Direct from Market: Atlanta, January 2013, Part 2
Bessie Nestoras -- Gifts & Dec, January 17, 2013
The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market continued to gain momentum as buyers continued to make their way to market on Friday and Saturday. Showroom vendors throughout the AmericasMart campus were having a strong market. Several noted that this was their best market in five years. With ever more new showrooms opening up and others expanding, getting around to see all that the market has to offer becomes increasingly difficult within a limited time frame. Buyers (and editors) have to be even more judicious in planning their time to allow enough free time to visit the temps seeking out new resources and to wander into showrooms not on their normal rounds.
John Wind Maximal Art
Color is on the Menu for 2013
Bright, saturated colors were spotted throughout the market in home decor as well as fashion. In fashion, John Wind described his latest collection as 1970s preppy. Vibrant greens, oranges and pinks bring a breath of fresh air to an outfit. And Tokyo Bay also offered watches in bright hues with silicone bands—a watch trend to keep an eye on. (Another watch trend is wrap-around bands spotted at Scojo and Tokyo Bay.) In home, Global Views focused on yellow and blue this market. The Solar collection featured warmer yellow shades and yellow metals, mostly focusing on antiqued golds, picking up from the brushed 24-kt. gold look in jewelry. The blues are more celestial blues, as well as dark turquoise.
Two's Company's Brasil collection was full of color and Creative Co-Op also focused on bright colors. Newcomer Plat du Jour's placemats come in a rainbow of bright hues—turquoise, pink, green and more. The paper placemats are made in the U.S.A. from recycled content and come in a set of 50 tear-off pages. Color is all around Capri Blue's new Kaleidoscope collection with glasses in six bright colors: teal, yellow, orange, kiwi, plum and fuchsia. The glass jar collection features lids designed after the different geometric shapes of a kaleidoscope. At Anna Griffin, a new Maude Asbury Blend collection of totes, home office and stationery items take a bright turn updated '60s florals.
What to Watch For
Another trend to watch in home is white, glossy finishes. Creative Co-Op, Go Home, Imax Worldwide, and IMM Living all offered white accessories. The white brings a clean, modern touch, even when used in traditional shapes and silhouettes.
The pig just might replace the owl as the animal du jour. Throughout market, pigs were seen in the form of figures or in wall decor. Urban Trends Collection offered a variety, including a pig with wings and a trophy head in bright colors. Creative Co-Op also had several pigs in its collection. And the pig was the main attractions in Grasslands Road's BBQ collection with pig inspired plates, utensils and other tableware in bright red, yellow and blue. Giftcraft also tapped into the pig motif, introducing cast iron pig figurines and bookends.
Urban Trends Collection
In coastal, the seahorse is becoming a popular design element. It was seen more predominately in several showrooms, including Andrea by Sadek, Grasslands Road, Wendover Art Group and Peking Handicraft.
Driftwood is another coastal look that is being seen in home decor. Light & Living, Jeffan and Go Home offered lamps, figures and other home accents made of Driftwood. Studio A took driftwood and smoothed it to create a chest of drawers. It was also noted in holiday décor from Burton & Burton, Grasslands Road and elsewhere.
Light and Living
Chalk board elements are being incorporated onto more products these days. The Baby It's Cold Outside collection from Midwest-CBK includes chalk board frames in white with splashes of red and black. The company is also premiering wine tasting hanging wall units with chalk board in front for naming wines. Chalk board are all the craze from DEI's holiday pet-inspired chalk boards designed as poodle, Labrador, schnauzer, Chihuahua and other doggie silhouettes. Jozie B also has some inspirational chalk boards.
Other design themes seen throughout market include French macarons (replacing the cupcake trend); woodland creatures— including owls, deer and foxes—are still very strong; and moustaches-whose popularity still seems to be growing!
New at Market
Michael Aram opened a new showroom this market and showcased a collection of new pillows. The decorative poofs come in four patterns—Lemonwood, Black Orchid, Botanical Leaf and a studded version—made in various materials, including flax, silk and leather, and cotton canvas. This is yet another new category for the designer. Expect more surprises from the designer in other categories in the future. And speaking of Michael Aram, the MADHouse by Michael Aram collection for Creative Converting is even more luscious in person and drew a lot of attention. The melamine items look like porcelain and the paper tableware dresses up any table setting.
