Archive for January, 2012

What to look forward to in the World of Baby Shows for 2012 and beyond……..


Suzanne Borrell, founder of the BabyExpoUK brand and Communications Director for What’s On 4 with business partner WO4 founder and MD Sam Willoughby (and combined children) talks about:

What to look forward to in the World of BabyShows for 2012 and beyond……..

  • Definitely the rise of the ‘Nearly New’ Show – we have already seen a swift emergence of these locally and even nationally. The NCT have of course been running ‘Nearly New Sales’ for a significant time, benefiting from a fabulous database of new parents and parents-to-be, volunteer labour and sometimes discounted venue rates due to their charitable status – it will be interesting to see how these new events will be able to compete, especially if the market becomes too saturated (which we think it will).
  • Emergence of more 2 day babyshows – exhibitors are increasingly finding the time and cost investment for a one day show is not proving sufficient value to justify their attendance.
  • Venues – as venues continue to struggle as shows in general are postponed or cancelled during these harsh economic times, organisers we should be putting the pressure on them to offer the best rates possible in order to pass savings on to clients and retain our competitive edge.
  • Continued consumer demand – people are still having babies! Despite the economic climate, many parts of the UK are seeing consistently increasing birth rates! What visitors are seemingly more reluctant to do is to spend on high ticket prices and endure longer journeys to events and, once onsite, are likely to barter harder with exhibitors. This is where the regional baby show can come in to its own as long as it can boast the range of exhibitors and offer easy access.

But what about the market generally…there’s no doubt it’s been a tough couple of years and we are not out of the woods yet. The sector has an exciting time ahead with significant world class events before us – not least the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympic Games – bringing more pressure on the calendar, more demand for press coverage and more competition for visitor attention!

Mid 2012 is when our industry experts generally feel we will return to profitable business (according to Exhibition News) but retail shows are expected to continue to feel the squeeze. Stephen Brooks, Chairman of the AEO (The Association of Event Organisers) predicts 2012 will be even more of a challenge for exhibitors as they face further cost cuts as the UK prepares for another economic downturn.

Future – the future is still bright however for those strong, content-rich, exciting shows with organisers who can move with the times, embrace new technologies and ride the storm. The likely loss of Earls Court could also have an interesting impact on the future for us…..unless industry can persuade Mr Johnson otherwise…watch this space……

For more on BabyExpo UK see



Baby Show visitors – would love your views…..

So as you know, this is a shiny new job for me and I am trying to soak up as much as I possibly can.

I would love to know what it is that you look for when thinking about attending a baby show. Is it all to do with location, cost of the ticket or which stalls will be there? What other deciding factors might there be?

Have you been to shows with bump and then after bump has arrived? How useful have you found attending these types of events?

So many questions for a friday morning hey! I would dearly love to hear some of your views on my questions so if you have the time please do give me a comment or two, I’m enjoying finding out what makes you all tick in relation to these events.

If you want to please come and tweet me too on @ukbabyshows

A big Hello!

My first blog in my new position! I wanted to take an opportunity to quickly introduce myself so you get an idea of who I am.

Firstly I am a mum of two, I have a boy and a girl aged 8 (today!) and 6, I can’t quite believe how quickly the time has gone but we are now well and truly into the school routine and so here I am, working in a real office, with real working hours which is such a novelty!

And so to my purpose for being here. I am looking to get even busier, I want to hear all about any Uk Baby Shows that are going on up and down the country, I want to hear from organisers, exhibitors and any of you who visit the shows too.


I will be looking out for Guest Bloggers to so if any of you out there would be interested then please do contact me. You can follow us (if you don’t already) on Twitter and Facebook too.

So please come along and say hi, come and get involved and if you’ve anything interesting you think would suit our website then drop me a line.

I’m looking forward to seeing what’s out there!


Twitter: @ukbabyshows


Baby Show blog – exclusive news from BabyExpo UK…

We love an exclusive, and knowing things before other people! It’s great :))

BabyExpo UK and What’s On 4 Ltd - the organisers of Brighton Baby Expo will be running another BabyExpo, September 29 & 30 2012, in a location that is to be announced.

We figured you would want to know, to be able to mark the date in your diary now!

More info as soon as we’re allowed to share it with you all.



