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the giftware association

Thoughts of a CEO - June

Thoughts of a CEO | 15th June 2022


The weeks are really flying by now – I can’t quite believe we are in the middle of June already. I wanted to start today by reflecting on the Gift of the Year Awards. So much has been said about the awards themselves, and the success of the new format, so today I want to talk more about what I learned and what is coming up for us. I think the greatest success for me was having retailers and suppliers under one roof to celebrate the very best in our industry. That connection was incredible to witness and was vital to cement at a time when so many struggle with the wider pressures of running a business in the times we are living in. Everything we do at the GA is invested back into the industry and The Gift Awards is no exception. I am pleased to let you know that our next awards has already been booked in and we will convene again for a glittering celebration of the very best in our industry on 11th May 2023.


The Gift of the Year Awards entries are open already and I am thrilled to see so many making the most of early entry, which gives them access to so much more PR and marketing activity. We are also looking to increase our prestigious judging panel. For the 2022 Awards we had over 70 industry judges working with us to determine which products should be crowned. This year, we are set to reach 100, and the calibre just gets better and better. If you are interested in becoming a judge for Gift of the Year 2023, then you can find out more here: or email


So far in 2022, we have been making strategic partnerships and seeking collaborations and new service provider members with a range of experts and industry leaders, who can help us drive the association forward and increase member benefits. One of the new events we have initiated is our Sharing Lunches, the first of which was hosted by Talking Tables and enabled like-minded GA member businesses to understand the journey they have taken to become B-Corp, whilst sharing knowledge and resource. Our sharing lunches are set to continue on the basis that we will host them around the UK at members’ businesses and will be an opportunity for those businesses to network with fellow members, as well as talk about topics that are important to them. Just a taster of the future topics we have earmarked are running a family business, competitions, sourcing, import & export, marketplaces and social media & marketing.


As you know, I visit every trade show in the home and giftware calendar and the last month has been no exception, with the Stationery Show, PG Live and Exclusively Housewares being amongst the successful trade shows visited. One of the member benefits so many of you access, is the discounted rate at both Spring and Autumn Fair, both facilitated by our long history with the shows and close relationship with Hyve. I am thrilled, therefore, that in the last month I was able to resurrect the Gift Fair Development Board, which was chaired and hosted by Hyve and invited several energised GA members. There was great conversation had and the team at Hyve was able to present and discuss their vision for the next 12 months and discuss feedback on the shows so far. There was also an expert panel to support a Q&A on trade shows in general. Our plan is to meet twice a year with the next meeting to take place after Autumn Fair. Do get in touch if you would like to be part of this next meeting.


Big news for us this past month is the phase 1 launch of our new website. This has been a long time coming and I am so proud of Chris and the team for all their hard work on getting it live. The website really reflects our growth as an association since I took over nearly 7 years ago. The time we have taken to repair and grow the association has now culminated in a website that shows our understanding of how we want to interact with our members and, more importantly, what our members want from us. Members will have their own profiles which they can update and boost their profiles online as well as backlinks to their own trade websites. This new profile will also allow them to access exclusive member news and offers, as well as resources, training videos and more. Phase 2 of the website will follow soon, and in this the education and resource hub will be fully ready, providing enormous benefits to our members, and reflecting all the learning and development from the past three years.


Finally, I am also pleased to announce that we have taken over the operational, management and membership activities of the Creative Industry Association. Both associations have huge synergies with their respective industries. The takeover means the Creative Industry Association, and of course its members, will become part of a much larger organisation, helping to secure the association’s future with greater resources, increased support, and new opportunities for members of both trade associations. This is not only an exciting opportunity for both associations to strengthen one another, it also cements our commitment in offering members new routes to market and new opportunities for growth which is needed now more than ever. Having worked with the CEO, Craig de Souza, over the last 24 months, it become clear to me that we should be working together more closely. The Creative Industry Association holds the same values as The GA. I for one am looking forward in developing this important collaboration and welcoming members old and new in due course.

With over 40 new members joining since I last wrote my Thoughts of a CEO, this is an exciting time for the Giftware Association. As ever, please keep in touch and let me know your thoughts are of our industry and how we can support your business:











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