The doors closed on a hugely successful inaugural Source Home Gift bringing together leading retailers including Argos, Sainsbury, John Lewis, Natural History Museum, Dunelm, Fortnum & Mason, Lakeland, TalkingTables, WHSmith, Wilko, The Walt Disney Company, DFS, Barnardo’s, Clintons, Fenwick, Quiz Clothing, The National Trust, Aldi, Avon Wildlife Trust and many more, keen to source responsibly made homewares, furniture, gifts, toys, textiles, packaging, stationery and greetings from hundreds of Sedex audited overseas manufacturers, producers, and artisans.
Offering a global showcase, exhibitors from over 20 countries including Egypt, Pakistan, Ghana, Nepal, Singapore, Europe and the USA converged at the NEC Birmingham UK from 5-8th February. The launch show also welcomed dedicated country pavilions from China and three Indian pavilions organised by Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts EPCH, and the Handloom Export Promotion Council HEPC who highlighted the benefits of face to face interactions and the impact of exhibiting.
Jude Desmond, representative of HEPC, said: “Bringing our pavilion of 20 Indian manufacturers to Source Home & Gift has been hugely beneficial for us. We are extremely happy with the show and the many high-profile visitors that we’ve seen this year – we’ve had some big orders placed already. It really makes a huge impact when you meet these buyers face to face to build trust and give them the chance to touch and feel the products in person.”
Mrinalika Bhardwaj, founder of Kaushalam which produces authentic India hand-painted homeware products and utensils, added: “This is our first exhibition in the UK. Source Home & Gift was something I really wanted to be part of and we’ve really had a tremendous response. People really love the product. I’ve made very nice business here, some we booked on the spot, and some are in the pipeline for us.”
Source Home & Gift was also proud to host a delegation from the Bangladesh Women in Ecommerce Initiative to highlight the work they are doing to support female entrepreneurs. Bangladesh is now standing at a crucial point, poised to become a Developing Country by 2024, it is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Of the 165.57 million Bangladeshi people, 82.70 million are females and they have huge contribution to the economic development with 80% working in the textiles industry. The Bangladeshi government has signed a 3-year agreement with Source Home & Gift to help support the initiative and showcase the communities and female entrepreneurs at future shows.
On the new Responsible Sourcing Stage visitors were offered a seminar programme packed with informative talks from internationally renowned professionals and experts from across the industry across all four days including a keynote address with founder of JoJo Maman Bébé, Laura Tenison MBE on building an ethical business, The Evolution of Trends in sourcing with trend forecasters BDA London, sustainable product development trends with TrendBible, green supply chain practices with Tom Barton, Co-Founder and Director of Food, Quality and Sustainability – Honest Burgers, and Cleaning up the wasteful business of eCommerce returns with Lewis Blitz, Founder of Skinnydip London.
On Tuesday, Rob Wilson, CEO of Toast Ale offered invaluable advice to businesses looking to start their B Corp’s journey demonstrating how going through the B Corps accreditation process transformed the business and enlightened the founding team on channelling growth in an appropriate way for people. The company, whose first principle is to create tasty beer, is also committed to creating systemic change in the industry, and ‘saving the world over a cheeky pint’. With 44% of bread wasted, Toast Ale uses a slice of surplus bread in every can and has re-used over 2.5 million slices since launching 7 years ago with a target of a billion slices. Wilson highlighted the necessity to be totally transparent in your business to achieve B Corp status and outlined their initiatives for People, Planet and Profit stating that continually pushing the boundaries to be authentically and genuinely sustainable is also a compelling proposition for customers.
Suzanne Ellingham, director of sourcing of Source Home & Gift, said: “What an opening show! We’ve seen gorgeous, responsibly made products from around the world, met some very talented people and changemakers, and heard the brilliant and emotional stories behind the businesses. The show has created life-changing connections and given the UK a genuine platform for responsible sourcing. We couldn’t have asked for more for our inaugural show, and can’t wait to be back in September.”