Bloom Giftware 1

We are excited to announce the launch of a new luxury lifestyle and gift brand, Bloom Giftware. New members to The Giftware Association, but no stranger to the world of home and gift.

Bloom Giftware is an idea blossomed from one of our members, Bloom Interiors, who are associated with Better Pathways, a leading mental health charity in Birmingham.

Building up a valuable reputation in the interior and soft furnishings industry, Bloom Giftware are now entering the giftware world. This exciting new brand features exquisite design-led gift products all manufactured in the UK. Bloom Giftware will be showcasing an exclusive preview evening on Monday 18th June in the heart of the Creative arts quarter, Birmingham at Fazeley Studios. At this preview event there will be an opportunity for you to experience the brand, hear the back story, view the products and be part of this celebratory evening.

Founders of Bloom Giftware have announced the launch of the brand to begin with three luxurious collections, Tropical Paradise, Floral Frenzy and Limited Edition by Jason Clarke. Products within these collections include washbags, scented candles, Bone China mugs and much more.

Each collection promotes individual artists and showcases the positive and creative side of mental ill health. Bloom Giftware is set to be an inspirational brand; they will provide a platform to support artistic talents within the mental health community.

To find out more about the brand please get in touch with





Judge Profile: Chris Beards

Chris Beards is a multi-award-winning retailer, and the owner of Manton’s Cards in the Isle of Man. He is passionate about Independent retail, high quality gifts and greeting cards, and his award wins include British Independent Retailer of the Year and the BIRA National Award for charity fundraising and community work.

Chris has joined the judging panel for the 2019 competition, and we asked him a few questions about his experiences having judged the competition in the past.


What is the best part about judging for you?

Seeing new products, especially from smaller or startup companies that I haven’t come across before.


What do you look for in a Gift of the Year product?

A product I like personally, but also one I feel will be commercially successful; one that offers a decent margin and a good price point for the final customer.


What value does the competition have for you, as a retailer?

It’s always great to compare your opinions with other top retailers. Also, being able to promote a product as a Gift of the Year finalist or winner is a fantastic way to drive sales.

History of Gift of the Year

In 1978, the Gift Award was established to celebrate excellence in design. In its early years, there were three categories and the competition rarely saw more than a few dozen entries. From those foundations, the competition has grown over the last 40 years.


“The competition’s ethos hasn’t changed at all,” says Luke Palmer, the competition’s project manager. “Originality, value and quality have always been the pillars of the award, and as it has grown to well over a thousand entries each year, we have always been mindful of that.”

Judges are drawn from throughout the industry, primarily retail buyers, market experts and trade media. “Their expertise is crucial, as it always has been,” says Luke, “and we should never forget the judges are also consumers! They know the industry, but they also know what they like as individuals.”

Advancements in technology have certainly helped. Entering online makes things far more straightforward than postal entries, of course, and while competitions past had a small panel of expert judges – there were only seven in the 1983 panel – the first stage of judging is now completed online, allowing for far larger panels. Now, 36 years later, we are aiming to assemble a panel of well over 50 judges.


The history of the Gift of the Year competition is tied directly to the history of Spring Fair; the two have always gone hand-in-hand. “It is the largest trade fair in the UK,” says Luke, “and that means retailers who come to buy are looking for products that catch the eye, that are interesting and in line with current trends. Gift of the Year winners and finalists are a good place to start.”

In February 2018 we celebrated the 40th competition with a fantastic night at the Vox, just outside of Spring Fair. Celebrity compere Rory Bremner gave a star performance, and the event featured a three-course dinner and live music. Each year the GA and Spring Fair find ways to lend the right kind of prestige to the award, and we hope to repeat that success in 2019.

To be part of the Gift of the Year story, you can register today at The competition opens on the 15th of July.

Winner Profile: Octagon Desk Light


The Octagon One desk lamp is the Gift of the Year 2018 Award Winner in the Contemporary Gift category and also the Judges’ Choice – the overall winner across the competition.

The Octagon One Rechargeable Desk Light combines the best of simple and natural wood-effect finish to achieve its modern industrial aesthetic.

The focal point of the design is a beautifully shaped Octagon wood finish base with touch control button and in-built rechargeable battery which makes it to be a totally wireless desk lamp and allows it to be positioned at three different angles. Mounted in the base is a milled aluminium casing but in wood finish which contains 36 high quality LED light bead with light diffusing cover.

Octagon One is a purposeful yet organic design, as well as a warm addition to any desk or office space.

Its trade price (as of January 2018) is £25. Please make enquiries here.

Judge Profile: Jenny Spivey

Jenny Spivey -Sense Of Retail - Image

Following a 36- year career within two of the UK’s most prestigious department stores – Harrods and the John Lewis Partnership – Jenny now uses her knowledge and experience in running her own retail consultancy.

At ‘Sense Of Retail’, she works with both established retailers and suppliers across the home and giftware categories. She also mentors SMEs in the sector, including brands new to market – helping them reach a wider audience and present themselves effectively in a professional and competitive environment, online and offline.

Jenny has been judging Gift of the Year competitions for over a decade, employing her sharply-honed insight to help pick the best of the best in new giftware. We asked her a few questions about her judging experiences.

What is your favourite aspect of judging Gift of the Year?

Being inspired by fresh product and the constant innovation which comes through year after year;  2018 was a particularly good spread of quality product.

What do you look for in a Gift of the Year product?

Good thoughtful design with a sense of purpose, be that aesthetic or functional. It should represent quality and value.

In what ways do you think the competition has value for retailers?

It brings a more discerning offer to the retailer, having been whittled down. It saves them time, money and will give them good quality commercial product.

What are some of the most memorable products you have seen in the competition?

I thought the 2018 GOTY overall winner was well deserved as it represented stylish design and would be equally liked as a personal purchase as well as a gift.