We’re proud to announce we successfully hosted our first two inaugural Huddles events this past March in Edgbaston Park Hotel in Birmingham with Gift Food & Drink on March 30th, and Pet on March 31st.
If you’re unfamiliar with our recently launched Huddles, each of these events bring together up to fifty challenger brands and a remarkable line-up of the UK's biggest retailers for each featured category for a one-day experience, with an optional networking evening for more casual interactions between attendees. Our event format was met with praise by both buyers and suppliers alike as each brand had an opportunity to speak with buyers in their category for 8 minutes.
Our Gift Food & Drink & Pet events included an all-star line-up of retailers such as John Lewis, Next, Sainsbury’s, Abel & Cole, Booths, Miller & Co, Dobbies, Funky Pigeon, Pets at Home, Jollyes, Wilko, Costco, Bents, and many more.
Iris Padial, Buying Lead at Abel & Cole, said of the format of the Gift Food & Drink event: “It is very different, because it’s a very curated type of experience. Because you only have 8 minutes of facetime with each brand, it goes very quickly – it’s very interesting, but it’s not too tiring or overwhelming.”
We are humbled with the reception following our first two sold-out events, which has been overwhelmingly positive. Both retailers and brands have shared their excitement for Huddles and its disruptive concept.
Ieuan Rees, Buyer at Wilko, said of the format of the event: “Interesting concept. If you compare it to a traditional trade show, you walk around and people aren’t necessarily relevant for your sector, but Huddles is very much retailer-focused, so everyone you’re talking to has relevance.”
Simon Drury, Category Buying Manager at Booths, said of his experience: “I’ve seen lots of brands and suppliers very much aligned to the kinds of products we are looking for as a business. Some really great and exciting things to take back to my buying team to explore for discussion and progression.”
Zoe Pandeli, Buyer at Jollyes, also described the experience attending the event: “It was really good and really organised. Eight minutes was perfect timing to get the points across, all very valuable. We were pleasantly surprised by quite a few of the brands."
Brands also shared their experience of our innovative event format and experience during the event.
Sanjay Aggarwal from Spice Kitchen, said: “It’s been amazing, it’s been really good to work with Product Guru on the virtual side, but now to be at this first event is really great.” Another brand in attendance, Kocktail, shared on their social media channels: “As a challenger brand it's not always easy to get your brand in front of the right people, at the right time. Which is why we're excited to be attending the Product Guru Gift Food & Drink Huddle today.”
Robbie Allen, from Paw Planet, said: “Blown every expectation I had out of the water. We’ve done trade shows before, and if you compare it to Huddles, it’s night and day. The whole experience – the interactions with buyers – has been excellent.”
Andrew Bucher, Co-Founder of Rocketo, said “It’s a nice way to work out if you click, and whether a follow-up meeting is required. I enjoyed it, and you’re talking to the right decision makers.”
Brian Taus, who joined from the United States with brand Pure and Natural Pet, said of his experience: “I love the format and the 1 to 1 – within eight minutes you’ll know if you have a future opportunity, so it’s a wonderful format. The interactions have been positive, and the buyers are category-specific, so it’s good to be lined-up with the right buyers in the right category.”
To view more images of the events, visit our Facebook page. We've got a schedule of upcoming Huddles events throughout the year for different categories. Brands can apply now for the upcoming hybrid events via our website, for the unique chance to meet with top level buyers and retailers in their category.