Day 3 of Spring Fair 2024 delivered invaluable business and sustainability insights

Day 3 of Spring Fair 2024 delivered invaluable business and sustainability insights

Spring Fair, the UK’s largest and most inspirational retail marketplace for Home, Gift and Fashion, welcomed some of retail’s biggest hitters on day three with TV Dragon and retail entrepreneur Theo Paphitis, and ESG pioneer Paul Wright from PDS who headlined the show’s sustainability content, taking to the Inspiring Retail Stage to packed audiences.


Lifting the lid on 2024's opportunities and challenges for retail businesses, Paphitis highlighted the importance of bringing online and offline retail together, a theme that continued across other talks. When asked to pick out the key traits of a successful retailer, Theo pinpointed Next as a successful evolving business that adapted to the consumer and changed its business model to marry the online business, so it interacted with its stores enabling the two to work together. He said, “Failed retailers don’t adapt. Technology has moved so sharply that you can now mix your physical and digital offering much cheaper than ever before.”




Discussing the launch of Ryman’s mobile app designed to disrupt the online greetings industry, he said, “I’m a big greetings card giver and I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be great to mix an online proposition with our stores’. It is competitive and compelling.” The high street stationery chain’s app allows customers to personalise and pick up greeting cards from their nearest Ryman store in just 60 minutes. Theo said, “We’re entering a massively competitive market for personalised cards that was born out of the digital era, and we are leveraging it through our stores. As customer behaviour changes your stores have to have a reason to exist.”


His advice for small business start-ups was, “Do your homework. Over 50% of businesses fail in the first two years. That stat is terrible. It’s lack of education, they haven’t done their homework. Business is simple as long as you do the simple things.”


Having received free stands as part of the show’s partnership with Theo’s Small Business Sunday initiative and exhibiting at Spring Fair for the first time, twelve new winners showcased their designs in the #SBS Village in Hall 4. Theo spent the morning visiting the winners, listening to their experiences and seeing their products for the first time in the flesh.




Over the last three days, buyers have enjoyed meeting high performance, plant based, responsible luxury skincare brand Raven Botanicals. Arabella Harvey, Director at Raven Botanicals Limited said, “Our whole range has been really popular, we produce in house a range of natural skincare products using Scottish and UK botanicals, we grow some at home, hand-picked in Scotland. I’m absolutely loving Spring Fair so far, having a brilliant time meeting buyers but not only that making connections with other business owners. I’ve got a really lovely network of neighbours here at Spring Fair that we’ll be keeping in touch, from that perspective it’s been great as well as getting leads and sourcing new buyers for our natural skincare. My buyers are mainly high-end independents so I’ve some great leads so I’m really confident we’ll see some good orders.”


Sally Tettersell, Founder of Sally Tettersell Designs said, “We've had a great time; the show is so central it bought a lot people to one hub which is something we haven't experienced yet. I'm based in Devon, and I've done a show in London before but this is my first one further afield. We've had an amazing experience and opportunity through the SBS, it's just phenomenal, we came here with no expectations not knowing what to expect and it's certainly been wonderful. A great array of diverse business, big and small independent, lots of charities who are interested in our tea towels which is something we're delighted with. It's really exciting.”


Katherine Khangurra, Owner, Libra Fine Arts said, “It’s been a fantastic experience at Spring Fair. We’ve met some wonderful potential stockists, and made connections that will last a long time.”

Bobbi London showed their collection of luxury corporate bags, travel accessories and tech products, and luxury home fragrance brand The Aromatary launched indulgent candles, diffusers, sprays and lotions. Hand-drawn artwork and gifts from Libra Fine Arts, homewares and gifts adorned with bold and bright, retro inspired prints and patterns by Sally Tettersell Designs, and Bare Kind comfortable bamboo animal socks for adults and children also proved popular.

