Whether you’re travelling from interstate or taking a few days out from your Melbourne store to attend, here are seven tips to help make the most of your visit to AGHA Melbourne Gift Fair.


This article originally appeared on GiftGuide.

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The Melbourne gift fair season is just 6 weeks away. It’s that action-packed time of the year when the gift industry comes together to discover new products, see old friends (and meet some new ones), hear from industry experts and make sure everything is in order before the Christmas rush.

Whether you’re travelling from interstate or taking a few days out from your Melbourne store to attend, here are seven tips to help make the most of your visit.

Plan, plan, plan

It sounds obvious, but having a plan can make or break your fair experience, especially if you’re short on time. Have a good look at the Exhibition Directory and make note of any exhibitors you want to visit and where they’re located. The Melbourne Gift Fairs are held across two venues and shuttle busses make travelling between the two easy.

If you have the luxury of attending for the full five days, leave yourself some time to explore all the exhibition halls—a new best-seller could be just around the corner.

On a mission

The number of new products on show can make the Melbourne Gift Fairs feel overwhelming, so start your visit with a goal in mind. This could be anything from the number of new ranges you want to order or exhibitors you want to see. Having a mission and knowing what you want to achieve will make navigating the fairs easier once you arrive.

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Take your time

Once you arrive at the Gift Fair, use your first day or half day to have a good look around. Take note of what products are on offer and for how much. This will mean you’re equipped with lots of information once you’re ready to jump in and start ordering (and stop you from blowing your budget in the first hour).

Money matters

Set a budget and stick to it. Think carefully about your inventory needs, how many new products/brands you are looking for, and how much you can spend.

To really stretch your budget, make sure you take advantage of the exclusive fair offers like those detailed in the onsite Buyers Guide at the AGHA Melbourne Gift Fair. You’ll find some great savings and deals you can’t get anywhere else.

Tis the season

The Melbourne Gift Fairs are the perfect place to do your Christmas buying, with suppliers showcasing their brand-new, spring/summer ranges. We don’t have to tell you how difficult buying for Christmas is—too much and you’re left with a room full of stock, too little and you run the risk of selling out well before the big day—so consult last year’s figures as a guide. It also helps to pick a few Christmas themes you want to stock, for example a classic and modern range, and stick to products that fit these.

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Creating connections

In the world of email and social media, being able to put a face to a name will create invaluable relationships with your suppliers. The Gift Fairs are also a fantastic opportunity to make connections with other retailers. These are the people who share the same struggles and triumphs of owning a gift and homewares store, and can be a great support system.

Make time to attend any networking drinks or industry events that are on offer, even if you don’t feel like going—you never know who you’ll bump into and the connections (and friendships) you could make.

Don’t forget to debrief

At the end of a long day at the fair, chances are you’ll want to head straight back to your hotel room (or possibly to Bar Connect at the Melbourne Showgrounds, Exhibition Pavilion for a well-earned cocktail or two). But, before you relax, take five minutes to sort out all the materials you’ve gathered throughout the day.

Make notes of who you spoke to, any orders placed, how much budget you have left and the stock you still need to purchase. This will give you a clearer picture of what you need to achieve when you get up in the morning to do it all again.

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