Archive for March, 2011

Thank you to The Baby Show

Written by Joanne Waltham of UK Baby Shows

Posted 31st March 2011

I am delighted to announce that The Baby Show are sponsoring UK Baby Shows! The Baby Show put on the UK’s premier baby shows with events in London Earls Court (October), London Excel (February), Birmingham NEC (May) and Manchester Central (September) as well as the successfully launched Baby Show for Trade. It is great that UK Baby Shows has attracted the attention of the organisation who run the biggest baby shows in the country and their sponsorship is an endorsement of the service we provide.

The Baby Show

I asked Matt Miller, portfolio director of The Baby Show, why he offered to sponsor UK Baby Shows:

The Baby Show is trusted and valued by the nursery trade as a channel for their products to be bought in an informed environment; but we are always interested in doing more to ensure exhibitors understand our shows and get maximum ROI from taking part. The UK Baby Shows website is a smart resource for the trade to review the events that are on offer; to meet and learn from other exhibitors and to compare notes on what has worked best. We are delighted to be supporting the site.

UK Baby Shows is reliant on advertising revenue and the financial support that The Baby Show and other advertisers have given is very much appreciated. It enables us to provide the baby show directory service and continue to offer help and advice to exhibitors and event organisers.

I love all the baby shows, fairs and exhibitions as they bring together unique and innovative baby products and valued local services into one place, providing a great resource for parents. However they can be costly and time consuming to put on. Therefore being an independent organisation that supports all the organisers and exhibitors to get the most from their investment is important to me. At the end of the day a great baby show benefits everyone – the event organiser, the exhibitors and not forgetting the parents who visit!

The Baby Show are also sponsoring me to go to Cybermummy too! Yay! I am really looking forward to meeting and networking with all the mummy bloggers, many of whom I already follow on twitter (if I don’t follow you please tweet me and I will!). Naturally I will be available to discuss The Baby Show with anyone who wants to know more about them. I will also be looking to invite people to guest post on UK Baby Shows about any baby shows that they have visited to give us, the event organisers and the exhibitors the most valuable information  – visitor feedback!

See you at Cybermummy

Tots 2 Teen At The Kent County Showground

Tots to Teens ShowWritten by Jean Moss of Theme Events

Posted 31st March 2011

Waiting for the stork to deliver that special parcel, still deciding how to decorate the nursery,  need the transport for you new arrival,  lots of questions to ask, well look no further than the Tots ‘2’ Teens Show taking place 14-15 May 2011 at the Kent County Show Ground.

New or experienced mums & dads still making those important decisions, not forgetting of course those all important people, grandmas, granddads, aunties, uncles, and all those other people who form your little one’s life, will be able to talk to the professionals on hand to take you through the many different stages of being a parent. There will be advice on pregnancy, choices on giving birth, equipment including nursery furniture, pushchairs, feeding equipment, decor etc.   Securing your child’s financial future is important, don’t worry, there will be financial experts available to advise you on any money issues you may have.

Worried about your car being large enough to carry your baby and all the equipment that goes with them when visiting grandma or just going shopping, look no further an expert will be on hand. Going back to work need to sort out the right childcare it’s all there for you to check out.

There will also be Home, Food and craft sections making your visit to the show more of an experience.

Having a baby, whether it’s your first or your fifth can be a worrying time especially as advice can be contradictory or just plain confusing! Come along to the Tots ‘2’ Teens Show at the Kent County Showground 14 & 15 May 2011 make the right choices for you and your family.

Yorkshire Family Show Update

Yorkshire Family ShowWritten by Victoria Simmons of the Yorkshire Family Show

Posted 24th March 2011

The Yorkshire Family Show will be held at the Yorkshire Event Centre at the Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate on the 20th & 21st of August  and will be a one-stop destination for parents looking to make purchases or find services for their family.

Alongside the shopping event where mums dads and grandparents can make purchases or research products, there will be an action-packed programme of activities and entertainment to keep the children amused.   Face-painting, taster sessions for children’s sport and activity classes, fairground rides, go-karts, and a whole lot more, all within the glorious setting of the Great Yorkshire Showground will make it a great day out for the whole family.

