Get serious about gifts & homewares at Reed Gift Fairs Sydney

Reed Gift Fairs Sydney starts this weekend at ICC Darling Harbour, where retailers will be able to see, touch and feel the latest ranges and uncover their next best-seller.

We chat to Reed Gift Fairs director, Cory McCarrick, about the upcoming show and what retailers can look forward to.

Why did you decide to postpone Reed Gift Fairs Sydney from February to April?

The simple answer is, it’s what our customers wanted. We returned to the office after the Christmas break and at the time there were 35,000 to 45,000 new cases of Covid every day in NSW. Our exhibitors were starting to get very nervous that they might not be able to travel to the event and they were also concerned that the buyers would choose not to come due to safety concerns or travel restrictions.

We spoke with our exhibitors and our buyer communities who overwhelmingly asked us to postpone the event. April was the preferred option as February and March were seen as too risky. The vast majority were concerned about travel disruptions.

We have worked closely with our customers to make sure that we did the right thing in a very difficult time for everyone. We’re thrilled to have more than 350 exhibitors with us for this event, which is nearly double the size of any other Sydney event this year. We have a great mix of brands too from huge wholesalers to small artisan producers and everything in between. We’re also seeing a big jump in the number of Australian Made, eco-friendly and ethically made exhibitors which we know retailers will be excited about.

Why is Reed Gift Fairs Sydney a must-visit for retailers?

This is the first opportunity anyone has had to meet with more than 350 suppliers under the one roof since Covid landed in Australia. If you miss touching and feeling products before you buy, you cannot miss this opportunity.

There will be a fantastic mix of premium and emerging brands which you cannot see anywhere else. Australia’s best brands in home, gift, fashion and kids.

It's also an opportunity to come and celebrate the return to retail. The return of trade fairs. Building relationships face to face and not from behind a screen. We will be celebrating with a happy hour on opening day (Saturday 9 April from 4.30pm). We will provide the drinks while you browse the aisles to find new suppliers and exciting and unique products for your stores.

Why is Reed Gift Fairs Sydney co-located with Life Instyle again?

We know that retailers are busy and want to see as many suppliers as possible. Co-locating with Life Instyle means that retailers can maximise their time and see more brands in the one venue. We have co-located twice before and the feedback has been excellent. Exhibitors love that they get to meet with an even wider range of buyers and interior designers.

Reed Gift Fairs would love to co-locate with Life Instyle in Melbourne, however, there just isn’t enough space in the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre. The Life Instyle community also love the beautiful Royal Exhibition Building.

What are some of the trends retailers should look out for?

The demand for Australian Made products is at an all-time high and is showing no signs of slowing down, and the preference for eco-friendly and ethically made products is also surging. I’m very excited to say that we have 118 exhibitors showcasing Australian Made products, 177 exhibitors with ethically made products and 126 exhibitors with eco-friendly products, providing retailers with a huge selection of exciting and unique products to choose from.

At our Retail Therapy seminar series, we also have a number of sessions to help retailers to identify trends including a session on how trends are evolving and a session on home and beauty trends.

Retail Therapy will be bigger and better than ever. Can you tell us more?

Our seminar series Retail Therapy brings together some of the industry’s leading experts to discuss what retailers need to do to thrive in a post-pandemic world. It’s free to attend and will provide retailers with tips and tricks on how they can improve their businesses.

Our team have put together the largest program to date, with 21 sessions, two workshops and 27 expert speakers including small business mentors, colour experts, stylists and marketers.

The sessions take place on the Retail Therapy stage on the show floor. Check out the Reed Gift Fairs website for the full program.

Some retailers might be a little ‘rusty’ when it comes to trade fairs, any tips for them on how to best prepare for the fair?

Well, we’re not exactly match fit ourselves as it has been 12 months since our last event, however, my biggest tips are always comfy shoes, lots of water and stop by the Pamper Pit Stop for a complementary massage.

If you’re planning who you would like to meet at the event, check out our Big Book which has evolved into an all-inclusive, interactive resource that provides inspiration, supplier profiles, interviews, trend features and insightful videos. I love the new video we did with Artiwood Australia, one of our wonderful, eco-friendly, toy exhibitors. The link to the Big Book is on the Reed Gift Fairs website.

For retailers who want to explore Sydney after (a long day at) the show, do you have any recommendations?

After a long day I love nothing more than a nice glass of red wine and a juicy steak, so my recommendation would be Meat & Wine Co in Barangaroo, followed by a Japanese whisky at The Baxter Inn on Clarence Street.

The best thing about being in Darling Harbour is the huge variety of restaurants and bars right on our doorstep. We’re only a short stroll away from Barangaroo, which has been transformed into a waterfront precinct packed full options from casual eats to spectacular dining experiences with some of the most sought-after chefs in the world.

I would also recommend a visit to Wileaway, a cool gift store in Marrickville Metro in Sydney’s Inner West. I popped in last week and was blown away by the variety of products. They have a strong focus on Australian designed and eco-friendly products and visiting the store is a real experience. The owner, Elizabeth, is also lovely. She is a regular at Reed Gift Fairs and loves to showcase clever, exciting and well-designed products in her store.

If you haven’t already registered to attend, please do so on the Reed Gift Fairs website. I know the exhibitors are beyond excited to meet with you all and have lots of new, exciting and unique products to show you. Let’s celebrate the return of trade fairs and get back to business.

Reed Gift Fairs Sydney is held from 9 to 12 April at ICC Sydney, Darling Harbour.