Retailers as Educators: What You Need to Know to Help Your Customers Choose Safe, Effective Personal Care Products

Guest Blog by Dr. Amy Kim, founder of Baby PibuNewborn Essentials Skincare Kit by Baby Pibu

Parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, zemea propanediol, sodium cocoyl isethionate. Consumers these days have their work cut out for them when trying to decipher which ingredients are helpful and which are harmful. And as storeowners everywhere are well aware, consumers today are more discerning than ever.

According to a 2013 study by the American Dietetic Association, more than 60% of consumers look at the nutrition panel on their food before making a purchase and more than 50% read through the ingredients. As more and more American consumers are looking through ingredients and trying to find the most natural, whole foods possible, all the focus on food labeling is bound to spill over into personal care items. After all, some ingredients can be absorbed through the skin and enter into the bloodstream.

However, don’t be fooled. In personal care, “green” and “natural” are not regulated by the government and can be used as marketing tools by anyone. And just because an ingredient is natural doesn’t necessarily mean it works better. In fact, some natural ingredients can actually exacerbate certain skin conditions.

So, with all this focus from consumers, and with the confusing marketing terms, how do we separate the help from the hype, and why should I educate my staff? As a retailer, your consumers depend on you to guide them. Help them choose just the right accessory to go with that outfit, choose the perfect gift for graduation, and even the right skin care products for the right condition. Like it or not, as a retailer, you also inherit the role of counselor. But with just a little information, you and your staff can feel confident guiding consumers to the right skincare products for their needs. Here are answers to some of the top consumer questions:

1. Are the bad ingredients those with the names I can’t pronounce? Not necessarily. Even ingredients with long, complicated names can be naturally derived. For example, sodium cocoyl isethionate is a mild cleanser derived from coconut oil and zemea propanediol is an ingredient to prevent water loss and soften the skin that is naturally derived from corn sugar. So just because you can’t pronounce it, doesn’t mean it’s bad.

2. What exactly does natural mean? Unfortunately, there is no real definition for natural when it comes to personal care products. It is simply a marketing term. Also, keep in mind that there is very little government regulation when it comes to personal care products. Just about any personal care product can be called natural. Because of this, it’s more important to understand how the product is produced and the composition of its ingredients.

3. What do I need to know about a product’s production? Because of the loose regulation around personal care products, there is little scrutiny on a product’s production. Consumers should look for products that have been clinically tested to ensure they won’t irritate the skin. Also look for seals of approval from esteemed organizations like the National Eczema Association and the Skin Cancer Foundation, who also review products for their irritancy and effectiveness. Some products will also provide labeling on their manufacturing facility, to ensure consumers that they products were created in a clean production environment.

4. Is there anything I should avoid? Yes. There are certain ingredients that we recommend consumers steer clear of. Here’s our short list:

  • Parabens. Parabens are preservatives used to provide a longer shelf life. There was a 2004 study showing some parabens detected in breast cancer. While research hasn’t shown a direct link between parabens and breast cancer, and the FDA doesn’t yet have enough evidence to show harmful effects, we still recommend you avoid them.
  • Phthalates. Phthalates soften plastics but can be found in personal care products as well. In 2009 some phthalates were banned from children’s toys for effects ranging from endocrine issues to attention deficit disorder.
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). SLS is a cleansing agent that has been under scrutiny because of its irritating effects. Better to avoid it than to have skincare products that irritate the skin.
  • Formaldehyde releasers. Formaldehyde releasers are commonly used in personal care products as preservatives but they can cause allergic reactions.
  • Fragrance. We know, we love that baby smell right after a bath too. But fragrance is one of the leading causes of skin allergies, and it can take hundreds of chemicals to create one fragrance. Instead, look for products that get their fragrance from essential oils. Lavender, rosemary and thyme are oils that are the least allergenic.

With these key points in mind, you and your staff can confidently help your consumers find the education they are seeking and ultimately find great personal care products for their specific needs.