Gummee limited launched their safe and practical teething solutions for babies, Pitch Live Gift winners, Ducky Zebra displayed their new sustainable childrenswear, Teddo Play presented its award-winning play-based children’s learning resources, and S’more’a’licious luxurious S'mores Kits featured handcrafted gourmet marshmallows and freshly whipped marshmallow fluff. Innovative brand, Composty presented eco-friendly cleaning products and dog lovers Charlie & co showcased its unique collection of dog accessories.


Spring Fair continues to place sustainability at the forefront with informative sessions across its content programme. During his Inspiring Retail Stage session, ESG pioneer Paul Wright of PDS Ltd, discussed how the industry can make a difference to sustainable retail through supply chain strategies, upcycling and recovery initiatives shaping retail's future. He said “One of the biggest issues is the supply chain with waste ending up on beaches in Ghana and the desert in Chile. We have to think circular, focusing on the start of the product using low impact materials, and the finish looking at prolonged products. Less than 1% of clothing is recycled which results in over 92 million tons of textile waste every year worldwide. 87% of materials used to make clothing ends up in landfill, that is one lorry load every second.”


                                                                          paul wright


Working with brands such as Dunelm, Chanel, Ikea and ASDA, Paul talked through the three simple steps all retailers should work towards for a more sustainable future. “1.‘Design for Longevity’, think as products as evergreen designs that last forever. 2. ‘Lower impact materials’, focus on sustainable alternatives to raw materials, their production, dyeing and finishing, and 3. ‘Giveback, reuse, upcycle’, use waste and make it into new products from shop fits, new homeware products, bricks and even housing.”


Helena Mansell-Stopher, CEO of Products of Change took to the Masterclass Studio and Trend Talks stages today educate visitors on sustainability, and new government legislation.




In the morning’s Masterclass seminar Helena took to the stage for ‘It Takes Two: Your Role in Conscious Consumerism’, to outline actions brands can implement into their business now to make the most impact and uncover where innovation sits in retail. “We’ve all been affected by climate change and we know this isn’t going away; there’s a 71% increase in searches for sustainable products since 2016, 80% of consumers have said they’d pay up to 5% more for sustainability produced good, and 60% of European’s agree companies are responsible for protecting the environment.” Outlining key changes in upcoming government legislation, Helena continued “Going forward brands won’t be able to get away with green washing and sustainable ignorance as government legislation and customer expectation will mean there’s nowhere to hide. This new legislation will make brands responsible for the waste they generate, and this won’t just affect large brands, your retail partners will be prioritising brands who hit this criteria. So, what’s the answer? Circularity. Circularity is an economic business model. Only 6% of global plastic is recycled, we need to be designing differently to allow for disassembly and renewed product lifestyle so the upcycle and resale market isn’t our only avenue.”


Expanding further in her afternoon session on Trend Talks ‘Sustainable Trends Unwrapped’, Helena educated buyers on the importance of design innovation going forward, “95% of a products environmental footprint is determined at the design stage. The industry is already bringing a solution to the market, and all brands need to start navigating these changes now. Commercial recycling-at-scale managed by brands will come with a tax benefit. Lots of retailers and suppliers are looking at 3D design, it doesn’t only save shipping costs but it’s more efficient with an increase hit rate of 20% than physical samples. Just sampling 3D designs can have enormous benefits to footprints. We need to reframe our market perception, how do we garner value from products. Something as simple as fit to size packaging will make enormous differences, if you think about it, we pay to ship air.”


In a popular talk on Branding and Experience Masterclass, Anna Sanders, Design Director at Dalziel & Pow whose rich portfolio of brands at Dalziel & Pow include Johnie Walker, M&S, Pandora, Molton Brown, Nike, Lululemon and Primark, began the masterclass by explaining the six key pillars all brands should work on.


She said, “A clear purpose, personality, people, processes, products and places are the six key areas which work together to create engaging brands and experiences. Each pillar plays its own vital role and when they work together as a holistic brand ecosystem, it creates the brands that are thriving in today's new era of experience. The most successful brands deliver on all six, and these are the brands that people want to spend their time with and money on.”


