Prom 2015 Color Trends

While we might think our memories of high school prom are special, this generation takes it to a whole new level. According to a recent study by Visa, the average household spent $978 on prom. This one night of luxury has become a huge industry that keeps on growing. To tap into this exciting trend, buyers need to be selling the season’s must-have dresses.

Girls shopping for prom consider many options when picking out the dress. One of the most important aspects is definitely the color. They do not want to be wearing the same color as their best friend, but also don’t want to be in something that is outdated.

The trend experts Stylesight predict these colors will be hot for spring/summer 2015:




Forest Greens

These colors were also popular for Miss USA and Miss America.

blush dress                         citron dress 2 greens

We’re sure we will be seeing  similar color trends at the upcoming WORLD OF PROM and August Atlanta Apparel Market (showrooms August 7-11 ; temporaries August 7-10).  Register today!

Gift & Home: On the Map

SouthernLinkAs the world becomes smaller and Google Earth can show you almost any place instantly, people are increasingly more interested in locations. Not just where am I, but where do I want to go? Maps and charts have the unique ability to both be a comforting reminder of home as well as a spark to dream of faraway lands.


Cavallini karma living Linon

Exhibitors at The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market® in July 2014 showcase myriad ways to incorporate cartography into home décor as well as gifts and even fashion. Whether you want to create a display of hometown pride or inspire travel or simply create an eclectic display, there’s a wealth of product available across categories.

Antique, unique, whimsical or abstract, there’s an interpretation to suit any retailer. Help your customers travel while staying put or bring a touch of home to a faraway place.

Cat Studio Galleon International chART


Recipes from Sara Justice, a lead bartender at one of Atlanta’s top restaurants

Ever try dissolving a packet of sugar into your iced tea? While sweetening a hot drink is generally a snap, adding sugar, even honey, to iced cold liquid is not as easy as it seems. Sweetness, one of four basic tastes, is oftentimes an important part of creating a well-balanced cocktail, and that’s where simple syrup, a staple for most bartenders, comes in handy. The great thing is that simple syrup is a cinch to make, even as a beginner. Gently heat equal parts sugar and water until the sugar is completely dissolved, then cool completely before using. You can use herbs, fruits, and vegetables picked fresh from your summer garden to create an array of flavored syrups. In addition, tea may be used instead of water to make the syrup, which keeps the flavors pure when used to sweeten iced tea. Syrups make a great addition to iced coffee, lemonade, iced tea and, of course, cocktails.

Raspberry Simple Syrup:

Measure raspberries (by weight if possible) and add twice the amount of granulated sugar (Ex: 5 oz. of raspberries to 10 oz. of sugar). Muddle the fruit until you see the juices start to release and wet the sugar. Cover and store overnight at room temperature. Stir and muddle again after 24 hours. Then add equal parts water to sugar (Ex: 10 oz. sugar to 10 oz. water). Stir again to dissolve all of the sugar. Strain, bottle, and enjoy! This syrup has a 1 month shelf life. Any fruit, especially berries will work great with this recipe.

Use in a Classic Clover Club:

1.5 oz. Gin

.5 oz. Dry Vermouth

.5 oz. Raspberry Syrup

.5 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice

1 Egg White

Add all of the ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake. Add ice and shake again. Strain and serve up. Bottle and enjoy! This syrup will have a 1 month shelf life.

Tea Syrup:

1 oz. Tea (by weight if possible)

8 oz. Water

Bring water to a boil, turn off heat and add the tea, steep for desired amount of time depending on tea (green tea – 3 minutes, black tea – 4 minutes, herbal tea – 10 minutes). Strain the tea and then measure the remaining amount of liquid. Add an equal amount of granulated sugar to tea (Ex: 6 oz. tea to 6 oz. sugar). Stir to dissolve sugar. Bottle and enjoy! This syrup will have a 1 month shelf life.

Holeman & Finch’s Bonnie Scotland

2 oz. Belle Meade Bourbon

.75 oz. Hibiscus Tea Syrup*

.75 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice

1 Dash Peychaud’s Bitters

1 Dash Absinthe

Add all of the ingredients to a shaker and shake. Fill a highball glass with ice and strain the cocktail into the glass. Top with club soda.

