As more of our members are looking at overseas trade shows and the economic climate rapidly changes, The Giftware Association has partnered up with Cielo Blu Events, who specialise in overseas events and promoting international shows, as well as offering expert advice to companies looking to export within their business or increase their international market visibility.  Working across many shows they help UK businesses choose the right shows for them.

The GA spoke to Benjamin Redwood from Cielo Blu Events to discuss a bit more about what they do.

Name Benjamin Redwood

Name of company Cielo Blu Events Ltd

What does your company do? and how can it help The Giftware Association members

Based in the United Kingdom, we represent two very distinctive and accomplished international exhibition organizers: Fiera MilanoIFP Group.

We assist UK businesses navigate to the most suitable, and profitable international exhibitions organized by our partners.

Our partners deliver leading, trade-only exhibitions in the following countries and sectors; Italy (Giftware and consumer goods) and Qatar (Hospitality, HORCA and giftware), creating a pathway for UK exhibitors to access to these markets.

We promote our partners international exhibitions and engage with our UK customers and potential customers. We offer expert advice to companies with a requirement to stimulate their export business or increase their international market visibility.

Where are you based and how long have you been trading?

We’re based in South West Hertfordshire.  Our location gives us easy access to London, the M4, M25 and the M1.  We’ve been trading now for 18 months. However, I have near 10 years’ experience working in the exhibition industry.  5 of those with Sherwood Events who are UK agents for Messe Frankfurt and the other 4 I was based in Dubai as a Project manager for Messe Frankfurt Middle East.  My knowledge of the global markets and the experiences dealing with such diverse customer base was completely invaluable.

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What three words best describe your shows? Mid-to-luxury, design led, business focused.

What three words best describe your activities? Partners, networkers and promoters.

Do you have a website?

Do you use social media to promote your business? Yes Twitter

Do you do any advertising/PR? Do you have any news or success stories that you can share? Yes,

When we became UK agents for HOMI, our first major UK exhibitor at the fair was SIFCON plc, who just happens to be a GA member.  They joined HOMI in Milano ( for the first time in January 2018 with a substantial booth size.

“We have had the pleasure of working with Benjamin Redwood and Cielo Blu Events Ltd on several occasions. Every time we have been left impressed by the level of professionalism showed by the company and the level of care taken into every detail to ensure that we can achieve the best possible result using their knowledge of the industry by suggesting steps that would benefit our business as a whole.

Working with Celio Blu Events Ltd we have been able to break into the Italian market in the year 2018. The fact that they were able to negotiate on our behalf a great position at the HOMI show in January, meant that we benefitted from great exposure and are now looking to expand further in order to maximise our presence on the Italian market.”

Which trade magazines do you read?

  • Attire Accessories magazine
  • Boutique-magazine
  • Craft Focus magazine
  • Furniture news
  • Kitchen and tableware international
  • Gift Focus magazine
  • Hospitality Interiors magazine
  • Interiors Monthly
  • Retail Jeweller

What top tip could you give to people thinking of starting out making/supplying gifts in the exhibiting world? 

Pick the right type of show and don’t be put off by a previous experience. With good communication and relationships with the organisers or agents, there’s never anything that can’t be rectified.  Set a realistic goal.  Be prepared for all eventualities and make sure to carry out any follow-ups.

Do you feel the economic climate is improving? And how is it affecting your side of the industry? 

I believe we are in a transition period, in the sense that the market is moving, but not at the rate previously seen, due to the uncertainty of Brexit.  During my recent visits to Europe and the Middle East, businesses on the continent and further afield see now, more than ever, the importance to have some sort of UK representation.

What do you see as being the biggest problem for suppliers of giftware in the current climate?

The potential import/export tariffs, travel document requirements.  However, with Brexit upon the horizon, there will be opportunities for UK business to enter new markets and develop new partnerships without EU restrictions.

For their upcoming show HOMI in Milan (14 – 17th September 2018), there is still space available, please get in touch with a member of the team if you are interested and we can forward your details to the organisers.

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saxo print

Our newest service to The Giftware Association service provider SAXOPRINT is no stranger to printing with 19 years experience behind them and no signs of slowing down with new innovative products like their new SAXOPRINT easy box range which is perfect for the Home and Giftware world, and we are proud to present you with a unique code to get 10% off for life! With the exception of promo. Your code was sent in an email, but please contact the Giftware Team if you need it resent.

With a real passion for printing, SAXOPRINT offer their customers a focused product range. From business stationery such as business cards and letterheads, through to brochures, flyers, folded leaflets with premium finishing, and advertising techniques such as roller banners, tarpaulins and exhibition counters.

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Tim Webster, Head of International Sales for SAXOPRINT explains “With the very latest equipment and our skilled employees, we guarantee professional print products with exceptional quality at fair prices. As a rapidly growing company, we are constantly optimising and expanding our print services, so you and your customers have everything you need for your business, advertising and exhibition requirements.”

SAXOPRINT has a huge range of printed products including the very exciting aforementioned SAXOPRINT Easy Box range.  SAXOPRINT easy box is a unique packaging solution with adjustable dimensions and circa 1 billion variations.  With a minimum order quantity of one, this is perfect for GA members.