Supporting Martin House Children’s Hospice

The Yorkshire Family Show has chosen Martin House Children’s Hospice as its adopted charity for the event in Harrogate this August.  Martin House Children’s Hospice (registered Charity Number 517919) is based in Boston Spa near Wetherby, and provides care and support to families who have a child or young person with a life-limiting condition, offering a calm and loving environment for the whole family.  The team at the hospice provide a wide-range of services including planned care, symptom control, nursing and practical care, community and hospice-based palliative care, and bereavement support.

Martin House was one of the first children’s hospices and serves families from all over Yorkshire, they do an amazing job and we’re really proud to be supporting them with our event,’ explains Yorkshire Family Show Marketing Manager Victoria Simmons.  Martin House relies almost entirely on voluntary donations and faces a huge challenge each year to raise the £4million needed to run the hospice and provide care to over 400 families each year.

Fund-raising activities at the Yorkshire Family Show will include a sponsored buggy push organised by Pushy Mothers Harrogate, a charity raffle with great prizes on offer from exhibitors and sponsors, and all the proceeds from the fairground rides at the show will go direct to Martin House.

Craft Market

Due to demand, we have created an area of table-top stands where we can showcase the best local, hand-crafted, and one-off products. The Yorkshire Family Show Craft Market will be within the main exhibition hall, and offers very small businesses an opportunity to exhibit and sell their products at a much reduced cost.

A table top space with no power, lighting, or shell scheme costs £100 inc. VAT, inclusive of both days 20th & 21st August 10am-4pm.

Craft Market exhibitors must attend for both days of the Yorkshire Family Show. Due to limited availability and high demand, and in order to achieve a broad mix of items for sale in the market, we will not confirm allocation of space until we have reviewed your application. Products manufactured within Yorkshire will be given preference, but those from outside the region are welcome to apply.

Businesses interested in exhibiting at or sponsoring the event can contact Victoria on 01423 206550 or email info@yorkshirefamilyshow.co.uk

Reviews of The Baby Show ExCel 2011

The Baby Show ExcelWritten by Joanne Waltham from UK Baby Shows

Posted 21st March 2011

On Saturday the 19th of February I trotted off to the Baby Show Excel. It is not my first time visiting and this year I had an additional reason to visit but more about that later in our new “Our News” section.

First of all I had a quick walk round to say hello to the various people I know who were exhibiting. I was delighted to see that many of the small brands I know were exhibiting again and even introduced myself to a few new ones.

I observed the Bras4Mums stand whilst I was waiting to speak to a friend who was helping for the day, and was surprised at just how busy their stand was but then bra fitting properly takes time. I was frustrated on their behalf when I saw a few interested visitors who wouldn’t wait until someone was available to speak to them. I just hope those visitors came back later.

With this in my mind as I walked around the corner, I was astounded to see a queue right round the Planet Baby stand with parents holding on to various items waiting to pay. I sat in the cafe for a while and observed that the queue persisted all afternoon. Obviously they must have had some excellent bargains!

I was delighted to see a number of the pushchair brands at the show, although a couple of visitors commented that they would have liked to have seen the different product types grouped together to make it easier for them compare. I am not sure what the exhibitors would have thought of that though!

As usual the show was a good mixture of the big brand names at good prices and the new innovative baby products not yet available on the high street. Although one visitor I spoke to was hoping to find some products designed for her own twin predicament and was a little disappointed.

I find I am now becoming more of a “professional” baby show visitor so have asked a few mummy bloggers to write about their trips to the Baby Show Excel and we have three posts from:

If you have written about the Baby Show Excel 2011 please add a link to your post below.

I Heart Motherhood Visits The Baby Show ExCel

i heart motherhood visits the baby show excelWritten by I Heart Motherhood

Posted 21st March 2011

On Friday 18th March I went to the Baby Show at London ExCel. I was originally going because I had won some tickets and as I didn’t visit a Baby show when I had my daughter I thought I’d go for a browse now I’m expecting 2nd time around. But then my reason for being at the show took a slight turn and I volunteered to help one of the exhibitors Bras4mums by wearing a maternity bra and showing off my bump on her stand for a couple of hours. The point was to represent Bras4Mums by drawing attention to the stand and highlighting the need for mums to be and new mums to get fitted for maternity and nursing bras rather than continuing to wear uncomfortable, poor fitting underwear. I thoroughly enjoyed my morning helping out the team at Bras4Mums, and it did make my Baby Show experience all the more memorable!

