Merchandise World – 2020 The Kick Off

As Merchandise World heads into a new decade, there are plenty of good reasons to be sent to Coventry

Another year, another sports enormodome venue for Merchandise World. Following September’s inaugural visit to Milton Keynes’ home of the MK Dons, the industry’s biggest show has headed up the motorway to Coventry’s Ricoh Arena, where Wasps rugby team, play their home games.

The sixth Merchandise World marks, not only the start of a new year, but the beginning of a new decade. February is of course the main time when everyone involved with sales in distributor companies wants to meet suppliers to discover the new and best-selling promotional products for the new selling year. Merchandise

World provides access to thousands of product ideas under one roof, mixing traditional exhibition, with networking, and the option of pre-booking appointments to ensure that your time is best spent. This year’s two-day event marks a return to the Ricoh Arena for the industry after. a few years away from a venue that has a long association with the merchandise industry in various guises. Its central location in the Midlands makes it easy to reach for visitors and exhibitors from around the UK, as well as the growing number of guests from Europe. Yet again, Merchandise World has proved to be a sell-out, with space being added to cater for more than 200 of the sector’s leading promotional suppliers.  The event is expected to attract around 1,500 visitors.

Distributors will be able to meet new and existing suppliers, and exhibitors will get to press the flesh with their existing customers and drum up new trade. Among the established industry names set to return to the show are MidOcean, Senator, AMT Trading, Senator Pens, Preseli, Xindao, The Sweet People, Prodir, The Umbrella Company, and PF Concept. New exhibitors at the show include Araco International, AZX Sports, Badge4U, Banners Ink, Branded Samples, Chocovana, Just Promo Lanyards, and the Original Metal Sign Co. Here are just a few of the companies that will be at the show.

Thirst aid

Water bottle specialist, First Editions is looking to capitalise on the upsurge in popularity of sustainable and reusable drinkware with its game-changing Aqua range. The company claims the Aqua is set to become a ‘must have’, thanks to its combination of aesthetics, craftsmanship and choice. The new range is completely UK made and offers a refillable, re-usable bottle-for-life. Manufactured from BPA-free Tritan, it is available in a choice of colours, finishes and with added extras such as fruit infuser and straw. It is available in two sizes. As well as some great products, First Editions’ stand will also be hosting a fun competition. The promotional merchandise world is full of great characters, and First Editions has taken some of the industry’s best-known faces and turned them into avatars. If you can guess who’s who, you could win some great prizes.

In the bag

JuteBag has been busy strengthening its range will be showing a substantial new range of recycled bags, in rPET, recycled cotton and recycled jute. The new rPET range could make a big impact, as concerns over the environmental impact of plastic continue to figure high on many agendas today. Using closed loop production methods and featuring the strapline ‘Turning Bottles into Bags’, rPET provides a promotional product with serious eco credentials.

Recycled PET bottles have caps and labels removed, before being sorted, cleaned, and shredded and ground into pellets. These are then melted down and extruded into a fibre, which is transformed into rolls of fabric to be made into products such as the new rPET Tombili bag. Look out for a giant-size bag showing off the entire rPET concept. There will also be a stand competition where you can win bags of prizes. JuteBag has fully audited factories producing OEKOTEX and REACHcompliant bags. The factories have also successfully undergone Global Recycling Standards (GRS) and BSCI factory audits and are Sedex compliant.

Tech savvy

Near Field Communication (NFC) looks set to be one of the game-changers for promotional merchandise in 2020 and specialist Baby USB is on top of the trend.

The company’s NFC-ready solutions featuring light-up logo capability, are expected to turn heads at the show. NFC chips embedded into a range of products can be pre-loaded with data such as a simple website URL and with one tap of a phone, customers web links, vouchers, discount codes, maps, competitions and more. It’s also easy to track when the material is accessed to assess a campaign’s effectiveness.

Along with established favourites such as audio accessories, power banks and wireless chargers, Baby USB will be showcasing a new collection of executive giftsets. Also new for 2020 is a fresh range of Temper Glass products with brilliant colour reproduction and full surface coverage. Temper Glass is robust and safer than standard glass and after printing, the ink is bonded to the surface for a permanent print which won’t scratch off.

On the edge

Castelli will be showcasing its high quality Italian made products and cutting edge branding solutions, including new Digital Edge, which allows full colour branding options on the page edges of its stylish notebooks. Company logos, trademarks, texts and creative designs can be reproduced in brilliant colours and eco-friendly inks which will distinguish your brand presence. A specially created range of cut flush notebooks are designed to accentuate the edge branding.

There are three different flexible cover designs to choose from, in a selection of colours, featuring FSC certified paper, rounded corners and vertical elastic closure bands. With large UK stock availability and in-house branding capabilities, Castelli can facilitate quick turnaround orders and low order quantities from as little as 50 units.

The write stuff

What use is a notebook without something to write with? Pen specialist Goldstar will be revealing its new catalogue and products at Merchandise World. As well as its rockstar named pens, such as the Bowie and the Crosby, Goldstar can talk about its extensive branding options, such as laser engraved, ColourJet, LaserXL, and Laser in line with clip. With personalisation in hot demand, the company can provide the perfect combination of executive gifts, such as the Bowie Mix and Match Gift Set. Any two products from Goldstar’s highly popular Bowie range (ballpoint pen, stylus pen andmechanical pencil) in any available colour can be combined in the stylish new Gift Set. While the products are the stars, there are plenty of other things to check out during the two days of the show.

British made

Briman Group will be once again extolling the virtues of all things British made, with the added incentive of its fun treasure hunt. Get around all of the Briman members’ stands, find out about their great products, remembering to get your treasure map stamped, and claim some yummy sweets as a prize. For a preview of what Briman members will be showing, check out Mark Alderson’s column on page 44.

BPMA and education

As a joint owner of Merchandise World, the BPMA will have a strong presence at the show, answering any questions that visitors have about the industry, and signing up new members. If you don’t receive your own copy of Product Media, don’t forget to register for the publication on the BPMA stand. BPMA staff will also be on hand to deal with any requests concerning its industry leading education.

Watch out for seminars and sessions running on the BPMA stand also. Those who can make it to Coventry on the day before the show can come away with some excellent industry learning via the BPMA Education Day. This pre-show event is renowned for packing in sessions full of insight and practical takeaways that can be used straight away in your business. There are still places available – contact

Sustainable future

Following September’s introduction of ECOWorld to showcase the best in sustainable merchandise, February’s showwill offer an improved platform for these innovative products. The BPMA stand will be home to a selection of the best on offer – get along and see what promotions won’t cost the earth. Branding World also makes a welcome return, allowing visitors to get up close and personal with branding techniques. At the most recent Merchandise World, visitors were able to check out techniques as diverse as computer driven textiles branding, to hand finished painting, and could even have a go at making their own jelly sweets. Expect a similar experience at February’s event.


As well as being a great place to meet and do business, Merchandise World is also the place to be to indulge in a bit of collective back slapping. On the product front, the Ricoh Arena will be the first place that you will be able to see all of the winners of the BPMA Product Awards at Merchandise World. There are ten categories of awards from textiles and technology, to eco and executive. Each category has silver, gold and platinum award winners, and you can check these out on page 22 before seeing the actual items at Merchandise World. Rest assured that they represent the best the industry can offer.

The evening of the first day of the showwill see the presentation of the BPMA Awards at a Gala event in the Premier Lounge at the Ricoh Arena. The keenly-contested awards are unique in that they are presented by the industry based on votes from the industry so they are an authentic gauge of sentiment about industry peers and competitors.

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