The Gift of the Year 2019 competition is now open for entries and will remain open until the end of November.

The largest and most prestigious product competition in the gift industry run by The Giftware Association, Gift of the Year celebrates the best products that will be on the market in late 2018 and throughout 2019.

Winning and highly commended products are featured in the beautiful Winners Brochure which is distributed at all major trade shows throughout the year, and to GA retailer members. The top prize, courtesy of Autumn Fair, is a free stand for the winner of the Judges’ Choice award – the winner among winners.

It isn’t just about the winners, though. Nominating one of your products for a Gift of the Year award will give you access to special logos you can use on your website, social media and even in print. The same goes if you are shortlisted, and you may even find your products featured on the Gift of the Year social media channels on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

On top of the publicity that entering can provide, every single entry placed in the competition is put before the panel of judges during the online stage of judging in December. It’s a fantastic chance to put your new products in front of buyers, and every year judges ask to be put in touch with entrants to talk more about their products.

Entries cost £75, or £50 if entrants are members of the GA, JDA, GCA, BTAA or NAJ, and entries after the first cost even less. There is a 20% ‘early bird’ discount cutting those costs even more, and that applies until the end of September. There is no limit to how many products you can enter into a category, or how many categories you can enter a single product or range into.

You can enter online at If you have any questions, you can call the Gift of the Year team on 0121 237 1142.




Gift of the Year is an annual competition celebrating the best new products in the gift and home market.

It is celebrated each year at Spring Fair, when the final winners are announced, but being a Gift of the Year winner lasts throughout the year (and beyond!).

In this newsletter we look at profiles of winners and their products, announce and interview our judging panel, and share other news about this prestigious award.

Winner Highlight:
Paper Mirchi

Gift of the Year:
Two Weeks to Go

Judge Profile:
Tracey Bearton

The competition is now open, and will remain open until the end of November. Don’t forget that an early bird entry discount of at least 20% awaits those who enter before the end of September!



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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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Did you catch our Gift of the year newsletter? The news comms will be going out monthly to keep you up to date on all things Gift of The Year including past winners interviews and stories, Judges profiles of the 2019 judges to enable you to see what next year’s judges are looking for and big names that you can get yourself in front of as we have seen in the past, its not just the winning that counts as some of the judges have been introduced to new products that they may never have found elsewhere, with one judges interested in the  whole category of entries.

With the big news this year of Fair Trade and Eco Friendly being reinstated as one category: Ethical Gift. We are also reintroducing the popular Pet Gift category.

Find out more from our first newsletter here.

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GOTYPrevious category winners (clockwise Paladone, Believe You Can, Seedball and Fallen Fruits

The categories of product celebrated in each Gift of the Year competition change as time goes by, based on current trends in the gift market. This means we sometimes put a category away that has less significance than it once did, and other times we bring back a parked category to celebrate its recent growth.

We are bringing back two past categories for the 2019 competition, based on feedback from judges and entrants over the past few months: Ethical Gifts, and Pet.

The Ethical Gifts category is in essence the two former Fair Trade and Eco-Friendly categories merged into one. Increasingly, consumers are interested in buying products that are kinder to the planet: gifts made from upcycled and recycled materials; gifts produced under ethical working conditions; or gifts that help improve the environment. Gift of the Year project manager Luke says, “The competition is forward-thinking, and so are many manufacturers and suppliers in the gift industry. We should be celebrating those who want to make fantastic gift products without literally costing us the earth, and who set high standards of worker welfare.”

The Pet category covers anything from designer dog leads to cat cologne, parrot prosecco and goldfish glitter (okay, we made that one up). “People all over the country love their pets and want to pamper them during the holidays,” says Luke. “It’s a growing sector in the gift market, and some really wonderful – and quirky – products are showing up at trade shows this year.”

No categories have been removed since the 2018 competition, so there will be 17 categories in total, and 18 awards including the vaunted Judges’ Choice. This ultimate prize, chosen from among all of the category winners, comes with a free stand at Autumn Fair 2019. The awards will be given at a glamorous ceremony at Spring Fair – details to follow.


We will soon be announcing the first few judges to sign up to our ever-growing panel of retailers, trade press and industry experts, but we did speak to Jenny Morrison of Top Drawer Gifts in St Andrews, who judged in the 2018 competition. We asked her for her thoughts on the competition.

“I’m looking for a product that stands out, and catches the eye. Something with a great look, but commercial appeal too,” Jenny told us. Reflecting on the benefit of the competition to retailers, she added, “You feel privileged to stock a ‘Gift of the Year’ winner or indeed a finalist. It’s an accreditation to the supplier.”

This year’s competition opens in July; look out for further announcements.

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