Once I was fully clothed I went off to enjoy the show and these are my favourite products and observations.

Eye-catchers at The Baby Show

The first thing that caught my eye was ‘Ewan the Dream Sheep’! I’m particularly drawn to sheep because my daughter Isla has ‘Sheepy’ her raggedy soft sheep that goes everywhere with her and who gets called upon regularly in her times of need. So, we love sheep in our house and this particular sheep is so cute! Apart from being easy on the eye, he also has great functions and apparently is proven to help babies and toddlers settle quickly and sleep soundly. He lulls babies to sleep with the sounds of the womb or heartbeat and these can also be combined with rain sounds, vacuum cleaner (good old fashioned white noise!) and harp music. The different sounds are made by pressing Ewan’s legs. It also has a comforting pink glow, 20 minute timer and volume control. Check out Ewan the Sheep at Easidream I’m definitely considering getting one for our new arrival in July….

One of our current interests as a family is swimming, as Isla is taking regular swimming lessons with Swim Baby Swim, so I popped by the Konfidence swimming stand and had a chat to Dan there about the various products they were selling. I was really interested in the ‘Konfidence Jacket’ as I hear that they are good for increasing confidence in the water. After chatting to Dan it was decided that she was just a little bit too young for the smallest jacket they do which starts at aged 2. So I’ll keep that one on the back burner, but Dan was really informative and it was great chatting to him.

Green Nippers T ShirtMost of the time I was there my mind was on the new baby and new things that we might like to try this time around and the Green Nippers stand stood out for me for all the gorgeous sleep suits and baby grows they had on offer! They are an organic, ethical and eczema friendly baby and children’s clothing label, inspired by all things green. The colours of the garments were gorgeous and they just oozed love. As I didn’t know the sex yet of the baby I decided to treat Isla instead and bought her this gorgeous top:

Towards the end I spotted a lady giving hand massage and I felt that this would really help me feel like I’d had a lovely day to myself. Any mum will tell you that your hands suffer when you’ve got babies. So I sat down and found out that the products being used were actually a range related to Maclaren – the people that make the Buggy’s! I had no idea that they did other things, the range is called ‘Beginning‘ and is a premium holistic collection of bath and body care products. The hand massage was divine and so I treated myself to a travel kit for mother, which included the lovely oil that I’d sampled.

The Big Hitters

The Focal point of the show was the Stage and I took my seat as Prima baby expert Megan Faure began her talk on tips for getting your baby to sleep – part of every mum’s mission! It was really informative and well presented.

Sainsburys at Baby Show ExcelThere were brilliant cookery demos by Sainsbury’s throughout the show. Their chefs cooked up food that would be good for babies and also pregnant ladies, explaining all the nutritional benefits of the various ingredients.  It was a really great stand and having a seat for bit after being on my feet was good and the smell of the food cooking was amazing, particularly the sweet potato chilli!

Tommee Tippee offered a fantastic feeding area where there was privacy for breast feeding and microwaves for making. Their stand offered excellent reductions on all their products.

Plum Baby had a café where people could recharge their batteries from all the shopping and obviously there was plenty of their baby food on offer – a free sample offered to all under 1’s.

Fisher Price at Baby Show ExcelFisher Price were there with their products and also offered crèche facilities

Pampers provided changing facilities for all.

All in all I had a really fantastic day, and I’d definitely recommend a visit to the Baby Show as it really does hold everything you need under one roof.  I wasn’t really in the market to make many purchases, I still have a lot from baby number 1, but I could see that there were so many bargains and good deals on offer as most exhibitors offered fantastic discounts on their products. The other thing worth saying is that before going to the show I would have thought it best to leave baby at home, but given all the brilliant facilities there it’s a great day out with baby in tow too.

MammaMcCann Visits The Baby Show ExCel

MammaMcCann reports on what visitors want at a baby showWritten by MammaMcCann

Posted 21st March 2011

I was invited by a friend to help out at the ExCel Baby Show and having only been to two local shows I was very unsure about what London shows offer. After hearing how busy the Friday and Saturday were I was on edge to how claustrophobic the show would be and secondly how difficult.

