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Blog Posted By: Bubble London
Bubble: London’s biggest and most comprehensive kids’ show inspires for s/s 18
Posted by: Bubble London 01 August 2017

Bubble has closed its doors after two successful days at North London’s Business Design Centre. Attended by key buyers seeking fresh new talent, Bubble didn’t disappoint with its inspiring range of designs.

Time to shine

Bubble confirmed its position as the launchpad for new designs in the children’s fashion and lifestyle sector.

“I come here to be inspired,” says Olivia Whale, owner of Carmarthenshire-based retailer Baba Mooche. “I’ve seen brands that I would not otherwise have been aware of, which is the exact reason I come to the show. I’ve been attending Bubble since I launched my business two years ago, and it has always been an exciting and positive experience of new ideas.”

This season in particular saw an influx of debuting labels, including Born Bespoke, That’s Mine, Carlie Grace and Eva & Indie. In total, over 80 collections were new to the show, offering buyers an unrivalled opportunity to inject some newness into their stores for s/s 18.

Rising Star winner announced

For Laura Turner – editor of industry trade title CWB Magazine – the new exhibitors made for a particularly tough choice when it came to judging the Rising Star Award, the show’s popular competition which sees the winning, debuting brand receive a free stand at the next edition of Bubble.

“There was a lot of new talent this season but, ultimately, we awarded the Rising Star 2017 to a Bubble debut, Barn of Monkeys,” says Turner, who was joined on the judging panel by retailers Olivia Whale, Kirsty Cunningham and Fiona Stewart. “The brand is organic, ethical and sustainable, but its main appeal is its distinct design and range of colours, which offer a wealth of merchandising potential - we loved the colour stories of Earth, Air and Water and the striking silhouettes which will make for a vibrant addition to the childrenswear industry for s/s 18 and beyond.”

International mix

Arriving from Portugal, Barn of Monkeys joined a truly international line-up of brands. Buyers too arrived from all over the globe, with exhibitors reporting a good mix of business from all over the UK and beyond.

“I’ve done a lot of international business here at Bubble,” says Mark Collins, UK sales manager at footwear label Bobux. “This is the show that attracts the buyers who matter, from the department store buyers to the strong London independents to the global accounts that I wouldn’t pick up if I wasn’t here.”

Childsplay CEO, Nick Bassi, attended this season’s show as both a buyer and panellist after taking part in Sunday’s Buyer’s Panel and added: “Bubble London has brands showing that you won’t find at bigger shows and it’s the place to find that new gem that a store can work with and nurture.”

Lifestyle concepts

Bubble also welcomed a diversified line-up across the sectors, with a strong focus on non-apparel categories such as interiors and accessories.

“I’ve got the impression that retailers are looking to create a lifestyle concept in store,” says Tabara D’Diaye, founder of new exhibitor La Basketry, which offers handcrafted baskets ethically sourced from female artisans in Senegal. “Independents are really picking up on the potential of creating a destination store which gives them a unique identity and the add-on potential of non-clothing collections within the children’s sector.”

It’s a viewpoint shared by Sarah Oliver, who debuted at Bubble with Cradle & Tonic, a luxurious collection of natural candles created for us during pregnancy, birth and the first few months of nursing and soothing.

“The baby shower market is absolutely huge in the UK, and it’s growing by the year,” says Oliver. “The feedback from retailers here at Bubble has definitely been that niche, add-on collections are an essential purchase to create an inspiring in-store offer that merchandises well, and appeals across the children’s and giftware sectors alike.”

Interiors were another key focus at the show, with homewares labels reporting a positive reaction from retailers looking for inspiring nursery product.

“I came to Bubble hoping to see two, key UK buyers, and they have both visited the stand already,” says Mette Mariager, director at debuting Danish furniture label That’s Mine. “The lines that have caught buyers’ attention have been the Fairytale and Bandit lines, and of course our wooden swing, which has already performed phenomenally despite being a brand new launch.”

Retailer favourite

The show closed on a high, having launched the season amidst an upbeat atmosphere that left retailers feeling positive about the season ahead.

“I started coming to Bubble with my business partner when we first opened our store four years ago,” says Kirsty Cunningham, who co-owns children’s footwear and accessories independent Windmill in Crouch End, North London. “It’s our favourite show because it’s inspirational, but also a friendly and laidback place to network with suppliers and fellow retailers. This has been a fantastic edition of the show, and we are leaving with a lot of new ideas which will help us to take the business to the next level, particularly as we are launching online within the next few months. We don’t want to be inundated with returns so the product has to be right, and we have found what we were looking for at Bubble London.

Bubble London will return to the Business Design Centre on 28-29 January 2018. #discoverbubble

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