Tom Kerridge John Lewis, Google and Portmeirion Group to speak at Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival

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 showcase thousands of new brands and products from Sunday July 17 to Wednesday July 20 at Harrogate in North Yorkshire. More than 850 exhibitors will show their wares across the fair’s four sectors: giftware, interiors & accessories, jewellery & fashion and greetings & stationery.

Taking place alongside the Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival on the Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, is The Great Northern Forum, which is held to Hall H, upstairs in the HIC (Harrogate International Centre). Clarions Events said: ‘The Great Northern Retail Forum is back, bigger and better than before! We have prepared three days packed full of inspirational talks and tips; even the smallest changes can transform your business.

The full line-up of Forum speakers has now been revealed.



12pm KEYNOTE SPEAKER:  David Green, retail industry manager, Google

“Win the Moments that Matter”.

David will give an overview of how the UKs Home and Gifting market is changing online and how businesses agility and not size can allow you to win the moments that matter for your consumers. 


12.50pm SPEAKER: Laura Perryman, colour and materials designer & insights and trends forecaster

“Intelligent Objects:  Future Design Trends that will Influence our Lifestyle, Spaces and Products We Own”.

Laura Perryman will discuss key influences in design, sustainability, and lifestyle; and explain how they will impact future shapes, colours and tactile qualities of home products and accessories. She will address emerging design trends for Spring Summer 2017 and highlight potential applications for the home and gift industry. 


1.40pm SPEAKERS:  Jenny Spivey, retail & small business consultant & Andrew Cousins, founder of Tile Fire Ltd (Prince’s Trust Case Study & winner of Houzz Customer Services Award) 

“Delivering Outstanding Customer Service and the Way to a Customer’s Heart”.


4.30pm  WORKSHOP led by Warren Knight, social media and digital marketing strategist

“Everything You need to know about Social Media… and a little more!”

Warren will share the importance of ‘thinking digital first’ when growing your business online. He will cover the latest tools to save time, the best platforms to drive traffic, and how to design a seven day social media plan and 90 day marketing strategy.



11am SPEAKER:  Phil Atherton, group sales & marketing director, Portmeirion Group

“Case Study: Portmeirion Group”.


11.50am SPEAKERS:  Lesley Watson & Dougal Philip, co-founders of New Hopetoun Gardens (winner of The Best Garden Centre Retailer of Gifts Award in The Greats 2016)

“Winning Ways with Gifts for Independent Retailers – Knowing your gift buying customers and earning their continuing loyalty”.

Lesley & Dougal will champion maintaining strongly themed and seasonal displays of gifts and teach delegates how to recognise and protect best-selling gift lines.


12.40pm SPEAKER: Warren Knight, social media and digital marketing strategist

“Five Secrets To Social Media Success”.

Warren will help delegates understand what they want from using social media and decide which is the best social network for their target customers


1.30pm KEYNOTE SPEAKER:  Tom Kerridge

“The story of The Tom Kerridge Range”.

Tom Kerridge, professional chef and host of the BBC’s ‘Bake Off: Crème De La Crème’ has been working with licensee The Great British Exchange to develop a range of British-made housewares products. Tom and Matt Hopkins, managing director of The Great British Exchange, will discuss Tom’s passion for British manufacturing and describes the craftsmanship behind his new range of products.


2.30pm SPEAKER:  Henri Davis, chairman of Giftware Association and independent retail advisor

“How to use this year’s Social, Economic and Design Trends to your Advantage and Grow your Independent Business”.

Henri will address the question: ‘With the arrival of the living wage, workplace pensions becoming real for even the smallest employers, the EU referendum and the influence of the Olympics to name but a few, how can retailers stay focused on their  businesses and ensure they are offering customers what they want?’



11.00am SPEAKER: Jonny Ross, managing director of digital marketing agency Jonny Ross Consultancy 

“Blogging to the Top of Google for Retailers”.

This session will examine the fundamentals of social media and how to think like a search engine when blogging. Jonny will give an overview of how to grow your community and social media content through effective planning and use the power of blogging to increase your online reputation with sites like Google. He will also show you techniques to engage with your target audience, build a community around your organisation and build an effective website.


11.50am THE PRINCE’S TRUST PANEL: Katie Craven, illustrator and designer (in collaboration with The Prince’s Trust and George at Asda); Fiona Fawcett, founder of Plewsy; and Sarah Rhodes, interiors designer of Calluna Furnishings, Upcycling and Upholstering

“Newly Launched Creatives Leading the Way – Top Tips and Lessons Learned”

Hear from three young creatives who have realised their dreams and successfully launched their own businesses, with the support of the Enterprise Programme at the Prince’s Trust. The trio will share their journeys so far, lessons learned along the way and top business tips.


12.40pm SPEAKER Yeshen Venema, photographer, film-maker and web consultant

“Five Ways to Improve your Website and Sell More Online”

Yeshen will give examples of five simple things you can do to improve your e-commerce site and product photography to help you sell more and add confidence to your brand.


1.30pm KEYNOTE SPEAKER Katherine Owen Fowler, DM Fashion & VM, John Lewis Partnership York 

“Merchandising that Inspires”

Katherine will provide an overview of the ways in which John Lewis effectively uses merchandising and display to inspire customers, looking at the evolution of this in branches and how omni-channel ways of shopping plays a part. 


2.30pm Q&A SESSION Sarah Ward, chief executive of Giftware Association interviews Gary Redman-Schaffer, managing director of United Oddsocks

“Getting the Best Out of Your Suppliers – Five Questions You Should Never be Afraid to Ask”

Find out the best ways to forge better relationships with suppliers by asking questions and making requests to create a collaborative working environment. 

This will be an interactive session with a chance to ask questions and join in.


Tom Kerridge, professional chef and host of the BBC’s ‘Bake Off: Crème De La Crème’


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