IMG_4013.JPGThe finalists have finally been announced. The Gift of the Year live judging day took place at The Button Factory in Birmingham on Thursday 11th January, in the home city of The Giftware Association.

With industry judges ranging from retailers like Mark Jones and Lindsey Adams to group buyer Mike Cook from Choice Marketing.  The judges arrived early to judge the 15 categories and chose their favorites of the day and choose the ultimate judges choice winner too, The products were put through their paces and some tough decisions were made.

With a hard to choose from selection of gifts ranging from Stormtrooper speakers, make your own beer kits and teddy bears. The judges whittled down the entries and selected the finalists for the awards night in February.

Sarah Ward CEO Of The Giftware Association, said of the day ” Today was a great success and we got some great feedback from the judges with the general consensus being that the companies are upping their creativeness year on year which is making the judging day harder and harder, also to see all the products in one room is great to recognise all the hard work that has gone into this year competition”

All the finalists can be viewed here



 Castle Cards

Castle Cards,

Retailer of Cards, Gifts, Celebration Items and Confectionery in Bolsover, Derbyshire


  • Prominent corner site location on the town’s market place, at the very centre of Bolsover
  • Bolsover is a town with 11,500 residents, famous for its castle which draws tourists into the area
  • Main Chesterfield Road passes the front door
  • Free town centre car parks

Store layout

  • Ground floor – 34’ long x 15’ wide (max)
  • 1st floor – further retail space, currently being used to store stock; plus a staff kitchen area and toilet
  • 2nd floor – further space which is not currently used
  • Outside – communal rear yard shared with adjacent shops


  • 12 months to April 2017: Turnover £65.3k (up 7.5% on the previous year); Gross Profit 63%
  • Trading performance has been maintained over the last 6 months
  • Nicely profitable, giving a good income for the owner
  • Stock: varies seasonally but is normally in the range of £12,000
  • Staff: the owner works in the shop 3 days a week – Mon, Tue, 1/2 days on Wed & Thu; 3 great, hardworking staff cover the rest of the days between them
  • Trading hours: 9am – 4.30pm Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri; close early afternoon Wed and Sat
  • Very loyal customer base


  • Real potential for further growth
  • No other competition in the town
  • 1st and 2nd floors not currently being used

Rent & Rates

  • Leasehold, term of 6 years from May 2015
  • Rent: currently £624 pcm (incl. VAT) = £7,488 per annum (incl. VAT); payable monthly in advance
  • Business rates: £Nil with SBRR
  • Rating Authority: Bolsover District Council


  • Offers around £27,500 + SAV

The owner is selling the shop to pursue other career opportunities outside of retail. 

If you would like to arrange to view Castle Cards, please get in touch with the owner, Dawn Walker,

on 07803 588520 or Many thanks.



The Giftware Association have pulled off another successful ‘Meet The Buyer’ event at The Bond in Digbeth, a venue that is becoming a firm favourite with The GA and suppliers.

The event held on the 17th October attracted an impressive and varied roster of buyers from Choice Marketing, Not On the High Street, The National Gallery, Beales Department Store, The National Gallery, Utility, Brookfield’s Garden Centre and Ocado. Building on their ever-growing list of buyer contacts, The GA has built up a keen base of buyers who are very interested in having access to our members’ products and sometimes preferring the relaxed intimate setting of the day.

Simone Rose, Business Development Manager and organiser of the events said “It’s very satisfying to see an event like this come together, as the planning has to be spot on so the buyers see the right suppliers. The buyers reactions to our past events has been very rewarding as well and word has travelled amongst the buying community with more buyers wanting to take part our future events.”  But it’s not always smooth sailing as Simone explains “We had a few buyers drop out last minute due to conflicting schedules, but not wanting to disappoint attendees, we reached out to our network and picked up some surprising last minute ‘wild card’ buyers in the form of Beales and Utility, which was a very welcome pleasant surprise to our suppliers.”

The suppliers in attendance were as varied and diverse as the buyers in attendance, ranging from innovative kitchen gadgets from New Soda, to delightful card ranges from The Art File, Ezen Limited and Two Little Boys as well as newcomer Venus Bears showcasing his new handmade toy bear and Adornement by Gilli Reeves’ beautiful hand finished gifts to celebrate special occasions. There was something for all the buyers and offered them a small glimpse into how varied The GA membership base really is.