Light & Living made its U.S. debut in Atlanta. The Dutch company offers decorative lighting and home accents. The collections are sophisticated, modern, earthy and organic. You will find everything from cement light fixtures to driftwood table lamps.
Also making its first appearance in Atlanta was Tronk, a furniture company that offers accent pieces, a bed and the Vaughan Dock-a stereo dock base for any electronic item. Featuring a mid-century modern design, the device is made in various woods and is perfectly finished with a clock giving it that extra shout-out to its mid-century roots.
Maileg, which opened a showroom in Atlanta, offered a display for retailers, which featured its bunny dolls and a rack of clothes for the dolls to the right, mirroring a clothing boutique. The Danish company also introduced new clothes for its popular mice in matchboxes, in addition to melamine dishware.
For DIYers, Stikwood (found in Karen Alweil's new Atlanta showroom) offers adhesive wooden wall panels in various wood finishes. The collection is made in the U.S.A. and is VOC free, sustainable and environmentally friendly. It is a quick and easy way to create an accent wall, a headboard or even a backsplash in the kitchen.
The Great Outdoors
Roost is focusing on outdoor living. Copper accessories have been popular for the company, and it offered several pieces, including bowls, planters, boxes, stakes and decorative objects in the form of various insects. The new Studio M division of Magnet Works drew a lot of interest from buyers. The new licensed collections of indoor and outdoor garden accessories is a real departure for the company known for its garden flags, floor mats and mailbox wraps. The four licensed collections by Susan Winget, Jennifer Brinley, Stephanie Burgess and Genevieve Gail were all well received. Magnet Works expanded its showroom space in the The Gardens section to accommodate the new division and its lines.
What's Cookin' for the Kitchen
Beautiful Briny Sea Salt
Sea salts, spices and teas were sprinkled heavily among the gourmet section from Beautiful Briny Sea Salt, which debuted its Magic Unicorn and other truffle-infused salts. A crowd formed around Special S-t spice, created by Marla Cohen. The super spice, which Cohen would serve exclusively to customers in her Riverside, CA restaurant for years, launched last July and has expanded into more states in 2013. Great Lakes Tea and Spices also offered up some 100 percent organic blends.
Kitchen-related paper products that mesh well with the gourmet category are a growing line extension for many stationery companies. Pierre Belvedere showcased its new "L'Art de la Table" range—featuring napkins, coasters, recipe boxes, aprons and more. C.R. Gibson also highlighted several new kitchen collections, including the apple-themed "Joyful Abundance" by Lisa Kaus and "Summer Lemons" by Jessie Steele, with items ranging from Shopper's Organizers and recipe cards and boxes, to freezer labels, coupon holders and a Treat Box Accessory kit.
Rustic and Retro
In the housewares and holiday categories, burlap was big, but not in bag form. Sage & Co. showcased a Christmas tree filled with its new burlap ornament collection, while Regency International had burlap wreaths and other holiday décor out, and Grasslands Road showed off its burlap stocking collection and burlap Coffee Break collection, including decorative pillows and coasters. Department 56, Midwest-CBK, Roost and Creative Co-op were just a handful of companies that also added to the burlap to woodland or other décor. Driftwood and tin also popped up more than once to capture the vintage theme moving across the categories as well.
One Hundred 80 Degrees offered a retro take with Paper Holiday with vintage-style brown paper packaging housing the classic-style ornaments and other holiday accessories featuring old Santa and snowman artwork. At Glitterville, it was all sparkles and cupcakes making a comeback with the Cupcake Town collection of vintage-inspired cupcake stands, holders and other accessories. Grasslands Road also goes retro with the Sleigh Bells Ring collection that has a vintage Santa imagery on glass plates, tea light holders, vintage-inscribed mugs and more. Grasslands also added a new Festival of Lights collection to the mix, a line of menorahs, dreidel boxes and other tableware for Hanukkah.
