Above, First Photo: (From left) bpma Board President Graeme Smith; SAGE President David Natinsky, MAS; PPPC President and CEO Jonathan Strauss; ASI Senior Executive Director of Editorial & Events Michelle Bell; SAGE Director of Sales Blake Bozeman; PPPC Board Chair Heidi Reimer-Epp; PPAI President and CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE; PPAI Board Chair Brittany David, MAS; BPMA Head of Education Daniela Arena; and BPMA CEO Jon Birrell, ham it up at the bpma annual awards reception. Second Photo: The board chairs of PPAI, BPMA and PPPC—(from left) Brittany David, MAS; Angela Wagstaff and Heidi Reimer-Epp, respectively—gather at the bpma's award dinner.


Merchandise World, a trade show serving the promotional products industry in the UK, drew industry professionals from across the country and abroad to the NAEC Stoneleigh in Warwickshire on January 30-31. The show is a collaboration between business services provider Sourcing City and the British Promotional Merchandise Association (BPMA).

“January’s Merchandise World show exceeded all expectations, achieving a substantial increase in visitor numbers,” says Jon Birrell, CEO of BPMA. “The show looked fantastic, there was a real buzz and the suppliers’ stands looked top class. Hosting the BPMA Education Day and BPMA Awards Dinner really enhanced the event, while our BPMA stand with its Member Lounge generated some great conversations, and we also displayed samples from the Merchandise World Product of the Year Award winners.”

The show floor featured 217 supplier companies and drew 1,348 distributor visitors over the show’s two-day run, a 25 percent increase over attendance the year before.

PPAI President and CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE, and Board Chair Brittany David, MAS, attended Merchandise World, joining Promotional Products Professionals of Canada (PPPC) President and CEO Jonathan Strauss and Chair Heidi Reimer-Epp, who also traveled across the pond to attend the show. David says, “The chairs of PPAI, BPMA and PPPC all attended, and all are women, which I think is pretty rare and pretty cool. At the show, the floor buzzed all day with sustainability and ‘going-green’ remaining big trends. It was truly a celebration of a year’s hard work and was well executed.”

Bellantone adds, “Merchandise World showed how strong the promotional products market is in the UK. It was a vibrant, active show. And as a chance to for the PPAI, PPPC and bpma leadership to connect and learn, it made clear how through collaboration and cooperation, the relationships we’re building across borders can bring exciting opportunities and successes to our industry.”

The Merchandise World Promotional Product Awards, recognizing the accomplishments of industry companies and professionals in the UK, were presented at the show, and all finalists and winning product entries were displayed at the BPMA stand.

The association held its annual education day in conjunction with the show on January 29 at Chesford Grange, Stoneleigh. The full-day workshop catered to business leaders on both the supplier and distributor sides of the industry, and explored best practices in sales and marketing, customer relationships and business planning.

“We are looking forward to inspiring, connecting and educating our industry at the next Merchandise World at an exciting new venue at Milton Keynes in September,” adds Birrell.