Direct from Market: Las Vegas
Caroline Kennedy -- Gifts & Dec, February 5, 2013
In this industry driven by the question, "What's New?" the What's New? in Las Vegas is not as much about new products as it is about the market itself. The Las Vegas Market has gained a lot of momentum and made a giant leap forward this winter, especially on the Gift + Home side. There has been more growth and change over the past six months since Dorothy Belshaw, IMC's president of Gift + Home Decor, came on board and unveiled a three-phase strategic plan for vitalizing and tenanting Building C. Belshaw and the her team have been hard at work over the past six months meeting and working with current tenants and wooing and negotiating with prospective tenants and temporary exhibitors. The result? A more noticeable blending of the home décor and gift categories and an impressive shifting of established resources into new spaces, populating showrooms with new tenants, a number of showroom expansions and a good selection of first-time and returning temporary exhibitors.
So who did we find new? Three major vendors, Burton + Burton, Grasslands Road and Roman, opened showrooms on C8, anchoring spaces surrounding the OneCoast showroom. With the smell of fresh paint still lingering in the showroom, Maxine Burton told Gifts and Decorative Accessories that it was time to take to plunge into the West Coast market. Business in the showrooms of all three new exhibitors was brisk, the reception warm and new accounts opened. Roman CEO Dan Loughman was pleased with the traffic and business done so far and noted that sales had exceeded those of last year in his previous showroom in Los Angeles.
Filling in smaller showroom spaces were Blossom Bucket, Coton Colors, Seasons Jewelry, Buckhead Betties, 1 Point West and an expanded Next Step Reps. Coton Colors, Seasons Jewelry and Buckhead Betties reside side by side and have synergies in terms of customer appeal; thus the wall between the Coton Colors and Seasons Jewelry showrooms is open to allow for buyer flow-through. For the summer market, the wall between Seasons Jewelry and Buckhead Betties will also be opened as well. Also for the summer market, Evergreen Enterprises plans to expand its showroom, according to Tom Steinmetz, Evergreen's director of sales. When expanded it will be almost as big as the company's Atlanta showroom. Steinmetz also shared the season's best seller has been its EverGreetings, a garden flag in a greeting card.
Up on C9, Hanna's Handiworks and Meissenburg Designs' new showrooms joined other floor exhibitors including Midwest-CBK, Demdaco/Silvestri, Transpac, Ganz and others. Ohio Wholesale/Kennedy's Country Collection expanded the showroom that it opened last summer. The GSMA shared showroom relocated to C9 and rebranded the showroom as OMG! Oh My Gifts! Thrilled with the rebranding and new location, Peggy Maynard of Beadworx spoke for all the GSMA exhibitors saying, "We have done more business [in the first two days of the show] than all of last market."
The focus on home décor in Building C drew furniture and home accents buyers over from Buildings A and B and encouraged them to explore more of what the building has to offer. Home decor is the focus on floors C3 and C4. On C3, a number of key home accents and textiles resources-including Guildmaster, Peninsula Home and Art & Frame Source-relocated to join three existing rug showroom tenants. They were joined by 13 new tenants including rep group Codarus West, Bliss Studio and Peking Handicrafts/Trina Turk. The Codarus showroom brings popular lines such as Pine Cone Hill, Square Feathers and Barbara Cosgrove to the market. C4, this market were the home décor temporaries divided into three sections: Home, Style and Textiles. For the summer market, plans are to develop more Home resource showrooms on C4 and move the temporaries to C5, where the Gift temporaries are currently located. The Gift temps will relocate to C11.
The Gift temporaries on C5 were an interesting mix of returning and new exhibitors. Among the new faces this market was the Atlanta-based rep firm Just Got 2 Have It, which will be taking a large showroom space on C10 and bringing many of its fun and fashion forward lines to the west. The showroom is currently planned to open next January. Giftcraft had a presence in the temps with its new Charlie Paige fashion collection. Is Giftcraft considering a showroom in Vegas? Company CEO Trevor Cohen and president of U.S. operations George Kacic were on hand at the market, but their lips were sealed. We shall have to wait and see what develops. Other notable exhibitors tested the waters (or should I say desert) of Las Vegas: Madison Park Group, Designer Greetings, Papyrus/Recycled Paper Greetings, and Wishnest by Alise Sheehan. The Vintage and soft launch of the Global and Made sections presented a small but select and interesting selection of exhibitors new to the market. One exhibitor, Material Good, appeared in both the Made section as well as the Trend section. The company's Little Shirley vases are handcrafted and come in a rainbow of 36 colors. Ten percent profits are donated to community programs.
All this changes and newness means that there was plenty for the gift and home buyer to source from. And come to the market they did. There was a noticeable increase in gift and home buyer attendance over previous markets. Attending the market for the first time, retailer Carol Schroeder of Orange Tree Imports, Madison, WI (and a contributing editor to Gifts and Decorative Accessories), remarked that she was finding plenty of things to pique her interest.
While the biggest news of the market was all the growth and change, it doesn't mean that there was nothing new here, not seen or noticed elsewhere. There was.
Halloween decor, fashion and other accessories seems to be a category of growing interest. Marc Rice of Ganz noted that the surprise line in his showroom attracting buyers was the Halloween fashion and accessories line with ghoulish t-shirts, headwear and other accents. He noted that Halloween has become more than just trick or treat for kids; it is a popular occasion for adults to dress up and host parties. Rice noted that the other showroom draw was the Style 101 fashion collection that Ganz launched in Atlanta. Overall he noted that by Tuesday of the market, "We eclipsed out sales" over previous Vegas markets.
At Grasslands Road, kits for dressing up pumpkins rather than carving them were noted. Halloween accents were also noted at Burton + Burton and Transpac.
Meissenburg Designs, known for its vintage style wooden advertising signs showcased its new Boxed Metal Wall Art in a variety of whimsical and wildlife designs and suitable to indoor and outdoor decorating.
For higher end gifting needs, the sculptural enameled boxes by Keren Kopal are just the ticket. Inspired by the works of Peter Carl Faberge, these small pieces of collectible art are decorated with Swarovski crystals, 24-kt. gold or sterling silver. There are eggs, animals, boxes and much more.
Words & Watercolors
Words & Watercolors expanded its offering beyond greeting cards and introduced beautiful sheets of giftwrap in its free-style watercolor designs. The sheets are pretty and visual enough to be framed as wall art.
British import Herdy is a diverse and appealing sheep-inspired line of goods ranging from ceramic mugs and banks to notebooks and keychains to tote bags and infant sleepers. A percentage of profits from the lines goes to supporting sustainable rural communities and Herdwick sheep.
Longneck beer bottles just got a little more charming with That's Yours drink tags. The dog tag shaped tags with clever wording have a rubber ring that slips over the mouth and down the neck of the bottle to help ensure that each beer drinker can identify which longneck is his or hers. The tags can be purchased separately or come as a giftboxed set.
To dress up the kitchen, mud room family center or home office, the Mikeylin's magnetic art boards from Petal Lane provide a lot of different decorative options. And better yet, the frames and wooden accents are made from wood harvested and reclaimed from wildfire burnt forests.
Manual Woodworkers and Weavers vintage ruler motif garden accessories and other decorative accents have a certain immeasurable charm.
Look for more growth and change coming this summer. There will be more new showrooms and temporary resources to be seen throughout Building C.
Manual Woodworkers & Weavers
World Market Center
Tour Transpac's Las Vegas Showroom