Tips for Success in the Temporaries

Are you planning to exhibit in the Temporaries? It’s the perfect time to start your pre-market planning! Here are some tips to help you get started.

1. Plan your booth
Before you arrive at Market, you’ll need to plan your booth and decide how you are going to display your products, especially if you’re new to Markets. Remember to order display components such as tables, shelving, curtains and table linens well in advance. Review the floor plan and your booth space so you can anticipate and plan ahead for any columns, electrical boxes and height restrictions. It’s a smart idea to test your booth layout in your warehouse or garage to decide on the most attractive and efficient placements.
floor plan2. Invite your buyers
Don’t rely solely on walk-up business; advertise and promote yourself leading up to Market, letting buyers know where to find you. Be sure to include show dates, your booth number and any special offers in your promotional materials.
ad3. Pack your products
Organize and label everything for easier unloading at Market.
crate4. Ship your crates…early!
Ship early and use AmericasMart Logistics to get free storage and delivery to Market.
logistics truck
Looking for more tips from experienced exhibitors? Click here to view our helpful videos.

CRAFTING WINE CASTOFFS INTO CREATIVE GIFTS

With Americans making up the largest wine market in the world, there are a lot of empty bottles and discarded corks around.

Artisans are making use of those libation leftovers by crafting them into charming gifts.

Deby and Scott Cowdin of From the Blue Bag use common glass trash from local bars and restaurants to craft their one-of-a-kind flattened bottle serving dishes that are food functional and oven, freezer and dishwasher safe.

bottle bottle 2 

Not to ignore the bottle’s cork companions, Lori Strickland of Lucinda K crafts pewter cork pets that adorn the castoffs. The adorable pets are hand-molded from Strickland’s wax sculptures and are ideal for preserving corks from memorable bottles or occasions.

 dogs

These handcrafted upcycled treasures appeal to consumers’ attention to environmentally friendly products as well as their increasing interest in wine and beverage products.

Retailers can find these wine accessories and more in the Temporary collection at The Atlanta Spring Gift, Home Furnishings and Holiday Market® through March 9 at AmericasMart.

The Sky’s the Limit for Blue

Gallery

This gallery contains 7 photos.

Everyone immediately recognizes the iconic shade of blue associated with the famous jewelry store. Well, that same sophisticated hue is showing up across all channels of home and gift for the coming seasons.    From Gatsby-inspired holiday décor to crisp linens … Continue reading

ICON HONORS 2014: The Time to Enter is NOW

ICON HONORS Logo

ICON HONORS Logo

The ICON HONORS 2014 call for entries closes soon.  Enter today and compete for the home and gift industry’s most celebrated recognition.

ICON HONORS celebrates the highest levels of professional and personal accomplishment. Distinguish your company as one of the gift and home industry’s elite with your submission today.  Make this your year to enter and win!

ENTER NOW!

Small Changes in Your Booth’s Presentation and Marketing Material That Can Generate Big Press Payoffs

By Amy Flurry of Recipe for Press

Amy FlurryAs a vendor, the trick to landing press and spreading the word about your product lies in attracting editors to your booth. What can you do to catch their attention and draw them into conversation? We’ve polled national home and lifestyle editors who scout the AmericasMart for new story ideas and compiled a few easy tips that will help you anticipate what writers, editors, and media influencers are looking for and what keeps them coming back for more.

Feature What’s New. Editors are sent to scout markets for new brands and products to feature in their upcoming issues, and many come to Atlanta for a potential scoop as AmericasMart runs before other major markets. But editors (and buyers too!) need to be able to identify at a glance what’s new in or about a collection without having to stop and enter a conversation. Many only skim the booth perimeters, which makes these areas the ideal places to position new products and stacks of cards sharing your contact information.

Say You’re The New Kid On The Block. Every editor wants to be the first to discover a brand-new business. If this is your first market, display a well-designed sign to identify that you are a “New Vendor,” and they’ll stop every time.

Make a Statement. Another way to stay on editors’ radars is to showcase a statement piece, like a creative sign or unique display that immediately gets people talking. These could also be posted as a media thumbnail with a clever caption. Editors see plenty of vendors throughout the day, and a standout item that represents your brand will help them think of you when compiling product features.