Simply follow this link to the dedicated giftware and SAXOPRINT website,  SAXOPRINT / GIFTWARE to sign up.

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Our designGAP Directory is a great way for artists, designers and makers to showcase their products and contemporary collections to an audience of galleries, museums and heritage sites. The GA/ designGAP team distribute the brochure at specialist shows as well as sending out to a large network of buyers promoting our members work.

As with The Giftware Association’s yearbook, the designGAP directory features members from designGAP in an easy to read format that has been used as a unique and comprehensive resource by buyers looking for talent and innovative creative thinking in art, craft, design, fashion, interiors, and jewellery.

Each member is listed alphabetically and features images, contact details and a short bio of the company or maker. Enabling buyers and retailers a quick and easy to use reference for new and exciting products.

The directory has been going for many years in different incarnations and has always focused on the concept of designGAP, representing contemporary artist makers and designer producers from small fledgling businesses to fully established companies. DesignGAP was founded by Dr Shirley Frost in 1980, who based the concept of designGAP on the struggles that she experienced when she first graduated. Over the years over 3000 members have helped designGAP become a respected organisation.

As a designer maker, we would like to offer you space in the directory as well as designGAP membership which entitles you a wealth of benefits and information for £75. Attached is literature which outlines the services and benefits you will receive through membership which can help transform your business and help you grow.

If you are interested or would like to be part of our designGAP directory or to discuss membership and how we can help you, then please get in touch with or

Thank you

The designGAP Team




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Giftware Association members and non-members alike, were met with a new chairman, all important high street Information, panel debates and plenty of networking opportunities at The GA’s AGM and Members’ Day on the 20th of June.

The AGM held in Digbeth, Birmingham, known as the city’s creative district, was a suitable backdrop to our members’ creativity and innovation within the giftware world. Also fitting was the venue, independent bar and cinema The Mockingbird, which was the perfect place to sit back and enjoy the show.


Kicking off with the AGM formalities, outgoing chair and independent retail expert Henri Davis gave an outline of her time as chair and some of her favourite moments, before handing over the chain of office to Blue Eyed Sun’s Jeremy Corner, who laid the path for the GA’s future. Gert Schyberg of Sebini was also announced as vice chair (meaning he will take over as chair in 2020) and Henri will remain as deputy chair. These three will head up the GA’s current National Committee, whose members come from across the giftware world. Three members were re-elected for a further two years: Amanda Fergusson; Clive Briscoe of Apples to Pears; and Howard Thomas of Giftscribes.

Keynote speaker and high street expert Michael Weedon from Exp2 took to the stage to wow the audience with his view on the high street. Using in-depth data and on current trends, beautifully presented, Michael weaved a story of the high street that was more about hope than the doom and gloom you might read about in the national press.


After a networking lunch, allowing suppliers, retailers and service providers to mingle, the panel discussions kicked off covering regulation, IP and compliance, through to the importance of industry awards and then futureproofing a business. The panels offered open debate from the panellists’ own experiences and expert views, as well as taking questions from the audience.

Sarah Ward, the Giftware Association’s CEO said, “The aim of the day was for it to be all-inclusive and for everyone to take away a learning. When our membership covers micro business through to multi-million pound companies, it’s hard to find content that suits everyone, but speaking to people after today it seems that the mixture of subjects and panellists sharing their knowledge has seen people learn and take something away.”

The minutes to the meeting are available through the GA team and the Associations finances for the year are available on the British Allied Trades Federation website.

For the days minutes and finance reports, please contact



The Giftware Association AGM and members day is just around the corner featuring a day of education, networking, and fun. The event will be held on the 20th June at the Mockingbird Cinema, in the heart of the creative quarter of Digbeth, Birmingham, a fitting area for our industry. Timings for the day will start from 10.30am and approx finish at 3.30pm

The theme surrounding this year’s members’ day will focus on preparing your business to be fit for the future, whether that means keeping up to date with the latest compliance and regulations or your journey to introducing your product range to market. We will have the experts, competition winners and member companies talking about their experiences in the home and giftware world. We will also be appointing our new Chairperson.

Breakfast and lunch will be provided, networking with your industry peers as well as a wealth of knowledge shared with you, and we are even offering you a treat and a chance to sit back and relax at the end of the day with a discounted screening of a new film,Studio 54: the Documentary. Please note this will be charged separately on the day, for only £3.

Tickets to the event will be £25 only for members and £50 for non-members.


Michael Weedon established Exp2 to carry out research and transformation projects for businesses. His background encompasses journalism, publishing, data analysis, IT development, board-level trade association roles, media commentary and lobbying – also, helpfully, public speaking.
Born over the shop that his Dad ran, he has a lifelong fascination with retail, an industry central to commerce, the economy, communities across the country and society in general.
He says: “Retail is changing fast. It spans cash-in-a-till shops and artificial intelligence and robotics. Paradoxically, Britain leads the world in the adoption of ecommerce, yet retail lags all other industry sectors in the share of business it does online – so there is much more room left for change to happen.”

The rest of the day will feature panels allowing you to ask experts and fellow members your questions on topics such as GDPR, Marketing and PR, entry to Amazon and the importance of entering industry awards. Make sure to book your place now.

For more information about the day or

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