Meer the Buyer

It was a busy week for the Giftware Association as they hosted not one but two Meet the Buyer events in their hometown of Birmingham, From luxury candles, artisan chocolate and greetings cards to beautiful jewellery and everything in between. Hot on the success of the Tillington Group of Garden centres meet up, the GA secured buyers from TK Maxx/ Homesense, John Lewis, Fenwicks, Oldrids department store and Stratford Garden Centre, who were met by some very excited suppliers.

The TK Maxx buyers visited on 6th June and were looking for specifically, non-perishable food goods, and they were not disappointed with the range of chocolate, home-made oils and small batch alcohol on offer. This smaller event was very targeted and bought in some unique suppliers in the form of Champion and Reeves, The Great British Exchange, Hobson Brewery showcasing  their interesting ‘applesecco’, a fruiter version of the classic prosecco, and a selection of spices presented by Shropshire Spice.



The secondary, larger event, event held on the 8th June featured a first for the GA’s Meet the Buyer events, with a buyers panel. The GA asked the attending suppliers to send in their burning questions; everything that they wanted to ask a buyer, and the buying process for different stores. The panel was a huge success with the suppliers taking heed of all the knowledge imparted by the buyers.

The buying panel made up of Sara Albright from John Lewis, Louisa Brenton from Fenwicks/ Bentels, Lauren Wilson, Buying Manager from Oldrids, and Rachel Mewies from Stratford Garden Centre led the charge with questions from the audience that included the best way to contact a buyer, what a buyer looks out for in a new product and learning to take rejection gracefully. The suppliers were extremely happy with the output, citing that it was a very interesting part of the day that will help them with their future strategy and that they earnt a lot to take away with them, and focus on smaller emails with less attachments.

The actual Meet the Buyer event was split across two venues with the Button Factory providing the second location and an amazing lunch as always, with just a short walk from the GA’s office, this historic venue provides the perfect backdrop to the members beautiful and innovative products.

The day finished off back at the GA’s offices on Vyse Street with the last few suppliers being seen by the buyers, rounding off a very successful day.

Consensus from the buyers has been very positive, with them praising the event:

Bhavna from Bhavna Designs -“Thank you so much for the Friday event. I met few interesting people and it was a great buyer’s Q&A and networking event. “

David from Ezen Designs – “I really think the association has such amazing staff that take so much care, that it makes being a member a very pleasurable thing.”

Jackie from Designed In Colour – “Really enjoyed it and I found it all very useful and have sent all the buyers the info they requested. Well done on getting them there, not an easy task in itself.”

Simone Rose, The GA’s Business Development Manager spoke of the success of the day: “The event has been great, with a lot of happy buyers and suppliers which is always the aim for this event. With the added element of questions fielded to the buyers, I think the suppliers got to learn something about the insides of a buyers mind and the processes they go through as well as the unique opportunity to have one on one time with high profile buyers.”


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The Giftware Association has taken its successful Meet the Buyer events on the road for the first time, with an exclusive and exciting event with the Tillington Group of Garden Centres. The event was held in the beautiful Low Wood Bay in the heart of the Lake District, and featured giftware suppliers presenting and showcasing their products to buyers from 10 Tillington garden centres.

It is the second time that the GA has worked with the Tillington Group, with last year’s event being held in Essex, and being such a success that the GA were invited back to present members to key industry buyers. The event kept the usual formula, with all suppliers getting important one-on-one time with the buyers. The event was by application only and the successful attendees were carefully selected by the various Tillington buyers ahead of event.

Gillian Munro from Otter Nurseries who helped with the organisation of the event said, “it was a great success and the feedback was positive from the Tillington buyers and suppliers. The proof will be in the scale of new orders and accounts.”

The GA team hosted all the lucky suppliers the night before at the Low Wood Bay resort hotel, an exclusive opportunity to meet newer members and talk about the needs and wants of suppliers for the home and gift industry. Simon Wadsworth from Wraptious, one of the lucky suppliers, said, “For me, it was really well organised. And fantastic engagement from majority of buyers. And what a great setting!”

A GA representative said of the whole event, “We want to take these types of events on the road more often, as the day was a real success. We are very happy as these events have always generated orders from buyers and allowed them to see products that they may have never seen at a larger trade show or event. It was also a great chance to catch up with our members and hear more about what they want from the months ahead.”







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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Meet The Buyer - June 8th

The Giftware Association invites you to attend our Meet the Buyer event with John Lewis, Oldrid’s and Unique Items.

After listening to our members and interviewing previous ‘Meet The Buyer’ attendees, this event, held in Birmingham at our offices in the jewellery quarter on June 8th, will feature a panel discussion from department stores John Lewis, and Oldrid’s as well as independent gift store Unique Items. A team of buyers from John Lewis headed up by Sara Allbright, buyer for Gifts and Candleshop, Buying Manager Lauren Wilson from Oldrids and Michelle Smamos, Buyer from Unique Items.

Whether you are attending the ‘Meet The Buyer’ event to showcase your products, or would just like to learn more about the buying process and have burning questions that you would like to ask the featured buyers.

John Lewis Logo     Oldrids Logo     Unique Items

This event will be for members only and will offer you the exclusive chance to learn more about what buyers are looking for and how to approach them. We will have limited space available for the full ‘Meet The Buyer’ event.

Meet The Buyer and Buyers Panel – £85.00
Buyer panel only – including lunch – £40.00

Spaces will be limited, so be quick to book your space on this exclusive event.

For further information, please contact

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TJX Europe 1

The Giftware Association is excited to announce their next Meet the Buyer event working closely with buyers from the TJX Europe, more commonly known as TK Maxx or Homesense across its 600 UK Ireland and European stores. The GA are creating a more curated event and we are specifically targeting Gift Food products to be stocked across many of these stores. The event will be held in Birmingham on 6th June and will cost £125 +VAT.

Gift food products of interest are:

  • Relishes, sauces and jar food;
  • Salts, seasoning, rubs, relishes;
  • Curing and cheesemaking kits;
  • Festive and gift hampers;
  • Speciality teas and coffee;
  • Any other non-perishable gift food.

TJX Europe is part of a wider group with over 3000 stores across the globe, they are a fast growing organisation and are looking for suppliers who can provide gift food products and interested in finding a way of working with suppliers that works for parties.


The only requirement for anyone interested in taking part, is that the products need to be exciting, and by exciting we mean great quality, interesting and fairly priced. TJX Europe believe in brands, recognising the effort that goes into creating and evolving brand, which is why the stores don’t sell own brand products

Speaking to a buyer from the upcoming event about what they are looking for “ Because we are trying to keep things simple and efficient we do look to get a great price from you (I know, who isn’t?) and we do not work on huge mark-ups so the customer should get a great value which  helps us sell through quickly so that we can talk again about the next order.”

If you are interested in this event or would like to find out more information, then please get in touch with or fill in the attached form for you to complete.