Visitors to this year's Stationery Show London will be able to top up trend appreciation, find out how the stationery sector and Britain's high streets are faring behind the headlines and hear from retail entrepreneurs NearSt about how to make retail stock easily searchable online.
Trend analyst Phil Pond, from agency Scarlet Opus, will be familiar to visitors who have attended the show in previous years. Phil will speak twice, once to share a key trend, "The Traveller," which will play a large role in this year's Christmas sales, and a second time to share a longer view of leading global consumer and design trends and how they will influence customers in SS20.
NearSt is a retail technology company dedicated to increasing customers in high street shops. Their platform drives in-store footfall by connecting products on shop shelves to local shoppers searching for them online. In 2018 NearSt partnered with Google to enable shoppers to search live in-store products directly in the Google search function. CEO Nick Brackenbury says: "Retailers are currently missing out on a whole segment of shoppers who want to buy local." NearSt will discuss their work live at the show.
"What's really happening on the UK's High Streets" is a review by retail commentator and head of retail policy for the Federation of Small Business Michael Weedon. He argues that doom and gloom headlines should be ignored with an explanation of real data that offers valuable insight for any retailer assessing their chances of trading successfully on the high street.
Rebecca Saunders, retail and e-commerce independent consultant, is also returning to the line-up to deliver her "State of Stationery" industry update and run a hands-on workshop entitled "What can indies learn from retail buyers". Rebecca, previously a buyer and category manager at Not on the High Street and John Lewis Partners, will work with the group to share tips on how retail buyers manage stock and suppliers to help independent retailers identify what practices and expectations they should have in their own negotiations. Retailers should come prepared to share their experiences and learn from others. This workshop is pre-bookable with limited places.
In addition, two more retailer workshops will be available. The first is lead by Ian Retallick, founder of Specialist Retailers, and is titled "How soft assets can attract more customers to your store". The second is lead by retail consultant Catherine Erdly of Future Retail, and has been dubbed "Five key figures you need to know to boost your sales".
The show's programme of Live Talks and Retailer Workshops will run on both days of the show. Full details can be found on the "What's On" section of the show website www.stationeryshowlondon.co.uk
Taking place from 7th-9th April, this year's British Craft Trade Fair is the largest event of its kind, focusing exclusively on British-made artisan products.
Now in its 45th year, the show will host hundreds of designer-makers at the Yorkshire Event Centre. Products on display will include handmade ceramics, porcelain, fashion accessories, jewellery, hand-blown glass, metalwork, woodwork, greetings cards and fine art. Trade prices will start from a few pounds and all exhibitors are guaranteed to work within Great Britain and Ireland.
The show's organisers can also provide advice and support for fledgling designers who wish to grow their business in a sustainable way.
"Research from organisations such as Which? and Barclays has shown that the consumer appetite for authentic British products is running at an all-time high, as people look to support more local, sustainable businesses and seek beautifully designed products which they know are of sound provenance,” says show organiser Margeret Bunn. “This research is backed up by strong anecdotal feedback we are receiving from retailers visiting the show and followers on our social media sites. If ever there was a time to support our heritage industries and British designer-makers this is it.”
The annual BCTF Awards will take place on Monday 8th April. There will also be a range of guest speakers including Ian Retallick, founder of training company Specialist Retailers. Go to www.bctf.co.uk for more information.
Sustainable knitwear designer Katie Jones will share a range of colourful eco-friendly designs at The Spring Knitting & Stitching Show, which opens this week.
Katie, who combines 'playful aesthetics with serious ethics' will showcase her range of handmade technicolour womenswear, homewares and accessories in the show's Make It Yourself (MIY) gallery. A brand-new collection will also be launched at the event.
“The exhibition will aim to inspire and demonstrate how you can approach sustainability in a fun and colourful way,” explains Katie. “Over-consumption is one of the biggest issues in sustainability. By crafting our own clothes, we can understand their true value and consume at a slower rate. Knowing how to knit and sew extends a garment's life as we are equipped to fix them, and we have more emotional attachment with handmade pieces, so we hold on to them longer which drastically reduces landfill. A big, really easy step to being more eco-conscious is just that – being conscious and actively being involved in our clothing.”
