Direct from Market: Atlanta, January 2013
Bessie Nestoras -- Gifts & Dec, January 11, 2013
Unusually warm weather welcomed attendees to this year's Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market. Even before the official opening day of market, showrooms were bustling with buyers from all over getting a head start on their 2013 shopping and the boundless goal of "finding something that no one else has in their store."
If what we have seen so far here in Atlanta is any indication, 2013 should be a pretty good year. Overall, the mood is very upbeat and there is excitement moving into 2013. Vendors are reporting strong early sales numbers, some surpassing those of a year ago, and buyers are noting that business is good and are happy to have ended the year with a good holiday season.
Fashion is one of the most popular categories in the gift industry right now, with apparel growing fast as the latest addition to the gift and home retailer's merchandise mix. Tunics, loungewear, beachwear and now clothing for everyday are on the top of vendors' lists.
Mud Pie introduced several dresses in trendy crochet looks as well as poncho-style dresses and tops. It also expanded its bags line with a collection of Sarong a Long totes that feature a sarong tied around the body of the bag that can be removed and worn and introduced glamorous oversize straw hats.
Toss Designs also expanded further into apparel with a selection of dresses, t-shirts, maxi and pencil skirts, ruffle wraps, ponchos and more. Giftcraft is drawing a lot of buyer interest with its new Charlie Paige line of affordably priced fashion, including tunics, dresses, jewelry and other accessories.
Ganz hosted a fashion show at its showroom to introduce its new Style 101 fashion line of t-shirts, tunics, scarves and more.
Terra By EnescoBaubles and Bags
Jewelry, totes and handbags continue to be the strong core of the fashion category. Jim Shore, best known for his Christmas figures and decor introduced a fashion line under a new brand-JS-for Enesco. The line includes leather tote bags, compact mirrors, wristlets, as well as jewelry.
Enesco also launched Terra, a collection of handmade, organic and sustainable jewelry made from the fruit of the palm tree found in the Amazon. The material dries out and becomes like ivory, in fact it is called vegetable ivory, which is then carved into various shapes for necklaces, bracelets and rings.
Another Christmas favorite, Patience Brewster has also tried her hand at fashion this market with a few offerings of one-of-a-kind clutches. The pieces are as whimsical as her Christmas decorations and are all handmade. The artist also introduced a selection of pillows, as well.
One jewelry trend to keep an eye on is statement necklaces-the bigger the better. Towne & Reese introduced several oversize necklaces featuring colorful beads-everything from green to blue to yellow. And Uptown Girls also offered a bevy of statement necklaces, as well as oversize earrings, another fashion trend on the rise.
Out of California, and a favorite with some celebrities comes Ban.do, a new line of hair accessories with a lot of bling, shine and fun from Lifeguard Press. The line also includes some scarves, clutches and shoe clips.
There is even now a line of "jewelry" for the bath with the Soap Baubles collection, a line of handcrafted fragranced soaps shaped as necklaces and bracelets mimicking gems, including Tahitian Pearls, emerald, peridot, lapis, ruby, turquoise and more. Founder Jennifer McBride, moved from the hustle of New York City to a farm in Vermont before creating her signature line. "I wanted to bring a beautiful elegant gift to bath and body," she told Gifts and Decorative Accessories. "I want bath time to be luxurious."
Glitter and Shine
Himalayan Trading Post
Elsewhere in the market, taking its cue from fashion, all that glitters (literally with glitter), sparkles and shines was a noted trend. In candles, mercury glass designs continue to shine. Voluspa's new Vermeil speckle glass collection offers up signature scents like Branche Vermeil, Clove Pomander, Champagne Rose, French Bourbon Vanile, Chestnut and Vetiver, and Makassar Ebony and Peach.
New mercury afternoon tea candles in peony and wild rose and oak join the Himalayan Candle collection with a new addition to the company's mostly glass vessel collection in 2013: a terra-cotta container. The French- and Indian-inspired, hand-painted designs feature some of the signature Himalayan fragrances and are topped off with a wood lid in the Jaipur collection. Archipelago's new Petal & Stem line, comes in two scents, petal and stem, features silver glassware for its candle and diffuser.
Mercury glass was also noted in tea light holders in iconic red, white and green in the Sleigh Bells Ring holiday collection at Grasslands Road.
Woodwick Candles also introduced its new holiday collection of cracked and mercury glass designs.
Glitter and shine brightens up the holidays in a big way, with glittered, silver and gold ornaments and decoratives. At One Hundred 80 Degrees, George Jetson-inspired glass android ornaments hang from a space-age silver tree. The company's Paper Holiday collection is done all in white, gold, silver and glitter.
The glittered Twirl-n-Tune collection from Roman plays music and moves parts when you wind the pieces up. And Midwest-CBK's Illuminate holiday collection brings more sparkle in classic gold and white with lots of glitter. Midwest's garden inspired Juniper holiday collection is done in white and silver.
Sea and Serve
Sea-inspired and coastal looks are strong for spring/summer. Watercolors is a new collection from Two's Company. The line features decorative accents in soft shades of blue and green. Also staying within that color palette is Grasslands Road with its Ocean Blue collection.
The Macbeth Collection introduced two collections: Surfside, featuring blues and greens, with a pop of pink for fun, and Boardwalk whose color palette is reminiscent of 1970s Santa Cruz featuring pastel-y shades of orange and pink. The coastal look spills into fashion as well. Oka b. introduced new designs with coastal embellishments.
Entertaining wares continue to be top sellers. Roost introduced marble serving accessories. And Mud Pie expanded several of its existing gift lines with giftable serving pieces. The company is also adding to its bridal offerings with a new collection that is aimed for the reception and ceremony. The line includes chair back sachets, flags and other items with a rustic flair-several of the items are featured in burlap. Beatriz Ball's newest collection of serveware features an unpolished, velvety finish. The line is sleek and modern with an organic look.
Skincare and Spa
Candle designer, Niven Morgan was on hand to introduce Man-Made, his new men's personal care line, an expansion the jet-setting, world candle scents in his collection. The new collection features a pre-shave cream, shave cream, face cleanser and anti-aging lotion. All are in a sleek white and black packaging and made with aloe vera and essential oils with very little scent.
"For years, there was nothing for me," said Morgan. "I'm a guy, and I don't use a lot of products, so I want it to be simple. The market has also been asking for it. Boutiques have been looking for something simple and easy for guys."
OlivinaOlivina's new Milk & Honey, Orange Fennel and spa collection are also gender neutral. The Milk and Honey collection features a creamy blend of honey and olive-oil based skincare.
Thymes launched a new personal care brand, Lulah, that will be sold separately from the company. The collection is geared toward a younger, savvier customer and comes at a lower price point. The initial collection, includes four SKUs in five fragrances.
Tech and Digital Dressing
iDoc by Triple C
Tech accessories just keep getting cooler. Triple C Designs' collection of tech gear is young, fun and functional. The company's iDoc speaker dock holds an iPad or iPhone and is featured in several patterns. The iSlide is an iPhone wallet case that features an outside pocket to hold a credit card and the bluCube is a mini speaker that connects with Bluetooth.
DCI offered a curly charger that features a curly cord, phone charms, speakers, a headphone splitter, as well as a three-part USB port for multiple charges.
And to dress up and protect a tablet or e-reader, there is the new Plus Motif line from Papier de Maison. These colorful tablet covers come in a range of colors and have a decorative "app" to change the look of the cover. The covers hold a pad as well as the tablet and also come with a pen/stylus.
That's all from Atlanta for now. We'll have more to report next week.
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