showUP provides inspiration for design-focused retailers

Roving reporter Denre Bruins writes: Once again this season I was the lucky person who visited Amsterdam to review showUP, the contemporary home and gift exhibition inspired by Dutch and Scandinavian design. Although showUP can be visited fairly conveniently in a day, I decided to go for two days on this occasion, which gave me more time to see and especially speak with the creators of the many lovely products on display.

After a short and direct bus ride from Schiphol airport I arrived at the stunning venue of the Expo Haarlemmermeer. The first thing I noticed was that the entrance had moved, leaving me wondering what else had changed this time. So far none of the shows have been the same, partly because the stands here are not inflexible and can be set out in the best possible way for the overall look and feel of the exhibition.

Once again, the show had noticeably grown and it won’t be much longer before showUP has to find a new and bigger location – for the third time in their relative short existence – in order to accommodate more new exhibitors.

In an industry driven by newness and innovation, it was really encouraging to see people are starting to discover the wonderful gem of an event that showUP really is. I was very pleased to see that more and more British people have been finding their way to the show, not only as visitors, but also as exhibitors. For example, the people from Men’s Society had a fabulous stand and were pleased with the results of their first time at showUP.  On the retail side, the ladies from Hus & Hem in Ledbury were there to source the latest designs that will put them ahead of other shops on the high street.


Just like the last edition of showUP, eco-friendly, sustainability and fair-trade were key for many of the products on display. For example the products from Return to Sender create employment opportunities for women in developing countries. This enables them to generate their own income, escape the poverty cycle and become more independent. Another great stand was that from Earthware, who source products from around the world, made by local artisans with characteristic neutral colours.  Or the rugs by Solid Crafts, made from old clothes produced in India. Solid crafts establishes and guides sustainable handicraft workplaces where disadvantaged people can be employed in an honest way and where the focus is on highly qualitative materials and authentic handicrafts.  The profit generated by these activities is invested by Solid crafts in social projects: the assistance of teenage mothers, support to refugee and abused children.

The GGR team loves plants – we have our own allotment – so one  of my favourite discoveries was Bloom, whose greeting cards can be planted and flowers or vegetables will sprout from them. The cards themselves are 100% degradable. If you want to make flowers into a nice bouquet, then the flower constellations by House of Thol make it fun and easy to set up gorgeous flower arrangements, needing only a few flowers. For people who love plants and flowers but are missing the talent to keep them alive, the start-up by Nienke and Amanda, French Toast Studio, have created “Lazy Plant”, wooden plant figures handmade from their tiny pink studio in Rotterdam.

There were many other great designers and products. Some I had seen before, others new to me, but all had new fresh designs. Like the playful pins by Stook, or the Filigrantrae, a stylish wooden and lasting replacement for the Christmas tree. Or how about the Library of Fragrances, which consists of over 200 different fragrances inspired by every day objects and experiences. I took home the Popcorn and if that doesn’t get my partner, Charlotte, in the mood I might try to eat it!

Another nice idea came from Forfilling’s, greetings and PR-Cards with an extra gift / gadget included. The extra content can be fluid, like water from a (local) river, sea, or a beveridge. Darifa’s own business card came included with 100% natural Amsterdam tap water.Last but not least, the DIY nursery lampshades by Vasili Lights. Eco-friendly kid’s lights, handmade from washable, tear resistant vegan material. Ideal for new mummies who want to decorate the baby room.

Unfortunately I have only limited space to highlight all these lovely products and ideas and I did not even mention all the different workshops and crafts on display, like for example Floris Hovers, who every day makes a toy tractor out of wast materials and has done so for the past year.

I really enjoyed vising showUP and look forward to the next edition. If you have not been before see also our showUP preview for more great products. The next edition of showUP will take place from February 3 – 4 2019.

Images from top to bottom: Bloom, Stook, Return to Sender, House of Thol, French Toast Studio, Library of Fragrances, Forfillings, Vasili Lights, Earthware.