The Giftware Association have pulled off another successful ‘Meet The Buyer’ event at The Bond in Digbeth, a venue that is becoming a firm favourite with The GA and suppliers.

The event held on the 17th October attracted an impressive and varied roster of buyers from Choice Marketing, Not On the High Street, The National Gallery, Beales Department Store, The National Gallery, Utility, Brookfield’s Garden Centre and Ocado. Building on their ever-growing list of buyer contacts, The GA has built up a keen base of buyers who are very interested in having access to our members’ products and sometimes preferring the relaxed intimate setting of the day.

Simone Rose, Business Development Manager and organiser of the events said “It’s very satisfying to see an event like this come together, as the planning has to be spot on so the buyers see the right suppliers. The buyers reactions to our past events has been very rewarding as well and word has travelled amongst the buying community with more buyers wanting to take part our future events.”  But it’s not always smooth sailing as Simone explains “We had a few buyers drop out last minute due to conflicting schedules, but not wanting to disappoint attendees, we reached out to our network and picked up some surprising last minute ‘wild card’ buyers in the form of Beales and Utility, which was a very welcome pleasant surprise to our suppliers.”

The suppliers in attendance were as varied and diverse as the buyers in attendance, ranging from innovative kitchen gadgets from New Soda, to delightful card ranges from The Art File, Ezen Limited and Two Little Boys as well as newcomer Venus Bears showcasing his new handmade toy bear and Adornement by Gilli Reeves’ beautiful hand finished gifts to celebrate special occasions. There was something for all the buyers and offered them a small glimpse into how varied The GA membership base really is.

The satisfaction of the day from the suppliers speaks for themselves:

“Well done for such an incredible event. I am so so glad that we joined the Giftware Association and the work they are doing is…. I simply cannot put into words. A very proud member, and hope to continue being a big part of your association. The buyers seemed delighted to have discovered us at the event, and we hope to be a solid contribution to any future events that we can participate in” Ezen Designs

“We had a great time, it had a really lovely vibe, it was good to have time to spend with some retailers who simply wouldn’t have stopped at our stand at a show and it was great to meet old and new friends in the industry.” – Two Little Boys

“A very big thank you to you and all the GA team, for such a splendid day. I am very hopeful that a lot could come from the meetings I had, put the input was firstly from you and for that I am really grateful. – Adornemnt by Gilli Reeves

“A really fresh and personal approach to meeting some great potential customers” – The Art File

“The meet the buyer event was brilliant, I got more out of this event than some Trade Fairs! You got the opportunity to speak with buyers, which could lead to big things going forward. The atmosphere was very relaxed and I really enjoyed the event.” – Laura Sherratt Designs

“Meet the Buyer is a must for start-ups, to budding small businesses. The GA demonstrated 100% commitment to ensure both parties, buyers and exhibitors, are well catered for.” – Venus Bears

Sarah Ward spoke of the success of the event “This is our fifth event of the year, and after each one we have been amazed by the success stories we hear back, and the thanks we receive. But importantly, we also to listen to your constructive feedback to make the events even better in the future. We have had a few teething problems which we have ironed out to create a day that works for buyers and suppliers” she continues “ These events are such good value for money and to communicate their value is key amongst our industry and as an Association, we always have our members best interests  at heart.  To be guaranteed to see buyers that you might never see at a Trade Show in a more relaxed calmer environment is becoming ever more popular after the tough year some of our members have had.”

This, and past events have been hugely successful and will pave the wave for future events in the new year. The Giftware Association has found a formula that works but also one that they can build upon and create success for our members in the future.

Sign up to the GA’s newsletter to find out about more events and about The GA itself or contact simone.rose@ga-uk.org for information on future events.

