Direct from Market: Atlanta
GDA Staff -- Gifts and Dec, 7/19/2012 12:04:50 PM
If you walked the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market, one motif seemed to stand out from the rest - zig zag patterns. They were everywhere, spotted on everything from pillows to bedding to fashion accents and C&F Enterprises' Tazzo bedding collection featured a chevron stripe in soft shades of purple, green and orange. Chevron stripes were also seen at Imax, Four Hands, Tempaper and RuMe.packaging.
Graphic prints, such as lattice and medallion patterns were also used throughout home furnishings and fashion offerings. The geometric patterns have a more architectural feel and bring a sophisticated charm to the overall look of a product and room where the products might be displayed.
Painterly looks was another motif that was seen at the show. Most recently it was spotted on dinnerware and has now transferred over to home furnishings. Tozai's collection with Dransfield & Ross included Starving Artist, a collection of decorative accents featuring painterly scenes. Fringe's Florista collection also found inspiration in watercolors, as did Midwest-CBK's Water Color Garden which was inspired by Monet's water colors. At C&F Enterprises, the artwork of Paul Brent was transferred onto pillows and another collection of pillows feature the watercolors of artist Jen Callahan.
In fashion accessories, glam looks were prevalent. Lindsay Phillips, Mud Pie, Jane Marvel and Stephanie Johnson featured accessories with a little bit of glitter. It's a fun throwback to the 1970s when glam rock was at its height. And speaking of the '70s, Maximal Art introduced a collection of initial charms in a '70s era font. The lowercase initials were adorned with a sentiment and according to designer John Wind they were on almost every order. Maximal Art took the glitz one step further with a jewel tone line with oversized gems in red, blue, green, purple, pink and more.
Peacocks seem to be re-emerging once again as a design motif. Punch Studio presented a diverse collection of paper partyware, decorative boxes and bags and stationery items with a new peacock motif. Peacocks were also noticed on trays and entertaining accessories at Evergreen Enterprises, decorative beaded figures at Beadworx, decorative glass trays and accessories from Fringe. And to add a decorative element to the garden, Giftcraft has plant stakes and garden decor with the proud bird motif.
A mini trend to keep your eye on is surf motifs. A natural extension to Wendover Art Group featured an oversize photo of a surfer riding a wave in the window of their showroom and Spicher and Company also offered a selection of art with a surfer theme.the sea-inspired looks that have been popular for some time now, this look is relaxed and casual. C&F Enterprises introduced two surf-inspired patterns, including Surf Rider by Heidi Dobrott. And
Bags and Baggage
Wendell August, a 90-year-old metalware company (a la Wilton Armetale) has partnered with Little Earth. Little Earth is that artisan line of handbags and accessories made from license plates, bottle caps and other ephemera. Wendell August is now doing its manufacturing and distribution and debuted new designs of hammered aluminum handbags as well as the classic Little Earth design. Wendell August entered the wholesale gift business for the first time in January. They also debuted a wonderful collection of cast metal Christmas ornaments.
Sometimes clever naming puts a new twist on an established idea. Such was the case with the "Nap Wrap" from Noelle, which repositions the ruana as a combination wrap and throw to cozy up to for a winter's nap. These woven wraps/throws come in a selection of soft colors and neutrals to blend with any decor or ensemble.
Sceneweaver introduced its versatile Papillion-a wrap, scarf, shrug, etc. This soft knit garment can be worn in a variety of ways for warmth or just to add a little pizzazz to an outfit.
Accessories for our tech continues to grow as giftware. Triple C Designs introduced a wireless speaker device, the iSpeeker, that works on Bluetooth technology. With its magnetic clip, it can be worn on a lapel or pocket to deliver sound remotely from an iPod or other device. The company also offered iChargeAll, an emergency charger for the iPod or iPhone. They both come in bright candy colors.
