GIMA Director, Vicky Nuttall writes: Whilst nobody can be happy to see the end of summer, autumn promises a boon for our industry as face-to-face events finally return, starting off with Glee from September 14 – 16 at the NEC. Glee is our most important trade event of the year and I’m surely not the only one who is hugely looking forward to seeing the wealth of new products which are set to be launched after an unprecedented 18 months.
GIMA will, as always, be supporting Glee from our dedicated lounge in Hall 6. We are thrilled to once again host our GIMA Buyer Connect as an in-person networking event, which will serve to bring our suppliers together with a broad range of retailers, including garden centres, DIY chains and e-commerce experts.
One of the many great things about being onsite at the show again is it gives us a prime opportunity to introduce our latest members to the trade. The months of lockdown have brought a great influx of new companies and brands into the GIMA family, all of them eager to access the many membership benefits which have proved invaluable to so many businesses. These benefits include representation, business advice and insight, industry-wide promotion, networking and making savings on events, services, exhibitions and market data.
I am delighted to welcome so many new companies to GIMA – a great mix of start-ups and more established brands – which all contribute to the enormous diversity and vibrancy which helped our industry to thrive despite the immense challenge to business posed by the Covid pandemic and lockdowns.
We also greatly look forward to revealing this year’s winner of the GIMA Innovators Seed Corn Fund (GISCF). This is an annual grant of up to £6,000 designed to help launch exciting new products into the gardening market. Judged by a panel of industry experts, the GISCF is awarded to what is deemed to be the most innovative and unique product offering the greatest commercial opportunity in the market.
Since 2015 the GISCF, in partnership with Glee, has helped to bring to market a series of brands, many of which are now considered key players helping to drive growth and diversification of the garden retail sector. The winner is still yet to be decided and there is still time to enter if you have a fabulous new product that you think will hit the spot. You will have to be quick, though, as the competition closing date of August 20th is fast approaching! If you know of any fledgling brands that have invented something incredible and need expert support to break into the market, then please point them in our direction. This year’s winner will be announced on the first day of Glee.
The fun doesn’t stop with Glee, of course, as the show will be followed by our 40th annual GIMA awards, taking place at Celtic Manor Resort on Thursday November 11th, where a fabulous Gala Dinner promises to be the social event of the year for our industry.
We’ve received a record number of entries this year following a two-year gap since the last round of awards. Judges had to decide on ten product, three marketing and a sustainability award – all very tough decisions to make – and I believe they’ve come up with one of the strongest winners’ rosters in our awards’ history. The big reveal will take place during the Gala Dinner and anyone keen to attend is urged to book their place now to avoid disappointment.
The fantastic entries we received are thanks to the frenetic activities of suppliers throughout the industry, who did not let lockdown stop them from investing huge amounts of time and energy in new product development, excelling themselves in many fields. This has ensured that the newness on offer will be truly inspirational for buyers placing 2022 orders at this year’s Glee, where we will finally get to see the fruits of all this effort coming together.