Giftware Industry Guide

Presents, wrapping paper and gift shop

Here you will find sources of information such as market research (statistics, trends, developments), key companies, trade magazines, newsletters, and Internet sources.

For the purpose of this guide giftware includes promotional goods and merchandise, greetings cards, crafts, ceramics, glassware, tableware, homewares, small leather goods, party goods and luxury items. There are other guides covering jewellery and toys. Crafts are also covered in Arts & Crafts guide. It will be useful for anyone wishing to further their knowledge of this wide sector.

Start-Up Information

COBRA logo
accessible via electronic databases
The Cobra database contains practical fact-sheets on all aspects of starting, running and managing a small business – including information on writing business plans, marketing, company structures etc.

It also covers the practical aspects of how to start and run particular types of businesses – outlining necessary skills, regulations, licences and legislation etc. and highlights other sources of information and advice available.

Business Opportunity Profiles (BOP) 

Arts & Crafts Gallery  BOP115 
Decorative Glassware Maker  BOP195 
Craft Supplies Retailer  BOP449 
Gift Shop  BOP392 
Greeting Card Maker  BOP144 
Greeting Card Shop  BOP565 
Pottery & Ceramics Maker  BOP063 

Mini BOP

Candle Maker  MBP140 
New Age Shop  MBP298 
Party Supplies Shop  MBP348 
Personalised Gift Retailer  MBP379 
Promotional Merchandise Retailer  MBP300 

Several other Cobra fact sheets may be useful in researching this diverse sector.

Small Business Help Books 

This is a collection of books with practical information aimed at those starting and running a business. Located in the Centre.

The Craft Business Handbook by Alison McNicol (Kyle Craig, 2012) [SBH BT.137 Small Business Help]
How to make money from crafts. Includes pricing, marketing, websites. American but relevant to UK.

Craft Show and Sell by Torie Jayne (Search Press, 2014) [SBH BT.17 Small Business Help]
Building a craft business, including online sales, brand building and marketing.

Crafters Market 2016 by Kerry Bogert (Fons & Porter, 2015) [SBH BT.18 Small Business Help]
American book but has some tips for UK craftspeople. 

How to Sell What You Make: the Business of Marketing Crafts by Paul Gerhards (Stackpole Books, 2013) [SBH BT.60 Small Business Help]
Book includes chapters on selling to the trade, the internet, galleries etc. American book but some useful advice for UK sellers.

Making It! by Mollie Makes [Lara Watson] (Collins & Brown, 2014) [SBH BT.74 Small Business Help]
Staring and running a craft business including costs, pricing and online marketplaces.

Online Marketing for Your Craft Business by Hilary Pullen (David & Charles, 2014) [SBH BT.83 Small Business Help]
Guide to promoting and selling handmade goods via social media. Include search engine optimisation, blogs and cross-channel content strategy.

Selling Your Crafts Online with Etsy, eBay and Pinterest by Michael Miller, 2013) [SBH BT.95 Small Business Help]
American book on how to sell your hand-made goods by well-known marketplaces. 

Start and Run a Gift Shop by Val Clark (How To Books, 2009) [SBH BT.104 Small Business Help]
Book showing how to start and run a giftware retailers. Covers buying stock, selling, premises, staffing, importing, security and internet trade. 

Starting & Running a Greeting Cards Business by Elizabeth White (How To Books, 2008) [SBH BT.117 Small Business Help]
Includes design, pricing, selling etc.

Starting Up a Gallery and Frame Shop by Annabelle Ruston (A&C Black, nd c.2009) [SBH BT.119 Small Business Help]
Advice on setting up a gallery and framing business including choosing a premises, investment etc.


How to Start a Gift Shop (Startups)
Free six page guide on how to start a gift shop.

Market Research & Statistics 

If you are planning on starting a business you will need to be aware of the latest trends, developments and opportunities within your industry which can all be found from market research.

Market research also covers market size and forecasts, consumer demographics and attitudes, the key players and products and will often include SWOT and PEST analysis showing areas of strength, weakness, opportunities etc.

