New talent, new blood, new brands for Autumn Fair 2018


Autumn Fair, the season’s number one home and gift marketplace for the retail industry is launching DesignFirst, a series of showcases for up-and-coming, pioneering brands.

Set to be an entirely new platform for only the most unique and quirky manufacturers, DesignFirst will offer up to thirty innovative brands a chance to showcase their products at a prime sector-specific location in the event space for optimal visibility and footfall.

The following Autumn Fair sector areas will feature their own corresponding DesignFirst showcase: Contemporary Gift and Living; Body, Bath & Home Fragrance; Fashion, Jewellery and Accessories; and Home. The focus will be on brands that endeavour to break new ground and be unique.   

The new DesignFirst sections are already proving popular. Amongst the new exhibitors already confirmed for 2018 are Kushboo Soaps – soap-makers that blend traditional methods with the unusual choice of Indian spices and fragrances – and The Sugar Shed – a brand located in the Lake District that prints images on to pieces of local hardwood, making each piece beautifully unique. Flower & Fable, a handmade floral jewellery brand, and East End Press, which creates colourful objects for the home, will also be exhibiting.

Sharing little more than a penchant for alternative ideas, the DesignFirst exhibitors are set to introduce buyers to a new world of new-to-market, original products. The showcases will run for the full length of Autumn Fair at NEC Birmingham from 2-5 September 2018.

Louise Young, Managing Director of Spring and Autumn Fair at Ascential Events, said: “Now, more so than ever, retailers want to share a story behind a product that makes it unique and more desirable to consumers. Bringing to life the people behind the product – or indeed the place in which it was made – creates a narrative both in-store and when the item is brought home.

“Fresh and new products with a real difference are expected in the eyes of consumers. With DesignFirst, we’re hoping to open up a window into the cutting edge for all UK retailers to find this, whilst also ensuring that innovative brands are exposed to opportunities to get ahead and reach out to established retailers. It will bring new talent, new blood and new brands to Autumn Fair.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming a brilliant collection of new and individual exhibitors across all of our sectors; from ethical artisan soap in our Contemporary Gift & Living area, to out-of-this-world apparel in our Fashion area.

“What these vibrant brands share is their commitment to new ideas and to defining what will make consumers tick.”

In addition to DesignFirst, new and unique brands will be a focus across Autumn Fair 2018. In Greetings with the Greeting Cards Association (GCA) Debut area, there will be a wonderful collection of start-up and small publishers, never before seen at Autumn Fair.