New Llandudno trade show proves great success for Welsh giftware sector

A NEW annual trade show held for the first time at a hotel overlooking the Llandudno promenade across a three-day period proved a great success.

“Llandudno Gift Fair” organised by Steve Valentine, who founded Gwynedd Confectioners, and his son, Paul, who also works for the company, attracted almost 30 exhibitors and roughly 100 businesses to their show at St George’s Hotel from February 13-15.

Despite the show being rescheduled from January due to COVID-19 restrictions, it still attracted a wide array of traders from far and wide and from all corners of the giftware industry.

Paul was delighted with the success of the inaugural Llandudno Gift Fair, and hopes the show, which has already been confirmed to return in 2023, will continue to grow as it helps to stimulate the economy again after the pandemic.

He said: “It was a resounding success; the attendance was good, good orders were taken throughout the show, the response from the exhibitors was overwhelmingly positive, and the vast majority have already signed up to do it again next year.

“We had about half-a-dozen relatively small companies, some who were showing for the first time, so giving them a platform to grow was an important part of it.

“It’s been a wonderful experience putting it together, and it was really nice that the exhibitors thanked me and my dad for putting on such a great show; some of them had had the best show that they’d had in years.

“We counted the number of businesses in through the door and it was about 100 unique businesses. What was really nice to see was that some had travelled from South Wales all the way up, to stay at the hotel specifically for the show, so it attracted people from areas that we hadn’t really anticipated.

“South Wales has its own gift show, but these people had travelled from as far as Cardiff, Newport and Monmouthshire, just to come and visit.

“They’re all involved in giftware: Celtic jewellery, cuddly toys, hand-carved wooden love spoons, Welsh clothing, Welsh books, greetings cards, candles, beach goods, all sorts of things; the spectrum is vast, but it all falls within the ‘gifts’ umbrella.”

This is the first time Paul has helped stage an event of this kind, but the enormous success of this year’s event has made him eager to raise the stakes again in 2023.

Having been held in the hotel’s Wedgwood and Conwy Suites this year, it is hoped that an even larger room within the premises can host the 2023 show, while Paul has also considered expanding to companies from even more industries.

He added: “The objective now is to look at increasing the size of the show and getting more exhibitors in, and getting the word out to retailers far and wide.

“We just want to grow it and help support the giftware trade in Wales, and get these companies up and running as we come out of the restrictions.

“We might look at bringing in some food companies, and hopefully attract some delicatessens or farm shops, but the scope is wide and we already have a list of exhibitors that we couldn’t fit into the show this year.

“We’re going to take larger conference halls within the hotel next year so we can take more people.

“But the message is that the Welsh gift trade is alive and well, and it’s growing.”

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North Wales Pioneer | Llandudno