The Spring Knitting & Stitching Show runs at Olympia London from 28th February until 3rd March, with over 200 workshops and demonstrations, drop-in knitting and crochet sessions and textile galleries featuring work by prominent artists. There will also be a gallery of rare knitwear pieces by Dame Zandra Rhodes, and a show theatre featuring bite-sized demonstrations and competitions. Go to www.theknittingandstitchingshow.com/spring or call +44 (0)844 581 1319 for tickets.
The deadline for entries has been extended two weeks, giving retailers until midnight on Friday 1st March, 2019 to enter. The retailer categories are brand-new for this year's show.
The retailer categories are: - Best Specialist Stationery Retailer - Best Non-Specialist Stationery Retailer - New Store of the Year - Best POS/Merchandised Display of Stationery - Best Customer Experience Initiative
Entry to the awards is completed via an online form on the Stationery Awards website, at www.stationeryawards.co.uk Each form also allows up to eight images or supporting documents to be uploaded to illustrate and support your entry.
"This is the first time the Stationery Awards have been open to retailers - so whilst we have had plenty of supplier entries (it is the ninth year for these) we are still getting the word out to retailers that these Awards exist, that they are easy to enter and will be judged by a credible panel of knowledgeable suppliers and retail consultants," said Vanessa Fortnum from the Stationery Awards.
Judges already confirmed for the Retailer Categories include: George Wilkinson, managing director of Nuco International, Jack Straw, managing director of BrownTrout Publishing, Kerri Middleton, managing director of Busy B, Jane Reucroft and Chloe Bayles from A Gift From The Gods, Gemma Bassett, marketing manager of Sinclairs, Chris Stott, managing director of Pukka Pads and Rebecca Saunders, independent retail and e-commerce consultant.
Useful data from the much-anticipated Craft Report 2019 was revealed yesterday at CHSI Stitches. The latest results were taken from a sample of over 3,000 crafters, with research conducted by independent research specialists Linda Jones & Partners.
“Visitors to the show have exclusive access to some vital industry data through The Craft Report research, presented to benefit their businesses and deepen their understanding of customers and the retail landscape,” says Dominic Fleming, show director. “This kind of insight makes the show a must for everyone in the creative craft industry.”
Completed in January 2019, The Craft Report: The Rise of Consumer Power aims to provide valuable information to help retailers understand changing consumer habits and attitudes. The study covers a breakdown of the UK craft audience and the popularity of specific crafts, consumer spending, the importance of workshops, online and offline shopping habits, social media influencers and a close-up look at specific sectors, including papercraft.
Key findings include:
- 27 per cent of those surveyed started crafting to combat stress or illness.
- 66 per cent see craft as a good way to relax.
- The average monthly spend is £26.
- Staff knowledge and enthusiasm is a top priority for shoppers.
The Craft Report presentation will be repeated at CHSI Stitches on Monday 18th February at 1.30pm and Tuesday 19th February at 12:15pm. Go to www.chsi.co.uk for information.
Don't miss our full show report in the April/May edition of Craft Focus, published 5th April.
Lion Capital has acquired The DMC Group from BlueGem Capital Partners. The needlecraft group comprises a portfolio of leading European brands including DMC, Wool and the Gang (WATG) and Sirdar, as well as Tilsatec, a high-performance technical yarn.
BlueGem formed The DMC Group in August 2016 as a consolidation platform for its needlecraft brands, beginning with the acquisition of DMC and WATG. BlueGem identified DMC as an unloved and undermanaged company with strong brand heritage, high-quality products and untapped growth potential, and launched a programme of intensive rejuvenation across the entire portfolio. In 2018, the company generated over €90 million of sales across more than 100 countries.
“We are proud of the rapid and significant business improvements that have been achieved at The GMC Group, where we partnered with a high calibre management team,” says Marco Capello, founder and managing partner of BlueGem. “Thanks to the team's work, The DMC Group is now the undisputed market leader in an attractive and resilient niche. There remains substantial potential for growth within the company, and we are happy to hand it over to Lion Capital. Thanks to its unparalleled industry contacts and expertise, we believe Lion will successfully add to the business's strong existing foundations.”
“We have followed The DMC Group closely for some time and admire the value creation strategy that the team has implemented under BlueGem's ownership,” adds James Cocker, partner at Lion Capital. “The business has a wide array of levers to drive continued operational improvement over an extended period, and substantial opportunity for further acquisition-led growth on a global basis. Our proven track record of working with leading global brands makes The DMC Group a perfect fit with our investment strategy, and we look forward to working with the team to help us continue to grow and optimise our portfolio of iconic needlecraft and technical yarn brands.”
