Exhibiting at trade fairs is one of the main ways for publishers to meet new buyers or agents and obtain sales leads from both at home and abroad. They are also a part of the greeting card social calendar, where existing publishers catch up with old colleagues and new publishers are able to meet each other under one roof. This is the time when, as a new publisher, you realise that there is a whole greeting card world out there!
Before deciding to exhibit, it is advisable to visit the major fairs. This will help you to decide which would be the most appropriate fair for your products. It is important to research each fair, taking into account the time of year, price of the stands, distance from your base, cost of accommodation and the size of the fair. Read this GCA blog on preparing for your first tradeshow.
Below are the main greeting card trade shows in the UK, which attract a regional or nationwide audience. There may also be local trade shows close to you, so it’s worth checking them out too.
COVID-19: Please check the websites for any events you are interested in to understand any impacts due to Covid-19.
Progressive Greetings Live
Progressive Greetings Live is organised by Max Exhibitions Ltd, sister company to Max Publishing who publish the Trade Magazine Progressive Greetings. This show is fully dedicated to greeting cards and takes place in June at the Business Design Centre. GCA members receive special reduced rates on stands at this show. In 2021 the exhibition will be going ahead physically, but with new dates of Tuesday 27 July and Wednesday 28 July.
Spring Fair takes place over five days first Sunday in February at the Birmingham NEC. There are thousands of exhibitors showcasing ranges of products including giftware, design-led products, pictures and prints, jewellery, collectibles, china and glass, furniture, home furnishings, housewares, stationery and of course greeting cards.
There’s a special section in the Greeting Card hall called Debut, which is operated in association with the GCA to give first time exhibitors an opportunity to try out the show at a reduced rate, click here for more information.
Autumn Fair is the sister event to Spring Fair, and largely follows the same format. It takes place over four days from the first Sunday in September, again at the NEC Birmingham.
There is a Debut area in the greetings hall, operated in association with the GCA, to give first time exhibitors a taste of the show at a reduced rate. This area is popular with buyers looking for new publishers.
This year the exhibition will be back physically on 5-8th September 2021.
Top Drawer takes place in Spring (January) and Autumn (September) and the shows are the UK’s leading events for design-led gifts and accessories. Each show features a wide range of products including greeting cards and gift stationery, jewellery, gifts, toiletries, home accessories, soft furnishings and children’s products.
read about the GCA Members discount at Top Drawer On Demand, the new digital online platform.
Home & Gift
Home and Gift is held each July in Harrogate in a combination of hotels, exhibition halls and marquees all within walking distance of the town centre and each other. Over 775 exhibitors showcase ranges of products including general giftware, design-led products, home and decorative accessories, stationery, greeting cards, pictures and prints, jewellery, collectibles, china and glass and volume giftware.
GCA members contribute cards to a special display in the Buyers Lounge at the show.
Brand Licensing Europe
Held annually in October, Brand Licensing Europe is the leading event for licensing and brand extension. Exhibitors at Brand Licensing Europe showcase their images, artwork, designs, brands and characters to an audience of around 4300 European retailers, licensees and promotional marketers who are actively seeking new licensing opportunities. Brand Licensing Europe generally takes place in October at The Grand Hall, Olympia, London.
British Craft Trade Fair
The British Craft Trade Fair is targeted at exclusively British designers and makers, presenting beautiful handmade products to retailers.
Spring 2021 will be a digital event, running from June 6-8 2021. For more information visit https://bctf.co.uk/
London Stationery Show
London Stationery Show is dedicated to writing and paper products, featuring the biggest selection of writing and paper products from around the world. Targeted at stationery and gift buyers, exhibitors include 150+ of the biggest UK and international names alongside exciting new brands.
London Stationery Show
Dates: 5-6 October 2021
Venue: Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, London, N1 0QH