Business was booming at the second annual Glee at Spring Fair, with upbeat exhibitors reporting strong levels of orders and new leads at a key point in the spring sales season.
Buyers from retail powerhouses such as Amazon, John Lewis and Robert Dyas, as well as representatives from garden centres, summer festivals and public events, flocked to Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre (NEC) on 3-7th February – helping exhibitors to land new orders from sectors outside traditional garden retail, while still meeting key buyers from the garden trade.
Glee at Spring Fair exhibitors reported “exceptional” and “fantastic” levels of interest from buyers, helping to strengthen confidence in the garden sector, which has proven its resilience to Brexit turmoil.
Peter Wootton, Director of family-owned garden furniture specialist Riverco Trading, said: “The quality of leads has been exceptional, orders on the stand have been exceptional and recruitment of sales agents has been exceptional.”
Speaking on day three of the show, where Riverco Trading unveiled its new RSPB garden furniture range, designed and manufactured exclusively under licence to the wildlife charity, Wootton added: “We got everything we hoped for – and more. I feel very positive about how the show has gone. I never put targets on shows, but we received quality leads and the whole event exceeded our expectations.” Wootton also said he was “pretty ecstatic” with the reception to the firm’s new wood treatment product, Frogsuit.
Richard Ball, Director of traditional garden furniture manufacturer Charles Taylor Trading, was similarly upbeat: He said: “We will be doubling the size of our stand in 2020 on the back of this year’s success. Day one has been far better than any Glee or Spring Fair in six years.”
Ball, who used the event to showcase the company’s new Two-Seater Dorset Swing, praised the quality of buyers who visited Glee at Spring Fair. He explained: “We have been taking physical live orders from a massive cross-section of industry – independents, multiples and garden centres, and meeting representatives from small craft stores right up to The Range.”
Tepro, which won second place in the Glee at Spring Fair New Product Showcase Awards with its Toronto Steak Grill, spoke to buyers from retail giants Amazon, John Lewis and Robert Dyas during its first exhibit at the show. Tepro Key Account Manager Andy Harding, said: “We met with buyers from all the retailers we came here to speak to, and Robert Dyas has agreed to list the product.”
Woodlodge, a leading supplier of pots, containers, furniture and garden ornaments, said Glee at Spring Fair had helped to generate leads in retail sectors that did not usually have a presence at Glee in September. Sales Manager, Ian Flounders, explained: “It has been an absolutely fantastic show. We met with lots of companies that we wouldn’t normally see at Glee, including floristry, DIY, high street retailers and independents. This event has been a showcase to promote our products to a wider audience, with buyers looking to expand their offering at the start of the new season.”
Flounders was similarly upbeat with the response from buyers to Woodlodge’s new William Morris Pottery Collection, which won fifth place in the Glee at Spring Fair New Product Showcase Awards with its innovative design and potential to expand the pot sales category.
Mark Hall, Managing Director of Creative Products, said he took the decision to exhibit this year on the back of a successful first exhibit at Glee at Spring Fair in 2018. Hall explained: “It has been a good show for us. We have been busy from 10am to 5pm. Eighty per cent of our business is with garden centres, so this has been a key event for us.” It was a double whammy of success for Creative Products, which scooped first and third place in the Glee at Spring Fair New Product Showcase Awards with its Fly Away and Mighty Little Digger products respectively.
Glee at Spring Fair was also praised by first time exhibitors, who reported a healthy influx of business leads from garden retail buyers – as well as enquiries from buyers in other sectors of retail.
At Fargro, Southern Sales Manager David Lait said that the company’s debut exhibit at Glee at Spring Fair had introduced it to buyers who would not usually attend the main Glee event. Lait said: “We normally do Glee, but Spring Fair has been very worthwhile. We have met with different buyers. In some cases, we met buyers from different parts of businesses, as well as the garden buyers from the same companies. This generated a lot of interest in our range, especially cement planters and cement Christmas products.”
And the event proved to be a popular launchpad for start-ups looking to break into the UK garden retail market, too. Managing Director of SunCatcher, Alexander Haun, used Glee at Spring Fair to reveal the company’s initial range of 25 garden decoration products which “glow from first light in the morning until the last light at night”. Haun said: “We are a one-month-old company and it’s our first time here. As well as buyers from the garden trade, we have met with people who expressed interest in selling our products at festivals and public events. This has been a showcase for our new product range.”
To keep up-to-date on all the latest news visit www.Gleebirmingham.com or for details on exhibiting at Glee 2019 or Glee at Spring Fair 2020, call +44 (0)203 3545 9752.