Hobby & Craft to launch at Autumn Fair International

Autumn Fair International 2011, which takes place at The NEC Birmingham from September 4 – 7, is set for expansion with the launch of a brand new Hobby & Craft show sector.

The decision to launch Hobby & Craft was influenced following extensive discussions with both retailers and suppliers in the market. Huge demand for a successful Autumn meeting point has led to the conception of Hobby & Craft and this offering will see a crucial gap in the market filled. Hobby & Craft is also incredibly timely given the speed at which the market is moving, adjusted buying patterns and the need for regular and fresh creative inspiration.

Buyers can expect to see a wide range of products in this new area of Autumn Fair including: Artists’ materials, beading and haberdashery, ceramics, candle crafts, card making kits, decorative painting,  children’s crafts, embroidering, needlepoint and knitting materials,  jewellery making, mosaics, glass, wood and metal crafts, paper crafts, rubber, stamps & scrap booking, tools, materials and accessories.

Hobby & Craft is a high value industry in the UK and overseas (notably the USA), as consumers increasingly opt to ‘make their own’, ‘grow their own’, ‘bake their own’ and ‘build their own’, choosing to enjoy traditional, home-spun, family-oriented pastimes. The ‘make do and mend’ culture has been stimulated not only by economic conditions but also environmental concerns, with recycled goods becoming ever-more fashionable.

Autumn Fair International is the festive season’s largest home and gift event. A total of 500,000 products and 50,000 new launches will be demonstrated by 1500 exhibiting suppliers. AFI currently spans across 5 halls of Birmingham NEC. Exhibitors display products across the sectors of Kitchen, Dining and Housewares, Home Interiors and Art, Gifts, Toys & Gadgets, Design–Led Gifts, Greeting & Stationery, Fashion Jewellery & Accessories, Volume Gift & Home and of course Hobby & Craft.

The UK hobby and craft market is currently worth £3bn annually, and Autumn Fair exhibitors are keen to tap into this by gaining exposure to a wealth of buyers from the UK and overseas.  As well as attracting large numbers of dedicated sector retailers, exhibitors in this category will also benefit from the huge cross-over buying opportunities at Autumn Fair, where Craft & Hobby products will be flanked by Toys & Gadgets on the one side and Gifts on the other.

Retailer Stephanie Burnham of The Bead Studio said: “I already attend Spring and Autumn Fair but much prefer the whole clustering and grouping via a dedicated area at the show. It is a unique offering outside of the niche shows due to the exciting cross-over, which is productive for creative also. 12 months is too long between shows so it will be a great second touch point.

On the exhibitor side, Nick Longford, brand manager of tools and accessories manufacturer Dremel (a Bosch company) commented: “Dremel welcomes the edition of an all encompassing hobby, art & craft hall at Autumn Fair International. The fair in September, sits well in the exhibition calendar and we will support the show in 2011 with a view to increasing business across the sector. There is a need for a show of this nature at this time of year as the offering fills a crucial gap in the market.  Media support confirmed by:- Craft Focus Magazine with other agreements pending.

Pictured  here are craft kits from Krasnaya Nesting Dolls, exhibiting at Autumn Fair International in Hall 5 Stand D66