*Make Hibiscus Tea Syrup using recipe above, with dried hibiscus flowers.

Sara Justice, lead bartender at Holeman and Finch Public House will be demonstrating at AmericasMart on Saturday, July 12  on how adding eggs to refreshing temperance cocktails, lemonades and punches can lighten them up for summer.

Just Wingin’ It in Atlanta

A wise fellow once said that every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings. Wise retailers know they’ll find everything they need at AmericasMart Atlanta. Many believe angels are everywhere. Perhaps they’ve walked the floors of AmericasMartduring the July 2014 Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market.®

photo-63 copy photo-61 copy photo-59 copy

Angel wings are prominent in a wide range of sizes, textures and materials. From wall decor to frames and accent pieces, it’s easy to find an interpretation to suit any decor. Crafted in wood, pewter, bronze, resin, stone – a broad array of artistic techniques transform a range of materials into inspired decor.

photo-58 copy photo-60 copy photo-62 copy

3 Go-to secrets from Paula Deen’s brand

Operating a retail business is such a rewarding experience – but it’s not all fun and games. There’s a lot that goes into building a successful business, from buying product, hiring and training a staff, establishing a brand, to merchandizing. I think of all the of the challenges and opportunities that are associated with operating a retail business, my favorite is merchandizing, or displaying product in the best possible way, to attract the most customers. It’s like playing with a real life jigsaw puzzle!

In all of my retail operations, one woman on my team is a true miracle worker when it comes to merchandizing and setting up a store. She’s brilliant! Carolyn Hultman, of Savannah, Georgia, has helped me open retail and restaurant locations across the country, and has a strong sense of the Paula Deen brand, and how to convey that story through product and interiors. She’s one special woman, and I couldn’t think of someone more capable to help me take on these particular endeavors. Y’all, she even helps me with my home interiors!

Because Carolyn is such a powerhouse when it comes to interiors and merchandizing, I’ve asked her to share three go-to secrets that she keeps in mind every time she goes into a new space.

Tell a Story

In every space that Carolyn and I go into, I hear her say over and over again, “Now Paula, we’ve got to tell a story!”

But what does that mean?

When Carolyn tells me that we have to tell a story, she means that we have to create a consistent visual message that comes across through every facet of the space – from wall colors, to wall décor, down to the actual product. For instance, if we’re in the business of selling kitchenware items as a specialty retailer, then it may not make sense for us to sell children’s toys, or automotive accessories!

Carolyn places a large emphasis on color. She’s helped me to establish Paula Deen brand colors, like a particular shade of dark green that we use across all of our locations. Use complimentary colors, and colors that play off of each other visually. And have fun with color!

Another way we tell a story is with the product itself. In our example of being a specialty kitchenware retailer, we carry a lot of adorable tabletop ceramic products, like salt and peppershakers, butter dishes, and condiment vessels. Because those products are all thematically related, it’s fun to show them off in a faux table setting kind of way. It’s a visually interesting way to show off the product, and also gives our shoppers an idea of how the product can be used.

Keep Inventory at Eye Level

One thing that Carolyn is so good at helping me with is making sure that the product is at just the right location so that your eye travels right to it. Her rule of thumb that she passed on to me is to try to keep product at eye level are just below. I laughed at first when she told, “Never let a tall person hang a portrait for you,” but you know, her point makes sense. If a product is too far out of someone’s natural line of sight, then they’re less likely to see it at all. People don’t like to search for something that’s hard to find. Shopping should be easy, and it’s easiest if everything is right there for people to naturally see.

Carolyn’s tip is to start low, just below eye-level and then let the eye naturally travel upwards to eye-level.

Play Up Seasons

This last one may seem like a no-brainer, but I still can’t stress it enough, probably because the seasons and holidays are so important to me. When we’re changing out our stores for the seasons, Carolyn and I really have the best time taking full advantage of it! It’s an easy way to immediately make your consumers feel like they’ve just come home.

No matter what the season, or holiday, we always makes sure that we do two things (1) dress the store to match the season, and (2) bring in new product to take advantage of the season. In our example, at Christmastime, which is probably the one time of the year where we really go all out, not only is the store made over to be a winter wonderland, but we also bring in a few new product items, like signature Christmas ornaments, and holiday-themed dinnerware to meet our customers’ holiday needs.