Suppliers in Attendance

The Art File Thinking Gifts
Ezen Glover and Smith Ltd
Aorta Ltd Raeside Creatives Ltd
Laura Sherratt Designs Som’or? Limited
Jo Thomas Jewellery Adornment by Gilli reeves
Annabel Langrish Ltd Recent Toys UK Ltd
Emma Lawrence Designs Ancestors Group
Dee Two Ltd Devancer Ltd – TA iBeani
cherry orchard publishing Designed in Colour
Spry Lifestylez Ltd Proppa Toppa
Holy Mackerel (UK) Ltd Xpressions Gifts 4 u
Bottleclocks New Soda
Two Little Boys Ltd Venus Bears
Bubblegum Stuff Ltd Mia Tui
Russian Gifts Treat Gifts
Wrendale Designs  
Alexander Thurlow Co  
Roberts & Dore  
Raeside Creatives Ltd  
Som’or? Limited

The Benevolent Society needs you!

The Giftware Association is proud to support ‘The Benevolent Society’, the British Allied Trade Federation’s charity.

The Benevolent Society is a charitable society of the British Allied Trades Federation which financially assists individuals who have worked within the giftware, jewellery, surface engineering, travel goods and fashion accessories industries and have fallen on hard times. The society has also begun to help individuals starting their journeys in the industries through bursaries to help with their studies. As well as this, the charity:

  • gives regular grants;
  • provides essential items such as cookers, fridge freezers, bed linen and television license fees;
  • grants ‘interest-free loans’ in some cases;
  • provides ‘bursaries for students’.

The Society was established in 1980 through the joining of two benevolent funds from the former British Jewellery and Giftware funds and the British Leather Goods Society. These funds were set up to provide for deserving personnel in the aforementioned industries who had given long and faithful service, so that they have a particular charity they can turn to in case of need.


As a member of the Giftware Association, we kindly ask if you would like to make a donation of any home or giftware items to the annual Benevolent Society Ball tombola, which usually raises in excess of £1000 for this great cause. This annual event is very popular and always a great night out – featuring live bands, DJs and auctions, it’s an event not to be missed.You can find out more by visiting the website.

If you would like to send us your donations then please get in touch with chris.workman@ga-uk.org or if you would like to find out how your donations can help the benevolent society to continue doing their great work in the future then click here.



 On the 1st October, a new pre-action protocol, specifically for debt claims, must be used. There is currently no specific pre-action protocol for debt claims so this will supersede any existing protocol /  you may have in your business or organisation

The Protocol applies to ‘any business (including sole traders and public bodies) claiming payment of a debt from an individual (including a sole trader)’. It does not apply to business to business debts, so will not apply where a creditor is seeking to recover liabilities from a company or LLP. However, it will apply where a creditor seeks to recover a debt due under a guarantee from an individual.

The Protocol’s aims are:

  • to encourage early engagement between the parties;
  • to enable the parties to resolve the matter without the need to start court proceedings;
  • to encourage parties to act in a reasonable and proportionate manner; and
  • to support efficient case management.

However, there are a number of keypoints to be aware of that may differ from existing practices:

Content of the Letter of Claim

Full details of what should be included are at paragraph 3.1 of the Protocol (scroll to the bottom of the page to download the full Protocol) . This will include:

  • details of the debt, to include the amount, any interest or charges and how the debt has arisen;
  • if repayment by instalments are being offered/paid by the debtor, an explanation of why the payments are  not acceptable and why proceedings are being considered;
  • details of how the debt can be paid; and
  • the address to which the completed Reply Form should be sent.

The Letter of Claim should also include either documents or information which explain the outstanding balance and provide details of all interest and administrative charges which have been charged (see paragraph 3.1(b)).

Where the debt arises from a written agreement, the Letter of Claim should also say the debtor can ask for a copy of that agreement. If the agreement cannot be provided, a creditor will need to provide as much information as possible to evidence the debt is due and owing and the terms and conditions that apply.

New forms

When sending out the Letter of Claim, creditors will be expected to include:

  1. an Information Sheet and Reply Form – the suggested format is attached to the Protocol. It is expected that debtors will use the Reply Form to respond to the Letter of Claim; and
  2. a Financial Statement – (and many creditors already do this).

Provision of documents

The Protocol encourages early disclosure of documents before issuing proceedings.

