Whether you're new to trade fair buying or a seasoned pro, it is always helpful to know what to expect when you hit the Gift Fair trade floor. To help visitors get the most from their time, AGHA Gift Fairs asked some of our Design Life Sydney exhibitors for their tips on tackling the biggest week of the retail season.

Concept Japan, Design Life, Stand DU24

Do your research ... make a list of exhibitors you definitely want to see, and refine your directions for buying before the fair, perhaps by setting clear colour palettes, or specific products or categories you want to prioritise. First time at the fair can be quite overwhelming, but concentrate on using your time efficiently to make sure you get to see everyone on your list. Of course, a major part of the Gift Fairs is discovering products you may not have seen or heard about before, so use any spare time you end up with to have a wander - that little 'surprise' discovery could become an important supplier.

Indus Design, Design Life, Stand DT10

Decide on the categories you would like to buy for, then shortlist the suppliers you would like to meet with. Definitely have a plan of attack so you can achieve everything you set out to do.

Sohum, Design Life, Stand DY16

Plan ahead and always allow more time than you need. Mark out your must-see exhibitors in advance so you don’t miss them, as it’s easy to get distracted. The objective is to find great product… and when you do, you want to be able to ensure you have enough time to properly range your order, or at least have everything you need to place orders down the track. It’s a time to step outside of your store and get inspiration and fresh ideas, and you want to be able to take it all in.

Holiday Trading Co, Design Life, Stands DZ9 & DY9

The best piece of advice is to make a plan of the key suppliers you want to visit, use the Exhibition Directory and Buyers Guide to see their locations and if you can, lock in an appointment. Our stands do get very busy and we love to spend time with our stockists and give them the best of our knowledge and advice. We do have plenty of staff available though and will always look after all new retailers as they come into the stand... we love new faces!

Flair Gift & Home, Design Life, Stand DZ13

• Travel light, electronic note keeping or notebooks and sneakers are our top tips
• Place the order while on the stand is always easier than walking away and looking at a website. Our website is really handy for repeat ordering and adding to ranges
• Please always be polite enough to ask to take photos on stands after you have introduced yourself