Lifetime Achievement Award // GALA


We were elated to announce the recipient of the Reed Gift Fairs’ Lifetime Achievement Award – the brilliant James Smail of Independence Studios  as part of the Gift & Life Instyle Awards (GALA) ceremony on 18 February.

James Smail started Independence Studios in 1987 – first sourcing handmade, artisan products from New Zealand and selling them in Paddington and Glebe markets in Sydney. Since then, the company has grown to over 35 employees, over 2,000 products and many thousands of customers.

Their presence at Reed Gift Fairs has also grown to an impressive 200+ square metres, housing thousands of handpicked products alongside exclusive partnerships with 45 international suppliers.

The success of their business is down to great relationships and the support and loyalty of their customers, in large part as a result of the excellent customer service standards James Smail has set. 

His contribution to the Gift industry in terms of innovation and service make him a true leader. He’s committed half his life to finding the best new products, brands and talent the industry has to offer.

Louisa Theobald, Exhibition Director

A strong believer in social responsibility, Smail also donates thousands of toys and gifts each year to charity, plus a percentage of profits to those less fortunate.

Through his sheer hard work and determination, the company has very much become a respected stalwart within the Gift industry. An enormous congratulations to a truly deserving recipient!

Independence Studios Easter

You can view the full list of GALA winners on the event website here.

About the author
Charlotte Michalanney
Charlotte Michalanney