Dads Are Rad

1. Zuo Modern 2. BoBo Intriguing Objects, LLC 3. Travelon/225 Unlimited, Inc. 4. Deborah Rhodes 5. Thomaspaul/Aesthetic Movement 6. Iron & Glory/Karen Alweil Studio 7. Midwest-CBK 8. Rinse Bath & Body 9. Phillips Collection 10. Pendulux 11. DEMDACO 12. Wild & Wolf. 13. Be Home, Inc.14. Alicia Adams Alpaca 15. Sea Stones

Shop an array of Men’s Gifts at The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market®, July 11 – 18, 2017. Select showrooms are open year-round.

25 Years and Counting in Carolina

Building a retail destination store from a pumpkin patch

Store owners DeWayne and Tina Lee of DeWayne's

DeWayne and Tina Lee of DeWayne’s, Selma, NC

If you’re passing through North Carolina on Interstate 95, a series of billboards will ensure that you don’t miss the chance to stop at a sprawling gift emporium called DeWayne’s. It’s hard to believe this expansive shop started 25 years ago as a pumpkin patch run by DeWayne Lee, a 20-year-old son of a produce farmer. His location: the lawn in front of a busy outlet mall. Forced to get creative one year when he lost his entire pumpkin crop, Lee diversified with a fruit and produce stand and wooden cutouts, and eventually Christmas trees. In its beginnings, the business was no more than a pop-up greenhouse, a port-a-john, and outdoor tables laden with merchandise.

Vintage photo of pumpkin patchDeWayne met his wife, Tina, when she was just 16, and she grew to be as passionate about the business’ success as he was. Together they evolved from the produce stand and garden center, realizing that the interstate travelers are more likely to buy smaller gift items than a plant or a garden sculpture. Eventually they moved to their current location, a 6-acre lot about a mile down the road from the outlet center where it all began.

Growing Up and Out
The space offers plenty of opportunities to grow, and their latest phase includes an atrium that will centralize the cash registers and incorporates a year-round Christmas shop. The additions bring the square footage of the store and its offices to nearly 42,000 square feet, with departments including a greenhouse and garden center, outdoor statuary, a ladies’ clothing boutique, a gift shop, a gourmet foods department, a jewelry department, home decor and more.

New store under constructionThe store has become a local destination for sought after brands. Tina says Pandora is its top-selling line, with Vera Bradley, Yeti, Brighton, Sanuks, Vineyard Vines, Jack Rogers, Tervis Tumblers and Simply Southern also strong sellers. The Christmas shop— dubbed Christmas Land—includes offerings from Regency International, Border Concepts, RAZ Imports and Renaissance 2000, to name a few.

Watching and Learning
The Lees, and now their staff of buyers, have been regular visitors to AmericasMart markets for more than 15 years. “At first, we’d go to Market, wander the halls, and get totally overwhelmed,” recalls Tina. “We were new to this type of retail, and the Market has taught us a lot.”

It still does: DeWayne isn’t much of a talker, but despite his quiet demeanor, he’s as observant as a hawk. It was he who saw all the customers with Vera Bradley bags slung over their shoulders and insisted that the store add the line. And at Market, he’s likely examining what the other attendees are wearing as much as he is the showroom displays.

Scout bags offered at DeWayne'sBut in showrooms and booths they’re savvy about choosing what to stock. Tina says one of their biggest considerations is price and perceived value: “If it doesn’t give you the margin you need, then it’s a no go,” she says. They also consider freight and minimums, how returns and damages are handled, and protection from competition.

Their buyers attend gift and home Markets in January, March and July, and the apparel Markets in April and August. “It’s so consolidated, everything is right there: Christmas, gifts, clothing and jewelry,” says Tina about AmericasMart. “And there are lots of opportunities to go to different markets, it seems like there’s one about every month.”

Building a Reputation
The store’s success hasn’t gone unnoticed in the vendor community. The buyers—who include DeWayne’s sister—have been asked for feedback on new lines, or even to provide input for product design, and they’ve been invited to speak at corporate sales meetings.

Because of the store’s large scale, cross-merchandising is important. A display of plants might have a flag mixed in, for instance. “We try to build displays that pull customers to different parts of our stores,” says Tina.Patriotic Displays

An in-house print shop allows DeWayne’s to make banners, signage and other marketing materials on the fly, and last year the store put out an Ideation catalog, which mailed to 15,000 to 20,000 customers.