Leaving the house at 7:30am to get a 8:44am train left me plenty of time to get train tickets and meet the others I had organised to travel with. Now Brighton never seems far from London but on this occasion I never arrived at the show until just after 11am. For someone travelling from outside London it seemed extremely difficult to get to going on the train, tube and DLR. Stupidly if I had written down my husbands directions we would have got there much quicker and indeed the journey home took 2 hours.

When I got there I was amazed at the size of the venue and how well all the exhibitors were laid out. Having only been to two other shows this seemed the most aware of their attendees. Lots of room for buggies and bumps. It also didn’t seem overrun with exhibitors giving the public to have the chance to take their time talking to exhibitors.

I would say the mix of stands there were half big brands/companies and half ‘mum/parentprenuers’. Lovely to see but I wish there was a higher ratio of independent exhibitors. Obviously the big brand stands were manic and it was lovely to see interaction with the small/independent firms as well. I will say though that personally as a visitor I would have preferred to see a higher ratio of independent companies. The popular Snoozeshade, Bras4Mums and Ewan the Sleep sheep were represented and their stands very busy. I love supporting independent companies and would have loved to have seen more small businesses there.

It was amazing to see that the event had focused on the visitors, space was obviously highly thought of, no “buggy aisle rage” and plenty of refreshment areas. The only thing I would change for the public attending is more seating and better highlighting of the stop and shop – where you could drop off your shopping and you could either choose to pick up later or have help to your car.

All in all, a great experience to see how the bigger shows run and I’ll be going again next year in the hope of seeing more independent and small companies getting their big shot too.

Sussex Mummy Visits The Baby Show ExCel

Sussex Mummy visit the Baby Show ExcelWritten by Sussex Mummy

Posted 21st March 2011

A fun filled day was spent at ExCel and the exceedingly popular Baby Show. Having never visited a baby show before, but being a veteran of other exhibitions as well as a new mummy, I was massively excited and thankfully not disappointed.

Driving to the show was the best idea we had, and not just because of the amount of parcels we ended up with! A previous trip to the Excel had been done on train and tube and had become a mission of epic proportions. Driving was surprisingly easy and parking simple and reasonable (we paid £10 for 5 hours).

I was a little surprised to see a queue of eager shoppers, expectant mothers and buggies waiting at the door but once we were let in it all became clear. A vast array of stalls and stores faced me selling anything and everything a child from conception to age three, and mummy, might need. Familiar brands and high street stores were interspersed with the lesser known but equally good quality makes.

My highlights include the lovely people at Ellas Kitchen and Plum who were offering feeding advice, free samples and great deals on their organic food ranges. The outstanding baby changing facilities offered by Pampers with free nappies and wipes. The giant baby bouncer and ring stacker displayed by Fisher Price – though I didn’t have a go! And the priceless Shopping Drop Off point provided by Emmas Diary – something we certainly used!

Unfortunately there were lowlights too. The Mothercare stand was one of the largest and had a phenomenal number of people staffing it. That being said whilst I was there looking into Group 1 car seats for almost ten minutes nobody came over to provide information or a sales pitch. They all seemed more intent on chatting amongst themselves, standing around making the area cluttered and impossible to navigate, and drinking coffee. My other lowlight came at the Britax stand. They weren’t selling their products, meerly providing information and advice which was sufficient for me. On the car seat mission once again I chatted with one of the team about features and most importantly for me, price. I was looking for a good quality car seat as cheap as possible – as I’m sure most people are. “I can’t understand why people want cheap stuff.” He said as he showed me a £300 seat. Maybe because we don’t all have £300? Not the way to tempt me to buy your product!

Despite these two faults I found the show a brilliant day out. Grandma and I left heavily laden with bargains for my little boy who’d had a fun day at home with Daddy.

