Spring fair 2023 - no sandwiches, comfy beds and 10000 steps
Once a year we get up early on a Sunday morning and drive to Birmingham for the Spring Fair at the NEC. The fair is the "UK's ultimate shop for shops", and we spend two days walking up and down massive halls looking at new items, meeting existing suppliers and placing orders.
This year the show was a lot calmer than last year, check out what happened last year in our blog post about it here.
On Sunday we set our alarms for the very painful 5:30am to begin the journey to Birmingham. The dog's were already on their own little holidays. The journey up was good and when we arrived we were ushered into a great car park, I know it seems silly to say there is a great car park but if you have been to the NEC you will know how huge it is and how many car parks there are, and if you end up parked on the wrong side it's a bit of a nightmare!
We begun in the fashion and jewellery hall and got down to it. We saw a few of our existing suppliers and it was great to see the new items and designs they are bringing out, we also found some new companies we are interesting in adding to the shop.
After a few hours we decided it was definitely time for a coffee break, so we headed to the coffee area (which was rammed). The coffee area is at the back of what is mostly the Christmas hall because in retail you do your ordering for Christmas in February/ March time. At the show you see stalls and stalls of Christmas ornaments and décor, including singing reindeer and Santa's workshops.
After more browsing it was time for lunch so we though we would grab a quick sandwich, nope! We had left it too long and where sandwiches once sat there were only baron shelves, we tried multiple places with no success. We then joined the queue at Subway before giving up as it was super long. Luckily we brought crisps and biscuits with us so we made do with that.
We continued browsing until about 5:30 when we were pretty much done with the hall we were in and ready for food. In Browns NEC tradition we headed to Nando's. Then back to the car and on to the hotel. This year we stayed in a Premier Inn and honestly the highlight of my trip was the mattress at the hotel! After a busy day I got into bed almost as soon as we were back at the hotel and it was bliss.
The following morning we were back to it with homeware and gardenware still to see. We powered through and by lunchtime we had seen it all. Then it was time to drive home. We stopped at the very fancy Gloucester services for lunch and then headed on to collect the dogs. By the time we got back to Dulverton at 6ish we were all extremely tired!
All in all it was a very successful show year, we have come back with several companies we want to order from, so watch this space for new exciting items.
The show begins
Coffee break day one, the coffee left a LOT to be desired
The start of day 2 (we found free pastries)