Temps on the Move

Tabletop & Housewares and Gourmet Foods Shift Locations
By Chris Gigley

AWH_PHOTO-6101With an aim toward connecting buyers with the product they are looking to find, AmericasMart has moved two Temporary product collections in Building 2. Tabletop & Entertaining and Housewares is now located on Floor 2, while Gourmet Foods shifted up to Floor 3.

Marie Knight, vice president of Tradeshows for AmericasMart, cites two reasons for flip-flopping the categories. First, it reflects the growth of the tabletop and housewares industry. “It’s what more people are doing these days, coming together and enjoying each other’s company,” says Knight. “As a result, there is an array of options available beyond the traditional high-end product. New lines are bringing the fun back to the category.”

AWH_PHOTO-7384The move also puts Tabletop & Entertaining and Housewares adjacent to the High Design area, a juried selection of design-oriented products located on Floor 1. Tabletop Luxe, a juried selection of high-end tabletop products in the pre-function area of Tabletop & Housewares, has moved to Floor 2, making the progression from Floor 1 to Floor 2 even more natural for buyers.

“Part of what we’re trying to do is strengthen the natural synergy that already exists between Tabletop & Housewares and the more design-oriented products found in High Design,” says Knight. “We want to attract design-oriented buyers and give them access to more of the products they need.”

Moving the Gourmet Foods area to Floor 3 provides direct access via bridge to the Temporary collections showcased in Building 3. “As consumers revive entertaining in their homes, Gourmet products continue to be a viable option for a range of retailers,” says Knight. “The location makes the collection even more accessible to a growing buyer audience.

For more information about The Atlanta International Gift & Home
Furnishings Market® January 12 – 19, 2016, visit AmericasMart.com.

Décor for Spring & Summer

Key interior concepts for Spring/Summer 2016
As we get through winter and look forward to the warmer months, it’s imperative to understand what customers will see as interesting. Simple, authentic and textural design is key for the coming season, as consumers want to highlight craftsmanship and materials more than ever. The following are a few predictions for Spring/Summer 2016 home décor from Trend Specialists at WGSN, a subscription-based trend forecasting service.

Chalked Surfaces
The industrial meets the domestic as concrete and whitewashed wood inspires chalky color and finish for domestic earthen kitchenware, interior lighting and interior accessories. Weather-worn patinas and soft tints add authentic character to any room.

Marbled Tints
Delicate color tints accentuate the unique beauty and natural grain of wood, marble and stone, emoting a more sensitive mood through cosmetic enhancement. Glass and resin products have a mineral or quartz-like finish.

Lace Effects
Tactility is key in both decorative accessories and furniture, with a simple yet commercial direction for subtle relief textures on ceramics, kitchen appliances, and stenciled effects for tablecloths. Etching or laser cutting into classic pieces provides an elegant surface update perfect for an understated hint of opulence.

Coastline Contours
Ariel views of coastlines and landscapes inform new contours as products map driftwood into glass and resin, emulating land and sea. Reclaimed wooden objects are up-cycled and mixed with fiberglass, resin, paint, and crystallized layers to look like stacked geological artifacts.

Breezy Blues
Perfect for the peak of summer, shades of turquoise blend with foamy tones of off-white for highly textured designs that look as though they’ve been stirred by the breeze, submerged in water or scorched by the sun.

WGSN is the industry-leading content and technology solution for professionals in the style, fashion and design sectors. For more information, visit wgsn.com. Images courtesy of WGSN.

For more Market trends see our January 2016 AmericasMart Market Magazine.

Tabletop 101

Your Guide to Dinnerware Materials
By Jessica Harlan

Dinnerware is made of a wide range of materials, from earthenware to bone china. But how much do you really know about each material type? Educate your staff on the properties of stoneware, porcelain, earthenware, bone china, and other tabletop offerings so they can help customers make the best choices. Here’s our guide to the basic terms you should know:

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Earthenware: This material has been fired at a lower temperature, so the glaze and the body haven’t been fused together. “People like earthenware because it has a warmer feel,” says Chris Rosse, owner of Rosse and Associates. Earthenware is known for its rustic look, simple shapes and thicker body.

