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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With GDPR just around the corner is your company prepared? we have been preparing our members over the past few months on what to expect on May 25th and how best to prepare your business, see below what you should and shouldn’t say during a conversation revolving around GDPR

GDPR? What is that? I know about the General Data Protection Regulations, and how it will affect me
No worries, the EU regulation will need to be transposed into national law As the GDPR is a regulation and not a directive, it is immediately applicable to all EU member states, and yes that includes the UK even after Brexit
I hear that various EU countries are currently debating their own new data protection laws National laws may supplement GDPR, where permitted, however, GDPR remains the core law
I’m sure I can wait a little while, there must be a grace period The regulations came into date in 2016 and organisation have had two years to prepare themselves already
It doesn’t apply to me, I’m not a big company It applies to all organisations, even public authorities!
This is an EU regulation, due to Brexit we are not now going to be part of the EU Even due to Brexit, GDPR law will apply to the UK
I do not hold “personal” data I hold and use personal information of my employees, clients, suppliers, service providers and users etc. All companies will hold something resembling personal data
I hold no personal data, I only hold business data Even contact details of corporate clients are covered by the regulation of personal data
I am not doing anything bad or interesting with this data The regulations require me to implement a set of compliance measures and tools, regardless of how I use the data.
I will not be ready for 25th May, there is no use even trying It is never too late to start, as long as I am seen to have started my GDPR journey, it will stand me in a better light with the ICO
I missed the deadline, and nothing happened, there is no hurry, I will deal with this when I have time Some compliance is better than no compliance. Showing that you have started work on the project is better than showing nothing. You never know when a data complaint that could come in resulting in a serious fine.
I am just going to use standard material borrowed from other companies or found online…that will be enough I know that complying with GDPR is not a checkbox exercise, it will require me to analyze our own data and specific strategic thinking for my organisation
I will recruit someone new to carry out this task I will need someone who is reliable and knows the company but also with the appropriate skills, let’S avoid false economies.
I will delegate…my responsibility I will be accountable and can only delegate the work and not the responsibility. I need to be involved
I will appoint a DPO (Data Protection Officer) who will be under my full control. I can even use this opportunity to shift my responsibility over to the DPO I will verify if I need to appoint a DPO. If needed, I understand that this person must be independent. This role is to inform and advise us, to monitor compliance and act as a contact person. The responsibility for compliance will remain within the organisation. I can also contact the ICO for more info.
I do not want to spend money with no return on investment! It does not pay to be penny wise and pound foolish! I will use this opportunity to improve our business processes and to leverage more efficiently my databases (It is a great opportunity to have a data cleanse on what data we hold and what we don’t need)
Seriously, what is the risk of non-compliance? Very limited surely! I would rather avoid the consequences of non-compliance. Sanctions by EU data protection authorities may prevent me from using my database for my core activities or even materially impair me financially (as sanctions can go as high as 20 million or 4 % of global turnover) in most cases it will cause damage to reputation and can incur criminal liability.

For more information contact my colleague Luke on or speak to the Information Commision office who are best placed to guide you.


GDPRWith GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) just around the corner on May 25th are you and your business ready?

Ignoring GDPR could mean financial and business ruin with the costs of non-compliance being high:

  • Fines of up to £20 million or 4% global turnover, even for the biggest of companies.
  • Compensation claims for damages suffered by individuals
  • Reputational damage and loss of consumer trust

It will enter us into a new age of restoring customers’ confidence in companies, allowing more transparency to the end consumer and for organisations to stop and think about how they are storing and using data. Here at The Giftware Association we are part way through our journey of GDPR and we have had a massive tidy up of the data we hold, both electronically and on paper.

In a world marred by data breaches and personal data being shared around without consent, Facebook and Cambridge Analytica we are looking your way, surely GDPR is a good thing, but are you prepared and how will it affect you?

How will it affect you? 

Under the new regulations, individuals will have:

  • The right to have access to any data that you hold on them
  • The right to be forgotten
  • The right to restrict processing
  • The right to be informed

In essence, it gives the end customer a lot more control on the way that their data are processed and in the driving seat of all data transactions, it is as much an IT project as a marketing project, because it has sweeping implications for the whole of the business.

How can I be prepared?

At the Giftware Association we have taken the following steps towards GDPR as a guideline:

Map your companies data – Make an itinerary of all your data and where it is kept, what you use it for and where is it from?

Determine what data you need to keep – Do you use all the data that you have collated? Do you neEd to keep it? As data are a currency, it may be hard to delete it but think of the implications and how useful it is to you

Put security measures in place – Where is your data kept? is it onsite servers or offsite servers? What is the security behind these? Look into systems that will keep your data safe

Review your documentation – Having a robust privacy policy in place is key, being transparent with everything you use the data for and all the system that you use will lead to a smoother GDPR transition.

Establish procedures for handling personal data. – set up a system on how you collect data and ensure that your whole company adheres to this as it could take a human error where you’re a data breach occurs and the company will be held responsible.

If you would like to talk more about GDPR and how we have are doing on our journey the give us a call on 1021 237 1105 or email


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Future Proof Title

Something we have been talking a lot about recently at The Giftware Association is futureproofing your business; not just for our members, but also for us as an association. It’s important that we share our knowledge of the ever-changing business environment as new technologies emerge, and new government policies are put into place, as well as the ‘often-talked-about-but-no-clear-answers-Brexit’. We can’t predict the future, but we can prepare for it, and we would like to share what the GA has been doing to help our members in the gift and homeware world we support.


