With over 350 different showbags available in the Ekka Showbag Hall, bmag caught up with Emily Williams, director of leading showbag company Chicane, to discuss this year’s top picks.

2014 sees the launch of many new showbags, including Elle, Top Gear, Model Co, Despicable MeWagon Wheel, and our personal favourite, Tim Tam, all of which have already proven extremely popular.

As the Brisbane Ekka falls later in the year, Chicane uses The Royal Canberra Show and the Sydney Royal Easter Show to gauge the popularity of new showbags.

“We start at the city shows in Sydney around April each year so it gives us a really good indication as to what show bags will be popular,” Emily says. “There are lots of new showbags this year with a strong focus on family. At the Sydney shows these bags were really popular, in particular the Play-Doh and Monopoly ones.”

Bertie Beetle is still the most popular showbag, according to Emily.

Bertie Beetle is one of the best sellers every year,” she says. “Most people walk out with a Bertie Beetle show bag. The blue Bertie Beetle bag is one of our cheapest bags at $2. We are also launching the Bertie Beetle Diamond Deal Bag this year, which has 50 Bertie Beetles for $15.”

Emily says that showbags are still an essential part of every show.

“Showbags are definitely still as popular as they were ten years ago. If anything, the popularity has increased as there is more choice and more varied age groups. Families will go into Showbag Hall and the mother will buy a Care Bears showbag for her child and an Australian Women’s Weekly bag for herself!”

A visit to Showbag Hall can be an overwhelming — and expensive — experience, so Emily advises Ekka goers to plan ahead and to consider the contents of each bag carefully. ”Think of all your children’s birthdays for the next six months and budget accordingly. You can save a lot of money buying showbags instead of buying at retail stores.”

Chicane’s site, chicaneshowbags.com.au, lets you browse the showbags on offer before you go to the show and compare the showbag price to the total retail value. For example, the CLEO magazine showbag costs just $20 but contains nearly $400 worth of products — a great deal, assuming you would ever have bought any of those products separately. (You can examine the contents of every showbag on offer from all exhibitors at ekka.com.au/showbags, but that site doesn’t include a retail price comparison.)

As with any show, the Brisbane Ekka will be extremely busy and showbags will sell out. To avoid being disappointed, Emily advises getting to the showgrounds early.

“The rush hour is from 2pm-6pm and if families plan to hit the Showbag Hall before 2pm, it will be a lot more comfortable and bags won’t have sold out.”

The Ekka runs from Friday 8 August to Sunday 17 August at Brisbane Showgrounds.

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