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.
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. Many events were cancelled or moved online in 2020, and some will be affected in 2021 too.
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.
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.
Autumn Fair is the sister event to Spring Fair, and largely follows the same format. It takes place over four days respectively first Sunday in September, again at the NEC Birmingham. And like the Spring Fair, there’s a Debut section in the Greetings hall to give first time exhibitors a taste of the show at a reduced rate.
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 2017 takes place in October at The Grand Hall, Olympia, London.