Crafter's Companion has announced that it will be moving to Create & Craft TV. The partnership was announced by company founder Sara Davies via email and on social media, and marks the end of a three-year partnership with Hochanda.
“It was a hard decision to leave Hochanda as we've become very close to many people over the three years we've been there, but ultimately, we need to do what's best for Crafter's Companion,” explains Sara. “Those of you who have been following the company long enough will know that I started on my craft journey at Ideal World over 13 years ago, so I'm delighted to be able to continue on this journey again.”
The new partnership comes with a promise of more variety and innovation, and will provide Crafter's Companion with the ability to concentrate on educational demonstrations.
While the date of the move is yet to be confirmed, new products are expected to be announced in the next few weeks. Go to www.crafterscompanion.co.uk for further details.
Following the success of its Big Tea Cosy knitting event in 2018, national charity Breast Cancer Haven is once again encouraging crafters to get knitting. The organisation is inviting people to 'make a brew for breast cancer' in the month of March, as well as hosting a crafternoon and trying their hand at knitting and crochet to help support those going through treatment.
Online craft community LoveKnitting will continue to support the Big Tea Cosy campaign by selling exclusive patterns, with all proceeds going to the charity's supportive service. Customers can keep their woollen creations or gift them to someone undergoing breast cancer treatment as a way of showing support during a difficult time. Limited edition patterns include hats, snoods, tea cosies and more, all designed to provide comfort. Every cup of tea enjoyed, cake baked and knitting pattern purchased will help raise money to help people going through one of the most difficult times of their lives. Parties, bakes and makes can be shared on social media using the following hashtag: #TheBigTeacosy
LoveKnitting will also host a 'come and get cosy' pop-up living room in Spitalfields market on 28th February. Visitors are invited to knit a small square to be made into a large patchwork blanket.
“This year's Big Tea Cosy is going to be even cosier than ever as we once again team up with the world's largest knitting supplier, Love Knitting, and its incredible community of knitters,” says Pamela Healy OBE, chief executive of Breast Cancer Haven. “Our visitors tell us that Breast Cancer Haven makes them feel safe, welcomed and incredibly well-supported, and we think the Big Tea Cosy campaign sums this up perfectly. The added element of again being able to knit or crochet something to give back to someone currently undergoing treatment makes the campaign even more special.” Visit www.breastcancerhaven.org.uk to sign up for this year's event.
Crafter's Companion has appointed Ross Brown as its new head of commercial to help drive the company's continuing success. The business saw a sales growth of 38 per cent over 2018, with an export sales growth of 59 per cent over the same period. With 180 employees worldwide, the company continues to go from strength to strength.
“I have known and worked with Ross for a number of years now, so I know he is a perfect fit for our company's ethos,” says company founder Sara Davies. “His ideas and understanding that we place the consumer at the heart of our business, as well as his vast range of experience in the craft sector, means that he is well-placed to share our company's vision. I'm thrilled that he will be joining the company and helping us to continue our growth strategy.”
Ross will relocate to Durham for his new challenge, and brings a vast knowledge of the craft market and years of experience in TV shopping to the role. His key achievements include helping to launch Hochanda TV, establishing it as a major industry player within the space of three years.
“I am extremely excited to be offered the opportunity to join Crafter's Companion. Having worked indirectly with a number of the team, it is a privilege to now be directly part of such a dynamic and successful company,” says Ross. “It is clear that Crafter's Companion cares about the crafting community and helps to drive industry innovation and standards forward in such a positive direction, something I'm looking forward to being part of. My priority is to lead by example and to invest my time and knowledge to develop and support the whole team. My main aim is to ensure we continue to drive the global company forward, and I look forward to working with Sara, Simon and the board.”
Crafter's Companion opened two retail stores in Newton Aycliffe and Chesterfield during 2016 and a further store in Evesham in 2017, complementing its presence online and in thousands of retail stores worldwide. Go to www.crafterscompanion.co.uk for more information.
Textile Heritage will be launching a range of new designs at CHSI Stitches this month, including this eye-catching collection inspired by the TV series Outlander. The iconic images of Scotland lend themselves perfectly to several of the company's most popular projects, including bookmarks and keyrings. Each product is beautifully packaged and includes everything needed to complete the make. Retail display boxes and POS are also available.