GIMA Awards: a night to remember for leading brands

GIMA2015-611The GIMA Awards have become a key date in the garden retail industry’s diary. Not only do the awards represent one of the main annual industry networking events, but it also works to celebrate the most exciting brands, products and marketing initiatives launched to market that year by leading garden, home and lifestyle brands, as well as celebrating innovation from little known suppliers. 

With the 2016 awards fast approaching (14th July, Celtic Manor), we catch up with the GIMA team to find out more about them, plus chat to some previous winners to find out more about how winning a GIMA Award has positively impacted their business.

The best of the best

Celebrating excellence across 16 categories, each year hundreds of entries are received for consideration. It is the job of the GIMA Awards judging panel – made up of the cream of UK garden retailing and garden media – to sort through all the deserving entries to select the one product that best embodies the values of each award. A full day of judging is the only way to achieve this, with judges getting up close and personal with the products.

GIMA director, Vicky Nuttall says of the judging process: “One of the greatest parts of the awards is seeing the number of entries increase year on year, however this does give our judges even more work to do! Our judging process is rigorous and fair, with all our judges taking the time to view products and offer opinions and feedback. It is this collaborative effort that enables us to choose the most deserving winners.

“Our advice to anyone wanting to enter future awards would be to ensure that your supporting material is honest, interesting and inspirational. Also, showcase consumer messages as this helps us to better appreciate the commercial value of your product. But more than anything, create stand-out, be proud of your product and have fun with your entry.”

2015 winners – reaping the benefits

Double winners of GIMA’s most prestigious award – the Sword of Excellence – Burgon & Ball is one company that knows the true value of winning a GIMA Award. Winning no less than five awards at the 2015 award ceremony, here Heather Culpan, managing director at Burgon & Ball shares her experience of what being a GIMA award winner means to her business.

“We were delighted to be recognised in the GIMA Awards, as they particularly highlight innovation. We have always sought to bring our customers something different, and we’re extremely committed to our programme of new product development. Our wins endorse this approach; there will always be a place in the market for genuine innovation.

“We’ve been lucky enough to win the GIMA Sword of Excellence twice, with our RHS gifts range in 2014 and our Weed Slice in 2015. Both these products have sold phenomenally well; in fact, the Weed Slice was one of the top-selling garden products in the UK last year. One major garden centre chain was selling a Weed Slice a day – in the off-season. Since our win, we have also introduced a short-handled version in response to customer demand.

“Undoubtedly, our advice to anyone considering entering the GIMA awards is to go for it! There is a great deal of kudos attached to winning, and it throws the spotlight onto a product of which you’re proud and have put a lot into. It’s a genuine point of differentiation for the product, but also the recognition from the industry means a lot. We shall certainly be entering again this year, as it’s a wonderful opportunity to showcase the innovation of our new products.

Another multi-award winner at the 2015 awards was Eden Greenhouses. Eden Greenhouses were awarded the GIMA Sword of Excellence Special Commendation for its Zero Threshold Birdlip Greenhouse.  Eliciting a strong response from all judges thanks to the simplicity of design, this award represented the first time a special commendation has been added to the Sword of Excellence award roster.

Marketing manager of Eden Halls Greenhouses, Pete Monahan “Winning the award has also enabled additional PR stories in the trade press and effectively extended our trade launch campaign.  From a standing start in 2015, the Eden Zero Threshold™ range has attracted over 110 dealers even before the season has really started.  While the range is genuinely ground-breaking and one of only a very few breakthroughs in aluminium framed greenhouse design for many years, the GIMA award has been a real bonus in marketing the range as a whole and the Birdlip in particular, both at home and abroad.

“I can wholeheartedly endorse the benefits of winning a GIMA award because of its credibility and the instant recognition it commands.  It’s vital going forward therefore that GIMA awards are given only to real innovations in the market and as recognition of leading design and manufacture.  This is the way to ensure that they retain their value as marketing tools and enable future winners to benefit in terms of actual sales and profit.”

Further information about the GIMA Awards, including booking your place at this year’s awards please visit

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