By playing into the seasons and holidays, it helps to keep you and your product relevant all year long.

I hope y’all have fun with merchandizing the same way Carolyn and I do – it’s always an exciting adventure to switch the floor over to a new theme, and make all of the puzzle pieces fit together.


As always, I’m wishin’ y’all love and best dishes!

Paula Deen will be joining us this Saturday, July 12 showcasing her exciting new line of gourmet foods, including signature condiments, sauces, chocolates, preserves and premium baking mixes. Get ready for an up close and personal visit and get the latest news about her Paula Deen Live Tour and new restaurant. Also, learn more about The Bag Lady Foundation, which was launched by Paula to provide hope, inspiration and support to women and families in need.

Let Us Entertain You: 3 ways to wow your customers

As a home editor at Better Homes and Gardens magazine, Kelly Kegans has the honor of working with all kinds of creative homeowners, tastemakers, event planners, and designers to bring their fab entertaining tips to life. She’ll be talking all things home entertaining on July 11 to share consumer insights, party products, and trends for themed (and not-so-themed) gatherings. It’s a conversation that we hope will inspire your retail shop to engage consumers in ways to make planning for—and playing host to—easy yet personal ways to entertain at home.

  • Host an interactive workshop

Invite a special guest (blogger, designer, event planner) to lead an in-store class showing how to pull together a memorable tablescape. Feature a DIY centerpiece alongside place settings using products pulled from your store shelves. Give guests a small treat and a tip sheet from the class as a takehome gift.


  • Showcase a party theme with a vignette

Everyone loves a trend. Create a store vignette or window display that features a striking color palette in a table setting. Bar carts are still hot! Set one up using new products and christen it with a happy hour. Talk about good times! Nature never gets old. Bring the outside in with a tablescape using natural elements mingled with mix-and match products from your store.


  • Partner with another vendor

Whether it’s a local food festival, art fair, or another type of city celebration, partner up with an expert who complements your shop in a way that you can showcase your products and expertise. For example, BHG taught an interactive class with a local wine expert and chef that included table setting ideas and food and wine pairings at Des Moines’ Winefest last month.


On Trend Gifts Collection = Fun, Functional & Profitable

BrandNewNoise (4)Finding that perfect gift, often one we didn’t know we needed, caters to our emotional, impulsive side. It’s the same heightened, happy feeling you’re likely to have when you visit the On Trend Gifts collection of Temporaries at AmericasMart during The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market in July.

The very idea of “trending” gifts is creating buzz among buyers. These exhibitors, some making their official AmericasMart debut in July, represent all parts of the globe, with products that elicit oohs, aahs, OMG’s and most importantly, sales. This new grouping of almost 20 exhibitors is clever and affordable with an eye for stellar design and packaging. AmericasMart Sales Manager Laura Dadisman explains, “The main focus is on form, function and also fun. Many products are quirky and off the wall, done in a high-end, gift boutique way.”

Freaker USA, as seen on the TV show Shark Tank, is already extremely popular. Based in North Carolina, this innovative company works on “preventing moist handshakes and sweaty beverages” with their line of playful and functional drink insulators.

The widely successful UK based companies, Mustard and NPW are all about quirky, fresh and fun. At Mustard’s booth, check out the zombie stickers, a bento box shaped like a refrigerator and the bullet shaped ice cube trays (for that killer drink). Plus, dozens more. An ever-evolving line is necessary, as Juliana Giliberto, sales manager for North America says, “Customers want everything that’s new, new, new.”

Mustard - New Product - Key KongOver at NPW, they’ll debut 50 new products with a focus on party celebrations, stationery and tech novelty gifts. Their products, most of which retail for $12 or less, are the epitome of affordable fun with gift ideas such as Mini Party Hats, Painless Piercings and Finger Printing Art Sets. Jules Vertrees, vice president of Sales for NPW, shares her perspective on the new category, “For NPW, the On Trend Gifts collection means that little feeling of must have. We add a bit of irreverence too, that nugget of the unexpected.”

