Direct from Market: San Francisco
Caroline Kennedy -- Gifts & Dec, February 22, 2013
First impressions do matter, and the first impression upon entering the south hall of the Moscone Center and encountering the large exhibit of Roost, was quality and style.
That set the overall tone for what we encountered across the show floor from exhibitors both large and small. Key multiline rep groups were there in force — among them Mary Hada, Fine Lines, Keena and Lori Minden — along with vendors of all sizes, including Melrose Intl., whose give-away totes were seen carried across the show floor, Lollia, which always has a crowd in its booth, and SPI, whosebluetooth home and garden pieces have been captivating buyer interest since they debuted.
For the buyer who comes only to San Francisco to source, the show offers the quality and range of products to meet their needs, from handcrafted (both U.S. made and global), vintage and contemporary designs to garden, fashion and home accessories, as well as stationery, novelties, personal care and giftables of all kinds. But for someone who perhaps comes to SFIGF after shopping other shows, this is a good place to discover interesting smaller and emerging companies.
Necessity — and practicality — is the inspiration for mothers' inventions. Such is the case with Ginelle Mills' Coolwazoo multi-purpose changing pad for babies. It has wipe-clean material surface, a high-tech inner padding the repels heat, an attached kneeling area for mom and folds up into a compact pouch size. It is designed to convert to a seat cover for high chair, shopping cart or even playground swing.
Other mom-invented products are The Babee Covee and the Aacua and Haarbib from Maamam. The Babee Covee is a baby/playtime blanket that is also a cover for the car seat, shopping cart, high chair, stroller or nursing. It is machine washable with a soft plush fabric on one side and a woven fabric on the other. Strategically placed ties and covered openings give this blanket its versatility. Made in U.S.A., Maamam's Aacua is a multipurpose hooded towel wrap/robe for infants and toddlers. The Haarbib is a toweling vest/wrap for older kids to wear to keep clothing dry while washing up or drying hair.
To help younger kids reach the faucet handle and bring the running water closer t them, there is the Aqueduck handle and faucet extenders from Peachy. The extenders fit over most tow-handle faucets and make it easier for kids to turn on the water themselves. The faucet extender slips over the faucet and has a little duck bill trough shape that brings the flow of the water closer to the kids.
Eco-friendly Indy Plush is an edgy plush line with kid-appeal since some it its critters are designed with kids' input and inspiration. The line is 100 percent American made from the fabrics to the stuffing to the finished pieces. The stuffing is made from recycled plastic bottles. The outer fabrics are made of sustainable wool or cotton.
The Monster Factory's offerings of imaginative characters, each with their own personality, hold appeal for kids of all ages. Twelve designs for spring 2013 were featured.
Plush toys with a difference are NightBuddies, designed to keep the under-the-bed-monster at bay. These vehicle shaped plush toys have a special feature: squeeze them and their headlamp eyes light up. The light offers reassurance and security to kids in the dark and help them go to sleep.
Red Fish Toys
Peace and Love
To find a little peace through fragrance, Vuudh presented the Eastern Passage Collection of exotic home fragrances, each inspired by a different locale in the Far East. The collection includes sprays, candles and diffusers.
Show the Love showed its love of creating inspirational jewelry. The delicately sculpted pieces are designed to express a feeling or uplifting sentiment. Many feature a quotation or positive affirmation. The jewelry is crafted with recycled metals and ethically sourced stones. Five percent of profits are donated to water.org
For stationery items such as journals, notepads, postcards, placemats and wrapping paper with an edgy difference, there are the offerings from Wrapped. The designs are not mainstream by any means but are very engaging and certainly create a very different look for a wrapped gift to stand out. They feature artwork created by a collective of artists.
KaleidEscapes shadowbox of Capitol Dome
Practical and Fun
Nantucket Bike Basket Company made its way across the country to the SFIGF to present its selection of baskets, originally designed as baskets to attach to the handlebar of a bicycle. But these practical baskets are being put to use in other ways as well. Their design with one flat side makes them ideal for also hanging on a wall as a planter or on the bathroom towel rack to hold rolled up towels, toiletries or bath items. There is also one designed with a cage-like cover for cycling with a small pet.
Munkees adds function to the keyring beyond just holding keys. The colorful animal shapes attached to the ring are more than decorative; they are also practical bottle openers. They make a great impulse item to stock near the checkout.
Tote + Able
For a different way to microwave potatoes and fresh veggies, Homecooked Shortcuts demonstrated the Corn-n-Tater microwave cooking bag made of a bamboo and cotton fabric. You just wrap the veggies in a damp paper towel, place in the bag and follow the cooking time instructions that come in the included cookbook. The cooking bag is machine washable and reusable.This method of cooking preserves more nutrients than other traditional ways.
The next San Francisco International Gift Fair will take place July 27-30 at the Moscone Center.
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