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

Best of Atlanta 2015

Last week at The Atlanta Gourmet Market®, we celebrated the gourmet industry’s finest with our annual Best of Atlanta awards. Congratulations to the following winners!

  • Fox Point Farm’s Fabulous Fudge Sauce for Best Chocolate and Goat Milk Caramels in Salted Vanilla for Best Candy (Non-chocolate)
    Fox Point Farm 2 Fox Point Farm 3



  • Sable & Rosenfeld’s Tipsy Tapas Cheese Stuffed Baby Squash for Wild Card
    Sable and Rosenfeld

  • Plentiful Pantry’s Thai Coconut Soup for Best Soup
    Plentiful Pantry
    In addition to top gourmet products, excellence in visual design was celebrated by the Atlanta Fall Gift & Home Furnishings Market® and The Atlanta Gourmet Market® BEST OF SHOW award, presented to Never Lose Hope Designs.

best booth IMG_4519

Tuft Stuff All Over Market

Sometimes the classic looks in home furnishings are the most relevant. Showrooms across the July 2015 Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market Home category prominently feature tufting in a wide array of fabrics and styles.

Englishman's     Taylor Burke Home      Taylor Burke Home 2

Certainly not a new technique, tufting finds renewed emphasis by combining it with creative new accents such as wood and metal. It’s also featured in a broad range of materials from velvet to linen to leather.

Design Legacy     Oly Studio     Cyan

Pieces are contemporary without being stark and others are traditional without reverting back to the same old looks. Added touches such as crystal and metal buttons further emphasize the added texture of the finish.

Classic Home     Taylor Burke Home 2     Pasha


Tufting creates visual interest and adds texture in a wealth of styles and options. Find a wide variety of products at each Market and in between at showrooms Open Daily.

Boston International Logo Change & Launch Party at AmericasMart

As companies grow, it’s imperative for their corporate images to evolve as well. One component of that change includes corporate identity. Embarking on a journey to change existing marketing materials is more of a challenge than some anticipate. Read about one company’s experience with updating their logo.

By Christina Soave
Public Relations, Product & Marketing Coordinator for Boston International, Inc.

No doubt it’s a scary leap to rebrand an established business- will people still recognize us? Will our consumers and employees like this change? How can this be done without harming the equity of the company? Will the ever-growing to-do-list of re-branding be too overwhelming?

Many of these questions were on the minds of Boston International employees when our company, a leader in gift housewares decided to re-brand the company and unveil a new logo this year. This would mark the most dramatic change in the company’s visual identity since its inception in 1986. The decision to make this change was made when we felt like our current logo wasn’t communicating our new “modern” and “evolving” direction.

Our first step was to reach out to a professional with marketing communications experience. That’s where Peter Harris Creative out of Keene, New Hampshire dove in to get us started. The entire process took about 6-8 weeks starting with an initial survey distributed to BI’s key players. The survey was for Peter Harris Creative to get a feel for our primary customers and their relationship with us, our critique on the current logo, desires for the new one and essentially what was working for us and what was not.

BI - Logo 2The critique of the previous logo concluded that our company name does not say a lot about our company or its products. It was also cumbersome, coming in at a whopping 7 syllables, therefore the new direction would focus on the initials “BI”, our nickname. It should also capture our company’s contemporary and energetic spirit.BI - Logo

The toughest part came with the design process, sorting through the varying ideas and opinions regarding the new logo concepts at hand. To get management and staff on the same page seemed to be a struggle. Choosing colors was another challenging task and involved lots of research about what different colors mean and what these colors say about you as a company. This led us to blue, a calming color, and orange, reflecting excitement and enthusiasm to make a balance. Lastly, we had to make sure the logo would work well graphically with our products, catalog and brand as a whole.

We learned that branding is reciprocal and feedback will vary. Once the initial logo was definite and its meaning clear, we were ready to share it and its meaning to our audience. The new logo accentuates our initials “BI” and captures the artistic nature of the company through an exclusive hand-drawn font and watercolor effect. We are excited to be unveiling our new logo at the Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishing Market this July 2015. To share in our enthusiasm, we will be holding a launch party on Friday night during the show and giving away fashion totes sporting the new logo. We feel it’s a symbol of the many exciting developments to come for “BI”, and we hope to share our passion for the gift industry. The details for the party and other show specials can be found below.

Boston International Logo Launch Party

Boston International Showroom #819

AmericasMart- Building 2, 8th floor

Friday July 10th– 6pm-8pm

BI Show Specials:

Orders $300-$799 with immediate shipping receive a 5% freight cap

Orders $800 and more with immediate shipping receive Net60 and a 5% freight cap

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.

Image and Video Sources

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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
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.