The Future of Retail at Autumn Fair & Moda
September 2022. Four days, four destinations, twelve product sectors, thousands of retailers, hundreds of exhibitors showcasing millions of new and innovative products including homeware, décor, gifts, greetings and stationery, Christmas, beauty and wellbeing, womenswear, fashion accessories, jewellery and footwear, Autumn Fair 2022 ended on a high with a focus on collaboration, community, and conscious retailing.
The inspirational show, which took place from 4th – 7th September at NEC Birmingham, offered the UK and Europe’s retailers a space to meet, re-connect, network and source, as well as learn about sustainability, responsible sourcing, circularity, and advice for creating a buoyant future for retailing, all under one roof.
New features on the show floor included the New Product Showcase which successfully launched at Autumn Fair 2022, giving exhibitors the perfect platform to launch their brand-new developments. From odd socks advent calendars to dog biscuit baking kits, the New Product Showcase was the place to discover a curated edit of the most unique and innovative products.
This year, a whole stand was dedicated to the Power of One® campaign with curated product inspiration and a visual and interactive space for visitors to make their own Power of One® pledges, a Self-Reflection mirrored wall, and live art. The Sustainability Product Showcase put the spotlight on an edit of eco-conscious exhibitors, and Autumn Fair’s headline sponsors, Products of Change collaborated on the Power of One® stand offering their advice and one-on-one sessions on how to make businesses more sustainable. Throughout the show, the incredibly talented artist Saroj Patel a striking mural, and visitors also learned more about Autumn Fair’s three Power of One® pledges to make positive changes towards better sustainability and wellbeing.
As one of the industry’s most highly respected industry accolades, aimed at recognising the best new products, talent, and inspiration in our industry each year, Autumn Fair partnered with Giftware Association to create a beautiful new showcase of all the Gift of the Year 2022 category winners enabling visitors to see them all collectively in one handy space. Being crowned a category winner provides industry-wide recognition and previous entrants have seen a huge boost to their sales and revenue – the winners on show will become the next year’s bestsellers.
Buyers from retailers including John Lewis, Fenwick, Fishpools, M&S, TJX – TKMaxx, Mint Velvet, The Dressing Room, Pamela Shiffer, Between the Lines, Wayfair, Dunelm, Next, Pretty Little Thing, Paperchase, Hallmark, Rymans, Blue Diamond, Dobbies, Chester Zoo, The Science Museum, Kew Gardens, The Works, The Hut Group, Homebase, and thousands more flocked to the show. Many commented on the importance of seeing products and meeting people in person, the scope created from cross-buying opportunities, and the benefits and value generated by the inspirational talks and presentations on the Inspiring Retail Stage and MODA Catwalk.
Nicky Shallcross, Owner of start-up online boutique Interior Superior said; “I am setting up an online interior store in the next few weeks. Trade shows like Autumn Fair are good for a buyer with a limited travel budget, and it's really important to meet people, get a feel for the product and also the dimensions and quality. Sourcing is really important to me and due to Brexit I am trying to focus on UK suppliers, so I will definitely visit Spring Fair next season. I really liked Pad Home and their brand I Bride, and also Light Style London. I have a few accounts with some suppliers here already so wanted to meet them and tell them about the business in person. I also did lots of research online prior to attending and chose not to order anything until I had met them and seen the product at the show. I listened to the Mary Portas talk, it was very good and really engaging, I came away feeling really confident with my new venture.”
Emma Cable, Buyer from Alton Garden Centre said; “We have been coming to Autumn Fair for the last 5 years and find its useful to meet existing suppliers also nice to look around each hall to see if there is anything new we can stock in our garden centre.”
Gavin Wills, Buyer from United Brands said; “Autumn Fair is a fantastic show. We have been visiting for the last 5 years and we find this very useful to meet with existing suppliers and open new trading relationships.”
Ameena Hussain, Sales manager from Personalised to Perfection said; “I have been coming to Autumn Fair for the past 8 years and keep on coming back as it’s got great ideas for upcoming business. People from around the world look forward to coming to see the show.”
Katie Coombes Owner, Hermosa Boutique said; “It was a great show, so much more to see than last season. I would have liked to be able to stay longer and see the Home section as it’s always nice to source candles or stationery for my clothing boutique.”
Shirley Leader, Owner of Velvet & Rose said; “MODA had a real buzz in the air! There were lots of brands present. Found some lovely new brands for AW22 and visited my existing ones too!”
Nicola Meadows, Portfolio Director at Autumn Fair commented on the final day of the show looking ahead to Spring Fair in February 2023; “There has been so much to celebrate at Autumn Fair, and as the doors close today, I feel immensely humbled by the response from our community and the passion, drive, and enthusiasm to work together to refuel retail and work towards a better, more responsible and kinder way of doing business. I am very excited to look ahead to Spring Fair and delivering another memorable show for the home, gift, fashion, and sourcing markets.”