No one expected the Sydney Gift Fair to be the same size as two years ago before the Covid pandemic hit and trade fairs were cancelled. However, the fair itself might have been smaller in size, the quality of buyers has significantly been higher, while exhibitors have also delivered a very high level of presentation, says AGHA president, Michelle Lawson.
“This is the first show of the year and the first one in a long time and it has been a great brand identification exercise for the AGHA as a standalone show, and as a result we have seen approximately 70 per cent new buyers coming to our stand compared to 30 per cent previous or existing buyers,” says Lawson, who also runs gift and homewares business, Darlin, with her husband Phil.
“The environment at the Sydney Gift Fair is beautiful and very calming, and the buyers have not been rushed or stretched with time having to go from one venue to another. We had a number of customers who came and had a look around on one day and have taken away catalogues, and then come back the next day to place an order.”
Lawson adds there has been a huge need to catch up face to face, rather than being on zoom or on the phone.
“It has been a great opportunity for buyers to touch and feel and see products that you can’t completely understand just from viewing them online or in a book.”
“There were many times on our stand where people came up and said, ‘I had no idea that was as big’ for example—so the desire to see things in person is huge as the proportion or size of a product is impossible to understand when purchasing only online.”
Looking forward to the Melbourne Gift Fair in August, Lawson advises exhibitors and buyers not to miss out due to Covid fears.
“The exhibition centres now have wider aisles and have Covid marshals and support for visitors. We normally have an enclosed stand, and like many others, we opened up our stand to make it more socially distanced. Fear causes a lot of procrastination and procrastination kills dreams—so let’s get out there and do it.”