Halloween Spending at an All-Time High

By Christina O’Flaherty

Cue the spooky decorations, bite-sized candies and superhero costumes.

More than 171 million Americans will celebrate Halloween this year, each spending an estimated average of $82.93, up from last year’s $74.34, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics. That’s an all-time high of $8.4 billion.


What will consumers be spending their celebratory dollars on? Lots of candy and decorations, with 70 percent of NRF survey respondents planning on decking out their homes with frightful and delightful decorations.

What Americans Plan to Purchase for Halloween

Costumes: 67% (Spending $3.1 Billion) 

Candy: 94% (Spending $2.1 Billion)

Decorations: 70% (Spending $2.4 Billion)

Greeting Cards: 35% (Spending $290 Million)

While some people start preparing in September, the month of October sees the most activity. “Consumers are eager to celebrate Halloween,” says Prosper Insights Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow, “especially given that eight in 10 Americans will shop by mid-October.”

A key takeaway for retailers is to use this spirited season for special promotions. “Retailers are preparing for the day by offering a wide variety of options in costumes, decorations and candy, while being aggressive with their promotions to capture the most out of this shopping event,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.


Shop the Halloween category, as well as all seasons and holidays, during Markets and year-round at AmericasMart. For more information, visit AmericasMart.com.

Data courtesy of the National Retail Federation.

Sunshine Slowdown

By Chris Gigley

Somewhere on South Florida’s vast and clogged network of roads, routes and highways, Carol Adams is on her way to one of her four interior design and home decor stores. But the owner of Excentricities says her life is a lot easier than it used to be.

For about 28 years, Adams owned and operated another Excentricities location—in Long Island’s gilded Hamptons area. On paper, the Hamptons was a natural fit. The place has lots of vacation homes, disposable income and the kind of irrational high demand for redesign projects that keeps a business like hers flush with work.

Adams herself, however, lacked the one thing her business was known for—balance.

“Our business is spread equally between interior design and retail,” she says. “Our customers can buy anything in our showrooms right off the floor, which often happens. We also try to find one-of-a-kind items to create an interesting mix for our customers.”

Excentricities has been that way since 1986, when Adams opened her first two stores. One was the Hamptons location. The other, in North Palm Beach, is now the flagship store. In 2003, Adams opened a showroom in Delray Beach, Fla. The West Palm Beach location debuted in 2012, and the fifth showroom, in Jupiter, opened its doors two years later. With business booming in South Florida, Adams did the only sane thing this year and closed the Hamptons store. While she still does a lot of running around, at least the distances are commutable by car.


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Adams says she is careful not to streamline the way she buys for each Florida store. Her philosophy is simple. “I just buy whatever I like, frankly,” she says. More specifically, she buys what she likes for each store’s particular customer base, and that makes for a lot of walking when she comes to Atlanta.

“I can’t tell you how many different vendors we have,” she says. “It’s probably anywhere from 500 to 700. I’m not saying that they’re all repeat orders. If it doesn’t sell we don’t buy it again.”

Each store carries several furniture lines with plenty of accessories lines mixed in. Adams says on her most recent trip to The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market®, she was pleasantly surprised by how much she found.

“The market has changed dramatically,” she says. “I used to go there to buy little gift items, but there is a lot more furniture now. I found a lot of new vendors. It was great, and it was easy.”

Adams deserves as many breaks as she can get, because even with a more concentrated business she still has plenty of challenges. Above all is maintaining each store’s unique identity per its clientele. “In West Palm Beach we get a lot of wealthy people from Palm Beach, while Delray is more of an eclectic, funky town. It’s very charming,” she says. “In North Palm Beach we get a little older crowd, and Jupiter is a mixed bag.”

Her newest location just might become the most lucrative. “The community is a bit older, but a lot of young people are moving in,” she says. “It’s just booming. It’s unbelievable. I’m a native Floridian, and when I was growing up no one would go to Jupiter. Now everyone wants to go.”

A customized buying strategy is just half the secret to maintaining each store’s character. The other is having the right staff. Adams has 14 employees spread among the four stores. She says she’d love to have more, “but we’re always short of staff.” That means Adams is always on the road to one of her locations to work with staff and clientele. Then, it’s off to the next store. Then the next.

“I’m like the energizer bunny,” she jokes. “I’m always on the go.”

The difference now is that she feels more grounded, and Excentricities is better for it.

For more information, visit excentricities.com.
Images: Steve Tutterow Photography

A Welcome Wagon

Texas retailer hitches her fortune to AmericasMart
By Poormina Apte

Sangeeta Gupta, the owner of Modelli Creations, was just starting out and Carley Seale, then a rookie retailer, fell in love with the products. Today Modelli is one of the many wholesalers that anchors Seale’s The Gypsy Wagon, which has two locations in Texas: Dallas and Austin. An additional operation, ROAM Fine Goods, makes up the vibrant retail selection in Crested Butte, Colo.