The satisfaction of the day from the suppliers speaks for themselves:

“Well done for such an incredible event. I am so so glad that we joined the Giftware Association and the work they are doing is…. I simply cannot put into words. A very proud member, and hope to continue being a big part of your association. The buyers seemed delighted to have discovered us at the event, and we hope to be a solid contribution to any future events that we can participate in” Ezen Designs

“We had a great time, it had a really lovely vibe, it was good to have time to spend with some retailers who simply wouldn’t have stopped at our stand at a show and it was great to meet old and new friends in the industry.” – Two Little Boys

“A very big thank you to you and all the GA team, for such a splendid day. I am very hopeful that a lot could come from the meetings I had, put the input was firstly from you and for that I am really grateful. – Adornemnt by Gilli Reeves

“A really fresh and personal approach to meeting some great potential customers” – The Art File

“The meet the buyer event was brilliant, I got more out of this event than some Trade Fairs! You got the opportunity to speak with buyers, which could lead to big things going forward. The atmosphere was very relaxed and I really enjoyed the event.” – Laura Sherratt Designs

“Meet the Buyer is a must for start-ups, to budding small businesses. The GA demonstrated 100% commitment to ensure both parties, buyers and exhibitors, are well catered for.” – Venus Bears

Sarah Ward spoke of the success of the event “This is our fifth event of the year, and after each one we have been amazed by the success stories we hear back, and the thanks we receive. But importantly, we also to listen to your constructive feedback to make the events even better in the future. We have had a few teething problems which we have ironed out to create a day that works for buyers and suppliers” she continues “ These events are such good value for money and to communicate their value is key amongst our industry and as an Association, we always have our members best interests  at heart.  To be guaranteed to see buyers that you might never see at a Trade Show in a more relaxed calmer environment is becoming ever more popular after the tough year some of our members have had.”

This, and past events have been hugely successful and will pave the wave for future events in the new year. The Giftware Association has found a formula that works but also one that they can build upon and create success for our members in the future.

Sign up to the GA’s newsletter to find out about more events and about The GA itself or contact for information on future events.

Suppliers in Attendance

The Art File Thinking Gifts
Ezen Glover and Smith Ltd
Aorta Ltd Raeside Creatives Ltd
Laura Sherratt Designs Som’or? Limited
Jo Thomas Jewellery Adornment by Gilli reeves
Annabel Langrish Ltd Recent Toys UK Ltd
Emma Lawrence Designs Ancestors Group
Dee Two Ltd Devancer Ltd – TA iBeani
cherry orchard publishing Designed in Colour
Spry Lifestylez Ltd Proppa Toppa
Holy Mackerel (UK) Ltd Xpressions Gifts 4 u
Bottleclocks New Soda
Two Little Boys Ltd Venus Bears
Bubblegum Stuff Ltd Mia Tui
Russian Gifts Treat Gifts
Wrendale Designs  
Alexander Thurlow Co  
Roberts & Dore  
Raeside Creatives Ltd  
Som’or? Limited


Jeremy Corner 1

Jeremy Corner, owner of Blue Eyed Sun and Vice-Chairman of the Giftware Association, will be speaking to retailers on social media and the digital marketing on the high street at Autumn Fair.

Jeremy is a Sage Business Expert, Treasurer of the Greeting Card Association, a blogger, vlogger, columnist and an experienced speaker on social media, marketing and business.

Be sure to check out this seminar:

Session title: The digital high street is approaching; how to future-proof your business

Description: • What is changing on the high street and how will this affect independent retailers?

  • What digital opportunities are there to differentiate and grow your high street brand?
  • What are the obstacles with using digital solutions and how can you overcome them?

Location: Master the High Street in the Inside Retail Theatre

Type of session: Seminar

Date: 9/3/2017


Main Story - Henris Talk at BCTF

Henri Davis, chairman of our National Committee, spoke recently at the British Craft Trade Fair in Harrogate. Henri is something of a retail expert, having spent her career working for various retailers including Next, WH Smith and the National Trust. Now she is a consulting Retail Adviser, and at the BCTF she posed a question: What do retailers look for in their suppliers?

Main Story- Henris Talk

With her ‘buyer’s hat’ firmly on, Henri took visitors and exhibitors alike through her mental checklist; what she as a buyer looked for when seeking new product to offer consumers. This boiled down to three factors: great, relevant product; great service; and a supplier who offers new, innovative products every so often.

While simple at their core, these factors can be both difficult for a retailer to assess at, for instance, a trade show, and can be hard for a supplier to establish. Indeed, not being able to show these things to a potential buyer can be terminal to a prospective business relationship.

Henri offered advice for prospective suppliers, in the form of questions they should be prepared to answer. We don’t want to spoil anything, and nobody could put it better than Henri herself! You can view a video of Henri’s full speech on YouTube, courtesy of LEMA Publishing.