Stationery Show 2019: A preview

Stationery Show London regularly attracts the UK’s biggest retailers, influential buyers and brands in the stationery, gift and fashion sectors and is on target to deliver a mix of established and brand-new paper and writing instrument suppliers this April, when it opens at the Business Design Centre in Islington, north London.

The show’s regular LaunchPad competition will deliver up to 12 new hopefuls to the event, each having already garnered approval from this year’s five judges, all of whom have either started or helped to launch businesses in the stationery industry.

The LaunchPad winners, alongside over 50 first-time exhibitors and 100 plus show regulars will be keen to make the most of the audience the show delivers.

The show’s event manager, Hazel Fieldwick, said: “Stationery is a core product for many retail stores; it fulfils the role of an everyday essential, an ‘on trend’ impulse buy, a stylish and useful gift and, just as importantly, a carefully chosen personal accessory.”

“The product mix at Stationery Show London reflects this broad appeal and offers visitors a depth of product choice and knowledge from all corners of the retail stationery market.”

A key part of the visitor offer is the show’s Stationery Awards which, last year, attracted just over 400 entries across 12 product categories from exhibitors. Now in its eighth year, a panel of senior stationery buyers, chaired by independent retail advisor and Giftware Association deputy chairman, Henri Davis, will undertake the task of judging the products at the beginning of April, with finalists being announced in the run-up to the show, and the winners revealed on the first evening of the show (Tuesday 30 April).

What’s new for 2019?

This move to judge the Supplier Stationery Awards before the show is a reflection of the consistently high number and quality of the products being put forward.

“We decided our judges really needed more time to review the number of entries, without being under such a huge time pressure, so we’re very lucky that so many buyers are giving us an extra day of their time to come along and take a look at the entries in early April,” explained Fieldwick. “We’ve also opened up the Supplier Awards to all stationery suppliers to enter, not just show exhibitors.”

In addition, two new sections have been added to the Stationery Awards this year – there are five new Retailer Categories, and a new Designer Category sponsored by GO Stationery.

Full details of all the categories, how to enter, closing dates and judges can be found at www.stationeryawards.co.uk.

Despite the changes in judging, visitors can rest assured that there is no change to the show’s New Product Showcase. This key display will still be sited at the entrance to the show and feature all the products entered for the Awards for visitors to review for themselves. All the finalists will be clearly identified.

Changes at the show include the move of the show’s ‘Trends Hub’ to centre stage on the mezzanine level and the creation of a ‘Designer Area’ just next to the New Product Showcase display.

The high level of interest in the show’s Trends Hub, curated by trend forecasting agency Scarlet Opus, and its ‘Trend Tours’ last year, mean that more space has been given to this area this year.

“Visitors will see the New Product Showcase featuring ‘what’s available now’ products as they enter and then find the Trends Hub, which is focused on ‘what’s coming next’, as they move further into the show,” said Fieldwick.

You might also like...  Dealers should unwrap seasonal packaging opportunities, says Antalis

The Trends Hub will feature four key global consumer and design trends chosen by the Scarlet Opus team, which they feel will be particularly relevant to the stationery sector. The team will select product from exhibitors that illustrate these trends to create their display. Exhibitors were able to attend a free trend briefing back in early January to find out what Scarlet Opus is looking for and ensure their products are considered.

“The Trends Hub is designed to help our visitors recognise, not only which trends will be most relevant to their customers, but also which they could use to attract new customers. So, sharing and explaining the impact of global trends and their effect on our sector is vital information for our exhibitors and visitors – it means they can make key commercial decisions about new product development and purchases with confidence,” Fieldwick added.

The display area will include trend ‘mood boards’ and the Scarlet Opus team will be on hand to talk to retailers about how they can interpret the trends and merchandise them in their own stores.

The Trends Hub will also be the starting point for ‘Trend Tours’ which were introduced last year. Each Trend Tour is a 30-40-minute tour of 8-10 products around the show which Scarlet Opus feels sum up the key consumer trends that will be playing out in the stationery market in the coming months. Visitors can request their own ‘team tour’, or they can simply book a place on a timed tour. Places are limited to six people on each tour.

Live talks and workshops

This year’s show will also include a series of quick fire presentations covering ‘The State of Stationery’ from Rebecca Saunders, an independent retail and ecommerce consultant, who was previously the Stationery, Weddings and Christmas buyer at Notonthehighstreet.com; a ‘Review of what’s really happening on the UK’s High Streets’ by leading retail commentator and head of retail policy for the Federation of Small Business, Michael Weedon, of EXP2 and, of course, presentations from trend translator Phil Pond of Scarlet Opus on the four key trends – The Traveller, The Gamechanger, Satori and Fellowship – they are working on for the show.

In addition, there will be a couple of retailer workshops each day, which will be targeted at specific participants and will need to be pre-booked. For example, there will be one workshop aimed at independent retailers to learn what they can pick up from how buyers work.

And, finally, the Creative Stationery Workshops are back! This is where exhibitors can take the opportunity to get visitors hands-on with their products to discover simple workshop ideas that they, in turn, can run for their customers. Calligraphy, fun gift-wrapping ideas and testing out the latest inks and pens will all on be on offer.

A full programme listing of these free Trend Tours, Live Talks, Retail Workshops and Creative Stationery Workshops will be published shortly on the show website www.stationeryshowlondon.co.uk.

Stationery Show London will also have over 150 exhibitors representing many more brands at this year’s show.

Don’t forget to follow Dealer Support on Twitter!