The 2018 Autumn Gift and Homeware Expo hit Auckland this weekend, with over 300 exhibitors offering special goods for the trade-only attendees.
The expo held a range of different stalls, from homeware, apparel, accessories, food and even holiday-themed decorations. There were endless options for retailers looking to branch out.
Fine fabrics such as merino wool and premium leather were a common sight, while home furniture showed the upcoming trends being light, white and no shortage of green foliage.
The Autumn Gift and Homeware Expo, which ran from March 4-6, was located on ASB Showgrounds in Greenlane. This is followed by the Winter Gift Fair June 17-18 in Christchurch.
One stall that stuck out was Calico Cottage, a specially crafted fudge shop owned by Graham Findlater, who has been part of the expo for the last two decades.
“It is a great place to be seen. We’ve been involved in the Autumn and Spring fair for 20 years.”
Findlater says that selling to a regular consumer differs from the trade-only target the Autumn Expo brings in.
“We’re not looking for a whole bunch of sales, we’re just looking for one or two of the right people… These can be people in any different stages as some projects can take up to a few years to complete.”
Findlater’s business works as an expansion onto other retail stores and he expresses the importance of finding the right partners.
“Because it’s a long project it is worth looking for that right person and not just a sale. The right person comes before the right place.”
Retailers had the opportunity to browse new potential offerings and grow their networks.
The Autumn Gift and Homeware Expo included a range of speakers, including asssociate professor of retail management at Massey University, Jonathan Elms, who spoke in large about the needed GST increase for international retailers.
“Once Australia introduces GST for international goods, New Zealand will follow suit,” says Elms. “75-85 percent of online trading comes from about 15 companies… So that GST will bring things back to local retailers.”
Elms said to listeners at the expo that it is a mixture of cost, variety and selection that pulls consumers over to shop overseas rather than locally, and because of that retailers need to work on their offerings as well as push for GST.
“That competition from overseas forces us to innovate, the grow our business models and to build up… The likes of Amazon have challenged us. And if you look at the big businesses such as Trade Me and The Warehouse Group, they’re all changing to prepare for something that may be coming.”
Elms highlights the importance of New Zealand retailers using the upper hand of being able to offer Kiwi made brands.
“Much more companies are offering that Kiwi product, and if you look around the expo a lot of it is very centered on Kiwiana. That push of heritage is really important in countering those international brands.”
With news of Amazon settling across the ditch at the end of last year, seeing Kiwi retailers connecting with each other to strengthen their ties was encouraging.
While visitor numbers were still being audited for this year, the reports for the Spring Fair 2017 show total attendance up in the 6,000. With 35.6 percent of people saying they were attending specifically to source new suppliers for their business.