Christmas has come and gone, and January sales have passed which only means one thing for a shop owner – time to stock some new products! This is one of the more exciting times where we get to fill one of our many roles as buyers. The end of january is the perfect time for us to go and scout out new products as the Scotland’s Trade Fair comes to Glasgow. This is one of our favourite trade shows to go to. Not only is it only a few hours drive, but it is also full of products that are made here in Scotland. Not everything is made in Scotland, some in England, some even in Europe, but it is a fantastic way to get ahead. This show brings all of these products, from soap to haggis, together in one place so buyers like us can find unique items for our shops and retail outlets.
This year we decided to stay in Glasgow the night before the show. This allowed us to wake up refreshed and ready for the busy day ahead. In previous years we had woken up in the middle of the night to drive up to Glasgow, normally exhausted by the time we got there. But this time we took a different approach, and our bodies and minds thanked us for it. We were on top of our game ready to scout out the millions of products that would be on show. So, we arrived at the SECC, registered, received our badges, and entered the trade show. Upon entering there are literally aisles and aisles of different stalls. Our first stop was to see Lomond Soaps. This is a company that we had seen last year, however had decided not to stock any items at the time. But what is a gift shop without soap?! This company is run by Corrie Smith. The soap is all handmade by her, it is palm-oil free, and proceeds from every bar of soap go toward The Orangutan Protection Fund. What is not to love about all of that? Plus, the soaps smell fantastic and are unique – like Whisky & Ginger and Lavender & Cedarwood. This was definitely a product that we wanted to bring to our customers, and have decided to stock it starting next month.
After we visited Lomond Soaps, we proceeded to walk around the hall. We visited numerous existing suppliers which gives us a chance to view their new ranges of products and also gives us a chance to solidify our relations with them. The trade fair is an excellent place to catch up with these individuals. The key is to plan your time accordingly. Time goes quick at a place like this. Before we knew it it was almost 1pm and we had only visited one new supplier. We still wanted to see 13 more! So we decided to split up and checked out some new products and had a chat with the creative minds behind them.
By the end of the day we had almost two bags full of brochures, business cards, and catalogues. By 4pm we had all decided that we had seen everyone that we had wanted and started the journey home. Next on our to-do list is to go through everything and find the perfect products to bring to our customers!