to the whole industry to enter.

“It’s important the Stationery Awards are representative of what’s new in the market and help to set benchmarks in performance and good practice that others can aspire to and aim to beat!” said Awards co-ordinator Vanessa Fortnam. “Being able to display the Awards entries at the stationery sector’s annual show is a big plus for the entrants and buyers.”

The show’s Live Talks, Retailer Workshops and Creative Stationery Workshops were also well-attended, with most people booking places ahead of their visit to the show.

The show introduced visitor vetting for the first time this year, responding to exhibitor requests to ensure that those attending the show were authentic stationery buyers, licensors or valuable influencers.

“It certainly helped to focus our minds on the types of companies, influencers and buyers we encourage to visit the show, so despite slightly lower visitor numbers this year (1,849 compared to 2,007 last year) it was great to see a fantastic mix of retailers attending the show and getting involved in the workshops and talks. It proves that the stationery category continues to offer good sales across all types of retail,” said event manager Hazel Fieldwick.

The show’s tenth anniversary will be celebrated in 2020 when it will run on April 21-22 , at the Business Design Centre in London once again.

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