Boss Lady

Trade shows a barometer for business recovery


The annual Life Instyle and Reed Gift Fair trade shows — back after a missed year due to the coronavirus pandemic — proved to be a good barometer of how businesses are faring in the retail and design sectors now that the lockdowns have (hopefully) finished.

Discussions on the floor with trade show exhibitors revealed that businesses’ experience varied according to how well they were already working in the online space when the pandemic hit or how quickly they were prepared to pivot once shop doors were forced to close.

Those businesses that had already an online channel responded they did well during lockdown, although some found they had to give the digital side more attention than previously. They also found the cost of online services have gone up — especially website development and hosting — due to demand.

New businesses that have started just before, or during covid on the whole so far reported they were doing well. Some even said they were at the trade show as part of a move from a fully-online model to wholesale and retail (such as Hoap and The Little Homie).

However, businesses that did not have an online model when the pandemic arrived had varied experiences that seem to have been dictated by their ability to respond either quickly or strongly.

Most acknowledged that their business was impacted for at least a couple of months and they took the opportunity to reflect on their business model and responded quickly (such as By Samantha, who has a sales background and understood quickly that she needed to change).

On the other hand, a couple of the exhibitors BusinessWomanMedia spoke to were almost defensive and said that their retail business wasn’t impacted or mostly not at all impacted during Covid.

Strong themes throughout the show were sustainability and community support, expressed not only in business structures and strategies but in product design and packaging. And among the exhibitors there were some that BusinessWomanMedia regarded as standout products. Here are our top 3:

We were particularly taken with The Epic Fail Game – a family game consisting of a set of 30 challenge cards providing a fun family game that is expressly designed to change the way children — or indeed, the whole family — thinks about failing. As they explain at “We should encourage children’s social skills to get the best out of very different people, with different ways of thinking. And we need to supercharge their ‘bounce-back’ness – because in a place where your ideas are always being tested and you’re often in front of new people, resilience will be the best safety net you can give them. That’s when they’ll really flourish.”

We also could see a big future for Georgi Swimms: Australian sustainable swimwear made from recycled ocean rubbish. So new that there is very little on their website at but watch that space.

And last but definitely not least, at the Reed Gift Fair, Hoap deep cleansing leaves which are made from natural and predominantly plant-based ingredients that have anti-bacterial, anti-fungal & anti-inflammatory properties that clean, care for and moisturise your skin. Each biodegradable leaf capsule contains 100 scientifically-formulated slow-dissolve washes ensuring your hands are perfectly cleansed and free from harmful germs and bacteria. We thought this a brilliant product, and yet the two founders — who started this during the pandemic — seemed weirdly unenthusiastic about it. Go figure … and go to if you want to check it out.

About Business Woman Media

Our women don’t want to settle for anything but the best. They understand that success is a journey involving personal growth, savvy optimism and the tenacity to be the best. We believe in pragmatism, having fun, hard-work and sharing inspiration. LinkedIn