Dr. Amy Kim is a board-certified dermatologist and Mohs surgeon practicing in Atlanta for the past 10 years. She specializes in skin cancer detection, management and surgery. Dr. Kim received her B.A. degree from Boston University College of Liberal Arts and M.D. degree from Boston University School of Medicine. She underwent her dermatologic training at Emory University Department of Dermatology and her Mohs surgery fellowship training at University of Michigan Department of Dermatology.

As a dermatologist-mom of two young children, Dr. Kim has developed and launched a natural baby skin care line, Baby Pibu™, in 2014. This unique skin care line uses only the highest quality ingredients and is hypoallergenic and clinically tested. The line consists of products for daily skin care as well as the prevention and treatment of common baby skin conditions.

You can find Baby Pibu at AmericasMart Atlanta in the Kimberly Jones & Co. showroom in Building 3, 13-S117B, or at their temporary booth on Floor 3 during the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market.

The Top 10 List: Hall & Oates

Hall and Oates 1Hall & Oates made history in the mid 70’s to the mid 80’s, from hit-songs to groundbreaking tunes that are still popular today.  They have sold more albums than any other musical duo in history and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014.  In this day and age, popular musical artists and modern day civilians repeatedly “jam out” to Hall & Oates hits through their radios and iTunes library.  The iconic band is set to hit the stage at this year’s ICON HONORS, an event hosted by AmericasMart to honor outstanding members in the gift and home furnishings industry.  ICON Honors will take place in conjunction with The Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market® on Thursday, July 9.

Hall & Oates’ top ten hits have been showcased for decades, and we can’t help but wonder, which ones will be on their set list this July?  We’ll start with their list of top ten hits!

1.  “Say It Isn’t So,” released in 1981 from their album Rock and Soul Part 1, steals the number one spot.

2.  “Out Of Touch,” Hall & Oates’ last big hit, comes in at number two.

3.  The all-time favorite, “You Make My Dreams (Come True),” from album Voices, slips in as number three.

4.  “Sara Smile,” the groups first top ten hit released in 1976, takes number four.

5.  The second hit single from their album Private Eyes, “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do),” comes in at number five.

6.  “Every Time You Go Away,” from Voices in 1980, takes number six.

7.  Coming in at number seven and released in 1982, from their album H2O, is “Maneater.”

8.  “Kiss On My List” was Hall & Oates’ second Billboard Hot 100 number-one single, released in 1980.

9.  “Rich Girl,” from the album Bigger Than Both Of Us, ranks in at number nine.

10.  Lastly, “Private Eyes,” released in 1981, is the last hit on Hall & Oates top ten list.

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Braids, please!

It’s no secret that braids have made a huge comeback with today’s hottest fashion trends.  Women, children, celebrities, bloggers, designers… Everyone is incorporating braids into their own personal styles.  With Atlanta Apparel in June quickly approaching, we are ecstatic to announce that we will be offering a braid bar for buyers to enjoy at different times throughout the Market.  Don’t fall behind on this trend!  Take a minute to look at these different braid styles, and decide what you will be requesting when you make a stop at the braid bar this June during Atlanta Apparel.


Regular Braids

Regular Braid 2     Regular Braid 1

Want to start out with something simple?  Try the regular braid!  Some would say it is the simplest one in the book.  It only requires three strands of hair and looks sleek for any occasion.  This style can be worn down the back, to the side, or it can be incorporated with a fun hair twist or pony-tail.  The options are endless.

French Braids

French Braid 2     French Braid 1

French Braids are a little more intricate than regular braids, but don’t let that scare you away.  You still only use three strands of hair, but you pick up a little more hair each time you cross strands.  This is a braid that works for many different hair types, such as long, short, fine or thick hair, and just like a regular braid, they are fun to incorporate into different hair styles.  We are also a fan of the mini French braid, which makes the perfect baby step.