Keep Your Booth Staffed and Active. An editor never wants to go hunting for someone to talk to about a product, so make sure there is always someone present at your booth who is friendly, knowledgeable, and able to interact with the audience.

Be Easy to Reach. Nothing is more frustrating than the inability to easily reach a company you want to feature. To make things easier for interested editors, leave a thumb drive with high-resolution photos in the pressroom, and make sure all press material includes contact name, email and phone number.

Keep Your Takeaways Simple. Press kits weigh down an editor’s bag, and ultimately all of the information you put forward should be on your website. An over-sized postcard with social media handles, even a QR code, is a light and easy takeaway that will remind editors of your product and lead them back to your brand.

Tell Your Story. At the end of the day, what makes your product unique is its story, so don’t be afraid to get personal! Introduce yourself and share the story behind your brand or products as you lead editors to the newest releases. But remember to keep it brief: editors have a very specific mission and a lot of ground to cover, and they can’t afford to get hung up for too long at any one booth.

Ask for the Editor’s Email or Business Card. If an editor checks in with you and strikes up a conversation, by all means ask for their card or email address before they leave. A quick “thank you” follow-up in their inbox complete with a crisp picture of your product (low-res or 72 dpi embedded in the email) is a great reminder of your brand, as is a friendly “follow” on their Twitter or Pinterest.

Be Prepared to Act Fast. Discovering a new product gives editors a true high, but equally important is being able to access print-ready, high-resolution (300 dpi) images to forward to other editors back at the office. Consider a special media-only link to high-resolution product images and information that you can give to editors or leave in the pressroom. This saves both you and the editor time.

Amy Flurry, author of the  popular guide to DIY publicity, “Recipe for Press,” is revolutionizing the way entrepreneurs and businesses manage their own press! Her book and new Pitch Wheel and popular DIYPR workshops strengthen relationships between entrepreneurs and editors and help you get the press you deserve. She presents two seminars at The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market in January 2014. “Are Your Pictures Press-Worthy?” is on Wednesday, January 8 at 2 p.m.  in the Building 1, Floor 10, Seminar Room 1001. “Retailer DIY PR 101: Turn Up the Volume on Your Publicity Efforts” is on Thursday, January 9 at 1 p.m.  in the Building 1, Floor 10, Seminar Room 1004. She can be reached at @Recipeforpress and www.recipeforpress.com.

Privacy, Please

With our lives seeming to be endlessly interconnected with smart phones, computers and social media, sometimes it’s necessary to just get away – even if it’s not too far and is really just a small space in the same room as everyone else. Perhaps in backlash to all the open work spaces, home seating options that encourage isolation are available at multiple Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market showrooms this July.

From modern to traditional, there’s a style option to suit and decor. Perhaps it’s time to consider offering consumers and clients a chance to escape and de-stress, even it’s in their own space. Find these creative seating pieces along with myriad others  in both Building 1 and 2 on the Home Furnishings floors at Market, July 10-17, 2013.

Burlap Hanging On for Wall Decor

On the walls and in the windows at The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market this July – painted burlap. From holiday decorations to patio decor to collegiate collectibles, the old standby farm fabric takes on a completely fresh identity for home.

Whether it’s a birthday celebration, a Christmas door piece or a show of team spirit, there are multiple sizes and shapes to suit customers of diverse retailers. Try a display or multiple holidays, a grouping of cheery florals or an array of college mascots for maximum impact.

Demdaco

Demdaco Bldg. 2

Glory Haus-Darrah & Co

Glory Haus – Darrah & Co. Bldg. 2

Joseph Warren Miller

Joseph Warren Miller Bldg. 1

Glory Haus - Darrah & Co. Bldg. 2

Glory Haus – Darrah & Co. Bldg 2

Find all these pieces an more during Market, July 10-17, 2013.

What sets you apart from your competitors?

