As autumn draws in, Scotland’s gift industry can look back on a successful summer, particularly if you own a shop on the famous North Coast 500 route or on the Isle of Skye, where both saw record numbers of visitors. Partly due to the low value of the pound and partly due to a vigorous campaign by Visit Scotland, the industry has enjoyed a buoyant year so retailers were in a buying mood at Scotland’s Trade Fair Autumn, which took place last week.
With 175 exhibitors, of which 50 were new, most stands reported steady orders and healthy enquiries. Those that faired especially well were the new, innovative companies, offering original gifts or new, exciting ranges that retailers were clamouring to stock.
For those retailers not capitalising primarily on the tourist market, it is more challenging, but it is clear that by offering local customers original gifts, many well-organised, marketing-savvy independent shops have had a positive summer season.
The Launch Gallery attracted great interest with a new trend for men’s toiletries appearing. Nutdust, made for men wearing kilts, and Bangin’ Beards brought not just a smile to visitors’ faces but showed where the new trend lies.
Mark Saunders, director of Scotland’s Trade Fair Autumn said: “Visitor numbers were steady throughout the two days and most welcomed the great range of high quality, innovative products on offer and the chance to snap up some new products and place orders for the Christmas season.”
Yvonne Carr, Buyer for Visit Scotland added: “Scotland’s Trade Fairs in September and January provide a great opportunity to catch up with existing suppliers, refresh existing ranges, and also to look for innovative new products to the gift industry.”
The intimacy of Scotland’s Trade Fair Autumn and the fact it is the only gift trade Show north of Birmingham in the Autumn always makes it popular for independent retailers.
Lesley Locket from new company Slated said: “This is my very first trade fair and I have met so many people and got some great orders, as well as finding out from the retailers what they’d like from me in terms of new products and ideas.”