Gibson Importing has been part of the gift and homewares industry for many years, in fact, it is celebrating its 60th anniversary next year. Giftguide sat down with managing director, Jamie Moir, to talk about the challenges, highlights and what’s next for the company.
1 What have been the highlights & challenges of 2018?
Here at Gibson we have had three impressive highlights for 2018:
Firstly we’ve made a conscious effort to develop and deliver a greater amount of in house designs and develop product ranges for our customers.
The second highlight being the phenomenal and continual growth of Sock Society. The evolution of this range keeps growing by the day. Get ready for 2019,we have more than 100 new designs ready to blow your socks off!
Last but not least we are pleased to announce the launch of our new look website (www.gibsongifts.com.au). We understand technology and customer experience is continuously evolving and we have done extensive research with our customers to find out what their needs are in order to make their online buying experience simpler, efficient and more user-friendly. We believe our new look website is the best in the industry.
The big challenge facing Gibson and every other company importing product from China are the longer lead times with mass production and shipping.
It is due to a combination of different factors―Chinese Government imposing much stricter environmental controls, which is having a huge effect, plus the continuing challenges our factories face with labour shortages. It is hard to believe in a country with a population of 1.3 billion but it is true!
2 What can we expect in 2019 from Gibson?
Like the rapidly changing face of the retail marketplace and consumer tastes, we have developed a fantastic range of innovative products in a range of new categories that we are confident retailers will love.
Keep an eye out for new textiles combined with a touch of cheekiness and a glimmer of fun plus overlay textures to create a unique point of difference. We’re excited about our new ranges and can't wait for 2019.
3 What trends do you see hitting our shores next year?
In recent months we have visited fairs in the US and UK and it has been interesting to see different trends emerging in international markets.
We feel that the big trends that will hit our market are:
● Lipstick and make-up artwork will become more apparent in 2019. You’ll be seeing them as repeat prints on make-up bags to placement prints on drinkware and even table top pieces.
● Time for bling hasn’t left the scene. The current trend of Rose gold, gold and silver will be complimented with bolder tones of blues and greens to transition into the summer and autumn seasons.
● Eco everything―sustainability for our environment is changing our mindset and the way customers purchase. Take this to the next step and currently what is trending….Eco travel cups for coffee and tea drinkers and fun compact shopping bags have become massive lines.
For 2019 and our gifting industry, watch out for our different take on these simple products. From netted shopping bags that recently hit Paris Fashion week catwalks to reusable straws, novelty shower timers and drink bottles.
● Bubble gum pink―this colour is not the Pantone colour of the year but it is the colour hitting high end fashion gifting items and will be setting sights into Australia next year. If you haven’t applied this colour in designs yet, hurry up before it’s too late.
4 Name one innovation that stood out for you in the last 5 to10 years?
A huge change has been the increasing shift to online sales and the simplicity involved with this way of ordering for our customers. As the reduction in trade fair attendances continues to grow, web sales form as an alternative and more cost effective way for customers to view new product and place orders. This also allows Gibson to utilise our CRM program in order to send regular promotions, new product and general electronic communications to our retailers.
5 Name 3 things you are excited to see (happening) in 2019?
1. Launch of our new website
2. Exciting new product development
3. And most importantly, Gibson will be celebrating its 60th anniversary!
6 Three tips for retailers for 2019?
1. Create a great environment for your customers to browse and spend―relaxed music & nice in store fragrance is a great start.
2. Separate yourself from all of your competitors and add value to your customer―great customer service, gift wrap and a friendly smile goes a long way.
3. Invest in innovative stock and create great in store windows/displays―it is much easier to entice a customer to buy from a range of coordinated products that are well merchandised.