26 May 2024, 16:11
By Furniture News Jun 05, 2013

Record international visitor numbers and high-calibre buyers at this year's Pulse

Pulse, the UK’s only summer trade show for gifts and interiors, took place from the 12-14th May in Earls Court, drawing an impressive calibre of buyers to the 11th edition of the show. With more design-led product than ever before and the participation of over 180 up and coming designers in Launchpad, Pulse has positioned itself on the map as the go-to trade show for retailers looking to discover upcoming trends, product launches and exclusive exhibitors.

The visitor figures demonstrated a marginal decrease of 4%, which is indicative of the current market conditions and a sign of cautious retailers after a tough April following an early Easter. Despite this, international buyers were up by 33% demonstrating not only that overseas trading is still strong but that international retailers view Pulse as the must-attend event for discovering innovative commercial and conceptual design.

Combining some of the best of high summer seasonal goods and a selection of trend-setting products, this uniquely positioned trade show once again attracted a number of high calibre buyers including Harrods, Selfridges, House of Fraser, Debenhams, John Lewis, Ted Baker, Amazon, Topshop and many more.

Pulse was also well-attended by key members of the press. Supporting publications included: Elle Deco, The Sunday Times, The Times, Evening Standard, Heart Home, V&A Magazine, Stylesight, BBC, Metro, YOU magazine, WGSN and many more.

In terms of quality of buyers, Nigel Biggs, CEO of Rex International, says: “Pulse is now the most important show in the UK outside of the spring season events. We met an incredible amount of quality gift stores from around the UK and also from around the world. Existing and new retailers were hungry for products and the look and feel of the show was simply breath-taking.”  

In support of the international appeal of Pulse 2013, Taste Taiwan joined the list of brands at the show this year. Hosting a bubble tea party on the Monday of the show, the stand welcome crowds of interested and enthusiastic buyers including Harrods, Paul Smith, Liberty, Fenwick, JOY and even the Ambassador of Taiwan.

Other design collectives taking part at Pulse 2013 included Design Factory, Central Saint Martins and the Princes Trust stand, which showcased a number of designer-makers who have established their unique businesses with the backing of the Trust. Stand-out products included Yinka Ilori’s upcycled furniture and the launch of Rickardo Antonio’s Rope Collection, a limited edition jewellery range made in sterling silver.

Pulse’s ambition to bring its buyers the very latest in design, was emphasised by its collaboration with Mix, a London-based colour consultancy and colour trend expert. Whilst onsite, Mix ran an interactive trend installation and competition with the aim of inspiring buying choices.

“This year for Pulse visitors we have identified three exciting aesthetics that will feed into the key trends for 2014. Moving forward we will see pattern get a fresh new identity, redefining decoration with a focus on exaggerated style while themes that inspire a friendly and homely aesthetic drive a more nostalgic approach to design,” says Sally Davies, Colour Trend Creative, Global Color Research.      

The Pulse Awards were held on the opening day of the show, with a strong line-up of judges. Each winner, be it a company or product, was classified as one to watch over the coming months for those wishing to truly stay ahead on the high street.

Judges included Ailsa Forbes, Retail Consultant for Grace & Flava – Best New Gift Product (winner: OMY Design & Play CG15), Katrina Burroughs, Journalist for The Sunday Times - Best New Home Product (winner: Annette Bugansky Design D3B), Rheanna Lingham, owner of Luna & Curious - Best Fashion Product (winner: Betty Brice R26), Gemma Fabbri and Aey Aspdin from FAO - Best New Launchpad Product (winner: Sabina Savage LP129), Katie Treggiden, founder of Confessions of a Design Geek- Best New Launchpad Exhibitor (winner: Joanna Corney LP30), Ian Rudge Development Director of Clarion Events - Best Dressed Stand Under 24sqm (winner: Undercover A3) and Best Dressed Stand Over 24sqm (winner: La Cerise Sure Le Gateau J51).

Following the well-received change in date line in 2013, Pulse will continue to be positioned as such next year, occupying Earls Court from 11-14 May 2014.

“The quality of buyers in attendance at Pulse 2013, in particular the volume of international visitors, reaffirms Pulse as the destination to spot upcoming trends, undiscovered design talent and stylish, ready-to-retail gift, homeware, fashion, greetings and stationery products. Whilst the tough economic climate has clearly impacted upon the independent retail trade, the high calibre of buyers that attended Pulse highlights that spotting new trends and new designers is more important than ever. I am delighted that the new dateline has been so well received by the market, and look forward to utilising the same timing in 2014 to create an even more successful event, that strengthens our position as the leading commercial and conceptual design-led retail show,” says Raj Gill, Show Director, Pulse.

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