Not just the sun shone on Scotland’s Trade Fair Spring – attendance figures were up by 4% with exhibitors reporting healthy orders, visitors commenting on the high quality of products on offer and everyone buoyed up by the positive vibes throughout the Show.
It is particularly noticeable that over the past 10 years, the quality of the products and the producers has risen dramatically, meaning the Show is now attracting all types of shops, galleries, tourist destinations, online outlets and overseas buyers to the only trade gift Show in Scotland. With Scotland the ‘brand’, signifying quality and originality, there was a big increase in overseas buyers, particularly North America, Japan and France, who wanted to source innovative and well produced products.
A new trend noticed particularly this year is how retailers, and consumers, are far more concerned about sustainability and packaging, reflected by producers in the way they present their goods, what type of products are on offer and the provenance.
Scotland’s Trade Fair is much more than just a buying platform – all the talks and workshops in the Talking Shop theatre were well attended, networking was a key feature of the Show and the added extras, such as the Best Product Awards, attracted much attention.
Denise Laird from Spirito Gifts in Glasgow who judged the Best Product Awards said: “This year there was a huge array of amazing products, both traditional and contemporary, in a wide range of prices, that made the Best Product Awards incredibly difficult to award as there was so much choice. Its great to see the packaging reduce and upcycling a key feature.”
Exhibitor Mairi Oakley from Darach (pictured right), who won Gold award in the Homewares and Gift section added: “This has been an excellent Show for us. Winning the award and the subsequent publicity, as well as the quality and variety of buyers on the stand has given us lists of repeat and new orders.”
While high street retail may remain challenging, many independent retailers are doing well in Scotland, with tourists from North America, Europe and China, in particular, choosing to visit. It is hoped that 2020 will bring much of the same with tourists, staycationers and locals choosing to buy local wherever possible.