Direct from Market: Dallas
Bessie Nestoras , Caroline Kennedy -- Gifts and Dec, 1/25/2013 11:01:00 AM
There was plenty of new and plenty of traffic at the Dallas Total Home & Gift Market, held January 16-22. Upon entering the World Trade Center, visitors were greeted with striking trend displays before entering the Atrium area, which was inhabited by three large exhibitors of the new mouth-watering "Luxury Finds."
Celebrity guest speakers John Gidding and Curtis Stone held audiences rapt with their presentations. Gidding showed that there is more to curb appeal than landscaping; accessories play an important role in boosting a look. Chef Curtis Stone cooked up a storm that even had buyers and exhibitors alike hanging over the railings from the upper floors to watch and listen.
Saro, best known for its extensive collection of textiles, has entered a new category—dinnerware. The tableware offered is traditional and comes in various patterns, including one with a scalloped edge in soft earth tones. The company also introduced several new collections in textiles, including the Royal Jacan Collection (an Asian-inspired line featuring birds), an ikat pattern, as well as pieces in trendy burlap—a material that was widely used in holiday decor.
Also entering a new category is Park Hill Collection. The compan y is now offering a bedding line that comes in beige and soft brown stripes and plaids. The collection is in keeping with Park Hill's rustic, vintage look. Made of cotton, the line includes mostly decoratives like coverlets, dust ruffles and pillows. The company is also in a new, larger showroom.
Coton Colors' new Swap Tabletop collection allows one to mix and match the dinnerware with the company's table linens for a personalized table setting.
Little River Gift introduced the American Print collection of signs with inspirational messages, frames and crosses that are manufactured in Oklahoma.
The Unemployed Philosopher's Guide introduced the Money Talks collection of Tyvek wallets with sound chips. When the wallet is opened, it makes an appropriate quote or sound related to the imagery. The company also offered die-cut cards of different personalities—Shakespeare, Mark Twain, etc.—with different stickers of quotes and sayings to create your own message.
A fresh new stationery company Paradise Papers exhibited in the Design Finds section of the show. This small company only exhibits in Dallas at this time to ensure that it builds its business at a manageable rate. The company has invitations, notepads and notecards in a range of pleasing contemporary graphic designs including nautical, western and other themes.
Back in June, Arthur Court introduced a selection of jewelry and the collection has been such a hit; it has since doubled. The pieces are made of the same aluminum that the serveware is made of and also have the same names as the home line. Each item comes in a gift box with tags, so it's ready for shelving. What customers love about the line is that it is deceivingly lightweight.
Kurt S. Adler has caught the fashion accessories bug. The company has launched a new collection by Jacqueline Kent that includes jewelry, wraps and scarves. Kent is known for her Santa dolls and other holiday characters and has changed her hand to fashion. Her bracelet wraps were some of the best sellers from her debut collection. They can be worn in a variety of ways, such as bracelets or belts. In fact, wraps are a trendy look in fashion whether as a bracelet or a watch. We also spotted wraps at Elly Preston Jewelry.
Blithe debuted in Dallas with its lightweight cotton voile pajamas, night gowns and scarves in colorful prints that are all hand block-printed in India. Although the garments are listed as nightwear, the night gowns can easily be worn as tunics over leggings or as beach cover-ups. Some pieces have delicate hand-embroidery accents. The company also has brightly colored embossed leather clutches that are sure to appeal to younger consumers.
Watches take a bright fashion turn. Slap watches introduced its new spring line in bright colors and patterns. IKen Watches offers a fun mix-and-match concept to make a personal fashion statement with a watch. The customer chooses the bands, the watch face and the frame for the watch face. The options are nearly limitless. The pieces can be sold separately for add-on fashion option sales.
The Amanda Blu collection of affordable fashion jewelry, sandals and scarves continues to grow. The company introduced the Cache line of jewelry pieces with Swarovski elements that were drawing buyer interest. The company's bracelets and necklaces with colorful silk-wrapped chain elements are strikingly elegant.