Fishtail Braids

Fishtail Braid 2     Fishtail Braid 1

This braid, which resembles the tailbone of a fish, has definitely made waves.  It looks intricate and time consuming, but in reality it is incredibly easy.  You begin by dividing the hair into two separate sections, and move small pieces over to each side as you continue down the braid.  We recommend practicing with your hair in a pony-tail to master this trend.  Once you get the hang of it, it will become your go-to hair style.  What’s more is that it looks even better when it’s a little messy!

Side Braids

Side Braid 1     Side Braid 2

When it comes to side braids, almost any shape or size can be accomplished.  You are simply changing the direction to which you are braiding.  Having a braid lie on the side of one shoulder or framing your face gives your hair an effortless and chic look.  Will you go for the faux hawk or a breezy, bohemian look?

Waterfall Braids

Waterfalll Braid 1     Waterfall Braid 2

The waterfall braid, formerly known as the cascade braid, is definitely one that makes you wonder “how will I ever get my hair to do that?”  Well, if you are still having trouble mastering this braid, put it at the top of your list to request at the braid bar.  Its complicating strands weave in and out of the hair, making it look as if small pieces are flowing out from the braid.  The professionals say it works best with straight hair or loose curls.

Dutch Braids

Dutch Braid 1     Dutch Braid 2

Dutch braids are popular for their over exaggerated shape and the look they give to the eye, making it seem as though the braid is simply resting on top of the head.  The most popular place for Dutch braids is framing the face.  This braid style starts with a braid similar to the French braid.  It is then pulled apart and loosed to achieve the overall look.  You can also incorporate other braid styles into your Dutch braid, such as a fishtail braid.

Mermaid Braids

Mermaid Braid 1     Mermaid Braid 2

With the warm summer months quickly approaching, there isn’t a better time to begin experimenting with the mermaid braid.  The basics of this braid are very similar to that of the French braid.  When gathering hair from each side, make sure your pieces are thinner and smaller.  This allows them to be loose and the hair underneath will be noticeable.  Turn this braid into a side braid, and you’ve got an easy hair style that can be dressed up or down.

Milkmaid Braids

Milkmaid Braid 2     Milkmaid Braid 1

If you’re in the mood for an up-do, this braided hair style is the one for you.  Milkmaid braids are an easy and fun way to get your hair out of your face, while still maintaining to look stylish.  Simply form two regular braids with your hair, and pin them up above your head.  Hide each pin with the other braid and tuck in any loose pieces.  You now have an easy hair style that goes from day to night!

Combination Braids

Combination Braid 1     Combination Braid 3

Have a couple braids on this list caught your eye?  Try combining them!  Combination braids offer endless options and they are only as difficult as you make them.  There isn’t a right or wrong way to handle your combination; it’s completely based on preference and personal style.  The most popular combination braid seen in today’s trends includes a small braid framing the face, with a different style side braid lying on the shoulder.

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Atlanta Apparel takes place June 11-14, 2015 at AmericasMart Atlanta. Learn more at www.AmericasMart.com/inside.

Explore, Discover and Buy in the Temps

Shop Temps for the Next Big Thing

AWH_PHOTO-8131-2To set their shops apart from competitors, successful buyers purchase not only top-selling merchandise, but also exclusive products that customers can’t easily find in other stores. To fulfill this shopping mission, the cleverest among them head straight to Temporaries at AmericasMart to peruse one of the most expansive such collections in the nation for both home, gift and apparel.

“Temps is where the next big trends emerge,” says Jo Ann Miller Marshall, executive vice president, AmericasMart Atlanta. “Experts from our team search the country – and the globe — to find exhibitors offering unique items.” The selections are culled from trips to about 75 different locations, including stops in Paris, Frankfurt, High Point, New York and Las Vegas. It involves a lot of research, talking and listening to manufacturers and artists, and many miles of “boots on the ground.” With deep experience in their category niches and a passion for what they do, these buyers have a knack for identifying what’s in vogue and a nose for the next big thing.

