Our History

the giftware association

The history of The Giftware Association is a rich tapestry spanning more than seven decades. These years have shaped the way we do business today, but we have always had our member's needs at our heart.

Some bloke

1936

Elkan Simons CBE originally conceived the idea of Giftware Association, this was put on hold due to World War 2.

1948

Fancy Goods Association Founded.

1950

TPS involved in fairs across the whole of The UK with trade shows in Torquey, Blackpool, Glasgow, Earls Court and Mount Royal, still popular areas for shows today.

1951

The Gift and Fancy goods magazine is created and would run for 14 years, featuring members news, stories and industry insights.

1957

The Gift Fair had outgrown Blackpool and had changed its name to The International Gifts Fair and was being opened by royalty such as the Duchess of Gloucester.

1958

Old Logo.

1959

Creation of The Benevolent Fund – The Fund distributes money and helps to house and educate those who have worked in the industry.

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1959

The very first London gift fair is organsied by TPS at Olympia / Earls Court.

1965

First West of England Fair opened in Torquay.

1966

New Name: the gift and Fancy Goods association.

1969

Around the time of the newly formed federation, the gift and fancy goods association adopted its new name and what it is currently known as today – The Giftware Association. A new logo was created featuring The Gift Horse.

1970

500th member – Burtondale Gifts was presented a certificate from the Birmingham Lord Mayor at the time.

1971

HRH Princess Anne opens the International Gift Fair.

1976

NEC and TPS sign deal to use whole of NEC for Spring Fair

1977

The very first International Spring Fair. Spring Fair was the very first exhibition to take place at the newly formed NEC in Birmingham after it has outgrown its original Blackpool home. This event soon replaces the Blackpool Fair.

1978

The Very first Gift Awards – now know as The gift of The year awards, three categories in the first incarnation – Home, Fashion Accessories and Original Gift. 85 entries produced the first grand winner of Bristol Glass Collections.

1982

Gift of the year winners.

1986

An earlier picture of GA's trade stand. 

1988

Old advert.

1988

Old Harrogale show.

1988

Old Christmas advert

1989

An earlier picture of the GA's National Committee.

1990

Giftware Clairmen S.Demcourt handing over to A.N.Leach

1990

The GA at Spring Fair

1990

Princess Diana visits Spring Fair

1992

Gift of the year opened up for the first time to non members and everyone in the industry. Winners were Hazel Ceramics, Roger Lascelles Clocks, David Hayward English Pewter and Les Aquarelles.

1992

New Logo launched at International Spring Fair, a striking modern design for its time.

1992

Old newsletter

1993

Alan Leach, chairman of the giftware Assosiation, David Wildman, putworking director of gifts international, Isabel Jones GA Sec Joseph Beanstock, chairman of the Gift Award, Sally Butler, PR Manager at TPS and David Metcalf, managing director TPS

1994

Seminars introduced to our members in subjects such as marketing, retailers and new EEC regulations and working with agents in the EU.

1997

The giftware Association celebrates its 50th Birthday with a celebration in February with people from all sides of the industry, at Birmingham’s Metropole Hotel. The Retail Section was also launched at the party, after 50 years of serving suppliers, manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors the doors were finally opened to retailers.

2001

Export Services Department takes 62 GA Members to overseas markets.

2007

60th Anniversary Celebrations with a diamond jubilee yearbook and events throughout the year.

2008

New Website launched. The GA Welcomed Members of the Art Metal manufacturers Association (AMMA). Gift of the year Show House and Garden at Summer Fair

2009

The GA gets social by joining LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube. 15 Trade fairs visited across the UK.

2016

Rebrand to how we look now, including a new website , literature and signage at Shows. Gift of the Year given a rebrand too and has been the most successful year yet with a huge amount of non-members applying and also a huge amount of new companies entering.

2017

Meet the Buyer Initiative started introducing hundreds of our members with face to face meetings with buyers from department stores, independent and multi nationals.

2020

the UK leaves The EU

2020

covid-related lockdowns hit many of our retailers hard, but that didn’t stop The GA from supporting them through online educational webinars, one on one meetings with our CEO and so much more to help protect the industry that we serve. 

2022

The Gift of the Year Awards collaborate with The Greats to create a huge elive event for 500 attendees to celebrate the resilience and creativity of our inspiring industry.