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the giftware association


Yes, it’s true, we’re going to tell you EXACTLY how to win the Gift of the Year competition, regardless of what category you’re entering into! All you need to do is read this article and follow our advice - simple!

Ok, full disclosure, obviously there are no guarantees - all our entrants have access to this blog and are on an equal footing so there’s a chance someone else might pip you to the post, but honestly, this article is going to set you up for success in this competition! 

‘How exactly?’, we hear you ask. Simple! We asked the judges what they are looking for - every single one of them. What you will find below is the exact criteria that each of our 60+ judges require of their winner, so read on, read thoroughly, maybe take some notes, and then dig through your catalogue and pluck out that perfect product to enter. But hurry, entries for the 2021 competition close on 11the December 2020. That’s VERY soon… 

“A product designed with the consumer in mind; one in which it is clear that the designer considered the whole product, how & why it will be used and what it will help its owner to achieve. A product that has been created solely to fulfill the wants, needs & desires of customers.”

  • The Consumer-first Judge

“I'm always on the look out for innovative products that will excite, educate and inspire our visitors.”

  • The Educational Judge

“I am looking for new and innovative products that are ethically sourced and beautifully designed.”

  • The Ethical Judge

“A gift of the year product has to be innovative and exciting. I want a product to grab my attention and want me to know more about it as soon as I see it. Pricing is also important that the product can suit the general market and be value for money. “

  • The Price-Savvy Judge

“I would be looking for something innovative, out of the ordinary and different, but also useful &  practical and not difficult to operate, within a suitable price bracket.”

  • The Keep-It-Simple Judge

“I love adding new pieces or collections to the shop and this year with a reduced amount of trade shows has been challenging. I'm really keen to see new products that are both eco friendly and made in the UK. I want to be inspired.”

  • The Made-In-Britain Judge

“A product that instantly says buy me ! Branding that draws me in and excites me!”

  • The Well-Branded Judge

“Well priced contemporary items that either fire the imagination  or cause immense pleasure. I love everything from the naughtiest of Dean Morris cards to the beauty of Ortigia packaging to the noble ideals of ArtHouse and  their fantastic product ranges with a mindful  awareness of social issues. I always strive to make retail a ‘greener’ environment with fair trade top of our buying list”

  • The Fair Trade Judge

“The excitement of something that I’ve not seen before. Showing quality, value and something with great sentiment. Our lack of human contact this year has increased our need for gifts than connect us.”

  • The Humanist Judge

“I'm looking for original, innovative, high quality, design-led products that sell. “

  • The Design-Led Judge

“I am looking forward to meeting all the new and amazing products and companies or designers standing behind them. I would love to help some of them to enter the Czech market and find the international success as well. But mostly, I am really looking forward to be surrounded by so many creative, well-skilled and driven people and to have a lot of fun.”

  • The Czech Judge!

“I'm looking for a striking product with an interesting story behind it.  Something unusual, that provides a solution or answers a consumer need.”

  • The Back-Story Judge

“We'll be looking for the next 'wow' product, one that you simply won't be able to walk away from! Each and every entry is sure to be fantastic, though we'll be looking for something that brings something new to the table and brings a smile to our faces!”

  • The WOW Judge

“Surprise, Extraordinary effect, Feeling, Story telling, Craftsmanship, quality, design, visionary”

  • The Everything Judge

“An innovative product with element of fun that withstands the test of time.”

  • The Longevity Judge

“A product that stands out from the crowd with quality and innovation. Something we have all needed but just didn't know!”

  • The Purple Cow Judge

“Something that connects personally with the shopper but can be sold in multi channels.  Something that is on trend  and reflects all our modern values, but wont quickly go out of fashion.  Something that individually stands out on-shelf but will add to any home. But most importantly a product that makes the customer feel great with their purchase, and bring them back to my business  again and again.”

  • The Repeat Custom Judge

“I want to discover new products, brands and businesses that demonstrate a unique take on the usual, something that has a clear customer in mind, carefully thought through commercials, and presents a good opportunity for large and small businesses to buy into.  I am looking forward to being inspired!”

  • The Thoughtful Judge

“I'm looking for the full package. The product is key, but I also want to see gifts where the packaging sustainability has been considered, and a design that makes it stand out.”

  • The Full Package Judge

“Premium/Novelty - the customer is willing to spend a little more money for a premium product that isn’t available every day.”

  • The Price-Point Judge

“Something beautiful, sustainable and something you’d want to keep!“

  • The Keepsake Judge

“I am looking for a product that is going to give my customers the wow factor upon seeing it for the first time and something that is practical. Customers are becoming move thrifty in their shopping habits and so for a product to win, it has to give them a sense of value and I've found that useful products are increasing in popularity.”

  • The Usability Judge

“I will be looking for stand-out products which are meaningful, unique and have strong commercial opportunities.”

  • The Commercial Judge

“A great product will have a combination of creativity, ingenuity and style as well as being well aligned to a target audience and being commercially viable. I can't wait to discover this year's entrants and explore the creative talents on offer.”

  • The Target Audience Judge

“Something quirky and versatile, a gift that suits multiple ages and seasons that will have longevity and brand loyalty from the stores purchasing it and the consumers buying it!”

  • The Demographic Judge

“I would be looking for a gift that could make someone smile, feel good, bring joy but also comfort during these uncertain times.”

  • The Joyful Judge

“Looking for other passionate people who want to deliver only the best to their customer!”

  • The Passionate Judge

“I’m looking for in the Gift of the year a balance between innovation, aesthetics and practicality that is commercial and available to all.”

  • The Well-Balanced Judge

“We are always looking for that next best seller so something to reflect this current situation we are all in and the future.”

  • The Current Judge

“We are always looking for that next best seller so something to reflect this current situation we are all in and the future.”

  • The Value For Money Judge

So there you have it - if that isn’t a formula for success then we don’t know what is, you’ve heard it from The Horse Judge’s mouth! 

Wishing you all the best with your entries (deadline to enter 11th December) and looking forward to catching up with you all at the virtual award ceremonies (for finalists) and, in the not-too-distant future, at the return of our beloved trade shows. 

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