For example, the nationwide sensation Elf on the Shelf rose to popularity in the market’s Temps area. In fact, many of the permanent showrooms initially started as temporary exhibitors.

“Temporaries is an incubator for tomorrow’s permanent showroom space,” explains Marshall. “If you are just now discovering a line in showroom, five years ago you could have been ahead of the curve if you had discovered them in temps. This approach enables exhibitors to cultivate a buyer base and move up to showrooms.”

Style-driven collections
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Some temps areas feature juried collections, vetted for discerning buyers. For Gift & Home Markets, these include Boutique, Emerging Artists, Gardens LUXE, Gentleman’s Boutique, Gourmet LUXE, Handmade Design, Handmade Jewelry, HIGH DESIGN®, HIGH DESIGN® LUXE, Made in America, Modern Baby & Contemporary Kid, On Trend Gifts and Tabletop LUXE. During Apparel, there’s Premiere®, Young Contemporary, Ready-To-Wear, Shoe Studio, Fashion Accessories, Children’s World and more.

The January and July Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Markets feature more than 4,000 temporary booths in 33 product categories, each conveniently located near the related permanent showroom space. Each Apparel Market feature multiple floors of temps, with a broad range of price points and style designations.

“This arrangement makes it easy for buyers to locate products,” says Marshall. In addition, the AmericasMart App (americasmart.com/app) enhances the shopping experience, packed with information to help you navigate, gain the most from the show and enhance your efficiency.

“Temps at our Apparel Markets constantly break new ground. We have lines that end upAWH_PHOTO-4660-2 being named among Oprah’s favorites. And, our Emerging Designer Showcase provide the next great names in design an opportunity to meet top buyers,” says Marshall.

“One of the distinctive aspects of our major January and July shows is an equal focus on home and gift,” says Marshall. We want buyers to leave the Market with a feeling of excitement. Shopping temps gives you the opportunity to find that new line that no one else in your town has discovered.”

Shop Temporaries in all three buildings, organized by product collection, during the January and July Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market and in designated locations during the other Markets of the year. 

TOP 10 REASONS TO BE EXCITED FOR THE ATLANTA INTERNATIONAL GIFT & HOME FURNISHINGS MARKET®

  1. All of the home décor product you can dream of – and then some. When AmericasMart® says “It’s All Here” it’s true. In addition to 11 floors of home furnishings, rugs, lighting, case goods and more, the Market also features casual living, tabletop, gift, holiday, floral, outdoor, gourmet, stationery, apparel and more across its 7.2 million square feet campus.
  1. Seeing the top lines – in person. AmericasMart’s impressive collection includes:
·         Aidan Gray

·         Allegria Fine Linens

·         Arte Italica

·         Arteriors

·         Bernhardt

·         Blue Ocean Traders

·         Calvin Klein Furniture

·         Century Furniture

·         Christopher Guy

·         Classic Home Furnishings

·         Currey & Company

·         Cyan Design

·         Dash & Albert

·         Design Legacy by Kelly O’Neal

·         Englishman’s

·         Furniture Classics

·         Furniture Classics

·         Gabby

·         Global Views

·         Interlude Home

·         Jamie Young Company

·         John Robshaw Textiles

·         Lee Upholstery

·         Leftbank Art Co.

·         Matouk

·         Modern History

·         Palecek

·         Phillips Collection

·         Pine Cone Hill

·         Weiman

·         Yves Delorme

·         and many more

The connected three-building campus means buyers see all of the lines under one roof.