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The Gypsy Wagon got its start in 2007 in the middle of the Great Recession. But the economy did not faze Seale who was bitten by the retail bug in high school. Seale left her job as vice president of a sales team for a medical devices company and opened the first Gypsy Wagon in Dallas. Since then, the business has grown, employing 31 people across all three locations.

The stores’ vibe is “very wanderlust and free-spirited,” with just hints of the South. Not having a “lick of retail experience” Seale wanted to create a store that stocked reasonably priced goods for everyone, not realizing how difficult that would be to implement. The name The Gypsy Wagon has given her room to grow and Seale, whose husband Johnny, is operations chief, says every product is selected to incite an emotional response. Starting with home decor and gifts, the stores have added apparel and footwear under the guidance of three full-time buyers including Seale.

Selling a variety of home, gift and apparel items from Paddywax candles to Flying Bird Botanical teas and dresses from Show Me Your Mumu, The Gypsy Wagon has a dedicated customer base and devoted fans on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

An AmericasMart fan, Seale is particularly partial to Handmade and HIGH DESIGN
and believes AmericasMart has the most to offer in one stop. “I shop Atlanta, New York and Dallas but if I had to pick one it would be Atlanta because it has everything—the southern feel, the latest products. It has the most to offer in one location,” Seale says.

Seale’s competitive streak means that she’s always an early bird at Cash and Carry. “If there’s something that’s one of a kind I want to be the one to get it,” she says. Seale doesn’t have a set strategy for shopping at AmericasMart and appreciates the sense of discovery that comes from just taking it all in. “I like it to be a little unstructured because that’s when your mind is open to seeing new things,” Seale says.

That’s how Seale discovers great product finds including Modelli at AmericasMart years ago. “Sangeeta keeps bringing awesome stuff, and it’s neat that you can cultivate that kind of relationship,” Seale says of Modelli’s owner.

“That’s why you have to keep going too, because you don’t know who will be there
for the first time,” Seale advises, “You really don’t want to miss anything.”

Join us for The Atlanta Fall Immediate Delivery Show® – A Cash & Carry Event, November 1 – 3, 2016 at AmericasMart. From jewelry to furniture, and everything in between, restock your inventory instantly with products your customers need for the holidays and beyond.

Carley Seale is the owner of The Gypsy Wagon which has locations in Dallas and Austin, Texas. Husband, Johnny Seale is operations chief. For more information, visit www.the-gypsy-wagon.com. Seale has a third store, ROAM Fine Goods in Crested Butte, Colo.

Images: Scott Light Photography

5 Tips for Incorporating Resort into Your Product Mix

By Christina O’Flaherty

From a glowing sunset to crashing waves, Resort wear captures the essence and experience of unforgettable travel getaways.

“Every buyer in a boutique is looking for uniqueness and Resort wear in general is the most unique category out there,” says Molly Peterson, brand manager for Walker & Wade. “It’s really open to interpretation and that can bring a lot of life to the floor even if you just incorporate pops onto your floor all year round. It adds that sparkle and freshness that buyers love and that boutiques pride themselves on.”

AmericasMart Atlanta

All For Color

Next week at Atlanta Apparel, Thursday, October 6 – Monday, October 10, you can see the top Resort lines in person and source from their newest inspirations.

“Our latest collection ‘Welcome to the Tropics’ was inspired by our love for warm weather travel,” says Alexandra Chauss, vice president sales & marketing for All For Color. “We wanted to combine the colors and excitement that one would experience when traveling to exotic tropical destinations. This inspiration led us to incorporate a wide range of color into our collection; you will see everything from ocean blue to citrus lime. We took a lot of inspiration from lush tropical landscapes and perfect summer sunsets. We want the customer to be able to get the feel of the ultimate vacay every day.”

AmericasMart Atlanta


Product inspiration for DEI’s Sea Life Collection came from the coastal community of Cape Cod, MA, explains Marketing Coordinator for DEI, Melissa Ellis. “Surrounded by some of the best beaches in the U.S., Cape Cod is a popular vacation destination. We are inspired by summers spent at local beaches. The creative design team often utilizes the beautiful scenery for onsite catalog photography.”

In addition to their inspirations, we asked representatives from four leading lines to share the inside scoop on their top tips for how you can include Resort in your inventory for added success this season.