Our ‘Meet the Buyer Events’ – We are currently on our 2018 series of ‘Meet the Buyer’ events, and we have had an incredible line-up of buyers so far and as well as keen suppliers. We have reinvigorated our format, creating events where suppliers have 15 to 20 minutes with buyers from garden centres, department stores and galleries all looking for the best new products. Speaking to both buyers and suppliers at these events, the overwhelming consensus is that these days are very productive for both parties and a new way of doing business; and even if there are no firm sales on the day, relationships have been forged and contacts have been shared. We are aiming to organise specialist events in the future with gift food, stationery and jewellery. It’s businesses changing attitudes and adopting new strategies that will truly futureproof your business: always think of evolving and think ‘what got you here won’t always take you there’.


Financing your Business – There are ever more options for financing your business for the future than ever, but around 80% of businesses still choose to head to a high street bank, resulting in either disappointment or the wrong type of funding. We were recently invited to the House of Lords Finance Committee meeting, bringing along the views of our members and those of the wider industry about how they have found accessing finance for their business. The aim is to take these views and concerns to government and hopefully change policy for the future and spread awareness of all the options available.


GDPR & Security – As businesses we are always on the lookout for the newest technologies and how they can help with our daily tasks, but a recent report has stated that these new technologies are opening us up to security risks. With GDPR on the horizon this can be a huge risk to our data; with cyber-attacks on the increase, investing in a robust security system is key. We are also helping spread awareness of GDPR to our members; both the importance of compliance and the tools that can help them. We as an association have also been practising what we preach with a tidy-up of our data, and implementing processes to be in line with the new regulations.


Get Ready to Collaborate – As the business environment gets tougher it’s time for businesses to evolve and adapt and take heed of Henry Ford’s quote: “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” You may have seen our collaboration at Spring Fair with Buy From Shropshire; this gave their members a platform that may not have been possible for them, but it also allowed us to be able to do so much more around the show. It’s not just at shows where collaboration is important; it could be collaborations on product or sharing of knowledge and information. We are all in this together and we are always looking at helping each other out.

If you would like to find out more, our AGM this year will be focussed on futureproofing your business. To book your place get in touch with


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PrintThe Giftware Association celebrated its annual members day and 70th birthday in true Giftware Style on Wednesday 21st June in their hometown of Birmingham, in the beautiful venues of Fazeley studios, the creative hub of the city. The event was one of the best-attended AGMs to date with over 125 members and non-members in attendance.

The day was introduced by CEO of The Giftware Association Sarah Ward who welcomed everyone and gave a teaser of the day. She was followed by former RAF pilot turned Cyber Security expert at CapGemini, Andy Powell, who slightly scared the crowd with his informative talk on the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and the implications it could have on all the businesses in the room if a proper project isn’t in place by the deadline date of 25th May 2018.


Geoff Ramm took over as the second speaker with a humorous and productive approach to OMG Marketing (Observational Marketing Greats for those in the know). As well as unveiling his life long ambition to become the Cadburys Milk Tray Man, he also regaled us with funny and informative marketing campaigns from around the world, from ‘Wimpys’ take on one of their main competitors ‘faux par’ to the photographer who used his initiative to ask the attendees before an exhibition what their favorite chocolate was and then having that presented to them on his stand on the day of the exhibition. As always Geoff captivated the crowd and stayed around at the end to talk to our members as well as offering a few home truths on exhibition stands: never fan your leaflets out, always pile them up; and avoid bowls of sweets unless you want to resemble Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’s nefarious child-catcher.


Before afternoon tea was served, Jane from The English Cream Tea Company gave a short Cream Tea etiquette ensuring that everyone knew whether to put the milk in first or the tea in first and the correct pronunciation of Scone: She says it rhymes with ‘drone’ if you were wondering, although we doubt that will be the last word in the ongoing debate!

Before Henri Davis’ Chairman’s speech, the audience was treated to a ‘cool and peaceful’ guided meditation session by the lovely Lulu Rose, who suitably relaxed the audience with her calming energy.

Henri Davis presented the GA’s achievements of the year, highlighting all the great activity that the GA has been up too, including more trade fairs, new website, new literature and new members attracted by the new way in which we approach potential members and the service providers, savings and discounts on offer as well as successful events with The Gift Of The Year 2017 being the biggest and best yet, our first meet the buyer event of the year and our awards at BCTF.

Sarah Ward gave a short history of the GA from past to present through its 70 years before handing over to Michael Papé, the vice chairman and one of the longest standing members of the GA himself, joining in 1983, who announced an exciting new initiative and referral scheme to our members.


It was then time to unwind and enjoy the longest (and hottest so far) days of the year, with an evening BBQ, cirque du soleil theme with fire breather, stilt walker, magician and band. And also one of the biggest cakes ever for the GA to celebrate its 70th Birthday.

Sarah Ward said of the day “It’s been a great success, everyone has loved the day and myself and the team are proud to have worked hard on such a great event. Its great to meet with new members and also potential members to give them a taste of what we are all about and how we can help so much more to help their businesses to success. But also to have a bit of fun as the industry we are in is creative and vibrant which you can see with the variety of members who attended. We would like to thank every one who helped make this day happen from members donating to the party to the speakers and seminars.”