The 2016 was one of our best ever Shows with an 8.4% increase in attendance figures and 15% growth in exhibitors. Thank you to everyone who exhibited, visited or supported the Show - we couldn't do it without you!
Throughout the hall there was a general buzz as orders were placed, new suppliers found, innovative ranges launched and a general positive feeling abounded. After an unpredictable year in 2015 many independent retailers reported decent pre-Christmas sales, so were ready to re-stock or at least re-source for 2016. Many were delighted by the quality of the products and the originality of the producers which allowed them to source some genuinely innovative goods. Like many buyers, Drew Purden from The House of Clanjamfrie in Fort William reported that the range of merchandise was far better than previous years.
The range was expanded with the introduction of the Craft Gallery and has created a sound trade platform for high quality “handmade in Scotland”. This area attracted many upmarket and gallery retailers. Across the whole Show visitors were impressed with the quality on offer. Gone are the days when we are all about everything tartan and kitsch, today this Show has an extensive variety of products appealing to tourists, locals, big spenders and overseas visitors. Such was the variety that many of the large buyers had to extend their visit to the Show to ensure they completed their buying.
The Best Product Awards, (see below) judged by three leading Scottish retailers, were equally successful. The winners showed how they had combined originality with customer appeal, mixed with value for money. Judge Pat Davidson, owner of gift shops The Liquorice Tree and Memento M said: “The companies producing goods that sell are those who have thought of everything from design, packaging, quality and pricing and all us judges were impressed with the quality of the entries. The Scottish Trade Fair is the show I can rely to find the best that Scottish makers have to offer. We did 20+ orders at the show and have pencilled in time to meet with many of the exhibitors after the show. It's a very efficient use of my time and my managers also enjoy buying in a relaxing environment”
Food and drink continues to strengthen with an ever-increasing abundance of delicious, original products. Many gift and home retailers are now venturing into stocking food items too to offer a wider range.
A big attraction at the Show was the interesting line up of seminars and workshops. With record numbers attending, they learnt the benefit of Google, social media, merchandising, PR and trends to improve their business.
Sheila Fleet from Sheila Fleet jewellery, added: “Business has been steady throughout the Show and there is a much greater degree of positivity. We saw nothing but serious buyers and good new customers.”
We think you will have a year ahead!