  1. Spotting what’s new and next. AmericasMart’s legendary Temporary collection is known as an incubator for the next big thing. Looking for the next trend? It’s probably showcased in the Market’s 35 temporary categories.
  1. The networking. The who’s who of the design world converges in Atlanta for the Market. They will gather in the new Designer Workspace which features meeting space, a resource library and concierge service from AmericasMart’s Designer Relations Manager.
  1. Celebrating a legend. Not many people have their own Sherwin-Williams color. Iconic architect John Portman, AmericasMart’s founder and chairman, and his signature Portman White will be celebrated at the Market with designer vignettes, parties and more.
  1. The opportunity to be star struck. Not only will HGTV stars, trend-makers and design legends be on stage at the Market’s panel discussions, they will be on the floors as well. Many showrooms carry celebrity-endorsed lines increasing the opportunity to get up close and personal with celebrity industry leaders.
  1. Learning a thing or two. The Education Center provides complimentary business building seminars for retailers and designers. July 2015 topics include social media, blogging, legal advice and more.
  1. Celebrating the industry. The centerpiece of the July Market, AmericasMart’s ICON HONORS 2015 celebrates professional achievements of home and gift retailers, manufacturers, sales agents and service providers at the most important and anticipated night in the gift and home industry. The celebration, featuring a performance by the legendary duo Daryl Hall & John Oates, will be Thursday, July 9 in the Centennial Ballroom of the iconic Hyatt Regency Atlanta.
  1. The location. A world-renowned restaurant scene, must-see cultural attractions, beautiful scenery and a generous helping of Southern hospitality. Atlanta has it all! It is also just a two hour plan ride from 80 percent of the country.
  1. Planning your visit before even get to Atlanta. The AmericasMart app is a must-have download before Market. It makes it easy to discover and explore new and existing exhibitors, categories, lines and products and to make note of Market events and promotions. Use the app to browse exhibitors by floor map or in a list, record favorite lines and categories, and to plan, organize and manage Market details to optimize time at AmericasMart.

Raising a Glass

Here’s to increased barware and stemware sales

waterford-mixology-mad-men-editionThank Don Draper: The suave fictional character from Mad Men deserves credit for helping to fuel the current cocktail craze, which is boosting sales of barware and glassware across the country. Consumers are buying more specialized glassware than they have in decades. Learn to understand the finer points of barware and stemware to ensure you have the right selection for your store. Here are some starting points when you’re shopping AmericasMart:

  • Keep it simple. Don’t overwhelm with too many choices, particularly wine glasses. Most customers will only need a red wine glass and a white wine glass, and perhaps a champagne flute.
  • Partner with reps or manufacturers for employee education. Your staff should be knowledgeable about everything from the composition and manufacturing processes of the products, to the various shapes of glasses and stems.
  • Brush up on your beer knowledge. The craft beer movement shows no signs of slowing down, and you can increase your customer base – especially of men –by carrying an assortment of craft beer glasses. If you have a beer shop or a growler shop in your area, consider co-marketing with them to promote both of your businesses.
  • Offer brochures or other flyers that have facts, information and care instructions about the different materials used for your glassware, whether it’s glass, crystal, lead-free crystal, or acrylic/co-polyester.
  • Partner with a local restaurant or bar for a cocktail seminar. The mixologist or bartender can teach your customers how to make a cocktail, and you can promote glassware, serving pieces, and other entertaining items.

Waterford_London_Desktop_bar_BB_Italia“It seems everyone’s doing a spin on classic cocktails,” says Price Ketchiff, vice president of retail sales for the U.S. and Canada for Crystal of America. “The push from Mad Men has helped revive the speakeasy, and we’re seeing a lot of craft cocktails in the restaurant and bar scene. People are paying attention to that and replicating it at home.” Crystal of America is the parent company for Riedel, Spiegelau and Nachman.

Some of the most popular glassware shapes include double old fashioneds and highballs, as well as a revival of the coupe shape: a curvier version of a martini glass or champagne saucer.

Fortessa2“When you’re out at a restaurant or a bar, you see a lot more cocktail menus than ever before,” agrees Lara Aldrich, vice president for the consumer products division of Fortessa, parent company for Schott Zwiesel and D&V. Like Ketchiff, Aldrich sees the coup champagne glass as being a strong seller, and also sees growth in whisky glasses of all types, whether for neat pours, double old fashioneds or whisky based cocktails.