COBRA logo

  • Cobra Sector Guides: Crafts & Creative Industries (SEC019)

GlobalData logo

  • Retail Occasions Series: UK All Year Gifting 2019
  • Retail Occasions Series: UK All Year Gifting (Cards & gift wrap) 2019
  • Retail Occasions Series: UK Retail Occasions Market 2018
  • Retail Occasions Series: UK Easter 2019
  • Retail Occasions Series: UK Mother’s Day 2019
  • Retail Occasions Series: UK Valentine’s Day 2019
  • Retail Occasions Series: Uk Christmas 2019

IBISWorld logo

  • Ceramic Household & Ornamental Articles Manufacturing in the UK (C23.410)
  • Online Greetings Card Retailers in the UK (UK0.017)
  • Promotional Product Distribution (M73.110)

(Some of the UK reports above will also have equivalents for the US, Canada, Ireland and some other countries)

Mintel logo

  • Christmas Gift Buying 2019 
  • Christmas Shopping Habits 2018
  • Gifting in Beauty & Personal Care 2018
  • Gifts & Greetings Cards 2013
  • Greetings Cards & Personal Stationery Retailing 2017
  • Homewares 2015
  • Shopping for the Home at Christmas 2019

Passport logo

  • Home & Garden in the United Kingdom
  • Home & Garden Specialist Retailers in the United Kingdom
  • Homewares in the United Kingdom 
  • Luxury Goods in the United Kingdom

(There will be reports on the same subject covering other countries)

YouGov logo

  • Christmas Spending Intentions 2017
  • Greetings Cards 2013
  • Halloween & Bonfire Night 2012

Please note that YouGov reports are now only available via the British Library electronic catalogue.

Please note that many articles about the industry (from business journals and newspapers) are available from electronic sources: ISI Emerging Markets, eMarketer, Business Source Complete (EBSCO), Factiva etc. 

Other Market Research Reports 

Measuring the Craft Economy (Crafts Council, 2014) Overview of value of the crafts industry to the economy. Free online.

Business News & Journals

In order to find the latest news on your topic it is always worth searching Factiva, Business Source Complete and EMIS.

You will find articles from specialist business and academic journals, as well as newspapers and magazines. You may also find market research reports and case studies. As well as profiles of leading industry figures.

You will also find articles covering recent developments, and predicting future trends in your industry.

Trade Magazines and Newsletters

Useful for gaining inside knowledge, recent trends, industry news, company profiles, reviews of new products and services. Some contain annual reviews and company contact lists. Some may need to be ordered via Explore the British Library (please ask for help).

Ceramic Review (Ceramic Review, bi-monthly) [(B) MV 23 –E(8) (Science 2)]
Magazine of ceramic art and craft. Includes classified ads and exhibitions guide.

Craft Business (Aceville Publications, monthly) [(B) AK 52 –E(1) BUS]
Monthly newspaper for the crafts, art, needlecraft, fabrics and haberdashery industries. Includes new product details, manufacturer profiles etc. Website has online craft business directory. 
Crafts (Crafts Council, bi-monthly) [P.423/209 Humanities] (Must be ordered using the Explore the British Library)
Profiles of contemporary craftspeople, guide to galleries and shows in the UK, details of suppliers to the crafts industry. Some articles and sections available on Crafts Council website. 
Gift focus magazine (Kline Davis, bi-monthly) [(P) 381.4567 –E(1) BUS]
News for the giftware industry including company and new product information, interior design, jewellery etc. Current and back issues free on website. 

Gifts Today (Lema Publishing Ltd, monthly) [ZK.9.b.10592 Humanities] (Must be ordered using the Explore the British Library)
Magazine for the giftware trade. Includes retail news, heritage retailing (museums etc.), jewellery, licensing news, new products and ranges, company profiles. Past issues on website.
Giftware Review & HomeInteriors (Detailextra, Monthly) [(P) 745.094105 – E(1) BUS]
Details of new products for giftware retailers, e.g. jewellery, greetings cards, ceramics, novelty goods, toiletries, Christmas goods etc. Past issues on website. Up to 2014 on shelf. Current and past issues on website.

Greetings Today (Lema Publishing Ltd., Monthly) [P.513/667 Humanities] (Must be ordered using the Explore the British Library)
Magazine for the greetings card industry. Includes industry news, profiles etc. Website for magazine (past issues on site).

Luxury Briefing (Atlantic Publishing, monthly) [(B) AL 90 –E(64) BUS]
Newsletter covering fashion, beauty, luxury goods and services, jewellery, interiors etc. Includes market trends, company analysis etc.

Marketing Week (Centaur, weekly) [(P) AQ89 –E(2) BUS]
General weekly magazine for people in marketing, but has regular advertising section on promotional gifts.

Progressive Gifts & Home Worldwide (Max Publishing Ltd., bi-monthly) [ZK.9.b.18996 Humanities] (Must be ordered using the Explore the British Library)
Magazine for importers, wholesalers and retailers in giftware and homewares including glassware, ceramics, decorative items, jewellery, gift wrap etc. Includes new product news, product directory, bestsellers, company profiles. No issues received since 2014 but back issues are free on the website (click on cover image, bottom right).

