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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The Greats 1

The Giftware Association was proud to attend and sponsor the honorary lifetime achievement award at The Greats Awards organised by Progressive Gifts and Home magazine, celebrating the best in gift retailing, held at The Grosvenor hotel on Park Lane London on Thursday 17th May. The Great Gatsby themed included games, raffles and entertainment from comedienne Pippa Evans.

The Greats, now In its 16th and glorious year remain one of the most prestigious awards in the retailing community with a stellar line up of retail entrepreneurs, sponsors, gift suppliers and manufacturers all in attendance. The Giftware Association was extremely proud to be one of the sponsors this swanky event and to take along some of our members and service providers to share this experience and drink in the excitement and fun of the day.

The Greats 4After an afternoon of celebrating the best in gift retailing from the width and breadth of the country celebrating the best retail shop, best department store to the most hardworking employee, Henri Davis, Chairman of The Giftware Association presented the Honorary Achievement award to John Atwal, OBE from Premier Decorations for recognition for all he has done for the gift industry. Accepting the award from Henri Davis he was in good spirits and extremely moved to have been chosen.

This prestigious award is presented to an individual who has contributed greatly to the UK gift industry, nominations are received from across the industry with the winner being from either retail or supplier but recognised by all. Congratulations to all the winners on the day


Retail Employee of the Year 2018 – Peter de la Mare, store manager, England At Home, Brighton

Independent Gift Retailer of the Year – London (inside M25) – Max and Melia, Clapham

Independent Gift Retailer of the Year – Home Counties, South and South East- Alligator Pear, Tadworth

Independent Gift Retailer of the Year – East Anglia – Love It, Bury St Edmunds and Stamford

Independent Gift Retailer of the Year – Midlands and Wales – Mooch Gifts and Home, Stourport-on-Severn

Independent Gift Retailer of the Year – North and Northern Ireland- The Gift Gallery, York

Independent Gift Retailer of the Year – South West- Brocante, Fowey

Independent Gift Retailer of the Year – Scotland- The Gift, Beauly

Independent Gift Retailer of the Year – Best Newcomer South & Wales- Josie’s Bideford

Independent Gift Retailer of the Year – Best Newcomer Midlands, North and Scotland- Joco Interiors, Nuneaton

Best Specialist Multiple Gift Retailer – Oliver Bonas

Best Department Store Retailer of Gifts – Fenwick Bracknell

Best Non-Specialist Retailer of Gifts – Bookends, Christchurch

Best Lifestyle Or Homewares Retailer Of Gifts – Etcetera, Hitchin

Best Gift Retailer Of Jewellery & Fashion Accessories – Pozzi, Buckie

Best Garden Centre Retailer of Gifts – Ransoms Garden Centre, St Martin

Best Museum Or Visitor Attraction Gift Shop – ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Best In-Store Or Window Display – The Shop At The Emporium, Clitheroe

Best Online Or  Mail Order Gift Retailer – Fine Me A Gift

Best Retailer Initiative – Lulu Loves, Stubbington, for its Hygge weekend initiative


Best Service To The Independent Retailer Bronze Award Winner 2018 – Parlane

Best Service to the Independent Retailer Silver Award Winner 2018 – Widdop and Co

Best Service to the Independent Retailer Gold Award Winner 2018 – Joe Davies


Honorary Achievement Award Winner 2018 – John Athwal OBE













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.

Newsletter project


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