September is always an exciting month for Bumpstart, as it's time to pack the suitcase and head off to Bali, whoops, sorry, wishful thinking, I meant Cologne, for our most important trade event of the year.  The Kind and Jugend (literally, Child and Youth) Trade Fair.  This is where I go each year to marvel at the latest innovations in the world of everything baby.  And this year, as ever, it didn't disappoint.  I was in turn, amazed, amused and astonished.

For those of you who like a bit of data, the area of this trade fair is about 18 football pitches.  In two days, I walked thirteen miles (my poor feet!) and only covered about quarter of what was on offer.  The lengths (literally) that I go to, in order to source the very best quality baby goods for the shop.

So what was I looking for?  Companies whose products meet the very exacting safety standards we demand in Britain in general, and at Bumpstart in particular is always my top priority, closely followed by new trends and innovations and of course, the very latest gorgeous colours and fabrics which will be bang on trend for 2018.

What amazed me?  Well, several things.  After over 25 years in the baby equipment business, I am always taken by surprise at the sheer creativity behind innovations; some of them brilliantly practical, such as three child seats that will fit easily side-by-side in the back of a car, to the quite frankly bizarre, such as a pram covered in silky rosebuds and another in sequins!  It was a little sad to see so few independent UK retailers there however.  I walked my miles with some great colleagues as we discussed all the products on show, and we were royally welcomed, I must say, by our suppliers; plied with food and the odd glass.  Good job we did so much walking to burn off all the extra calories.!

And what, I hear you asking, will be featured on Bumpstart's ever-expanding shop floor very soon?  Tempting though it is to shop till you drop there and then on any stand you visit, I don't.  I like to take lots of notes and then come away and have a good think about what my customers would like to see in our shop over the coming year,.  Taking a step back and reflecting is definitely worthwhile and I'm delighted to tell you that I have just placed orders for a whole variety of exciting new baby goods, that I can't wait to show you all.  Top trends for next year (apart from sequins) are as follows: metallic fabrics, glitter (yes really), and leather effect fabrics alongside chassis colours predominantly in pewter and rose gold all feature strongly.  As far as new models for buggies go, what's very exciting is the shift in design from the umbrella-fold type to versions that are designed to fold into the size of a small suitcase.  These will fit into overhead lockers on a plane and will also delight Mini-driving mums and dads everywhere (other small cars too, of course!).

Brands that I'm loving at the moment are Egg; their "Quail" range in available from February 2018, and Phil & Ted who are launching a wonderfully compact buggy, due instore at Bumpstart March 2018.

Of course, my personal favourite brand, ICandy, was very much in evidence too, and I have some super-exciting news about Bumpstart, ICandy and me, which is so brand-new (there's a clue there!) that you will have to wait for the next blog to read about it.  It will be worth the wait, I promise.

And finally, because I wonder if you all know that Bumpstart is situated on our working family farm, Farmer Bumpstart has been extremely busy while I've been away.  All our crops are now "drilled" for next year and in "sheep news" our "tups" have been put in with our ewes and are busy (ahem) "partying"....  So in common with many of you, new babies will be very much the theme down on the farm too.  This is why farming and Bumpstart make such a great partnership: growing, nurturing, and helping new life into the world is what we are all about.

Enjoying the beautiful Autumn colours until next time.  Helenx