Progressive Greetings (Max Publishing, monthly) [ZK.9.b.18941 Humanities] (Must be ordered using the Explore the British Library)
Magazine for the UK greetings cards industry. Includes artist profiles, innovations, advertisements etc.

Progressive Party (Max Publishing Ltd., bi-monthly) [ZK.9.b.23535 Humanities] (Must be ordered using the Explore the British Library)
Covers the party goods market, including weddings, costumes, decorations etc. Now discontinued in paper form but we have issues up to Nov/Dec 2014. Recent editions can be viewed online (link on right of page).
Tableware International (Williams Press Ltd., quarterly) [(P) MV 072 –E(4) Science 3]
Magazine for the tabletop, gifts and housewares. Includes glassware, ceramics, cooking equipment. Contains company profiles, new products, country profiles and exhibition reports. Some information on the magazine website. 

World Leather (World Trades Publishing, monthly) [(B) EK 20 –E(17) (Science 2)]
Leading international magazine covering the leather industry. Covers both the raw leather and leather goods sectors.


Contain lists of companies and industry contacts. Some have annual industry reviews, and specialist articles.

Awards & Imaging (Hill Media, annual) [(B) DIR 338.4761739025 BUS]
International trade directory for trophies, awards, engraving and gift personalisation.

Craft Business Directory (Aceville Publications, annual) [(B) DIR 338.47745502541 BUS]
For buyers of crafts materials, including services for the craft business. Also has useful articles on selling crafts, social media etc. Free version online.

Craft Seller’s Companion (David & Charles, 2013) [(B) DIR 745.5068 BUS]
Source of information on craft suppliers, eCommerce platforms, publishers, social media, funding and advice, shows and fairs. 

Department Store Yearbook (Onecoms, annual) [(B) DIR 381.14102541 BUS]
General buyers guide for department and variety store buyers. It has good sections on giftware, kitchen and homewares, crafts, jewellery etc.

Exhibition Handbook (Mash Media, annual) [(B) DIR 659.152 BUS]
Covers suppliers to the exhibition industry & includes section of promotional goods for exhibitions. 

Garden and Hardware Yearbook (Onecoms, annual) [(B) DIR 338.47635 BUS]
Buyers guide for managers of garden centres so includes horticultural goods, but also good coverage of suppliers of gifts, greetings cards, tableware, household goods, Christmas goods etc.

Glass International Directory (dmg Business Media, annual) [(B) DIR 666.10294 BUS]
Covers industrial and domestic glass industries including hand-made products, ornamental glassware, vases etc.

Interior Design Yearbook: Professional Edition (Onecoms, annual) [(B) DIR 729.014797103 BUS]
Directory for interior designers covering furniture etc., but also includes sections on textiles, tableware, china and glassware, decorative accessories and mirrors. Consumer edition also available.

The Museum Services Directory (Museums Association, annual) [(B) DIR 069.0284 BUS]
Includes a small section giving suppliers of merchandise for museum giftshops.

Showtime Worldwide (Max Publishing, annual) [(B) DIR 338.4768 BUS]
Annual guide to trade fairs in the giftware, greetings and housewares industries.

The Trade Source Book (Progressive Greetings, annual) [(B) DIR 676.2823 BUS]
Has some contact details but is more of a guide to the greetings card industry including dealing with envelopes, printing, finishes, copyright etc. Free version online.

Internet Sources

Websites containing free sources of industry statistics, information and contacts.

British Allied Trades Federation

Federation covering associations for the giftware, jewellery and travel goods trades. Site has details of exhibitions, a list of members and information on importing and exporting.

British Ceramic Confederation

Association includes tableware manufacturers, among the other uses of ceramics. Includes searchable database of manufacturers.

British Craft Trade Fair

Annual trade fair held in Harrogate in April where independent craftspeople and designers show their work to potential trade buyers. Includes online catalogue and list of exhibitors.

British Glass

Association website. Mostly about glass manufacturing, but also useful information on crystal and decorative glass in the market place, supplier guide and information on recycling. 

British Independent Retailers Association

Association of small retailers including gifts, cards and homewares shops.  

British Toy & Hobby Association

Main industry body for toys and games. Includes details of members etc. 

British Travelgoods and Accessories Association 

Trade association covering luggage, handbags, leather goods etc. Site includes details of trade shows, searchable databases of manufacturers and retailers and market information. 

Ceramic Art London

Annual trade fair for artist produced ceramic goods. Useful exhibitor gallery section. 

Contemporary Glass Society

Society for professional glassware makers, collectors and galleries. Site includes member directory and details of exhibitions and fairs. 

Craft Business

Online version of the magazine including news and features. You can register for the free digital edition. Also advertising for crafts suppliers. 