DeWayne’s stopped carrying live Christmas trees several years ago, and no longer offers fresh produce. But one holdover remains from the store’s origins: every fall, the yard in front of the store fills with fresh pumpkins, which is how it all started.

For more information, visit dewaynes.com or ShopDeWayne’s on Facebook.
Images by Exum Photography

A Pinch of Green

1. Leftbank Art Co. 2. Lacefield/J Douglas, Inc. 3. Accessory Drawer 4. Mills Floral & Home 5. Veritas/Veronica Flam 6. Global Views 7. Daniel Richards 8. CODARUS 9. Mr. Brown 10. Yedi Houseware 11. Hobo

Shop products in every color from select showrooms open year-round and during The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market,® July 11 – 18, 2017.

Be My Valentine?

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Happy Valentine’s Day

1. Pasha Furniture, Inc. 2.The Oliver Gal Artist Co. 3. Patricia Locke Ltd. 4. Gold Leaf Design Group, Inc. 5. Rosanna, Inc./Daniel Richards 6. Roman 7. Olivia Riegel 8. Modgy
9. Adams & Co. 10. Midwest-CBK 11. Bloomingville/Ivystone 12. Fiesta Dinnerware/Keystone

Whatever the season or celebration, AmericasMart has the perfect pieces to complete your offerings. See why our holiday and floral floors have buyers returning time and time again. Explore it all this spring at the Atlanta Spring Gift, Home Furnishings & Holiday Market®, March 8 – 10, 2017, and July 11 – 18, during The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market®. Select showrooms are open year-round.

Holiday Decorating Tips

For most retailers and designers it’s definitely looking a lot like Christmas. 

How can buyers make the most of seasonal décor? We asked the decorators extraordinaire at Studio M  Executive Vice President and General Manager Tammy Hickel, Senior Director of Product Development Anne Brown and Marketing Coordinator Maura Lodes  for their tips for making the season and the upcoming Market merry and bright. 

What trend are you most excited about for Holiday 2016?

holidaytrends-merrimentartplanters_studiom_rgb Holiday décor for 2016 features lots of black, white and red color schemes and has a classic, homespun feel that we just love. Popular nubby knits, burlap and muslin give a warm, relaxed feel that’s perfect for the holidays. The red-and-white ticking stripe and large-scale buffalo check seen throughout this year’s holiday décor provide a nice pop of pattern. We’re really excited about all of the natural elements like birch, pinecones and antlers that are being woven into holiday décor for 2016. These characteristics can be seen throughout Nordic, woodland and forest themes that are very trendy this winter.

What are your tips for customers decorating their homes?

unexpectedholidaydecor-gypsygarden_studiom_rgbOur advice is to create something unexpected. The holidays are all about that sense of wonderment and joy, and your décor can reflect that. Decorate in unexpected places — put a small Christmas tree in your child’s room, add a fun holiday pillow to the bed in your guest room, or brighten up the space above your kitchen cabinets with Christmas decorations. Think of the areas in your house that you may not always pay attention to, and add a little something there for the holidays.

For outdoor holiday decorating, think of ways to create a welcoming front door statement that reflects your personality and is seasonally relevant. Many people are looking for outdoor décor to accomplish this goal, and that’s a huge reason why we’ve expanded our seasonal flag collections to include Art Planters, Art Poles and other outdoor décor. We encourage people to think beyond just lights and candy canes. There are so many unique ways to decorate — festive Art Planters and a coordinating MatMate at the front door, a holiday terrarium full of colorful mini garden items as a centerpiece — think outside the box!

What are your tips for retailers decorating their stores?

retailertips-gifts-to-go_artpots_studiom_rgbCreative merchandising is key to generating sales. Shoppers can’t resist stopping to “ooh” and “ahh” at a clever display. Welcoming seasonal décor and an attractive display in a window will draw people in, giving them an opportunity to see everything your store has to offer. That doesn’t mean you have to spend big bucks on extra holiday decorations — use as much product as possible to decorate your store. For example, use monogram garden flags to spell out a festive message like “Let it snow” or “Ho Ho Ho.” This way, your store showcases its own merchandise and helps to decorate it at the same time!

Another great way to approach a display is to use your products to tell a color story. Pull everyday red or green products into a Christmas display — they’ll fit right in and feel more like a holiday item when surrounded by seasonal products. Don’t underestimate the power of a little holiday ribbon to turn everyday items into Christmas gifts.