Anna talked though each pillar with examples of clients Dalziel & Pow have worked allowing visitors a unique insight into the strategy. “Timberland wanted to bring its clear purpose in-store with its London flagship moving from Regent Street to Carnaby Street, it was the perfect time to introduce a fresh new concept and deliver a unique experience to the brand’s urban lifestyle customers. Launching its largest-ever global campaign, Nature Needs Heroes, with a call-to-action to join the movement to save the environment, we wanted to place this message at the heart of the experience vision that celebrated the brand’s eco-initiatives, educating customers on the important work the Timberland is doing.”


“When looking at People, you need to do what the internet can’t and create trust between the customer and the brand. Working with Eobuwie we created a sector-disrupting retail experience, bringing the best of online and offline retail together in the brand's first physical store. Through Place you should create communities and time well spent. When Lululemon had an ambition to ‘win’ London they wanted to land big in the city centre and create an

energetic hub that stands out from other stores. The brief was to bring a new experience to Regent Street that attracts locals and tourists alike, gathering an active social community in one place to stretch, sweat and connect.”


Day two of Pitch Live saw the Moda finalists - Vurchoo, Nerik, and Merry People - go head-to-head as they pitched their best products to a panel of judges including Shirley Leader, Director and Owner of Velvet & Rose, Darren Benyon, Key Account Manager from Spring Fair & Autumn Fair, and Debbie Waddle, Director of The Pineapple Room. The winner was Merry People, an Australian footwear brand offering authenticity, kindness and adventure in wellies. Founder Dani Pearce aims to change the view of the humble wellington with bold colourways and recycled materials.


                                                                        pitchlive moda


The show welcomed thousands more retailers during the day including Asda, Fortnum & Mason, Wayfair, Harrods, Card Factory, B&Q, Costco, Natural History Museum, and Dobbies Garden Centre. Buyers continued to highlight the wide array of opportunities and benefits gained from visiting the show. Sally Hopkins, Buyer, Longleat Enterprises said, “Spring Fair gives us the opportunity to connect with our current suppliers all within a few days but also offers the opportunity to connect with new businesses and look for new & exciting products.”


Lorraine Wright, Director, Morley Nurseries Southend said, “We come to Spring Fair every year looking for new products and ideas. We actually need to see and feel the quality of products and not just buy online or through catalogues. This is a must visit for us, where we also buy from our regular suppliers. Once we find a new company and product, we become a repeat customer and revisit stands year on year.”


Jimmy Keeley, Owner, Mr Gifts Emporium Eastbourne added, “We came to find new suppliers and see existing ones as we like to see their whole product range not just what is in their online catalogue. We found lovely brands, we are so excited to buy from them, it's worth taking the time out of the store to spend two days here. The lounges were great and a nice surprise to have complimentary drinks, we have used them both days. All the talks looked really well set up and busy with lots of people.”


Sally Swift, Owner, Cards and Moor also enjoyed the buyer lounges, “We have come looking for something new but it’s been good to see our existing suppliers range in person. It is important to attend shows because you get inspiration from the stands as to how we showcase the products in our store. The buyer’s lounges have been really appreciated and a nice surprise.”


Debra Carr, owner of Duchess and Ivy, Oxfordshire said, “This is my first visit to the show. I specialise in bespoke bridal products but I'm expanding and looking for some inspiration on products for an online store. I have found some interesting brands which have caught my eye, especially "Say it with Songs" cards.”


Brenda Brown, Owner, Warrens Home and Lighting Company, County Durham says “We are a small family run business and have been attending Spring Fair for 14 years. It's a great opportunity to meet potential suppliers and to hear the stories behind their products. We found The Satchville Gift Company, who supply sustainable products. It was really good to hear about their production and how they use sustainably sourced materials. We can take their story back to our store which helps to sell onto our customers which adds value to the buying experience.”