If a debtor asks for a document, the creditor should, within 30 days of such a request, either provide the document, or explain why it is unavailable.


Under the Protocol, a creditor should not issue proceedings until 30 days after the date:

  • at the top of the Letter of Claim. This is to allow a debtor time to complete and return the Reply Form, and to encourage negotiations. ;
  • of receipt of the Reply Form from the debtor. This includes the return of a partially completed Reply Form; or
  • on which the creditor provides documents requested by the debtor (or an explanation as to why they are not available).

A creditor must also allow a reasonable period of time for a debtor to seek legal advice.

If, following discussions, no agreement is reached, the creditor may give the debtor at least 14 days’ notice of their intention to start proceedings, unless there are exceptional circumstances (like the expiry of a limitation period) which means the creditor cannot wait.

When the Protocol comes into force on 1 October 2017, parties will need to ensure that they are compliant. Failure to comply may well have cost consequences if proceedings are later issued.

The Protocol emphasises the need for parties to make every effort to resolve cases without the need to need for proceedings. This is reflected in the Protocol’s aims, the timescales for responses and the provision of information and documents.

However, the effect of the Protocol is that timescales before issuing proceedings will no doubt increase.  There is a risk that debtors will use these extended timescales to delay meaning creditors could need to wait more than 30 days from the date of the Letter of Claim before proceedings are issued.


Trade Shows

As we enter the last three months of the year the one thing that is on everyone’s mind IS USUALLY Christmas though there are a few ‘Trade Shows’ that we will be attending that you still have time to visit too before we start looking towards the new year.

The Gift Show 2017

The Gift Show 5

After a successful first run last year, from the 2nd – 6th of October, WIDDOP and Co will be hosting their annual gift show in their north Manchester Showrooms. Selecting products in the run up to Christmas, it is key you can ensure your store is stocked up with the most desirable stocking fillers for the festive season; WIDDOP and Co’s annual gift show takes the stress out of stressful Christmas shopping. There will be show only promotions across the ranges as well as tips and ideas on simple ways to create eye-catching gift displays. With a special focus on their Men’s and Ladies’ giftware, including their brilliant licences Rosanna and Studio Oh!, and their hit making Musicology range, WIDDOP and Co. aim to demonstrate gift giving can be more exciting than a boring pair of socks. As an added bonus, all of their remaining Christmas 2017 range will be half price from the beginning of October, an excellent time to top up on your Christmas stock at a reduced price! To book your place at The Gift Show, call WIDDOP and Co sales office on 0161 688 1226.


East Anglia Gift Fair

East Anglia

Are you looking for more customers within Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire and Essex? Are you fed up with paying way too much for your trade fairs?

If the answer to both these questions is YES then the East Anglian Gift Fair could be the trade show for you!

EAGF18 is organised by a fellow exhibitor and floor space costs just £49.00 per m2.

EAGF18 will introduce you to decision makers from independent retailers, garden centres, heritage sites, tourist attractions and department stores looking to secure all the new and exciting products for 2018.

After last years successful show at St Andrew’s and Blackfriars’ Hall, we will be holding the 2018 EAGF at the same, excellent venue.


The Stationery Show Manchester

Manchester 1

 The Manchester Stationery Show is a brand new 2 day stationery extravaganza taking place at the Victoria Warehouse in Old Trafford.  Designed to complement, both in timing and geography its elder sister, the successful London Stationery Show; Manchester is already developing its own style which is partly to do with our chosen venue – industrial chic here we come – but also the time of year.

So, if you buy or sell writing and paper products, or are thinking of doing so, this is the exhibition for you. Look out for some amazing last minute deals for Christmas, but most importantly get ahead on your planning for the 2018 spring/summer season! There is nothing else like it.  It’s where fashion meets function.

The Manchester Stationery Show offers buyers a great selection of writing and paper products with everything from the everyday to high end. It’s easy to see what’s new and who’s new, and make the best possible use of your time.  There are a lot of exhibitors and brands at the Stationery Show that you won’t see at other UK events.