By Mike Gomez, President, Allegro Consulting

I attended a gathering of a select group of business owners who were the runner-ups for the “Small Business Person of the Year Award”. During the event each owner was asked to stand up and briefly state what they thought made his/her business so successful. One of the owners stated proudly it was his employees – he felt he was able to attract and retain good employees. That was his “secret”. Later, I had the opportunity to privately ask him what made his employees “better” and how was he able to attract them. Here is how the discussion transpired:

I asked, “Are your employees more qualified than your competitors?”
“No”, he replied.
“Do you offer better benefits or pay and thus can attract better employees?”
“Uh, no.”
“Do you train them differently?”
“No”
“Do you offer performance incentives or shares of company stock and thus they are more motivated?”
“No.”
“Is your work environment any different than your competitors?”
“No.”
“Do you offer more vacation time, gym memberships, or other perks?”
“No.”
“So then why then do you believe it was your employees and your ability to attract them that sets you apart? Why do you clam this as the reason for your success?”
He hesitated, gave a puzzled look, and then said, “I really don’t know – maybe it is not my employees.”

The sad fact is this owner didn’t know what attribute made his company successful. Most likely his employees are no more or less qualified (better) than his competitors. And because he doesn’t know, he is more likely than not to stray away from it or unknowingly allow it to flitter away. Once this happens, the business is gone.

This owner did not know or understand his company’s core competency; the unique thing they do or process they employ or value they add to win business that would be difficult for their competitors to imitate. Your company’s core competency is the foundation of your business. To grow, you should know what it is, nurture it, and exploit it.

Let’s take a moment to discuss, as an example, the core competencies of two well known businesses, Dominos Pizza and Honda.

Dominos made its mark by guaranteeing a quality pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less. Their core competency was the “process” they designed starting with the how they selected the store locations and ending with the delivery method. It was this value added benefit (a warm pizza delivered quickly) that drove their customers to choose their product over the plethora of other pizza restaurants. Dominos continuously invested to refine that process (their core competency) and keep it as a discriminator and a method for growing their business beyond pizza to now include hot wings, pasta, etc….

Honda’s core competency was building high quality, reliable, light weight engines; first for motorcycles then later small cars, ATVs, lawn mowers, and the rest is history. Their continued investment in engine technology is a reflection of how well they understood what made their product the preferred choice regardless of whether it was in a lawn mower or a luxury automobile.

What is your company’s core competency?

By the way, it is very rarely “our customer service” or “our people”.

Knowing and then nurturing your core competency will ensure it continues to provide you with the competitive advantage necessary to grow your business.

Mike Gomez presents “10 Essential Elements for Long-Term Sustained Growth” as part of The Education Center at the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market on Thursday, July 11 at 9:30 a.m. Visit AmericasMart.com for a complete list of seminars and events.

Mike Gomez is president of Allegro Consulting, a growth specialty firm with a singular purpose of helping businesses grow. Allegro helps owners with marketing strategy, sales, and operations. They also provide leadership and business coaching. For more information, visit http://allegroconsultant.com.

5 Tips for Business Growth

By Lara Casey, editor-in-chief of Southern Weddings and branding expert with Making Brands Happen.

nancyray-laracaseypromo-1050Our greatest fear is usually not failure; it’s success.  Why?  Because we fear that finally realizing our full potential will mean we have to live up to those high expectations all the time.  We think growth means we will have to change.  Friends, change is awesome but it’s also scary, isn’t it? The alternative to not taking big risks for growth, however, is staying exactly where you are.  If you are reading this post, you are likely ready to dive in.  You want to take things to the next level.  You want to realize your fullest potential.  You are ready to make big things happen!

Since our company’s growth (like kudzu) doesn’t seem to be slowing down, I’ve been thinking about how much change I’ve endured in my business over the last decade. From it, here are 5 Things I’ve Learned About Business Growth. I hope these little nuggets help you, too.

Lara Casey example 1. I tell this to all of my clients, too. Be prepared for sudden growth. Streamline, simplify, automate, pre-stamp envelopes, take out the trash, clear the clutter and give yourself no excuse not to succeed when “Oprah calls”. In general, it is wiser to use your time to get your back-end organized and streamlined internally than to market yourself externally. Do one in preparation for the other. I learned this the hard way when we first launched Southern Weddings in 2008. Our brand exploded onto the market and I wasn’t prepared, so I ended up working 24/7 and my life suffered. My work suffered. I bit off more than I could chew. I kept thinking that “getting bigger” was the goal. If that is your goal, ask yourself WHY. Now I make decisions from my core – a core that is grounded in what matters most to me – and it never fails. Sudden growth still catches me off guard at times, but I’m much better at navigating those waters now with full sails!

