Harrogate Home & Gift reveals speaker line-up

Visitors to next month’s Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival can also attend The Great Northern Retail Forum to listen to a series of presentations from industry experts.

Organised by Clarion Events, the trade show will be held from Sunday July 16 to Tuesday July 19 at Harrogate in North Yorkshire.

More than 1,000 suppliers will showcase their wares across the exhibition’s four sectors: giftware, jewellery, home interiors and greetings,

Taking place alongside is The Great Northern Forum, which is held in Hall H, upstairs in the HIC (Harrogate International Centre).

Show director Cleere Scamell said: “I’m thrilled to announce the exciting line-up for this year’s Great Northern Retail Forum. This year, our programme has been designed with the independent retailer in mind, so every piece of advice, every top tip, and every expert recommendation, is tailored to them.”

The eight speakers are:


11– 11.45     The Power of Local and ‘Made in Britain’  Dan Bartram, account manager of fashion accessories specialist VMC ACCESORIES

Rachael Rowe, founding partner of homeware and giftware supplier Grace & Favour Home

Sustainable, local, provenance and British are valuable marketing USPs. In this panel discussion, two successful brands will share their stories on how they’ve found business success on their own doorstep.

12-12.45         Online vs. Bricks & Mortar – Pros & Cons Barney Edwards, commercial director of novelty gift e-tailer Prezzybox.com

With the online marketplace more dominant than ever before, e-commerce expert and independent shop owner Barney will share his tips for making your mark in an already crowded marketplace.

13.30-14.00     Guide to Building a Social Media Strategy

Warren Knight, social media strategist and author

Small start-ups are often so focused on getting product and brand right that they neglect the area of social media. Warren Knight will present a step-by-step guide to establishing a digital presence.

15.00-16.00 Visually Stunning Product Displays… Made Easy

Elena Fantuzzi, freelance stylist, visual merchandiser and window dresser

After several years as a homewares visual merchandiser and then a window dresser for Harrods, Elena is now in demand as a freelance stylist dressing press shows, pop-up shops and events. She regularly assists on editorial and advertising photoshoots for brands such as Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, Debenhams, Le Creuset and Ikea.

Elena will share advice on the best ways to make merchandise sing, from creating eye-catching store windows and in-store displays to preparing commercial campaigns and briefing photographers to get the best for your brand. She will also share tips on how to use your own pictures to spread your brand message on social media.



12:00 – 12:45   Building Your Brand on Social to Grow Your Business

Warren Knight, social media strategist and author

Is Twitter over? What’s the difference between Instagram and Pinterest? What does the Facebook Algorithm mean? Could video streaming boost your sales? Warren will answer all these queries and more in a lively session where no question is too small.

14:30 – 15:30   How to Get on a Blogger’s Radar

Melanie Lissack, double award-winning blogger whose site, Melanie Lissack Interiors, is dedicated to recreating on-trend home looks

Traditional PR and print is no longer enough to sustain media coverage. Find out how to maximise your presence with the new wave of micro influencers. What do they look for and how can you give it to them? From hashtags to clever product placement, Melanie shares her knowledge on what brands are doing right, and where they’re getting it wrong.



11:00 – 11:30   Top 10 Trends for Christmas 2017

Neil McLennan, lifestyle journalist for home interest magazine ‘Livingetc’

Neil has more than 25 years’ experience writing about shopping and interiors for brands including ‘ELLE’, ‘TimeOut’ and ‘Livingetc’. He regularly consults PR firms and brands on media relations.

Hotfooting it from London’s ‘Christmas in July’ press shows, he will have the inside track on the colours, trends and looks that will be everywhere this festive season.

12:00 – 13:00  10 Ways to Attract Customers (and Keep Them)

Jenny Spivey, retail & small business consultant

Following a 36-year career at Harrods and John Lewis Partnership, Jenny now uses her knowledge and experience to run her own retail consultancy. She works with established retailers and suppliers across the home and giftware categories and also mentors SMEs in the sector, including brands new to market.

In an increasing competitive world that sees more and more demands on the consumer’s attention, retention of a core customer base is more important than ever. Jenny will share things what you really need to know to not only get shoppers in the door in the first place but make them come back time and time again.

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