Faience: This dinnerware is a higher quality earthenware. “It’s almost porcelain, but not quite,” says Rosse. “You can get more detail in your shapes.” Gien dinnerware is a great example of Faience.

Stoneware: This style of earthenware is fired at a higher temperature than earthenware so it is more resistant to chipping, but is still heavy and thick, and doesn’t have a lot of detail in its shape and design. Higher quality stoneware has kaolin in it (a clay used in porcelain) to make it strong.

Porcelain: Porcelain contains a white clay called kaolin that makes it strong enough to withstand the high firing temperatures needed to vitrify it so the glaze and body are fused, says Wendy Kvalheim, CEO and design director of Mottahedeh & Co., Inc. Many manufacturers add certain other ingredients to their porcelain clay to give it durability and other properties. For example, Caskata artisanal tableware contains magnesium, which gives it strength and a creamy color – most porcelain has a cool, greyish cast. Porcelain sounds upscale, but there is a wide variety of quality levels (and price points) available.

Fine China: Fine china has quartz and feldspar in its white clay and is fired at a lower heat than porcelain, says Michelle Richards, spokesperson for Waterford Wedgwood Royal Doulton. It has a similar bluish or greyish hue as porcelain.

Bone China: Kvalheim says it was the English in the late 1700s who experimented with adding bone ash to porcelain to avoid it slumping in the kiln. Simultaneously delicate and strong, the inclusion of bone ash to the clay gives bone china incredible durability, which allows it to be formed into sophisticated and detailed shapes with a super-thin profile. Bone china has warm, ivory tones, has translucency thanks to the thinner shape and it’s also more chip resistant than other materials. Shawn Laughlin, owner and designer of Caskata, says her Insignia C collection is the last domestically made bone china.

Vitrified: This refers to the process of heating clay to a temperature that’s so hot, it fuses the glaze and the body together and makes the surface glass like, so it is impervious to water.

For more information: Caskata – caskata.com, 508.242.5573; Mottahedeh – mottahedeh.com, 800.443.8225; Rosse & Associates – rosseandassociates.com, 404.522.7574; and Waterford Wedgwood Royal Doulton – wwrd.com, 732-938-5800.

Images courtesy of Caskata, Mottahedeh and Waterford Wedgwood Royal Doulton.

The Global Lens

By Patti Carpenter, AmericasMart Global Trend Ambassador

“The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.”
GK Chesterson

Patti CarpenterI love color! It makes me happy. You might say I am passionate about palettes…..of color. There. I said it and I’m proud of it! Color can literally make me salivate. In fact, I often refer to colors as tasty or delicious.

Similarly, I love sumptuous textiles and beautifully thrown or decorated ceramics and furniture; the beautiful curve of well-balanced seating, the stateliness of a well-designed table. I love a good wood grain and perfectly polished metals. I love humble materials made into extraordinary treasures. I love creativity and functional design made fabulous. It’s in my DNA. It’s what inspires me and stirs me to get up and get out every day. Without it all, life would be diminished in some way. This I know for sure.

So when AmericasMart Atlanta approached me to be its Global Trend Ambassador, I was more than delighted. I put on my global glasses and got to work. As I travel around the world, 54 countries and counting, I’ll review design, color, print/pattern and materials and share my impressions with you. Come journey with me through the ethos and the ether of the current trends, distill them, and discover the subtle, salable sensibilities in what we find.

To begin, here are the color-related categories clamoring for my creative attention for the coming season.