And speaking of Mad Men, Waterford scored the trendy show’s license for a barware line. The Mad Men collection helped Waterford expand the already hot barware business with designs inspired by the 1960s, says Rick Fencel, vice president of sales for independent accounts.

In terms of wine glasses, casualization just keeps going to a new level every year, translating into the growing popularity of stemless wine glasses. The other trend is in softer and curvier shapes, and more attention to detail.

spiegelau-beer-tasting-setAlong with cocktails, the craft beer movement is also gaining momentum, and with it, beer glasses that are specially shaped to complement different beer varieties. Spiegelau has several different beer glass shapes, including a recently introduced IPA glass, as well as glasses for stout, pilsner, lager, Belgian ale and hefeweissen (wheat beer). As with wine glasses, “The shape of the [beer] glass plays a role in the transfer of taste and aroma to your palate,” says Ketchiff. Rather than working with designers, Spiegelau develops glass shapes with sensory workshops; in the case of its IPA glass, the company held a workshop with Dogfish Head Brewery.

The Latest about Lead

Schott ZwieselMore and more manufacturers are making lead-free crystal and glass, on the heels of California’s Prop 65, which requires retailers in that state to post warnings to consumers about products with lead content. While manufacturers say that the lead content in crystal was never enough to endanger consumers, the legislation has encouraged them to find other ways to give strength and clarity to their glass formulations.

All crystal glassware has a metal component, so manufacturers seek alternatives that can lend similar properties. For M. Block, this means a new material called Kwarx, which has the clarity and look of lead crystal, but twice the strength of regular glass, and the durability to be washed in commercial dishwashers without clouding over time. Kwarx is used to make stemware including red wine balloons and tulips for white wines, says Don Brown, the recently retired vice president of the Block House division.

And Schott Zwiesel crystal is made of Triton Crystal, which contains titanium oxide in place of lead, for added strength and brilliance. Other manufacturers, similarly, have their own proprietary crystal formulations to take advantage of various minerals and ingredients that will give crystal the look, durability, and enduring clarity of lead crystal.

One word: Plastics

LeadingwareCasualization as another strong trend in barware – mason jars affixed to wine stems, for example – and with that comes acrylic, which is a strong seller for outdoor entertaining, poolside or picnics. LeadingWare Group offers a plastic material created by the Eastman company; Tritan Co-polyester. It is touted as being 90 percent as clear as crystal, unbreakable, dishwasher safe, and BPA-free. This material is being used to make elegant, high-end stemware and barware shapes that have the advantage of being virtually indestructible. It’s reusable (but also recyclable), which makes it a greener option than disposable plastic drinkware that’s often used at outdoor parties.

To educate consumers about this option, Judy Ko, CEO of Leadingware Group, encourages retailers to arrange for wine tastings so consumers can get used to sipping from this type of drinking vessel, and to realize that they are a far cry from cheap disposable stemware. “They can understand that these are ‘real’ wine glasses,” and that drinking from them doesn’t negatively affect the experience of enjoying a glass of wine.

 

For more information: Fortessa Tableware Solutions 800.296.7508, fortessa.com; M. Block/Block House – 800.621.8845, mblock.com; Leadingware714.965.1616, leadingware.us; Crystal of America888.4RIEDEL, riedelusa.net; Lenox800.223.4311, lenox.com; Waterford877.720.3485, waterford.com. 

 

Lighting Up

Why hanging light fixtures offer a sales lift

Ro-Sham Beaux2            Low Country Originals             Emporium Home Tulip Pendant

Sales of hanging light fixtures are looking up. Unique designs and applications coupled with a growing interest among designers and homeowners have given the category seemingly boundless potential for the coming year. “I believe more people than ever understand how important lighting is in a room,” says Ashley Childers, founder and creative director of Emporium Home, the Arkansas-based maker of home decor and jewelry. “Hanging lighting is a focal point that can change the look of an entire room and provide anew perspective.”

