Lakeland buyers were presented with "some absolute gems" by suppliers when they came face to face at the British Home Enhancement Trade Association's (BHETA) latest Meet the Buyer day.
Thirty-nine BHETA members - a mix of new and existing Lakeland suppliers - attended the event earlier this month, along with four Lakeland buyers and the retailer's director of buying, Matthew Canwell.
He said that the chance to have some private space with suppliers geared up to come and pitch their ideas to a general specification that Lakeland had outlined was as effective as any trade show, if not more so.
"And it's not just about the products pitched on the day," he went on. "We can all suffer from preconceived notions and sometimes as buyers we think we know what supplier companies can do. So it's fantastic to have the chance to re-evaluate who's out there in the market and how they might be able to contribute to our business, whether it's now or in due course when we next review a particular category.
"We've seen some absolute gems in terms of products, ranges, business development ideas and potential new suppliers for the future."
Sales and marketing manager of Whitefurze, Tracey Stone, added: "These BHETA Meet the Buyer events are a great opportunity to cross-fertilise ideas with different buyers in different categories and really influence how your company is perceived as a potential supplier. In my experience, they can result in business on the day, but they can also create new relationships that lead to business at a later date. Either way, they're well worthwhile."
BHETA has several more such events lined up for 2014, covering both home improvement and home enhancement.