• Caroline Kennedy
  • Bessie Nestoras Knoblauch

Direct from Market: Las Vegas

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas ...WMCLV
Just kidding! While the World Market Center Las Vegas has always included gifts in its exhibitor mix, now in its fifth year, the Las Vegas Market made a major push to strengthening this industry segment with the introduction of the Gift + Home and Vegas Kids sections at the recent summer edition. With the fifth floor of Building C nearly filled to capacity with temporaries, the growing representation of gift exhibitors is testament to the efforts of WMCLV to recruit the gift business and present a strong Gift + Home segment with a range of products from jewelry to home accents. And while market traffic overall was a bit down, the presence of important buying groups such as Ideation were noted.

 The World Market Center Las Vegas drew some big names as exhibitors this summer both in temporary spaces and in permanent showrooms. Demdaco, Silvestri and Russ Berrie signed leases for permanent showrooms shortly before market and set up temporary showroom spaces in time for the show. They should be settled into their permanent spaces by the winter market, joining Midwest/CBK, Homestyle, C&F Enterprises and others.. Also joining them in January will be Two's

Gift + Home ribbon cuttingGift + Home ribbon cutting
Company, which is also taking a permanent showroom in Building C. And WMCLV representatives strongly hinted that there will be more major tenant announcements in the coming months for an even stronger winter market showing.
In the temporaries, Yankee Candle, Somerset Entertainment and Natural Life were among the new exhibitors of note. Yankee Candle's director of sales Kimberly Biggs summed up the show nicely, saying that the Las Vegas Market is a "wonderful environment. It's a great experience for buyers. They can come to Las Vegas and combine business with some well deserved time off to enjoy themselves, which they don't often have the opportunity to do." She and others, including a representative from Russ Berrie, felt that there is great potential at this market and are encouraging their "friendly competition" to come on board and exhibit, noting that they all will benefit. The more there is to see, the more reason for a buyer to come.

Around the Exhibits
Rep firms, such as Cory Baehr and My House from LA, are recognizing the potential of the market as well to expand their reach to customers beyond Southern California. For My House, this was the firm's third Las Vegas market. My House had previously exhibited in temporary space in Building C but moved to a space in Building B this market. My House's Mary Dickenson was pleased with the move and the traffic that she was seeing, noting new customers from Colorado, Nevada and elsewhere that she would not normally see in LA. Among the My House lines on display were Jeremie, Mainly Baskets and Park Hill.
Cory Baehr, who imports a range of gourmet chocolates and specialty foods, was only showing one line, House of Balsamic, an upscale line of balsamic vinegar products from Modena, Italy, which is brand new to the American market. Baehr feels gourmet may be the next big push for this market.
There were many familiar faces and some new ones in the new Vegas Kids section, including Creative Corrugated Playlands which made its debut this summer. These recycled cardboard constructions come in six styles: Cottage Playhouse, Medieval Castle, Princess Carriage, Space Shuttle, Pirate Ship and Patrol Tank. Children can draw on the blank "canvas" of the cardboard structure and make each construction their own. The company is currently working on more styles, especially for boys, whose play style is different from that of girls.
M3Girl Designs, a company launched by Maddie Bradshaw three years ago and known for its original Snap Caps interchangeable bottlecap jewelry, debuted Maddie's book, You Can Start a Business Too. Maddie, now 14 years old, wrote the book to help guide other young entrepreneurs through the difficult landscape of creating a business plan, marketing and much more.
Accent ChicAccent Chic
In the Gift + Home there were some new faces making their debut at this summer's market. New vendor Accent Chic made its debut this summer with a selection of accessories imported from France. Anny Beideler Pfister was excited to be a part of the gift industry and was pleased with sales and the contacts she made at the fair.
In addition to creating ambience in the exhibit area by playing its music, Somerset Entertainment was showing some of its new introductions including a fun set of music CDs packaged in a tin that comes with a detachable magnet. The magnets feature retro images of pin-ups accompanied by a quote. The "Diamonds" title features the quote, "I Never Hate a Man Enough ... to Give Him His Diamonds Back." The CD has music by the likes of Dean Martin, Julie London and Nat King Cole.

The Parties
It wouldn't be Vegas if there wasn't a party going on. Tuesday night buyers were treated to a party celebrating the grand opening of the Gift + Home section, sponsored by Gifts & Decorative Accessories and sister publication Home Accents Today, on the fifth floor of Building C. After a ribbon cutting, balloons were dropped from the ceiling. In each balloon were prizes, including discounts on orders, but one lucky winner won an iPad.
The Gift and Home Trade Association hosted a party on Wednesday night. The event was well-attended and buyers and vendors mixed and mingled, while cocktails and hors d'oeuvres were served.


Fun Notes
Snap Retail was on hand to guide buyers and to add to the fun of market: The company featured a photo booth where show attendees could have their picture taken. Representative also handed out cupcakes and cocktails, a nice treat at the end of a busy day of buying.
Joe Woulfe, vice president sales and marketing at the Franz Collection, told Gifts & Decorative Accessories that Franz will have a special boutique featuring the Jean Boggio Collection for Franz on display at New York's upscale Fifth Avenue retailer Bergdorf Goodman. The exhibit will run August 15-November 1.
And anyone who stayed at the Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas may have gotten a taste of Hollywood! "CSI: Las Vegas: was taping an episode at the hotel. Guests caught glimpses of the stars, including Elliott Gould.

Bessie NestorasBessie Nestoras Knoblauch | Senior Editor, Gifts and Decorative Accessories

Senior Editor, Bessie Nestoras Knoblauch has been covering the Home, Fashion, Gourmet Housewares and Giftables categories for Gifts and Decorative Accessories since 2000. An experienced editor, she is keenly astute and observant of the changing trends in the industry.

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GDA Cover July 2017

See the July 2017 issue of Gifts & Dec.  In this issue... Fashion forward, Repurpose That, Sumer Inventory for Fall Trends.  Plus: The importance of local fare and fair trade, Are customer still coloring and Tea (Towels) for two: The latest in gourmet gifts. Get details!