Leadership of the BPA

Published:  14 December, 2009

Peter White moved on to pastures new at the end of October and is now head of an international trade association covering broadcasting industry suppliers. I’d like to thank Peter for his contribution to the nursery sector because under his leadership the Association has grown in both role and contribution to our industry - growth that will be important to maintain.

I hope you will join me in thanking Peter for his contribution during his time at the BPA and wish him well in his new role. 

The BPA executive board is actively considering the future structure of the Association and particularly reviewing how to replace Peter White’s role.

The future of BPA Baby & Child

The Association’s show, BPA Baby & Child, was attended by an eclectic mix of retailers including representatives from large department stores, multiple retailers, independents, mail order, internet based retailers and many more. Feedback from many of those who attended this year suggested that retailers were disappointed with the number of manufacturers supporting the show. The exhibition was host to 96 manufacturers. However, several of the familiar suppliers were missing and retailers would like to have seen a greater selection of brands attend the show. For those that exhibited the show worked better being in London but we need to make further changes to attract more exhibitors.  As the BPA’s Chairman, I think it is pertinent that we evaluate the show in its existing format and relaunch it into one that ticks everyone’s boxes.

With this in mind, it is clear that the industry has a strong requirement for an Autumn trade show. Most of the main manufacturers have a need to showcase their new collections to an extensive range of UK retailers after Kind Und Jugend in Cologne and it is not always possible for retailers to visit numerous individual companies.  For smaller companies, the show offers a unique opportunity to meet with key retailers who are searching for new and innovative additions to their ranges.

We’re currently consulting with members of the industry and evaluating options moving forward.  One of the key elements of these discussions is ensuring that we make the show an attractive proposition for mid to large companies.  The question is:  how do we reduce the costs of the show to ensure exhibiting is accessible to all?  We are also looking at alternative venues that offer a ‘weekend break’ and are an ideal location for UK retailers.  However, taking the show to London this year was widely regarded as a good move, offering a central location for both retailers and exhibitors.  The duration of the exhibition and opening hours are also under consideration.  Above all, we hope that the changes implemented for next year’s show will return BPA Baby & Child to its well-deserved position as the UK nursery trade event at the cornerstone of the industry. 

BPA Lobbying continues

A delegation from our industry met with BIS this month to lobby for the removal of pushchairs and car seats from the Furniture and Furnishings (fire) (safety) Regulations. The Association has been actively lobbying for about 18 months, which resulted in the invitation from BIS; which is the new name for the DTI (and was briefly called BERR). This is headed up by Lord Mandelson. The good news is that they accept that the regulations are outdated and need reviewing which will allow them to address the many issues covered by the FFR’s. This will be a frustratingly long process of at least two years with no guarantee that pushchairs and infant carriers will be removed from the regulation.  BIS emphasised the importance of maintaining our campaign during this period to ensure that politicians are motivated to address these points.

At the end of October Robert Anslow, the BPA’S retained technical consultant and I represented the BPA at the first meeting of the newly formed European Nursery Products Confederation. This was hosted by the French Nursery Products Association and we identified a clear willingness to cooperate as a European industry, particularly on standards work and lobbying in Brussels.

Website update

The BPA were recently involved in an awards programme for best e-Marketing project and I would like to congratulate Luke Broadley and Maxwell Roper who were the first place recipients of the prize award at Newport Business School. We would also like to mention the efforts of Laura Morgan and Thomas Williams who came second in the contest.  The BPA sponsored the award and would like to thank all involved for their contribution to the project. The student’s feedback strongly informed the re-design of the BPA’s websites which will be launched shortly.

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