Oh and by the way, whilst driving home we stopped at a retail park for lunch and spotted a Boots Clearance store. If there is one near you get in there. I bought a brand new unboxed ex display Maxi Cosi Axiss car seat for £100 – £120 less than the rrp. I was almost tempted to go back to the show and beat the Britax man around the head with it…

Global Maternity at the North East Maternity Baby and Toddler Show

Global Maternity at the North East Maternity Baby and Toddler ShowWritten by Louise Boyes from Global Maternity

Posted 18th March 2011

Saturday 12th March 2011. The day of the North East Maternity, Baby & Toddler Roadshow had arrived and my alarm catapulted me out of bed at 5am. It was time to get up, get ready and get out!

Apart from Suzanne, the event organiser, Global Maternity was the first business to arrive at 6.45am to set up. Following a minor health and safety hiccup, our plan to creatively suspend our gorgeous maternity clothes from the top of the stand was very quickly replaced with borrowing a rather industrial looking clothes rail from Newcastle Racecourse. We live and learn!

The show was open to the public from 10am to 4pm. The entrance fee was £4.50 for adults, children 10-16 and OAP’s £2.50 and under 10′s free. In total there were 57 exhibitors ranging from children’s clothes and nightwear to real nappies. We exhibited at this show in 2010 and felt that it was a worthwhile opportunity to meet customers, showcase some of our maternity clothes, distribute leaflets, run a prize draw and network with other local businesses in the North East, many of whom we know from Newcastle Business Mums and Mums Business Club North East.

Although exact figures are not known, we felt that visitor numbers were lower than in 2010 and this had an impact for the businesses that we were able to speak to on the day. Despite this, the exhibitor next door to me – Shield Chiropractic kept me on my toes as they showcased their dance moves whilst listening to childrens nursery songs by Jo Jingles! The Gateshead Metrocentre ‘Metro Gnomes’ were also on hand to give both children and adults a giggle!

Attracting a wide range of relevant exhibitors to these events, making sure the event is properly advertised to the target market, and the right venue are [in our minds] key to attracting visitors, increasing sales and ensuring customer satisfaction. So, if it is going to be held at Newcastle Racecourse in 2012, could someone please turn the heating on?! My goose bumps were out in force!

On the plus side, there was a small interactive area where businesses could showcase and talk to visitors about their products. Aggie from Grow up Green was giving demonstrations on using real nappies and Debbie from Pushy Mothers was advocating the benefits of postnatal outdoor fitness.

So, for 2012…perhaps a bigger and better venue, increased number and wider range of exhibitors and some heating may be something to chew over?!

Global Maternity is heading up to Glasgow in April for the 2011 Scottish Baby & Toddler Show. See you there!

Trying to please everyone – exhibition stands

Little Monster Baby and Toddler ShowWritten by Caroline Sparks from Little Monster

Posted 17th March 2011

The Sunday before last, 6th of March, was the Bristol Baby & Toddler Show. It was its fifth birthday and there was lots planned. I was as excited as usual and relieved by the queue of parents and parents-to-be when we opened.

Like every show organiser, every year I have tried to improve the shows for visitors and exhibitors. I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes the changes haven’t worked, but I have needed to try them to test them! Luckily however the shows have got bigger and better every year.

Over the last eighteen months I have met with a handful of “biggies”. By that I mean companies that I would absolutely love to be involved with my shows. Until two years ago each exhibitor had simply been provided with a table, chairs, free power and free wifi. However, one of the “biggies” said – and I quote – “we came along to your show in Bristol and it was fantastic, you certainly get great visitor numbers, but it looked a bit like a church fete. If we were to be involved we’d want every stand to be a shell stand so it doesn’t let our brand down.”

I took this on board, desperate to get a “biggie” involved. Last year half of our stands were shell stands and half were “church fete style” and this year I took the plunge and every stand was a shell stand. Guess what? – I think I made a mistake!

Sadly, in the current economic climate, the “biggies’ are rarely interested in supporting regional shows, and the smaller, local and faithful exhibitors would simply rather pay less and make the most of their space, without the confines of a shell scheme. It may not look quite as professional but does the average visitor actually notice? I don’t think so.

Next year, I expect to be returning to half shell stands and half “church fete style” and hopefully everyone will find something that suits them.

In any case, the Bristol show was as fabulous as ever and a great day was had  by all.  And do visit www.little-monster.co.uk to find out about our shows in Gloucester and Cheltenham.