The Glee Innovators Zone has already helped a wide variety of start-up businesses and innovators to take their initial steps into the garden market, whilst providing invaluable support for inexperienced exhibitors. In past years, exhibitors have been exposed to buyers from Homebase, Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Amazon and key UK garden centres, and at Glee 2012 the show is hoping to continue to facilitate these opportunities.
But after securing an exclusive place, what can innovators really expect from their time in the Innovators Zone? Some past exhibitors who have reaped the rewards of the show speak about their encounter.
Where are they now?
David Beck from Red Hot Cob exhibited in Glee’s Innovators Zone in 2011. The fresh, enthusiastic and up and coming company produces a uniquely sustainable alternative to BBQ coal – the BIOBBQ cobs.
David says: “Glee’s Innovators Zone was a great experience for us. We were quite overwhelmed by the enthusiastic reception we received at the event. We had some great conversations with key figures and a large number of requests for samples whilst at the show.
He added: “We would recommend Glee for its vigour and professionalism. It had a telling and positive effect on all in our organisation. We met made many good contacts and greatly appreciated the help we received.”
Another business that took full advantage of Glee’s Innovators Zone in 2011 was DIY gardening innovators Garden on a Roll. Based in the UK, the company provide uniquely simple garden designs in easy to apply rolls that result in designer gardens in a matter of hours.
Antony Henn, from Garden on a Roll said of their experience of Glee: “We had a great time and were so impressed and excited with the feedback we received both during and after the show. Sometimes you can be blinded by an idea that may not work as well as you hope, which often happens when you come up with a concept that you care passionately about. Exhibiting at Glee gave us the confidence that this wasn’t the case and that we had something special that people would want to buy.”
He continued: “We met some retailers who loved our product and wanted us for their own online shops. We are finalising negotiations with a very big player and hoping to sell through them from 2013. To people thinking of securing a place – if you want the world to know about your new product or simply want to get feedback and views from the people in the industry that matter, then definitely don’t hesitate!”
Back for 2012
Many companies who take their first tentative steps into the industry within the Innovators Zone often return to take part in the main body of the show in the following years. Boosted with a product offering that has been tailored following the feedback they received in the ‘Zone’, these companies are back and ready to do business!
Previous Innovators who will be back in 2012 include Vitec Global. Hannah Bruce, Marketing Executive at Vitec Global, said: “Last year was our first time exhibiting at Glee in the Innovation Zone with our newly launched product Never Green®; an antimicrobial preventing the growth of mould, mildew and fungi. The success of Glee last year where we had the chance to talk to so many of the important decision makers relevant to our products left us in with no doubt that we should attend again this year to make an even bigger impact on the market. Having the chance to properly speak to both the independents as well as the multiples really gave us the chance to gage the reaction to the launch of Never Green®, which was and has continued to be positive. We cannot wait to be back at Glee this year and look forward to introducing our extended product range to even more buyers”
Another exhibitor that is returning to the 2012 show is The Lawn Company. In 2011 they showcased CastClear, a domestic approved, non-pesticide lawn worm cast suppressant. Mike Seaton, MD of The Lawn Company said: “The response we received at Glee 2011 was incredible. Having the feedback from the industry really helped us develop our offering. We were also lucky enough to have some buyers work with us to develop our labelling, in fact in some ways it was like having an extension of our team! Since then we’ve been busy building our product portfolio, as well as contacting garden centres and agents, with particular interest coming from Europe and the USA. Visitors to our stand this year will be able to see first-hand our revised labelling, as well as potentially a smaller sales unit, but more than this we will be working to continue to bridge the gap between professional and domestic lawn care products.”
Slugbell are also back in 2012, bringing with them their unique slug and snail pest control device that was successfully launched during last year’s show. Michael Messina, the inventor of Slugbell, said: “Since Exhibiting at Glee I have had endless enquiries and sales from international wholesale buyers to numerous garden centres, gift shops, online retailers, as well interest from the garden press including print, broadcast and online channels. For me, exhibiting at Glee has really helped my business to grow and develop, and I hope to repeat this success at this year’s show with the introduction of a smaller sized Slugbell, as well as my newest innovations, the ‘Garden Hoe & Sow’ and the ‘Hand Hoe & Sow’. We’ve witnessed a phenomenal response to these products already and can’t wait to see what people at Glee have to say!”
Nick Davison, Glee event director said: “The Innovators Zone is a great opportunity for emerging companies to take their first tentative steps into the marketplace. With thousands of key figures set to visit Glee in September, there has never been a better time to get new and fresh products under the eyes of industry professionals.”
Find out more
More details about Glee 2012, including the wealth of new features that will help create an even more interactive and valuable Glee than ever before, will be announced in the coming months. To find out the latest news and to register for your free ticket please log onto www.gleebirmingham.com. For details on exhibiting at Glee, call 0207 728 4623.