Farm Business Innovation Show

Farm Innovation Show

We are excited to be partnered with the Farm Business Innovation Show running November 8th & 9th at the NEC in Birmingham. The Farm Business Innovation Show is the free event for farmers, landowners, estate owners, and rural entrepreneurs to find the inspiration, advice and resources they need to grow, diversify or evolve their rural businesses.

Be sure not to miss the 500 world-class exhibitors, 200 expert led seminars, interactive workshops and live debates that will be onhand to provide you with all the tools you will need to diversify and expand your business, and increase your income. 2017 promises to be the best year yet with keynotes speakers such as Michael Eavis of Worthy Farm and Glastonbury, Tom Amery of The Wasabi Company and Dan De Baerdemaeker of British Deer Farms and Parks Association.

The event is free to attend! You can register for a free ticket via www.farmbusinessshow.co.uk. Your free ticket will also give you access to the sister shows – Country House Business Innovation, Holiday Park & Resort Innovation and Family Attraction Expo – all running alongside

Going Global

Going Global Live

We just wanted to remind you that Going Global Live is coming up fast on the 16th and 17th of November! Do you have your free tickets yet? The Giftware Association only has access to a limited number of tickets so make sure you register for yours via the website!

The event is back at the Olympia in London and we think is better than ever before! It has pulled out all the stops to provide:

Great topics that will empower your business and will help your brand go global

40+ keynote speakers to bring you the hottest content and international markets overview

2 days that will connect you with the entire business community within your industry

Your time is the most precious asset! That’s why we brought the best influencers in the industry.

Richie Santosdiaz, Investor & Trade Expert and Forbes Contributor

Annete Klerks, Officer of Economic Development City of Dusseldorf

Goncalo de Vasconcelos, CEO of Syndicate Room and Forbes Contributor

We can’t wait to get started and highly recommend that if you are at all interested in trading in an international market, that you come down to Going Global.








Smart Pensions

Does your auto enrolment scheme work for you & your employees

Auto enrolment has been with us for 2012, and to date has been a roaring success. Over 8 million people have started saving for their retirement through a workplace pension.

However, it hasn’t always been a smooth ride.  Many employers have found that auto enrolment has been a big admin burden, causing hours of additional work and doubling the length of their payroll run.

The internet is rife with negative review about pension providers, citing everything from poor customer service to long, drawn out and overly complicated processes.

Employers have had a huge choice of providers, with nearly 100 Mastertrusts currently in existence. However, with various legislative and other changes occurring over the next 6 months it is estimated that by April 2018 there may be less than 10 Mastertrusts remaining.

Will your provider be one of them?

The Giftware Association and Smart Pension have put together this Auto Enrolment Health Check to assess how well your workplace pension scheme works for you. It only takes a few minutes, and could help to save you time and money…


Smart pensions

 Smart pensions are the smartest auto-enrolment platform for workplace pensions

Not only is Smart pensions fast, secure and free, Its simple to manage and highly automated for employers and advisors and low cost for employees, leaving more in everyone’s pocket. Smart pension is MAF-accredited and has also been awarded a 5-star Defaqto rating. Their quality is unrivaled.

FAST – Smart pension has the fastest platform in the UK market and advanced payroll compatibility.

FREE – SmartPension is totally FREE for employers and their advisors

  • No Set up fees
  • No ongoing monthly charges
  • No hidden charges

SECURE – Member contributions are only invested in blue-chip funds, from Legal & General and from HSBC (Sharia Fund)

To find out more click about smart pensions click here



Anim Venus


Giftware Asociation member Anim Venus would like to acknowledge three remarkable women responsible for creating the spark for his creative skills.  Together with his late grandfather, his superhero, the person he considers his greatest influence and role model.

It all began with the foresight and determination of his late grandmother, who insisted that all her children and grandchildren, both male and female possess and develop adequate life skills, to include gardening and sewing.  Anim’s training commenced when he was seven years of age.