Baby Show Blog on… the value of a baby show

Baby Show – my two favourite words. But behind the scenes at a baby show is something we don’t hear too much of, so I am sharing this lovely blog we just had in from Suzanne Borrell at BabyExpo Brighton, soon to be known as part of BabyExpoUK …. 


A nice thing happened Friday – I had this email:

Hello, can you help me please, I saw a new plastic Trike being test ridden by several toddlers at the show but I forgot to go and find out what the Trike was called & where I could buy one, can you help? My daughter would love one. Many thanks.

To me this is what it is all about.  I have been organising exhibitions for nearly 20 years and we used to refer to this as the ‘lighting the blue touch paper’ moment. Combining all the necessary elements and ingredients together and then stepping back to watch it happen.

I love the fact that probably by now, this exhibitor (toddlebike!) will have made another sale on the back of the event – many weeks on – and these parents will now doubtless tell their friends, and the group of mums who see the Trike in action at their next gathering or at the park may well be inspired enough to buy one and tell their friends so it goes on….and that is the way it should be….

A good Baby show works so well on this level because parents – especially mums – TALK! I explain to exhibitors frequently that a good show is so much more than the day itself. The event should be raising your awareness and generating sales via the online list/links, blogs, facebook pages and visitor newsletters both in advance but especially post event. Exhibitors should not always be dis-heartened if footfall is strong BUT they don’t seem to make much money on the day. Really impress just 10 mums at a baby show and you can be sure 100 could well know of your product or service within a month. Our exhibitors frequently tell me they are still making sales 6+ months to a year down the line!

Producing a successful baby show is not rocket science. They are the result of A LOT of very hard work, luck, experience and a fair bit of charm.  The satisfaction however of combining keen buyers with wonderful sellers under one roof for one day and watching 9+ months work come together is enormous.

BabyExpo on November 13 2011 was our best yet – highest footfall, greatest number of exhibitors and a really inspiring programme of activities and entertainment – from conception to colic and tons for the kids. Every year I say I am going to try and streamline the programme & make it more manageable & every year I get carried away – this year we had a record 5 ‘extra’ areas ranging from the new Parent’s Pit Stop Zone with Mayo Wynne Baxter to the JUNO Natural Parenting Zone. We were delighted to welcome the wonderful Phil Gallagher from Cbeebies and Jo Tantum, the UK’s no 1 baby sleep expert as well as Headline Sponsors NCT, diddi dance, Early Years Childcare, Sing and Sign and Yummy Mummy Maternity. Thank goodness BabyExpo is now part of the lovely ‘What’s On 4’ family. It meant I had fantastic support from business partner Sam, sales manager Mel, Zena, Susanne, a great team of volunteers, various husbands, best friends and older children – despite our numbers, none of us stopped all day!

The event feedback has been amazing but I have to pay tribute to our exhibitors once again. Not only do they have faith in us and invest in the event in these difficult economic times, but many go out of their way to assist us in the promotion both professionally – emailing their clients and contacts and personally – taking fliers into their children’s nurseries, placing event information on various intranets, putting poster in their local libraries etc.

BABYEXPO is a partnership and we work hand in hand with our clients to achieve its success. We always learn from every event – ironically some of our harshest criticism this year has been that too many people attended – having been at some other events where just a few hundred visitors came we know there are worse problems to have HOWEVER we will work on the layout and stand design to assist this and are already in discussions to this end.

As usual the post-show blues have set in but am already excited about the next show and a new show we will hopefully be announcing in a few weeks!
I really hope you will join us! To read some of our feedback click here

The Baby Show Blog on… predictions for baby shows in 2012

A quick blog, with 3 predictions for Baby Shows in 2012.

Baby Show 2012 - makes 3 predictions

  1. Second hand, nearly new and pre loved sales becoming more popular, with baby show organisers becoming more savvy to the opportunities to run baby shows alongside a nearly new, pre loved baby clothing sale.
  2. More use of technology. I think that the more experienced Baby Show organisers will go down this route because the bigger brands will want access to data if they are going to make a good ROI from their involvement in regional shows and data is a valuable commodity
  3. More charity based baby shows, organised by volunteers, for not for profit purposes. This is always a great thing in concept, but the outcomes are variable and exhibitor expectations need to be in line with the fact that it’s being organised by volunteers and not a professional or “for profit” business activity.

What do you think will be important in the baby show world in 2012?