Autumn Fair International 2011 has Gifts at Heart

The season’s most comprehensive and exclusive selection of general and design-led Giftware to launch at premier September trade exhibition, Autumn Fair International 2011

The essential September buying season will bring the biggest showcase of gifts in the UK to Autumn Fair International (AFI) 2011, as 260 suppliers in this sector – plus a further 140 in Volume Gift & Home and 340 in Design-led Gifts – launch their latest new products to the trade.

AFI 2011 represents the season’s most comprehensive selection of general and design-led gifts, housewares, greetings cards, fashion accessories and more across nine show sectors, where 1600 exhibitors from 29 countries will launch 60,000 brand new products to retailers from around the world.

There is simply no better place for buyers to source new product ahead of the crucial Christmas trading period – or to preview new ranges ahead of spring  – than Autumn Fair International 2011.

A total of 900 suppliers will exhibit exclusively at AFI this season, while 400 companies that are new to the show in 2011 – including Donkey Products, Handed By and House Doctor – will display their latest products alongside 150 international suppliers. They join long-standing AFI exhibitors such as Rex International, Suck UK, Widdop Bingham, Present Time and Container Group. Major giftware supplier Joe Davies will also exhibit at Autumn Fair for the first time in 2011.

Commenting on the flourishing general and design-led giftware sectors of the show, event director Sarah Charlton said: “Halls 3 and 4 of The NEC will this year host a larger collection of innovative, contemporary international and lifestyle brands than ever seen before at Autumn Fair. Some of the best design-led suppliers in the business are exhibiting at the show this year, including Lene Bejere, Bloomingville, Umbra, Wild & Wolf and J-Me. AFI 2011 promises to be an inspirational event for visitors.”

The 2011 exhibition will once again see Volume Gift & Home products packing Hall 1 of The NEC, where 160 suppliers will ensure this is the largest selection of volume and clearance products available in Europe this season. A brand new Clearance Café will offer busy volume buyers the chance to get a cup of coffee and bite to eat without venturing too far from their chosen show sector.

Some of the major exhibitors visitors can expect to find in Hall 1 including PMS International, Ultimate Products, Sifcon International, Tallon International, Rayburn Trading, RMS International and Edco.

With a total of nine sectors to source from AFI offers fantastic cross-over buying opportunities for retailers, for whom the ‘gift’ category is constantly diversifying and can include a huge variety of product, from exquisite design-led stationery and wooden toys to fashion jewellery and aspirational homewares. AFI has all angles covered, including – most recently – the blossoming Hobby & Craft sector, which makes its Autumn Fair debut in September 2011.

For retailers in search of uniquely British style – still a high street winner with the Diamond Jubilee and London 2012 Olympics ahead of us – the Creative Britain Trail highlights the best of British designed product and a vibrant selection of home-manufactured items.

Ethically produced, organic and eco-friendly gifts will once again be an integral part of AFI this year, with an ‘Ethical Product Trail’ to assist with sourcing in this area and exhibitors such as environmentally-conscious Dutch homewares supplier Handed By, Jarapa, Cool Trade Winds, Manumit, Nomads Clothing and Tamielle.

The Licensing Trail meanwhile will provide an insight into hot commercial properties for the year ahead, enabling buyers to source from the hottest licensed ranges from Spongebob and Strictly Come Dancing to Dr Who, Paddington and In the Night Garden. Manufacturers can also source original artwork, surface design and images in this new showcase.

A must-visit destination for gift buyers is the New Product Showcase (NPS) in Hall 4, which is to feature an eclectic selection of the most exciting new products being launched at the exhibition. The NPS is the perfect place for retailers to seek out the hottest new products that will help grow their profits in the year ahead.

Also essential to buyers attending the exhibition will be an insight into the market-leading trends that will help grow their profits in the year ahead. AFI 2011 will put future trends at the heart of the exhibition – centre stage in Hall 3 -where sister brand WGSN (World Global Style Network) will hold court at its specially created Trend Bar feature.

Founded in 1998, WGSN’s 150-strong editorial and design team shapes winning style and design the world over, delivering insight and creative inspiration, real-time retail coverage, seasonal trend analysis, consumer research and business information. As the world’s leading trend forecaster it informs every stage of the chain across a variety of product sectors, including home interiors via the service.

From the WGSN hub in Hall 3 global experts in the Gift & Home field will share their invaluable advice with retailers, helping Autumn Fair visitors gain a competitive edge in the year ahead via a series of future-forecast presentations. All buyers attending the exhibition will be able to pick up a free trend report from this section of the show to help guide their product sourcing.

Visitors who pre-register for Autumn Fair will also receive a series of exclusive trend-cards created by WGSN, designed to provide a wealth of tips and hints that will assist buyers with their product sourcing during the show.

Another new initiative for Autumn Fair International 2011 – designed to support the Retail Services sector and featuring a host of innovative solutions for retailers seeking advice on how to refresh their shops – is the Torex-sponsored Retail Store in Hall 5, which is to incorporate new Epos systems and the very latest in shop displays and security. This feature is of relevance to buyers across all nine sectors of the show and will be supported by the Retail Services Trail for the first time at AFI in 2011.

Returning to AFI in 2011 will be the popular Talking Point Seminar theatre (Hall 3), where a series of free seminars will provide visitors with the perfect opportunity to update their knowledge, learn new skills and discover new ideas to introduce into their businesses.