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Thoughts of a CEO | The Gift Awards | May 2023

 Unless you have been in hiding, you will know that this month saw us host The Gift Awards in partnership with Max Publishing. The Gift Awards is the UK’s most prestigious awards ceremony for the UK gift industry, bringing together the Giftware Association’s Gift of the Year awards and The Greats gift retailer awards. It was wonderful to celebrate the very best in our industry at the stunning Royal Lancaster Hotel.

 The two award programmes have seen both gift product excellence and retail prowess recognised and rewarded, and I can safely say that all the finalists made our whole industry proud. Last year I spoke about how all the businesses recognised in the awards had demonstrated that they are:




My message last year was one of celebration, recognition of our industry’s resilience, and the power of collaboration. This message remains true today, but I have seen so much transformation over the past 12 months, that I want to talk about connection, creativity, and diversity in this month’s Thoughts of a CEO.

The 2023 Gift of the Year Awards were our largest to date with almost 1000 entries, and over 90 industry judges lending their expertise to determine the worthy finalists. The result was our most diverse competition ever reflecting emerging trends, industry movements, and changing customer behaviour. Never has the competition been so unpredictable, which made the awards ceremony so exciting.

Consumers are no longer just celebrating holidays and milestones. They’re celebrating life itself and finding new ways to mark the little things. This is why the most dramatic shift in giftware has been in sustainability, wellbeing, and affordable gifting.

This competition has become one of the most important brand and marketing opportunities for the giftware industry, particularly now we are partnered with The Greats to bring the very best in suppliers and retailers under one roof. As I reflect upon that fabulous evening, I can safely say that it is where the magic happened. I was thrilled to see so many not just celebrating their achievements, but also taking the opportunity to meet new people in an industry where relationships are everything. People buy from people after all, so it was wonderful to see some really good, meaningful business being done.

I am very proud to be the CEO of your industry body, The Giftware Association. Our entire ethos is to connect, celebrate and educate our members so that they thrive, and the vision for these awards has always been to create that holy trinity for entrants by connecting consumer, retailer, and supplier. Nobody owes you a sale, so moments like this give you the opportunity for recognition, networking, connection and for business. I hope that we can all make it our mission to continue now to connect and do business better – together.


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