The Retail Lab @ Glee 2018

The Retail Lab @ Glee 2018

Award: Best Feature Area – GOLD

Agency: GES

Client: ITE Group

Event Name: Glee

Agency Website:





The Brief:  

Glee is one of the UK’s most important garden and outdoor living trade shows. Held at Birmingham’s NEC venue in September 2018, it showcased some of the sector’s biggest and best brands to leading trade buyers and other important guests, providing buying, selling and networking opportunities under one roof over three days.

GES’ task at Glee 2018 was to conceive and deliver The Retail Lab, an interactive feature area spotlighting the trends, products and experiences of the future in gardening and outdoor living retail. Developed with the Horticultural Trades Association and leading experts in the field, it had an important role at the heart of the show, inspiring and informing guests.

This was the first year that GES had worked on The Retail Lab, having secured the tender after a competitive pitch process.


The Solution:

Our teams worked closely with creative director and outdoor living expert Romeo Sommers to develop ideas for The Retail Lab. With a central theme of ‘Happy Gardening’, the Lab sought to highlight the pleasures and benefits of creating and maintaining gardens. To bring greater clarity to this message, it was broken down into five distinctive sub-themes:

• Grow Your Own – to show how everyone can cultivate their own crops
• Feel Good – to show how gardening aids wellbeing and nature
• Play – to show how gardening can be fun and inspire memories
• Pets – to show how pets can be part of the gardening experience
• Easy Gardening – to show how even small and simple spaces can be made special

These themes gave structure to the vision of The Retail Lab. They were drawn together by a secondary overarching design theme of an urbanised environment, inspired by the style of pop-up and industrial-chic retail spaces. This helped to demonstrate that happy gardening can be achieved in urban as well as rural environments, and in spaces that may at first seem too small or unpromising.

The creative idea for The Retail Lab was refined through a succession of stages, including design options, mood boards, sketches and renders. We incorporated the views of many different stakeholders, including organisers, exhibitors and sponsors, at every step of the process.



We acted as a single point of contact to ensure smooth delivery of every aspect of The Retail Lab. As well as complete 3D design, build and dismantling, we provided stand artwork, graphics production, floor covering and more. We also coordinated the logistics of the project: a tricky challenge that involved the coordination of delivery of a wide variety of stock.

The Retail Lab was a versatile and engaging space, thoughtfully laid out and equipped with inviting nooks and corners for visitors. Particularly successful elements of the space included:

• Rugged and raw materials for a pop-up, urban feel—very much on trend and complementing the Lab’s messages about accessible gardening in urban environments
• Festoon lighting and hanging pendants to create a homely, inviting atmosphere
• A lounge with branding of the Lab’s sponsor, the Horticultural Trades Association
• Logical flow through the stand to enhance tours, which were provided throughout the show

This project demonstrated the huge advantages of our full-service offer. Regardless of the size of an event or project, we are able to deliver every necessary solution via a single point of contact, making the work of our clients much easier.


The Result:

The Retail Lab was a major attraction at Glee 2018, wowing exhibitors and visitors alike. It achieved an excellent Net Promoter Score of +35—proof that show visitors enjoyed their experience and will be recommending it to others for future editions of the event.

Kirsty Ainge, Buyer at the Ardgarne Garden Centre, said “It was very good: inspiring, on trend and very contemporary.”

Jyoti Savaliya, Managing Partner at Leafy Life Urban Gardening Solutions, added “It gives an idea how we can display and what factors to consider and how to align your spaces.”

The Retail Lab attracted media attention too. Reporting on the event, DIY Week said: “The Retail Lab installation proved incredibly popular.”

For more testimonials and images of The Retail Lab, please see our supporting material.