It's been a while since I wrote a post and with good reason.. it's been a fascinating year so far in 2017. I was recruited by a local Gift Company called Apples to Pears to work as their National Account Manager which has now turned into a full time position with exciting days that consist of pitches, customer growth for key accounts along with being responsible for all our Garden Centre customers throughout the UK. The world of the Gift Industry has been challenging this year within the trade sector, I've noticed changes at Trade Fairs, footfall has dropped and stand take up has reduced while the retailers are being much more selective in their approach when sourcing gifts for their stores. Margins are key and finding something that is still very much value for money but consistently having a difference, offering the appeal and demand of the consumer today. We may be heading out of the recession that has been plaguing us for the last seven years but then Brexit hit.  This has affected trade costs with so many large companies having their products manufactured outside of the UK, the pound has taken a severe bashing, so the production costs have increased, meaning trade prices have had to increase by at least 15% which has then of course driven the retail prices. So how does that affect the consumer buying in stores? They too are echoing the retailer's approach, finding a gift that still offers great value for money while retaining the appeal and design difference. On my travels over the UK within my job, I am continually looking for the products that meet these demands. John Lewis really are delivering this request, the perception is all too easy for many who think that their prices are high.  In the food sector, I would possibly agree but in the gift and homewares, their prices are extremely fair and competitive. I myself look after John Lewis, so have had first hand insight into their pricing structures. As a supplier, it's tough meeting margins but the good news for you, the consumer, it's great, especially for those pick up gifts under £20.  There are so many similar independent stores on the high street that can still achieve this, some particular favourites are Vinegar Hill and Between the lines. So where am I going with this post? Don't lose hope for the gift industry on the high street. Buyers, retailers and manufactures are all working on creating value for money items that still offer design and a USP. But of course, there is never a better time to support your local artisans who have pop up shops, gift fair events and various online platforms such as Etsy. I'll continue the search and follow further blogs with my findings but in the meantime, you can follow and view some of my findings on Instagram @BGiftedUK. Happy Shopping!  Fi 

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