1. Tell a story with a vignette.
“Make a dedicated section for Resort styles in the store and tell a story to the customer. Since Resort falls during a time when the weather is still cold, it’s important to show the customer what these pieces are meant for; warm weather escapes,” explains Alexandra Chauss of All For Color. “Create a vignette with complimentary styles and accessories to get the customer in the mood to shop for their upcoming vacation.”

2. Diversify your style selection with versatile pieces: tunics, dresses, shorts, etc.

Atlanta Apparel

Walker & Wade

“Resort apparel should be loose fitting and comfortable. Versatility is very important. Kaftans are great for a day at the beach and can be paired with pants for evening attire. Sunglass readers and sarongs are a great extension of Resort apparel,” says Melissa Ellis of DEI.

“Our mantra is beach to table. Our looks take you from day to night—throughout your day and then have you looking completely chic for any evening or event,” says Molly Peterson of Walker & Wade. “It doesn’t have to be put in just a Resort wear box. You can merchandise it with your denim, your white tanks, or throw a jean jacket over a top. A lot of things can be worn as dresses or as tunics.”

3. Don’t forget shoes and accessories to appeal to a greater audience.
“Women have an average of 10 handbags and 40 pairs of shoes in their closet,” says Stephanie A. Wolf of Jack Rogers. “Have you ever heard a woman say, ‘I have too many shoes, handbags and jewelry’? Never! It’s the trifecta to completing a great outfit. Many times a woman just needs to freshen up her Resort clothing and new accessories do the trick. It makes her feel like a million bucks!”

4. Consider which Resort locations are nearby and select inventory to match your area’s aesthetic.
“Bright colors, pineapples and palm leaves do well in the South. Seashells and sea creatures are popular on all coasts. Nautical ropes and anchors are a staple in any lake or ocean region,” says Melissa Ellis of DEI. Keep in mind that other countries have different vibes too. For instance, Bermuda is preppy while Jamaica is more relaxed.

5. Stock quality items but stay on trend.
“We see women loving quality and paying for it as long as they can wear them with many styles and to many occasions,” says Stephanie A. Wolf of Jack Rogers. “We are seeing a large uptrend for boho and it is crossing over into many brands and style categories. In the coming years it will influence the design of clothing, handbags, shoes and jewelry. Coupled with the more casual work and lifestyles of millennials, this boho chic look is more and more mainstream.”

Join us for October Atlanta Apparel to see these Resort lines and many, many more. Visit AmericasMart.com/Apparel for more information and to register today.

For more information: All For Color – 772.219.7584, allforcolorwholesale.com; DEI – 800.430.5665, denniseast.com; Walker & Wade – 917.882.1459 walkerandwade.com;
Jack Rogers – jackrogersusa.com.

Images courtesy of All For Color, DEI and Walker & Wade.

Staying at Home

Key interior concepts for Fall/Winter 2016

The rise of working freelance or being a consultant is changing the way home interiors are viewed and valued. More people are working out of their homes, and a renewed interest in housewarming and home dining make the home the focal point for many. Design is thoughtful, tactile and reflects humans’ desire to reconnect while keeping personal space. Understanding these shifts in trends is vital to selecting a product mix that will resonate with customers. Trend Specialists at WGSN, a subscription based trend forecasting service, offer a few of their predictions for trends in Fall/Winter 2016 home décor.

WitImage courtesy of WGSNh concerns for the environment progressively influencing major design choices, interiors will take on more natural looks this fall. Organic walls and floors will become more common, with cork, plywood and chipboard appreciated for their natural qualities. Soft to the touch, sound-absorbing, thermally insulating, these materials are also highly renewable, as are bamboo, wicker and rattan, which will be prominent in furniture and decorative accessories.

Image courtesy of WGSN


Tactility and warmth add new dimension to interiors this season, with an emphasis on comfort. Combining and mixing surfaces looks fresh in neutral tones to allow surface depth to be the main focal point in the room.



Image courtesy of WGSN
1970S GEO
Geos are simplified in thick, bold outlines and blocks of rounded shape. Chevrons and openwork designs reference the 1970s, with key colors including earth tones with splashes of acid orange, espresso brown, and forest green.



Image courtesy of WGSN


Black and inky hues are used as core colors to create strong prints and patterns on wallpapers and fabrics. Large florals create dramatic settings with a classic, historical look, while the tropical trend also takes a dark twist, moving away from last summer’s bright interpretations.



Image courtesy of WGSN



Fragile, poetic floral motifs look dusty and moody on white grounds and overlaid on sheer materials. The whole plant is used for design inspiration; stems and leaves mix with buds in whimsical tonal hues.