Special Tip: Many plain red and green items can move forward into Valentine’s and St. Patrick’s Day displays, giving those products a longer life.

holidaytrends-winterpalette_studiom_rgbWe also advise retailers to make shopping as easy as possible for their customers. Create pre-wrapped gifts-to-go for different recipients – mom, dad, friend, hostess, etc. Think about all the unique items you have in your store and turn them into containers to hold additional product. We find that our 6-inch Art Pots are great to fill with holiday gourmet treats or unique personal care items. Not only are gifts-to-go convenient for shoppers, they’re also a great way to increase the average sale for the retailer. Set some by the register or checkout area for those last-minute impulse buys.

Special Tip: Another great way to increase sales and help shoppers find great gifts is to create a “Staff Favorite” or “Item of the Week” that can be promoted and suggested by staff.

What trends do you see emerging for Holiday 2017?

Next year’s holiday trends will be somewhat of a derivative of 2016, but with lots of white-on-white and green-and-white color schemes. Textural elements will prevail and homespun, cozy-cabin themes will expand, but in a cleaner, more refined way — kind of a mid-century-modern-meets-cabin look. We’ll see more woodland animal elements like antlers and snowy owls as the wise, nocturnal birds continue to be a strong trend.

holidaytrends-shoplocalThe shop local movement will continue to have a large influence on trends for 2017. City and state pride will remain a popular theme in both décor and gift items, as communities’ support for independent retailers grows. We don’t want to give too much away, but retailers can expect to see some state-themed products from Studio M at summer markets in 2017!

The farm-to-table movement is picking up steam and the desire to grow food at home is increasing. As more people spend time in their outdoor spaces and learn about gardening, gifts for gardeners will become a big part of the holidays for 2017. These can range from decorative gifts such as mini garden items or a festive Art Planter to functional products like a birdhouse or birdbath.

 What are your Market shopping tips?

newproducts-kaleidoscopemobiles_studiom_rgbOur biggest tip for retailers is to come to market with a Buying Plan. Take stock of all your current inventory and future needs. Then determine your budget by deciding how much product you need to buy to reach your target sales volume for the season. Identify every product category that you need in order to drive business in your store, and then allocate dollars to each area. This will ensure that you are purchasing the right mix of products for your store and save you from buying too much of one category and too little of another. Make sure to hold back some reserve dollars for hot new items or product categories you find at market that weren’t in your plan. Your Buying Plan will be a huge help in figuring out when you’ve purchased enough of each category and make it easy to see what areas still need to be filled in.

Special Tip: Ask vendors if they have any best-seller lists that they can show you. While best sellers do not work in every region or store, they can be a good place to start!

Do some research before market and decide which vendors you’d like to visit. Look through trade publications and the Market Magazine to see what catches your eye and make a list of vendors you can’t miss. Once you have your list, map out a schedule of when to visit each showroom. Don’t forget to leave time to look for new items or to stop by vendors that weren’t on your initial list. When making your schedule, plan to get your essential items first. There will be lots to see and you don’t want to get distracted by too many new products and leave market without ordering the necessities.

Special Tip: Take advantage of showrooms like OneCoast that open early in the morning and close late in the evening. This way, you can visit more vendors per day.

newproducts-cambriaartplanters_studiom_rgbAnother thing many retailers find very helpful is working with their local rep whenever possible. Reps know the product well and are a great source of information. They can tell you what has been selling well in your area and help you make better-informed purchasing decision to help round out your offering. They also may be aware of special incentives being offered on products.

Special Tip: Schedule your showroom visits by floor so you don’t waste any time waiting for the elevator in order to go up and down the building throughout the day.

You’re going to see some amazing merchandising ideas and unique ways to display product as you make your way through the mart. Bring a camera to photograph anything that inspires you or that you may want to replicate in your store. Not every vendor allows photos to be taken, so make sure to ask permission first. At Studio M, we love when retailers take photographs! While flattering, it is one of the biggest reasons we spend so much time planning out and creating our displays, We want retailers to get inspired and take ideas home that will help them be more successful.

We hope these tips ensure that you have a smooth and successful market! Stop by and see Studio M at our main showroom in The Gardens (9-B-84, Bldg. 2) or in the OneCoast showroom on the 18th floor of Building 2.

In addition to our five floors of Holiday and Floral merchandise in Building 1, retailers and designers can also find holiday merchandise in The Gardens®. Shop the collection at The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market, January 10 – 17, 2017, and use our Market Plan to create your budget and plan your visit.

Images courtesy of Studio M.