Having immigrated to the United Kingdom from Trinidad and Tobago in the 70’s to join his mother; there was very little need to continue practicing most of those practical skills.  So his sewing skills might have been lost for good.  But in 1993, while studying Community and Youth Work, at the Goldsmith’s College, University of London and during his final placement, he met Ms Ella at the Lee New Testament Church, senior citizen’s group; where he rekindled his interest in sewing once again.  Ms Ella would teach art and crafts, and the sewing of plush toys, were the hot favourite with the group and Anim joined in.  Anim’s first creation, a beautiful white bear was donated to Goldsmith’s College to raise monies for mature students with childcare needs and it proves a success.  However, it was the reaction of the winner, young women from an Asian background, with tears in her eyes, who said, she never had a toy in her life.  That was the driving factor for his continuation with this hobby.  For years he practiced his new skills in his attic and would donated pieces to various charities in their efforts to raise funds for their chosen causes.

Again while working with children and young people from troubled backgrounds in the Care system, Anim saw an opportunity to share and pass on his sewing skills that also proved a form of therapy.

Two organisations Anim particularly enjoyed working in the support of their charities were Shaftesbury Homes & Arethusa and Prime, whose patrons included members of the Royal family.  Anim has also been very instrumental by producing products to represent the Borough in which he lives.

Mrs Gillian Morgan, of New Forest Bears opened Anim’s vision to producing collectibles.  From there his confidence grew, where he felt ready to venture further and participated in a few recognised UK teddy bear competitions.  Anim won the prestigious Eva Awards, also received several nominations, and a second in the British Bear Artist Awards.

Anim’s late grandfather played a major role in his early years.  Growing up, Anim commented, we had no television, but, our grandfather used his incredible skills at storytelling to capture the attention of himself and his siblings.  After his death in the 90’s, Anim said, he felt the urge to pen a few stories.  With one book published in 2015, and with hopes to publishing two more in the near future.

Anim’s next challenge is to launch his first product for the gift market, with the support of the Giftware Association.  Time spent in his attic was in developing products for the gift market and collectors market.  It is hoped his target audiences would express the same joy receiving his new designs as was the young woman, the recipient







Hong Kong Dinner 5

Sarah Ward CEO of The Giftware Association was once again honored to attend the Hong Kong Dinner organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. The dinner acts as a celebration of the strong ties and friendships between Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.

The event was very well attended with The Chief Executive of Hong Kong, The Hon Mrs Carrie Lam, and her first trip outside Hong Kong since becoming Hong Kong’s leader on the July 1st. And a very special address by The Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP, the chancellor of the Exchequer underlying the importance of the event and the strong links between the two countries. This year the event also brought together over 550 influential government and business leaders from Hong Kong and the UK for an evening that combined insight and pleasure.

Hong Kong Dinner 4

The enduring relationship between Hong Kong and the UK is deeply rooted in our shared history, with the respective commitments to economic and social progress. Hong Kong continues to be a centre of opportunity for some 1000 UK companies operating in the city, including some of our members, as well as a large number of British nationals residing in Hong Kong.

Sarah Ward said of the importance of being invited to the event “ It’s great to be invited to these events and talk about The GA and our members and the great initiatives that we are up to, with the UK being Hong Kongs second largest trading partner in Europe, it’s important we keep the relationships strong to allow our members businesses to flourish”  on the actual event “ The event attracts big such as partners from KPMG UK, Vice President of the Law Society and members from the House of Lords, highlighting the importance of world trade connections and relationships with the aftermath of Brexit, it’s an area that is becoming attractive to trade in”

An excerpt from Mrs Carrie Lam speech: “Ladies and gentlemen, yes, the best of Hong Kong is yet to come. As the new Chief Executive of Hong Kong, I am full of confidence and optimism. I have said during my election campaign and on many occasions, as long as we get our act together, adopt a clear vision and embrace the many opportunities in front of us, Hong Kong will scale new heights”

The Hong Kong Trade Development Council was established in 1966 as statutory body dedicated to creating opportunities for Hong Kong businesses. Their mission is to explore potential markets for Hong Kong companies, especially small and medium enterprises and connect them with business partners around the world.

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