For a sophisticated Bohemian look, Alpaca Flower, showcased a line of accessories made in Peru and featuring bright hand-embroidered floral designs. The line includes wide belts, headbands, bags, pillows and more. There is also a line of vegetable ivory jewelry and striking cuff bracelets made from natural horn.
If vendors aren't expanding their jewelry lines, they're expanding into baby and kids. K&K Interiors teamed up with Lynda Leciejewski to create a wide collection of baby gifts and clothing. The line includes everything from T-shirts, to sweaters to socks, to accessories and more. Some of the pieces also include a collection of hand-painted clothing with seasonal (Christmas and Halloween), as well as everyday design motifs.
Aden + Anais got its start when Australian mom Raegan Moya-Jones moved to the U.S. and couldn't find swaddling blankets for her baby. So she set out to make them herself. The swaddles she designed are big enough for swaddling, but can also be used as a stroller cover, nursing shield, tummy time blanket or a burping cloth. The swaddles are made of cotton, and there are bamboo versions which are not recommended for swaddling because they are too soft and will not hold in place. The company's swaddling blankets are endorsed by the CJ Foundation for SIDS. Aden + Anais has a partnership with the non-profit organization and a portion of the sale of the swaddles goes to the foundation. The line has since grown to include sleep sacks, burpee bibs, sheets and more, including a baby skincare line (Mum + Bub) and the Serenity Star—a multi-purpose device that features a feeding diary, a sound machine, thermometer, night light and clock.
For a little older kids, Knock Knock presented Reading Rumpus, a "fun toolkit for book-crazy kids." It includes activities such as "rate your book," stickers, bookmark your favorite part and more.
Arteriors Home's latest designer collaboration is with Barry Dixon. The interior designer found inspiration in his childhood and things around him for this collection. For instance, one of the table collections was inspired by the inside part of the washing machine in his grandmother's home. And the Atlas bench was inspired by, its namesake Atlas.
Furniture designer Amy Howard launched a collection of DIY solutions for refinishing/salvaging furniture. The line includes items such as furniture stripper, a zinc solution to give metal the look of aged zinc, furniture paint, antique mirror solution and more. It is a great-and easy-solution for home projects.
The student designers of the Working Class Studio continue to develop creative new product designs for a contemporary audience, whether it is a clock inspired by a circular saw blade or repurposed men's ties upcycled into wearable art.
What's Cookin' in Giftable Gourmet
Lappers, the ergonomic dinner tray that is designed to keep things from slipping and spilling, introduced the Lappetizer, a smaller version perfect for buffets and snacks. They come in a set of four and in several bright designs.
For those of us who love their coffee on the go but find there are times when you need a free hand, the new JavaHook might be the answer. The JavaHook slides under the cup's sleeve, and voila! The cup can be hung on the shopping cart handle, on the airline seatback tray, etc.
Branching out into new territory, Starlite Originals introduced the My Soul's Window collection of kitchenwares, including aprons and tea towels, mugs, mixing bowls, pie plates and utensils. Also noted were heirloom style aprons and textiles from Ice Milk Aprons. There are both adult and children's styles in white, cream and other neutral tones and come packaged in Mason style jars for a vintage look. A Gathering of Friends, known for its cookbooks for entertaining has also expanded into aprons, not for the cook but for the hostess. They are embellished with fabric flowers at the neckline that give a look of a necklace.
Speaking of Vintage...
Over in Market Hall, the Vintage Finds section of the show is a treasure trove of antiques and unique one-of-a-kind items. In the furniture section, there are pieces for the buyer looking for interesting pieces that can be used for display merchandisers as well as for sale. In the Gift and Jewelry section, buyers can find creative companies repurposing vintage materials into new items, such as jewelry from My Mother's Buttons and Orange Box Jewelry. Another interesting exhibitor was The Lost Highway Sign Company which cuts up old license plates and combines the letters and numbers into wall art messages and more.
More to come from Chicago, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Stay tuned.