Color: As we collectively focus on the environment and the climate, the warming of the world draws our attention to that side of the color palette countered by a coolly confident blue. I’m focused on…

  • Orange – warmed and reddened, scorched and sultrySultry Orange
  • Yellow – from red-tinged Ochre to shocking Lemon Zest whitened like a sunspot.Sunspot Yellow
  • Inky Indigo – deep, saturated and newer than navy
    Inky Indigo

Palettes: Colors play together in complex collaborations

  • Pales – pretty pastels that pack a modern, yet softly feminine punchPerfectly Pale
  • Mid Tones – perfectly pitched between pastels and bright; a Frank Stella retro-influence inspiresModern Midtones
  • Black and White – classic to cosmic, these opposites continue to attractOpposites Attract

Till the next time, I hope my reportage engages and inspires you; that it touches you in some visceral way…that is rouses you to join the creative conversation.

See these trends and more at The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market, January 12-19, 2016. Learn more at www.AmericasMart.com/January

Join Global Trend Ambassador Patti Carpenter for “Through the Looking Glass: A Study In Contrasts”, an interactive journey through emerging international macro trends in color, print, surface design and materials with a focus on the influence of European trends on the current US home and gift industries. Your guide at the crossroads of business and creativity, Patti distills the broad-based themes directing trends around the world and their impact on American markets, while offering a first look at the must-see product innovations people will be talking about in the seasons ahead. Patti’s insightful, carefully curated presentations continue to be an indispensable resource for US-retailers and designers looking to stay abreast of groundbreaking trends on the global horizon. Thursday, January 14, 2016 | 11 a.m  | Building 1, Floor 15, Designer Workspace.

Registering an Impact

Nontraditional opportunities for independent retailers to shine
By Jessica Harlan

Not everyone getting married is a cookie-cutter couple in their 20s, and retailers who make sure to address and include couples of all kinds have an opportunity to grow their registry business. It’s important not to overlook couples who are getting married in their 40s, 50s or older; second marriages, and same-sex couples. While these less-traditional pairs might be putting slightly different items on their wish lists, chances are they want the same thing from the retailers where they choose to register: great customer service, plenty of options at a range of prices, an easy-to-use system for their guests, and generous return and completion policies.

Personality matters

Elegant place setting by Lenox.

Elegant place setting by Lenox.

For couples who’ve already lived on their own before tying the knot, their registry might be all about “upgrading what they have, as opposed to getting something for the first time,” says Sherri Crisenbery, vice president of Lenox Corporation. She points out that a couple might have been living with inexpensive dinnerware or maybe even hand-me-downs, and a wedding presents the chance to trade up to something they really love, and a higher end choice.

Kirsten Ott Palladino, editorial director and cofounder of the online magazine Equally Wed, which caters to the LGBTQ+ community, agrees. She’s seeing weddings and registry gifts that are truly personal and reflective of the couple.

But whatever life stage they are in, retailers can help couples make their choices based on their lifestyle and entertaining habits. “It’s easy to get wrapped up in the registry checklist, but we encourage couples to think about how they truly live,” says Laura Mackin, director of marketing for Mariposa, Ltd.

Beyond the place setting

At La Bella Vita, a specialty retailer in Cleveland, Ohio, owner Barbara Strom says she sees a slight difference in what couples in their late 30s and older are choosing for their registries. “They are more established with their homes and are just looking for accents to transition the two household styles,” she says. “If they are in their 40s or 50s, they are into less serveware and more décor.”

On her list of essential registry items are better dinnerware that can be used every day but also dressed up, good-quality flatware and serving pieces, formal glassware, platters, and serving bowls. Easy maintenance, such as Mariposa Aluminum or Michael Aram metal, instead of sterling, is also a popular choice.

Assorted frames by Mariposa.

“And don’t forget frames!” says Mackin. “Many couples spend a good amount of time and money selecting a wedding photographer that matches their style. When the wedding is over, show off the photos in beautiful frames.”

Finally, the most important thing for retailers to remember is to provide a welcoming, all-inclusive experience for all couples who walk through your doors.

For more information: Equally Wed, equallywed.com; La Bella Vita, labellavitacleveland.com, 212.292.3000; Lenox Corporation, lenox.com, 800.223.4311; Mariposa, Ltd., mariposa-gift.com, 800.788.1304; or Michael Aram, michaelaram.com, 866.792.2726.

