At Lazy Susan we’ve always been fans of home and garden exhibitions.
It is a great way to get out there, engage with consumers, see what the competition is doing, and just get a feel for what’s happening in our industry.
Its gets the team out of the office, and plays a significant part in helping the design team with new product development.
Whether you are a consumer, retailer, manufacturer or a wholesaler, there’s many reasons for attending home and garden exhibitions.
I’m sure they’re a few reasons not to such as cost, time out of the office etc. However, this is not what this article is about.
I want to focus on the positives. Why we should attend, and promote some of the great home and garden exhibitions that are taking place this year.
And I’ll try and focus on the consumer/retail exhibitions, not because we’re attending them, we aren’t this year, but because they’re good shows. Shows that are definitely worth the time visiting. There’ll be a few trade in their too.
For me personally, these exhibitions are all about gaining knowledge, market insight, exposure to the latest product trends.
They’re a great way to learn about what trends will be hot the following summer, the summer after that even, helping to even inform our product development.
It helps us to stimulate new product ideas, identify new ways of marketing our business/products, and just generally get is inspired about the wider home and garden industry.
We can learn what the competition are doing, without having to go to any great lengths to find out. We’ll even talk to them, share with them what we’re up to. After all, we have much in common and it pays to civil.
As an industry, it enables us to look at how we compare to our competitors, evaluate our strengths and weaknesses, find ways to best support Lazy Susan moving forward.
Our pick of the home and garden shows 2018
As a business, both trade and retail home and garden exhibitions have helped educate us. They’ve let us see the bigger picture, and given us greater understanding of our industry.
With what we’ve gleaned over the years, I personally feel we’ve been better equipped to support our customers.
But at the end of the day, we’ve had fun. Yes, I know, we’re meant to be working, but I’ve said it.
These shows are fun, and they’re a great way to keep the Lazy Susan team motivated, get them excited about our industry and new product development.
So without further ado, here is our pick of some of our favourite exhibitions for 2018. Some we’ve visited many times, some we’re hoping to visit for the first time this year.
Ideal Home Show
I’ll be honest, I started with this one because it’s the one we all know. I’m not sure on visitor figures, but in terms of brand name, it could be the market leader?!
I have a bit of a love/hate with the Ideal Home Show if I’m being honest. I think I first went mid to late 90’s. I have exhibited there several times. Some years it’s been great, other years not so much.
However, I would say it is a show that’s always worth a visit, even if it is just for a half day or so to have a quick look around.
They cover it all really, which I guess is why some years it felt better than others, maybe they had more of what I was looking for.
From kitchens and bathrooms, to bedrooms and basements, fixtures and fittings to fine food, gardens and the latest in home renovation, to fashion beauty and gifts, you’ll find it all under one roof at this award-winning show.
It runs from 17th March to 2nd April at the Olympia in London and you can find out more at idealhomeshow.co.uk.
Grand Designs Live
On from love/hate to probably my favourite of all the home and garden exhibitions. Again, I’ve exhibited, and attended many times. It’s just more home and garden design focused and less of the latest kitchen gadgets than Ideal Home.
In the excellent London Excel venue from 5th to 13th May, and Birmingham’s NEC from 10th to 14th October, for me Grand Designs Live is the UK’s best home and garden exhibitions.
Homebuilding & Renovating Show
Another self-build home exhibition, and while maybe not as grand as Kevin’s show, pardon the pun, definitely worth a visit.
Plus, they have several regional shows, so it means it’s a little easier to visit if you’re not able to just get to London or Birmingham.
And while the focus is self-build, the show offers much more than that. You can meet the experts, see the products up close etc.
Hear specialists talking about everything from garden design to perfecting interiors. Each Homebuilding & Renovating Show is a hub of building and renovating expertise.
With shows in Glasgow, Surrey, London, Edinburgh, Harrogate and Somerset. I’m sure you’ll find a location and date to suit the diary over on their website.
RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018
From a purely garden design point of view, this is the exhibitions to go to if you can. What more can I say about the Chelsea Flower Show that hasn’t already been said?
This year it runs from 22nd to 26th May, but that’s pretty much all you need to know. However, if you can’t make the Chelsea show, then the RHS have many other shows such as Cardiff, Malvern, Tatton Park, Hampton Court etc throughout the year. Pop over to their Shows page for more info.
BBC Gardeners’ World Live 2018 at the NEC
If you love the TV programme as much as I do, then this is another home and garden shows 2018 that is a must visit. I always find they have a little more in the way of garden furniture than Chelsea, but it is still more of a gardening exhibition.
That said, they also have some excellent show gardens, and the Gardeners’ World Live Theatre is a great way to get up close to experts like Monty Don and Alan Titchmarsh.
It runs from 14th to 17th June 2018 at the Birmingham NEC, and further details can be found over at bbcgardenersworldlive.com.
Woburn Abbey Garden Show 2018
I went to the Woburn Abbey show for the first time in 2017, and I have to be honest, I was rather pleasantly surprised.
Not for any other reason than it wasn’t really on my radar, and I went along with no pre-formed thoughts or opinions.
Set against the stunning backdrop of Woburn Abbey and within 42 acres of Abbey Gardens, it s truly is a gardener’s garden exhibition in a gardener’s garden.
Now in their 9th year, the Woburn Abbey Garden Show is taking place on 23rd and 24th June.
Ascot Spring Garden Show
Ascot racecourse is not too far from me, so this will be a relatively easy exhibition for me to visit.
This year is their inaugural show but this high-quality boutique event is promising to showcase some of the countries finest established and emerging horticultural talent.
The show has been created with the gardening enthusiast in mind.
It will feature 12 show gardens, 6 from established designers and a further6 gardens by talented horticultural students for the Young Gardeners of the Year Competition.
And, while this is a new exhibition, what we’re hearing about it has us intrigued. We plan on visiting, so hence why I wanted to include it in this list.
Let’s just hope those 12 designers appreciate the need for good garden furniture to truly complete any garden design?!
To find out a little more about what they have planned, head over to ascot.co.uk.
Moving on from the more gardening/flower based exhibitions, Pulse is promising us inspirational homewares and fashion products when it returns to London’s Olympia from 13-15th May.
It is more of a gift and craft exhibitions I guess you could say. Think tableware, hand-crafted cards, jewellery, candles, soft furnishings etc. But don’t let that put you off.
I’d be surprised to see any garden furniture there, but we’ve garnered much inspiration from this show. It’s helped us with styling photo shoots, determining upcoming colour trends, and so much more.
A great exhibition to just have a walk around, see what’s what. Take a look at pulse-london.com to what’s happening and who’s exhibiting.
Solex is THE trade show for the garden furniture industry. Organised by LOFA, the Leisure & Outdoor Furniture Association, it is their annual fair.
This year LOFA are promising that SOLEX will be bigger, better and more interesting than ever before.
It is the best exhibition in the UK to see the latest designs in garden furniture, barbecues, outdoor lighting, parasols, gazebos and outdoor play equipment.
It returns to the Birmingham NEC from 10 to 12th July to present what I’m sure will be another strong complement of the latest garden furniture.
Minerva Autumn Furniture Show
Finally, there’s Minerva’s Autumn Furniture Show. This year they’re relocating from the NEC to the National Agriculture & Exhibition Centre at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire.
Organised by the Minerva Furnishers Guild, this trade exhibitions features a wide variety of both national and international furniture.
And unlike the buying group’s event earlier in the year, this one is open to the wider general trade and not just Guild members.
The exhibition is on the 2nd and 3rd October and you can find more information on their website.
So that’s a few of the home and garden exhibitions for 2018 we hope to attend. Time and workload permitting of course. Maybe we’ll see you there this year?