Flame Out, Frangrance In
More flameless options were available in the candle category with new flameless warmers from A Cheerful Giver, Candle Warmers and Yankee Candle, which featured a Flameless Fragrance Planning Center on a wall in its showroom for buyers to map out more flameless options. The company's wax melts are still a top seller, according to Yankee's Karen Woods. The company also expanded its Pure Radiance line, added new candle accessories and introduced an all-black candle, Black Coconut, which was getting a lot of attention from buyers. "Candles are not just about fragrance," Wood told Gifts and Decorative Accessories. "It's about memories." Tyler Candles also introduced 24 new warmer scents to its collection.
Stationery: Expanding Horizons
Several stationery companies have stepped into the tech category with cellphone covers featuring designs that complement their paper goods. Anne Taintor debuted fun Snap-on Cases for the iPhone 4/4S. (Taintor licensed art also debuted on Tervis tumblers.) Stevie Streck branched out from her custom-invitation line with stylish iPhone covers that can be personalized. Plus, Lifeguard Press proved it's putting the "smart" in smartphone covers with colorful designs from Jonathan Adler and Lilly Pulitzer.
Another company branching out beyond invitations is Faux Designs, which has added giftwrap, coasters, notecards, desk calendars and cups to its lineup. While luxury skincare line, Margot Elena's TokyoMilk, expanded its stationery line with some new cards. And invitation company Checkerboard broke away and took its personalized pillows and wall décor offerings to the home decor temps in Building 1. Meanwhile Notes & Queries introduced a collection of colorful espresso mugs that come in gift sets of two or four or in a countertop display merchandiser for single mug sales.
Raising a flag, literally, was the pairing of stationery with garden flags. The Paparté division of InScribe debuted personalized garden flags for everyday and seasonal occasions, which retailers print in-store. And, big news at Evergreen Enterprises was the introduction of "everGreetings": an oversized, mailable greeting card containing a decorative garden flag.
Of This and That
Pure botanicals inspire Rosy Rings, a new collection of home fragrance handcrafted in Colorado. Glass reed diffusers feature real flowers, spices, fruit and botanicals
floating inside the oil essence; candles feature a similar blend. Anjou Pear, Cinnamon Pinon and Blackberry Fig were some of the standout fragrances in the collection. Speaking of fragrance, Poo-Pourri is expanding its "spray before you go" collection with new diffusers, Bada Bloom, which feature dried flowers instead of reeds in decorative ceramic owls.
Building more on successful kids lines, Monkeez Makes a Difference introduced five new characters to its collection and C.R. Gibson showcased some more whimsical puzzle boxes, craft and play kits and books designed by artists Jill McDonald and Emily Green.
Aztec prints are also popular in both fashion and home. At Shiraleah, bags and scarves were shown featuring these prints. The company also introduced laser-cut bags and wallets in bright spring colors that feature pull-out bags within the larger bag, so if you're taking a tote to the beach or park you can take the smaller one with you.
Humor is always a way to get customers to smile and several gift lines blared hilarious messages, including Blue Q's "Crazy Beautiful Wet Wipes" and You Smell soaps—the latter which appeared on ABC TV's Shark Tank program. And a new "Censored" line of humorous, slightly naughty greeting cards made its first appearance at Marian Heath's temp booth.
Are you looking for something to add to your men's gift section, then consider Tumbleweed's new double pocket pillows with male-pleasing sentiments and designs and pockets ready to hold the remote and a beverage. Meanwhile, Gina B. Designs was busy selling its line of cute enclosure cards-a category that owner Gina Bugée says is strong again.
In the News
Making news was the acquisition by Slant Collections of Inviting Company. Another recent acquisition: Sceneweaver has been acquired by Springs Creative. Additionally, Legacy Greetings shared news about its new "Buy A Card/Feed A Child" program, for which the company is giving a percentage of profits of its $2.99 cards to nonprofit groups supporting children and families around the world in the fight against hunger and malnutrition.
That's all for now. Next Up: Dallas
Tour Transpac's Las Vegas Showroom