Carolin Boot from The Mole Hole, Lancashire says ”This is the first time we have visited Spring Fair in 4 years, it's been nice to see lots of different products and find some new suppliers. We came looking for wax melts and candle suppliers and are really pleased that we found Ivy & Twine Candles.”


Exhibitors were buoyed by the upbeat positivity and desire for new product from buyers. Ursula Kocharian from Coach House says, “We have had a fantastic response on both stands, it is nice when you hear people walking around admiring the stands. The main stand has up to 90% new products, mostly from our Autumn/Winter range which will be coming in during September. We use images from our Spring Fair stand to create our lookbook, enabling companies can plan ahead. Our seasonal stand has 75% new products, which makes it really exciting for our existing clients because they come to the show to see new products. We are using more sustainable materials and the new Gingerbread and Papier Mache range have gone down really well. One of the nice things about doing this show is that we pick up new clients, who range from small retail shops and garden centres to clients who are looking for big spaces such as hotels, care homes and restaurants.”


Catrina O’Brien, UK Licensing Director, Hasbro Inc said, “With iconic brands like PEPPA PIG, TRANSFORMERS and DUNGEONS & DRAGONS celebrating milestone anniversaries, we have so much in store for 2024 and we are thrilled to share a sneak peek with existing and potential partners at Spring Fair. This is the first time in a few years that we have been involved in Spring Fair, it’s great to be back celebrating our favourite little piggy in her anniversary year but also having the privilege of delivering a Licensing Masterclass on Monday.”


Rick Nijenhuis, Richmond Interiors said, "As a first timer at this year's Spring Fair, the exhibition has served as the perfect launch pad for us to showcase the unique Richmond vibe to those who don’t know us (yet!). With our diverse and internationally inspired product range, we believe in creating atmospheres, not just spaces. From luxurious dining tables to chic chairs, stylish coffee tables, sofas, and an assortment of lighting options and home accessories, we aim to cater to every home need, all with a relaxed, luxury feeling. Being at Spring Fair reinforced our belief in the power of creating connections and showcasing the Richmond experience. We are excited about the future and confident that Richmond Interiors is indeed what many visitors at our stand told us - 'one to watch' in the UK.”


Esther Meyer, Head of Operations at Heathcote & Ivory says, “We have had a good reaction to our brands and the show has been busy and we have seen a lot more export customers than previous years. People are really upbeat after a good Christmas with lots of new stock needed. We have launched our new Spring product launch Cloud Nine and we are very proud to have 3 products in the Gift of the Year shortlist.”


Rebecca Green, Owner and Creative Director of Raspberry Blossom says, “It has been a really good, busy show. We have had a fantastic response, with lots of great conversations, orders placed, and good contacts made. In terms of retail, it seems everything is really picking up. We have 100 new products, our new mini collection "Little Joys", our charity collection for "The Dear Toby Trust" and our Modern Life collections, all have been so well received.”


Piyush Shah, Director of Enveco Ltd says, “The show has been good and we have been visited by some good quality customers, including lots of publishers. Our bespoke notebooks have been picking up really well and we have introduced pearlescent on recycled paper and enhanced neon Colours to our paper stationary range.”


Jonas Clement, CEO of Florelle says, “We are pleased, it has been a good show. There is a very wide spread of customers, everything from Garden Centres to Supermarkets.”


On the final day of Spring Fair, British fashion and textile designer and pioneer Dame Zandra Rhodes will take to the Inspiring Retail Stage at 12.30pm for a fireside chat exploring her remarkable journey in design, leadership, and innovation. Buyers can also look forward to more masterclasses covering creator collaborations, talent retention, customer reviews and AI, on the Masterclass Studio in partnership with TikTok Shop; and an all-day trend takeover from The Future Collective on the Trend Talks stage. Retail Design For Better – For People, Planet & Business will welcome a host of exciting speakers presenting invaluable case studies on the principles of designing for better.

Spring Fair video 

For further press information and images please contact Philippa Suitters at Good Results.


M: 07866 362980

Discover more retail insights

Our Partners