But that reaction doesn’t come easy. Many of these companies consult with trend agencies and scour small, independent shops, magazines, blogs, pop up shops and flea markets to find out what’s trending. What do shoppers love? Which price point is good? They’re hearing a slight buzz and with a delicate mix of skill, experience and gut feeling, they’re designing items that people want. Right now.

Unemployed Philosopher's GuildIf the product is smart and cool, then the packaging should follow suit. In this collection, you’ll find a lot of color and eye catching design, but not too much. These products are not meant to be too kitschy, rather a refined, well-designed must-have.

The Jim Spinx brand exemplifies this philosophy. Spinx sells a customizable product line inspired by vintage graphic art and music and as he shared, “The design aspect sells it.”

If these examples sound intriguing, check out tons more during Market. There’s a lot to see at AmericasMart but it’s even more fun when there’s a must-see. Check out the On Trend Gifts collection on the Floor 5 of Building 3. It’ll be easy to find…just follow the squeals of delight.

A Magical Gift for July Market

Whether it’s your first trip to Atlanta or your 51st trip, welcome back to one of AmericasMart’s largest shows of the year this July.

Did you know The New York Times recently named Atlanta as one of only eight U.S. destinations of the “52 Places to Go in 2014?” One of the reasons is the spectacular Georgia Aquarium, located just blocks from the AmericasMart campus. From the spectacular AT&T Dolphin Tales show to Deepo’s Undersea 3D Wondershow to behind-the-scenes tours and more, there’s always something new to discover.

AmericasMart is thrilled to partner with Georgia Aquarium for an exclusive discount program called Total Ticket. It offers a great opportunity to take a break to let your imagination play before, during or after July Market. There are just a few provisions:

To purchase tickets visit

  • Use think link for deep discount
  • Bypass the box office line
  • Experience extended hours until 9pm with Imagination Night – $21.95 per person
  • Offer is not valid at Box Office, you must use this link

We look forward to seeing you at the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market July 8-15, 2014 and hope you enjoy every possible aspect of your stay while in town!

XImage_Building XImage_Humphead XImage_Window

July 10th – CAN’T MISS THIS!

ICON2014_BuyTIx_DFP_DesktopICON HONORS is the HOTTEST ticket at Market – and the home and gift industry’s biggest night.

Make sure you’re there.  Move fast!




Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees Ann and Nancy Wilson and their band, Heart, topped the charts for decades. Along the way, they sold more than 35 million albums, rocked arenas worldwide and found their way into the soundtrack of American life.

Join us for an unforgettable night of entertainment and inspiration:

Thursday, July 10, 2014
7:00 pm | Cocktails
7:30 pm | Dinner & Honors Presentations
Atlanta Marriott Marquis
265 Peachtree Center Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30303

Visual Merchandising: It’s all in the details!

Guest blogger Becky Tyre is the Senior Trends Editor for GIFT SHOP Magazine, a visual merchandising consultant, social media content provider and the owner of the Retail Details blog. Becky is one of the seminar presenters at the Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market this July. Join her at 3:00 PM on July 12 as she shares 50 Store Display Ideas That Move Merchandise, a fast-paced look at fun display ideas that’ll have products flying off your shelves!

There are numerous categories of store displays, but essentially all displays are meant to present merchandise to customers and promote the image of a store with a goal of increasing sales.

Well-designed store window displays will attract customers and draw them into your store. Using unexpected elements and presenting items in unconventional ways creates interest from passersby and represents the store as clever, creative and fun.


Stores in areas with more street traffic than pedestrians may include store window graphics, bright colors or large props in the exterior windows. Proper lighting is a key merchandising element in store windows that face busy streets.


The challenge of displaying small products like jewelry is best approached with bold color combinations or a striking monochromatic theme that brings customers in for a closer look.


Inviting entryways set the tone for a store’s image as customers enter the retail space or when they peek in and can make the difference between customers choosing to come in versus window shopping. This display should be created with multiple levels and layers, but not so high as to block the view. A single product theme is ideal for a focal display. Holiday or event themes also work well in the foyer area or products in a single color palette.


Choose props, presentations and fixtures that fit the image of the store and the merchandise. In addition to being a selling tool for your products, such physical display elements create a subtle perception of the image of your store. Unique displays leave a lasting impression with customers and creative presentations trigger memories from your store bringing customers back again and again.


Stay display inspired!

~Becky Tyre