Craft Scotland

Similar organisation to the Crafts Council (below).

The Craft Shows

Series of trade shows for crafts and design including Crafts at Christmas. Includes exhibitor lists.

Crafts Council

Public body promoting crafts and craftsmanship. Site has large illustrated searchable database for crafts people for bespoke work, also exhibitions, information services and research documents. 

Exclusively Housewares

Annual trade exhibition for the housewares sector held in Islington. Site includes exhibitor list.

Gift Focus

Online version of the magazine. Industry news, events, competitions and a ‘find a supplier’ facility.

Gifts Today

Online version of the magazine. Past issues available on website. 

Giftware Association

Trade body for the UK gift and home industry. Includes details of membership, a blog, events etc.

Giftware Review

Online version of the magazine. Includes industry news links and you can sign up for a free newsletter. Includes the Garden Centre Buyer. 

Giving & Living

Home and Gift trade show held in January in Exeter. Website includes exhibitor list. 

The Greats Gift Retailer Award

Annual awards for the gift retailing industry. Includes archive of previous winners. 

Greeting Card Association

Trade association for greetings card publishers in the UK. Website has useful information for start-up businesses in greetings cards and a members directory. Also market and technical information including IP and details of events. 

Greetings Today

Online version of magazine. Includes industry and product news, blogs, agent news and details of events. 

Harrogate Christmas and Gift Fair

Trade fair held annually in January for the Christmas market later in the year. Covers Christmas goods and giftware and site include a list of exhibitors. 

The Henries Awards

Annual awards for the greetings card industry. Includes archive of previous winners. 

The Heritage Crafts Association

Membership organisation for people engaged in tradition crafts. 

Home and Gift

Annual trade show, held every year in Harrogate in July. Covers the whole spectrum of giftware. Site includes exhibitor list with contact details and links. 

ICHF Events

Organises trade shows around the UK including creative crafts, textiles, cake making, sewing and hobby crafts. 

International Housewares Association

Based in the US, this is the international trade body for housewares. Site includes industry data and details of the International Home and Housewares Show. 

International Licensing Industry Merchandiser’s Association

Organisation for companies marketing licensed products. Includes member lists. 

The Knitting & Stitching Show

Trade shows for mainly textile crafts but also card making, jewellery. Shows held in London, Harrogate, Edinburgh and Dublin. 

The Makers

Directory provided by the Heritage Crafts Association for finding makers of traditional goods e.g. ceramics, basketry, textiles etc.  

Progressive Gifts and Home

Online version of the magazine.  

Progressive Greetings

Online version of the magazine for the greetings cards industry. 

Progressive Greetings Live

Annual trade fair held in May or June in Islington for the greetings cards industry. Website includes links to exhibitors. 

Progressive Party

Online magazine for party goods industry (see journals section).  

The Retas Awards

Annual awards for the greetings cards retail industry. Includes archive of pervious winners. 

Rural Crafts Association

Promotes the traditional work of rural craftspeople. 

Spring Fair and Autumn Fair

Two fairs for UK retailers to source suppliers for gifts, homewares, fashion accessories etc. Both held in Birmingham by same organiser. Exhibitor details etc.

Top Drawer London

Twice-yearly showcase of products, especially design-led giftware, household goods, crafts and fashion accessories as well as greetings cards. Site includes exhibitor details. 

Trade Source Book

Useful practical information for greetings card publishers (see Directories section). 

UK Craft Fairs

Site with details of craft fairs, a craft directory, courses and blogs. 

UK Gift Card & Voucher Association

Trade body representing companies involved in vouchers, gift cards and similar promotions. Site includes member list, factsheets and research results.  

UK Handmade

Online magazine and maker’s directory showcasing handmade products. 

The Vintage Handmade Fair

Runs local fairs for handmade goods. Events list with exhibitors on website. 

Promotional Goods & Merchandise

British Promotional Merchandise Association 

Association with 700 member companies. Site includes product finder, industry news and a ‘buyers knowledge centre’ including information sheets. 

Institute of Promotional Marketing

Personal membership organisations for sales promotion professionals. Site has details of members, legal advice checklists, best practice and details of awards and events. 

IPM Bitesize

(formerly Promotional Marketing)
News for the promotional marketing industry. Includes articles from the magazine. 


Trade association representing manufacturers, distributors and importers of promotional merchandise. Organisers the PROMOTA show. Includes product finder. 

Please note that every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, however some recently acquired items may since have been added to the collection. Please ask for help at the enquiry desk or check the online catalogue Explore the British Library for more details.

Images by Lagunenfisch, MarkBuckawicki, Mtaylor848 [all on Wikimedia Commons] under a Creative Commons license