2. Done is better than perfect. And another phrase I say to myself often: One thing at a time.

3. In times of busy business, stick to your CORE. It will guide you and help you make efficient decisions quickly. The goal in growth is not to get “bigger,” it’s to get better. You cannot please everyone. And, if you are doing things right and being very specific to your core, you won’t please everyone. That’s a very good thing. Your goal should be to capture a specific loyal audience, not the masses. We’ve had exponential success by following this model in business. When things get crazy around a launch or magazine release, we are all on the same page because we know exactly what our mission is. These are the little desk cards Nicole made for each of us as a reminder of our core and to be sure everything we do aligns with it. How cute is Henrietta? She is our office chicken mascot. Oh yes.

Henrietta

I don’t have to micromanage anyone in this office ever. They know what our heart is and they are as passionate as I am about making that heart happen. Specific and small are the new big. Follow your core. Say NO to what doesn’t fit your core, and take big risks in saying YES to what does.

4. Growth is exciting, but be sure to prioritize. And “prioritizing” doesn’t mean letting things slide. It means being more efficient. When you add to your company, don’t forget the rest of your business that still has to run and run well. If your core services fall through the cracks and you spread yourself thin, your growth is pointless. So, be prepared, be efficient, get more help if you can’t do it all and grow wisely. Use your time wisely. Get off Facebook. Make things happen.

5. Don’t wait to start your big idea. Growth is scary because it can mean big life change, but isn’t that risk worth it for what you really want?? The timing will never be “perfect.” As my friend Ritchie says in his new book, The Power of Starting Something Stupid, “Don’t wait. Start stuff!” Stuff meaning the things that MATTER. Take risks. Take risks. Take risks! In the midst of huge transition and growing pains and any time you are overwhelmed, just keep choosing what’s right. One. Step. At. A. Time. But, the point is to CHOOSE. Again: Take risks. Take risks. Take risks. Don’t let fear or a state of “overwhelmed” keep you from moving forward. Don’t wait. Start good stuff!

I love this excerpt from Richie’s book: “I refuse to achieve success at the expense of my life. The two – life success and genuine fulfillment – will have to go hand in hand, because I will not keep my head down for the next forty years only to look up at the end and say, “Now I can finally start living!… Don’t wait. Start stuff.”

A year from now, you will wish you had started today. - Karen Lamb  What do you need to start? What do you want to make happen?  There is only one way forward:  action.  Take it.

Lara Casey presents “Make it Happen: Powerful Branding for Creative Entrepreneurs” as part of The Education Center at The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market on Friday, July 12 at 3:00 p.m. Visit AmericasMart.com for a complete list of seminars and events.

Key Home Trends and New Products for July 2013 Market

The Fall and Winter seasons are perfect for interior updates as people spend more time inside and entertain family and friends for holidays. Stylesight, an international industry-leading trend forecasting agency, offers insights into just a few of the key concepts for Fall/Winter 2013 for interiors. With hundreds of new lines debuting their latest products at the July Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market (July 10-17, 2013), retailers and designers can always find the freshest looks to suit any customer or project.

Lazybones

Lazybones

Fresh Linens – Transcending from organic to elegant, linen can be starched or relaxed to fit any decor.

Tapestries – This antiquated form of textile art is reinvigorated as fabric for upholstering hard goods as well as decorative wall hangings.

Panacea Products

Panacea Products

Bauhaus Color-blocking – Cubic and asymmetrical use of color blocking to highlight design as well as function.

Painterly Florals – Soft goods with the appearance of hand-painted blossoms.

Sobremeas by Greenheart

Sobremeas by Greenheart

Natural Wood – The appeal of wood is timeless as the look of the grain becomes the focus of decorative accessories. Even extending to holiday decor, it’s a sophisticated use of rustic elements to bring nature indoors.

Ambella Home

Ambella Home

Baroque Scrolls – Old-world drama of sweeping, intricate scrollwork adds drama to modern spaces.

Green Envy – As emerald continues to hold center stage as the “it” color for now, it works as both a backdrop and an accent in solid shades and patterns.

The Rug Market America

The Rug Market America

Regal Colors – Rich, opulent shades of burgundy, royal, gold, purple and red bring luxury to floors as well as furnishings.

AmericasMart’s unparalleled array of HOME exhibitors presents a world of new products at July Market. Peruse a sampling of some of what they’ll have to offer then see it for yourself in Atlanta July 10-17.