Tech Candy has also come out with a back up charger that is CE, FCC and RoHS certified. It fully charges an iPhone or iPod Touch in just under three hours. Tech Candy has also introduced an app where one can download the coordinating pattern of their case, so their wallpaper will match.
RuMe's latest introductions include an identification band that is Cloud-based. It's great for runners. The QR code includes as much or little personal information in case of an emergency. The company also introduced luggage tags to store travelers' information, as well as key chains that feature a web site where the founder of lost keys can visit to contact the owner.
For a new twist on the businessperson's classic meeting accessory, the pad folio/portfolio moves into the modern era. Papier de Maison showcased a tri-fold portfolio/pad folio that opens to hold a regular notepad, an iPad or tablet device and a stylus. The folios come in a variety of decorative hardcover designs and are presented in a handy counter merchandiser.
The Bondi from Funky Rio is a whimsical, flexible cell phone holder made of silicone. Two "arms" hug the phone top, two feet hold the bottom; a hanger so that it can hang from a rearview mirror when using the phone's GPS or hang it off a belt loop or handbag strap. There are many other ways it can be useful.
Especially handy for the student going back to school or for the business person on the go needing to take a back-up set of documents along, Memory on Hand offered wristband USB flash drives in colorful patterns and solids. They can also be custom printed-for premiums, for special event memories, fundraisers, etc.
Candles Burn Bright
More history in candle and fragrance was available at Niven Morgan with Jean Baptiste 1717, a scent that pays homage to the 18th century aristocrat, Jean Baptiste le Moyne de Bienville, who established the city in 1717 and the streets of New Orleans, with jasmine, hyacinth and oak-available in candle, fragrance, shower wash, bath soak, lotions, oil and more. The Baptiste line complements Morgan's city-inspired candles featuring London, Marrakech, St. Tropez, Mykonos, San Miguel, New Orleans, Cape Town and even a peppery, absinthe-infused Paris.
Candle warmers are also a big mover; vendors note that they're selling strongly because of the product's clean burn and no smoke. Beth Sturm, director of brand development, Colonial Candles, told Gifts and Decorative Accessories that the melts and warmers in trellis and lattice carved design are top sellers. Clay Vordenbaum, vice president of sales, marketing, Drake Candles noted, "They sell just as much as our candles."
Like Drake, the faith-based gift and seasonal gift company, Brushfire Designs held some patriotic appeal by offering up ornaments hand-painted the U.S. Brushfire Designs' bulbous ornaments are made entirely in the company's Hattiesburg, MS studio.
Fred and Friends, Kikkerland and DCI are among the leaders when it comes to stylish and fun novelty items, and they were attracting a lot of interest this market. But it is the classic plastic Solo cup that seems to have captured the imaginations of giftware developers. From Y'Alls Products is the Tailgate Wine Glass—the plastic cup "Velcro'd" on a stem - and the Fancy Moonshine Glass - the cup, reinterpreted in melamine, on a stem. And making its debut is the The Original Red Cup Buddy a "koozie" or neoprene cup holder, sized for the Solo beer cup, that comes with the red cup!
The Labbit, offered in plush, mini plush backpack hangers, mini figurines is a fun, yet slightly edgy line from Kidrobot. The original Smorkin' Labbit (so named due to a foreign language quirk) was created by artist Frank Kozik. The Happy Labbit bears a 'stache (i.e. mustache). Plush pieces range from camo designs to wild animal patterns, as well as the new bright solids-all with a 'stache of course!
Fraust & Co.'s The Gentleman's Deck is a collection of style and etiquette anecdotes for men printed on playing cards that can also be used for a card game. Other versions include The Spy Deck, which pays homage to classic espionage, and The Garden Deck which helps one plan out their garden.
Remember Pan Am, the airline? Well, Pan Am still exists, only not as an airline anymore. Pan Am offers several different collections of the airline's reproduction and retro-inspired carry-ons, totes, wash bags, luggage tags and more. There are several different collections spanning from the original Pan American World Airways up to the 707 era.
