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the giftware association




Here at the end of February and 10 trade shows down already, I feel it is time to reflect upon the key issue at the heart of what we are trying to achieve in 2023: education. The Giftware Association is known for its unrivalled knowledge, support, guidance, connection, and opportunity. As you know, we visit every possible trade show, ensuring that we speak to our members so that we can understand what their needs are, offer advice, and encourage them to take on some of the further retail opportunities provided by the organisation. Our new education programme has been designed to ensure that we can turn this fountain of knowledge into a digital platform that will provide our members with the most valuable educational and professional development resource.


We exist first and foremost for our members, providing resource, advice, and connectivity so that, no matter what we face in the future, we not only survive but thrive. We have been on the front line of retail now for over 75 years and totally understand the challenges faced by our members. The need to be constantly innovative, to keep members coming back, and to attract both new members and increase industry influence in the process, is a challenge. That is why collaboration and education are key – driven through a determination to provide opportunities for learning and inspiration via our proposed education and resource offer.


Now more than ever, we recognise how vital it is for us to engage, support and drive growth in the industry we care so passionately about.


Do you remember the days when there was time to drive growth through industry-specific training? I was talking to the team last week about my early years managing a few different high street retail chains – then we had to become proficient in all aspects of the industry in order to be able to progress. There was time and there was also money for this to happen. Businesses are so challenged now, that the scope for career progression enabled by training and education has diminished. This is where we seek to support.


As a small team serving over 700+ members, we are proud of the engagement we have with businesses of all sizes. One of the core benefits of being a GA member is the 1-2-1 mentoring our members can receive from one of the team, including our National Committee. The objective of the mentoring scheme at the GA is to mastermind where a business is at and help them overcome the challenges they face so that they can continue to grow.


The value of these 1-2-1s cannot be underestimated and, having canvassed members who have received this support from us (over 150 so far this year alone), the overwhelming feedback about what they need from us moving forward, is education, resource, training, and specific industry signposting to enable their businesses to grow.


I would love to hear what your thoughts are on this, and I invite you to contact me or the team to let us know what education, training and resource would be of the most value to your organisation. This is a project that will span the next two years for us, and we are determined to make it work for all of our members.






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