Ann Rogers, owner and principal designer of the lighting firm Ro Sham Beaux in Ro-Sham BeauxCharleston, S.C., says she notices more designers using hanging fixtures as the featured element in their room designs than ever before. “Designers call us all the time eager to get their orders because they built the room around lighting and have everything else done,” she says.

Savannah-based designer Libby Boyden emphasized lighting so much in her designs that she partnered with lighting designer Becky Brackett to launch the Savannah-based lighting company Lowcountry Originals. “I think there’s a demand for lighting in general because our homes are more detailed and lighting is one of the most important components of a completed space,” says Boyden. “Lighting fixtures are details that can make or break a room.”

Innovative Construction The development of hanging fixtures as focal points is possible only because a handful of small businesses are pushing the envelope of design. If there is one overriding trend in this niche, it’s a natural and decidedly low-tech look, which Rogers says is rooted in designers’ and consumers’ desire for familiarity and comfort. “There are a lot of things happening in our world that are driving change,” Rogers says. “The old, traditional light bulb is going away. I think people are subconsciously trying to do things that are more interesting and beautiful to mask the CFL bulbs being used now.”

Emporium Home incorporates natural minerals into its fixture designs, a painstaking process because no two mineral slices used are the same. “All the mechanics that hold Emporium Home Agate-Burst-Chandelier-Brass1the mineral slices in place are adjustable so we can accommodate the different sizes and thicknesses,” says Childers. It’s a look that can’t be mass produced. Nor can the bohemian designs of Rogers’ pieces. “We’re the only ones who do hemp wraps on our frames for beaded lights,” she says. “It’s  time consuming and almost impossible to replicate.” The result – fixtures that are as aesthetically pleasing as they are functional. That’s why Boyden says it’s so important for retailers to have these fixtures in stock so the customers can see them in person. An image online won’t do them justice. “We have some art galleries who are buying our pieces because each one is a handcrafted piece of art, and they display it that way,” she says.

Showing Off  Fabulous product won’t sell if it’s not displayed to full advantage – especially when it should hang. Rogers suggests cross merchandise hanging fixtures with other decor and furniture pieces in vignette settings to let customers see firsthand how they can incorporate the pieces into their homes. “We’ve been in a couple lighting stores where it’s a jumble of lights everywhere, and our pieces don’t do as well there because they get lost,” she says. Childers, Rogers and Boyden all agree that keeping the fixtures lit in a vignette display helps, and they work with retailers and designer showrooms to ensure they have all the plugs and cords necessary to properly install them. “I understand from retailer’s perspective it can be a big hurdle to jump,” says Childers. “But when I walk into a showroom, it makes such a huge difference when you have hanging lighting displayed fully lit. It completes the space.”

LowCountry Originals shell drum pendantThe vendors encourage dealers and designers to get creative with the kinds of vignettes they create to showcase hanging fixtures and think beyond traditional placement. These pieces can go anywhere in the home now. “We do a lot of lot of foyers and tons of bathrooms,” says Rogers. “One of our biggest clients is a catalog that sells most of our fixtures for bedrooms. It’s really all about how the fixtures are displayed in stores. Retailers have to help consumers visualize the potential.”

It’s not just traditional interior designers who are incorporating hanging fixtures. One of the biggest trends in homes right now is using fixtures outside in covered porches and verandas. Landscape lighting professionals love to be able to offer another element to customers. “Because there’s so much more beautiful lighting out there, you can find the right piece at AmericasMart for virtually anywhere,” says Boyden. “There really are no limits.”

All these exhibitors are part of AmericasMart Atlanta. Emporium Home can be reached at 501-376-4663 or at emporiumhome.com; Lowcountry Originals can be reached at 843-815-8080 or at lowcountryoriginals.net; Ro Sham Beaux is at 843-789-3478 or 843-789-3614 or ro-sham-beaux.com.