Local Love with Larry Lucas

Larry Lucas has been a familiar face on the AmericasMart campus since the 1970s. Lucas recently retired from his eponymous showroom, Larry Lucas, Inc. after nearly 40 years. Prior to his wholesale career, Lucas owned a successful 10,000-square-foot gift and floral shop in Sandy Springs, Ga. He will periodically share his expertise with us on the AmericasMart blog.

This holiday season, consumers can positively impact their communities by choosing to shop local. Studies over the past ten years have repeatedly shown that a greater percentage of every dollar spent in locally owned businesses stays within the community. Shifting just 10 percent of spending to independent shops rather than chain stores can significantly boost an areas economy and create jobs.

American Express’ Small Business Saturday initiative on November 28 helps kick off the holiday shopping season and encourages consumers to spend their dollars at small AMEX_Shop_Small_Street_CMYK_SOLID_Logobusinesses. Make the most of your participation and energize your community by organizing a street party. Ask other store owners to put a table display in front of their shops, suggest restaurants serve samples to passersby and organize activities for kids to make the day more of an event. Be active in rallying other merchants, your Chamber of Commerce, Junior Chamber and elected officials to get involved. You can make it happen!

It’s not just about the holidays. Help keep your local economy thriving throughout the year by purchasing supplies from area retailers rather than big box stores and hiring independent firms for supporting business services like accounting and cleaning. You can also have an effect by carrying products that are mostly – if not all – American-made. Then look for regionally produced pieces and, finally, get hyper-local by purchasing from artisans within your own city.

shop local eco denizenLet people know what you are doing to make a difference. Reach out to your local newspaper, radio and TV stations with your message and send information about your shopping events and initiatives to churches, schools and clubs.

The Luxury of Selling Fine Linens

Basic Tips to Sell Luxury Linens

Luxury home and fine linens are growing markets, but they still depend on personal Global Viewsrelationships and product knowledge to be successful. Bedding is one product area that’s about much more than just physical elements of the manufacturing – it’s about romance and ambience.

Quality sells. That’s the bottom line when it comes to bedding. Sferra Bros. Raised the bar for everyone by introducing the first 1,020 thread count Eqyptian cotton sheet more than a decade ago. But, don’t let thread count fool you. It’s an industry myth of sorts that higher thread count always means better quality. In reality, while a high thread count usually means a smoother, finer sheet, it’s only one factor. Base fiber, quality of yard and finishing are vital defining properties of the finished product.

Pom Pom at HomeRetailers new to the marketplace should start with a base product from one manufacturer that will sell to a range of customers. It could be a set of pillowcases or a basic sheet set. Then, use that product to help build inventory as the demand grows. As new customers are exposed to high-end bedding, they’ll tend to want more and are willing to work it into their budgets. Retailers can work the same way by growing their product mix as their customer base grows.

Display is an absolute key to success – don’t keep linens hidden on shelves or hangers.IMG_4598 Determine how much floor space you can dedicate to a display bed and make the most of it. Even a single bed can work wonders since people tend to buy what they see. Most can’t resist a luxuriant, beautifully made-up bed. Even if they can’t afford to buy an entire ensemble, they can add a few luxury pieces. And, the display can be that “Wow” factor element every store must have to draw people in the doors.

Here are some good-to-know tips and terms for sourcing linens:

  • A coverlet is similar to a blanket cover or spread versus a duvet cover, which encompasses a duvet (comforter)
  • If you aren’t interested in a bed skirt to conceal box springs, then a box-spring cover is another option.
  • There are different types and qualities of “down” inserts. Products can claim to contain “down,” but it’s often a blend of materials. Hungarian goose down is superior for being lightweight and providing warmth. A rule of thumb: the colder the country, the better chances of it being true “down.”
  • “Embroidery” refers to a design or motif; monograming is embroidered initials.
  • In fine linens, white and ivory continue to be the best sellers since they are timeless and classic.AWH_PHOTO-8726