Mud Pie expanded its entertaining collection with Gracious Living, a new Thanksgiving collection. It features wood items, ceramics, as well as pewter finished accessories featuring sentiments. The line is aimed for Thanksgiving, but has life beyond the holiday.
Midwest CBK's Topsy Turvy mugs are a clever twist on the mug. Available in several animals, including birds, dogs, a hedgehog and more, it's when you flip them over to drink, where the cute factor comes in. the animals look as though they're doing a handstand. A perfect gift item.
Fido Barks Up Sales
Keeping with the holidays, vendors didn't forget the furry one. Pets had new holiday treat jars, stockings, scarves, leashes, toys and other accessory offerings from Mud Pie. Up Country also offered up chic collars for dogs and cats and accessories like designer catnip toys, futons, mats and more. Pavilion Gifts offered up servingware, ornaments (and yes, treat jars for pet and pet parent) and other products for owners. Designed by artist, Nina Lyman, the Rescue Me Now line of dishes and other accessories feature a rescued dog with proceeds from sales going to the WSPCA.
Holiday: Wool, Punks and News
Holiday offerings also had some traditional, kitschy and handmade appeal. The woodland theme popped up in holiday and throughout home decor showrooms. In the holiday category, there are wooden trees all around and handcrafted ornaments to match at Midwest-CBK, One Hundred 80 Degrees and other vendors.
Halloween even got a bit artistic with Enesco showcased its Steam Punk Halloween line for Department 56, created by folk artist Janell Barrymore using different odds parts, pieces and gadgets. The Pumpkinseeds line features a steam punk-inspired Frankenstein, pumpkins, rats, Dracula and skeleton figures and ornaments. More artsy offerings from Enesco included the Type Faces, collection, which is part of the new Planet Random line. TypeFaces are whimsical figures of giraffes, hippos, elephants and other creatures covered in painted-over, recycled newspaper and filled with repurposed volcanic ash from Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines.
Wendell August introduced a wide-ranging holiday ornament collection, all made of aluminum or mixed metal, each with the artisan touch and Made in America-Pennsylvania to be exact!
The Twelve-Twenty Five Collection distributed by AP Gifts offers some delightful ornaments and decorative figures crafted from wool. Available in several colorways, they have a whimsical European holiday feel. There are Santas and snowmen, reindeer and polar bear, angels and elves, wreaths and trees.
Two's Company goes preppy with its Ivy League collection. The line features plaids, equestrian motifs and other traditional American styles.
A new eco-friendly, reusable giftwrap debuted in the Social Trends showroom. The Lilywrap is made from colorful stretchy, Spandex-type fabric that will fit easily around many different types of shapes; a colorful ribbon runs through a casing around the perimeter of the fabric and is drawn up around the gift being wrapped. And gets tied into a bow, nice and neat. Voila! Comes in three sizes and five patterns, with more in the works.
Coton Colors, known for its ceramic wares and cookbook, took several of its recipes and introduced them already prepared jarred versions for the cooking-challenged. New are fig and tomato jams, a marinara a barbecue sauce.
Mariposa is venturing into a new category: candles. The company introduced Lumiere, a collection of candles featuring three scents and six candle toppers.
Waxing Poetic's new Everybody Needs line is an uplifting collection of necklaces with inspiring messages like "Angel: To Rescue and Be Rescued," "Peace: To Swoop In and Help Others" and "Love: To Find and Be Found." They come packaged in a box with wings that spread when the box is opened.
This year's hot color is orange, or Tangerine Tango as Pantone named it. Going forward, green will be the color of
One final note: Did you ever wonder how much anyone walks while they are at market, going up and down the aisles and hallways and in and out of the showrooms? We have. For years this has been a matter of idle curiosity among the Gifts and Decorative Accessories editors. So, during this Atlanta market, one of us wore a pedometer and clocked over 15 miles over the course of 4½ days.