Greetings Today magazine, giving you the bigger picture

And the GOTY winners are...

Trio of publishers pick up awards at glitzy Gift Of The Year ceremony


THREE publishers were among the 15 category winners announced at last night’s glitzy Gift Of The Year ceremony, with newbies Peace & Blessings collecting the Greetings & Stationery title.

Fellow new company Paper Mirchi picked up the Shirley Frost Award for designer-makers while I Drew This came out tops in the Home Product, as the overall Judges’ Choice for the 40th GOTY awards went to Ginko Electronics for their Octagon One Wooden Desk Lamp, which had triumphed in the Contemporary Gift category.
The ceremony at the Vox Centre at Birmingham’s NEC came straight after the opening day of Spring Fair – which runs through until Thursday, February 8 – with almost 300 gift, greetings and homeware suppliers coming together with leading retailers to find out who had been crowned the 2018 winners.
For the first time Spring Fair organisers Ascential Events joined the Giftware Association in organising the awards and the event, which included a champagne reception and three-course meal, was hosted by top TV impressionist and comedian Rory Bremner.
After his initial performance covering a whole range of subjects from the Spice Girls reunion to Brexit, Donald Trump, Theresa May and a whole raft of politicians plus the upcoming royal wedding, Rory kept the entertainment going with numerous impersonations as he announced the various awards.
Spring Fair MD Louise Young had opened proceedings by presenting a special memento to John Athwal, MD and founder of Premier Decorations, who received an OBE in the New Year’s Honours List for his services to the gift industry and charity.
Sarah Ward, Giftware Association CEO, then spoke of how the awards have grown from three categories with 86 products in 1978, to more than 1,000 entries this year across 15 sectors .
“Throughout the past four decades,” Sarah said, “the competition has stayed close to its roots, celebrating innovation and creativity in gifting. Tonight we celebrate these achievements and wonder together whether we are experiencing a golden age in giftware.
“But, for a moment, let’s think about all those who make things possible – the world’s gift-givers. This ever-expanding market is worth around £329billion in the UK alone.”
Zakera Kali, who only started Peace & Blessings last summer, was over the moon to win the Greetings & Stationery category with her Mono and Pastel cards, and said: “I’m feeling amazing – all the hard work has been worth it and thanks to everyone who has been so supporting and all the amazing people in the industry.
“They have been really incredible, they have welcomed me into the industry, the GA have bee so helpful, and this is brilliant.”
Ilona Drew, of I Drew This, developed her Landmarks greetings range into the limited edition prints with the Brighton Pavilion version winning her the Home award, and she said: “I’m really bloody happy!”
And after her handmade artisan giftwrap won the Design sector, Paper Mirchi’s Rani Moochhala added: “I’m overwhelmed, it’s the first year of my business and to come this far has been amazing – I’m really happy.”
There were 15 hotly-contended product categories, with entries under the scrutiny of a panel of highly-respected industry judges, alongside magazine editors and key buyers from major retailers including John Lewis, Ocado, Dobbies,, Fortnum & Mason, Beales and Haskins Garden Centres.
They had the unenviable task of shortlisting more 170 products and then selecting the final category winners, which all demonstrated the most innovatively-designed products offering a real wow-factor. To qualify for entry, products had to have been launched to the trade after 
1 March 2017 and be available for sale up to Christmas 2017.
Speaking at the event, judge Judith Harris from Sherriff’s Foods said: “What I’m pleased to see this year is male-orientated gifts, which is really hard to catch and to buy for – that was really pleasing.”
Judge Mark Jones, from Occasions Retail, added: “I’m really pleased to see a big influx of design. I’ll definitely take away at least two or three suppliers from this contest.”
All the winners – listed below – received a range of sales-boosting benefits - from the exclusive display of their winning products in Spring Fair’s Gift Of The Year showcase in the foyer, to promotion in a full-colour catalogue distributed across the UK and overseas, along with profile-raising media coverage, while Judges’ Choice winners Gingko Electronics have also won a stand at Autumn Fair.
Louise added: “This year’s awards were the best yet and really highlighted the sheer breadth and depth of fantastic quality and innovation in the gift and homewares industries – the judges were certainly taken to task in having to choose category winners from so many incredible entries.
“This was the ultimate celebration of our forward-thinking and creative industry and, of course, offered everyone attending an excellent opportunity to network and entertain customers.
“The atmosphere in the room was electric as the winners were revealed and I know it was a night everyone will remember for some time to come.”
The winners and finalists are pictured top with Zakera, Rani and Ilona pictured together with their trophies, Ginko Electronics are inset left with Rory in full flow, right.


Judges’ Choice – Octagon Desk Light, Gingko Electronics

Body, Bath, Home Fragrance – Great British Bee Co Handcare Range, Great British Bee Co

Children's Gift – Fantastic Dragon 3D Colourables, Ooly

Contemporary Gift – Octagon Desk Light, Gingko Electronics

Design & Craft – Handmade Artisan Gift Wrap, Paper Mirchi

Fashion Accessory – Sara Miller Silk Accessories, My Gifts Trade

Festive & Occasions – Christmas Roast Dinner Box, Ross & Ross Food

Garden & Outdoor – Green Picnic, Fallen Fruits

General Gift – Hand-decorated Gin Glass, Sunny By Sue

Gift Food – Indian Spice Tin with Silk Sari Wrap, Spice Kitchen

Greetings & Stationery – Mono and Pastel Greeting Cards, Peace & Blessings

Home Product – Brighton Pavilion Print, I Drew This

Hot Novelty – Prosecco Pong, Talking Tables

Kitchen & Dining – Apron Made From Old Denim, Ian Snow

Licensed Product – Natural History Museum Gift In A Tin Range, Apples To Pears

Under £10 – Gin & Tonic Handbag, Bath House

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