22 Mar 2023

Behind the scenes: all the latest updates from Glee 2023

As the garden retail sector ramps up activity ahead of the International Festival of Garden, Leisure and Pet, Glee 2023 – taking place at the NEC in late June (27th – 29th) – the team has been busy behind the scenes to ensure that this year’s edition of the show will be bigger and better than ever. Here, we find out more about the latest developments shaping the industry’s leading exhibition.

Talent Store update

Glee’s new Talent Store – which celebrates emerging visual merchandising talent and will culminate in two live retail sets at the show in June – saw its bootcamp take place in early March. 24 nominees from 18 garden centres joined the Talent Store’s visual merchandiser expert, Debbie Flowerday, Wendy Lowe from TrendBible, and Glee ambassador, Michael Perry, at Millbrook Garden Centre in Gravesend to enjoy a day of inspiration and hands on merchandising experience. Throughout the day the delegates heard about the latest trends shaping consumer spend such as wellbeing, and how pastel shades have come back in a big way. Michael Perry also shared details of how his travels inspires his work.

The ‘students’ – made up of many enjoying second careers within garden retail - will now work in groups to develop their pop-up store concepts, which will be judged by Debbie and Michael. Once judged, 12 lucky people (2 groups of six) will be selected to create their vision onsite at Glee. This shortlist will be announced on March 24th.

Exhibitor update

February was a busy month for the Glee floorplan with 36 brands never before seen at Glee, and 11 returning companies securing their place at the 2023 event.

Look out for newbies across Glee’s eight product sectors, including Andermatt, Better Home Products UK LTD, CleverPaint Ltd, Coconut Woods, Heat, Ivy & Twine Candles, KandyToys, KW Metal Flowers, Lawn & Grounds Ltd, Midtherm, Naked Shells Ltd, Nordlux (UK & EIRE) Ltd, Pioneer Brush Co. Ltd., Pricecheck Toiletries Ltd, Storm Skin Ltd, The Candle Brand, The Crop Candle Company Ltd, The Giggle Gift Company, The Wasabi Company, Tumblebug Ltd, TurfSolv, Unipet International Ltd, Vennersys Ltd, Victoria Eggs and Waspinator Ltd.

Returning brands coming back to Glee 2023 will include Green & Home Ltd, Haws Watering Cans Jonart Design, Mele & Co, Natures Menu Ltd, Pet Rebellion Ltd, Phoenox Textiles Ltd, Robbie Toys Ltd (RTL), Shoptek UK, Tailored Planning Solutions and The Wheat Bag Company.

Glee’s international reach continued to grow this month with the US’ Gozeny Inc, Danish-based Dymak, Austrian Biohort GmbH and Cellfast from South Africa all confirming their presence.

On the road

February and March have been busy months for the team, as they take to the road to join colleagues, friends and key stakeholders at other industry events.  

February 21st saw the team exhibiting at the Garden Press Event, sharing with the visiting editors, writers, authors and influencers the vision for Glee 2023 and beyond. During the day, the Glee team was able to open new dialogue with some key influencers regarding Glee’s seminar programme. To-date the Glee seminar programme is shaping up well with big names confirmed. Look out for Dora Clarke from Osprey Charging who will be busting common electric vehicle charging myths; the HTA’s David Denny will be sharing the latest market updates; and Michael Perry - aka Mr Plant Geek - will talk through his tips and tricks for the horticultural industry.

The team has also attended the GIMA Day Conference at Wyboston Lakes, where a host of trend experts and strategists offered insight into everything from the three groups of new gardeners that could pave the future for industry sales, to the “War on Talent” and staff retention – topics that Glee’s own educational programme will also address in June.

Later this month, on March 24th, the Glee team will also be putting their best foot forward, as they join the annual Garden Re-Leaf Sponsored Walk and Cycle Challenge. The walk was the brainchild of Glee Director Matthew Mein, and he has since taken part in every walk. To support the team as they tackle the 20-mile route please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/glee-birmingham-show where the team hope to raise over £1,500 for the Greenfingers Charity, further bolstering the £6,000 that the team raised for the children’s hospice charity throughout 2022.


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