Ali Lind, senior trend consultant for WGSN— the industry-leading content and technology solution for professionals in the style, fashion and design sectors—joins us for Fall Design Week Featuring Gourmet & Gift to present 2017 Trend Forecast: A Tour of Lifestyle, Interiors & Fashion Influences to Know in the Year Ahead on Thursday, September 22. Come enjoy a complimentary lunch at noon and then see how high fashion will inspire and translate into home interiors and accessories in the year ahead. Educational Sponsor: Olliix #AtlMkt

Images courtesy of WGSN. For more information, visit wgsn.com.

Crossroads of Design

By Christina O’Flaherty

Retail and design intersect in the latest iteration of AmericasMart’s celebrated vignette design exhibition revealed this past July. The Retail Meets Design Exhibition features vignettes curated by the Southeast’s top design retailers who created their spaces with products sourced at AmericasMart. The spaces express each designer’s unique take on how interior design influences retail to showcase that it’s all here in Atlanta.

Vignette design by Steve McKenzie

Vignette design by Steve McKenzie

Steve McKenzie’s (steve mckenzie’s)
“Usually I don’t infuse a lot of glamour into my interiors,” says Steve, “and the vignette was a great way to experiment.”

Vignette design by Ann Huff and Meg Harrington

Vignette design by Ann Huff and Meg Harrington

Ann Huff & Meg Harrington (Huff Harrington)
“We wanted an elegant but peaceful environment made for daydreaming,” say Meg and Ann, “and a quiet joie de vivre.”

Vignette design by Paige Schnell

Vignette design by Paige Schnell

Paige Schnell (Tracery Interiors)
“We love strong design,” says Paige. “We wanted some rich color to balance the black and white, and we were inspired by some [pink] peonies we had in a vase.”

Vignette design by Susan Victor and John Ishmael

Vignette design by Susan Victor and John Ishmael

Susan Victor & John Ishmael (Nandina Home & Design)
“True to our brand statement of ‘real life, real style,’ we wanted to create a room that would wow you with style but would also function perfectly in real life,” says Susan and John.

Vignette design by Nina Nash and Jared Hughes

Vignette design by Nina Nash and Jared Hughes

Nina Nash & Jared Hughes’s (Mathews Furniture + Design)
“We felt creatively drawn to the ‘Silk Road’,” say Nina and Jared, “where inspiration from across Asia and northern Africa can be felt.”

Vignette Design by Rozanne Jackson

Vignette Design by Rozanne Jackson

Rozanne Jackson (The Iron Gate)
“The inspiration behind our designer vignette is a blooming garden at midnight. The organic element of hand-formed ceramics adds a nice contrast to the elegance of the furnishings,” says Rozanne Jackson.

The vignettes are sponsored by Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles, Restylesource, Castelle, CODARUS, Currey & Company, Jaipur Living, Oly, Up Country Home and VIETRI. Visit the display in Building 1, Floor 14, 14-D-9, during Fall Design Week Featuring Atlanta Gourmet & Gift, September 19 – 23 and VOW | New World of Bridal, September 21 – 23. Stay tuned to AmericasMart.com/January this winter to be the first to see what’s in store for the designer vignettes this January!


5 Bridal Trends to Watch

By Christina O’Flaherty

Experience exquisite creations come to life September 21 – 23 in Atlanta during VOW  |  New World of Bridal and see some of the latest trends making headlines. What looks will we see brides walking down the aisles with this season?

3D Elements
Extravagant 3D elements are a key trend, with everything from torso embellishments to detailed skirts to full dress applications in statement-making materials on hand.


Romance Couture, Black Label Couture, Romance Couture


Fresh Florals
From tiny embroidery and detailed botanicals to bold splashes of flowers, floral patterns in every conceivable shape and style are a defining element for wedding dresses.


Sherri Hill, Andrea and Leo, Precious Formals


Cascading Ruffles
Romance is embodied in exquisite layers of sheer organza, lightweight tulle and silk georgette aided by horsehair to retain a cascading effect.


Zoey Grey, Enzoani, Allure Bridals


Ethereal Sheers
Barely-there sheer overlays create soft silhouettes when paired with illusion straps and sleeves, plunging necklines, and adorned details.


Aime Couture by Maggie & Shirley, Calla Blanche, Enzoani


Hints of Color
The softest hints of color—ivory and blush hues to sweet blues and pinks—lend this ongoing trend a delicate refresh this season.


Eleni Elias, PolyUSA, Zoey Grey


See all the spectacular trends from the industry’s leading designers for bridal and social occasion on one stage, Wednesday, September 21, for the VOW Fashion Show at 6:15 p.m. (Pre-party at 5:45 p.m.) on the Floor 2 Fashion Runway.


Trend analysis information sourced in part from WGSN. All images are copyrighted by AmericasMart® Atlanta.