Don't ask me how I've managed to not write for a month. Wedding planning, seeing my parents in Singapore, a holiday in Boracay and the Royal Wedding all got in the way.
Anyway, today I went to the Hong Kong Premium and Gifts fair. My dear friend Frn told me about it last year when he came to sniff it out for one of his many entrepreneurial endeavors. I didn't go with him at the time, and have had to wait a year for it to come back in order to go. Well, it was worth the wait.
Every possible item that you could dream of using as a gift or merchandising mechanism was there. Everything. Now if you happen to be like me, and haven't been exposed to random-objects-you-can-really-live-without for a while, then this is quite an experience.
Things which you could only find in the "kiosko" near my house in Barcelona in 1984 were lined up in brightly lit stalls: Hello Kitty sharpeners, pencil boxes and satchels with Japanese cartoon characters on them (think Dragon Ball Z). I suppose if you don't have kids, you forget that these things exist!
Caps. Another forgotten and under-appreciated item
Badges, medals and key rings. I wasn't exaggerating ....
Oven gloves. In every colour. With or without your logo.
Oddly enough (or not), the most popular items were religious statues. Nativity scenes, epiphanies. saints.. you name it, they were there on sale. I imagine they would appeal to the Italians.
So next time you're thinking of acquiring 1000 ashtrays, thermos flasks, penknives, bottle openers, paper bags, shiny paper, jewelry boxes, umbrellas, shrines and a very very long etc (advent calendars, anyone?) - you know where to come to. Oh, and the price? Think less than 1 USD per item.
Next event: housewares and toys. Sounds promising.
For all Hong Kong trade fairs, go to http://www.hktdc.com/. It's highly unlikely you won't find whatever it is you're looking for.
If you're looking for an older, well manicured and nip tucked wife, you might find her here too. Where else do you think Mrs Middleton would source her balloons from?