The Great Outdoors

Consumers are spending for casual living options

Open any shelter magazine or turn on any home improvement show, and you’ll find talk about outdoor spaces. Whether it’s a prospective home buyer looking for the perfect backyard barbecue, a flipper adding some curb appeal or a designer creating usable recreation space for a growing family, Americans are spending more time—and more money—outdoors. Home builders and architects agree, as they face an ever-increasing demand for outdoor rooms and outdoor spaces for entertaining and recreation. Outdoor features are included in nine out of 10 newly constructed homes.

Outdoor FurnitureAs the demand for outdoor living grows, outdoor furniture sales continue to rise. Backed by rebounding home sales, low mortgage rates and rising consumer confidence, 2015 sales were projected to bring in an estimated $6.8 billion dollars, up 4.5 percent from 2014.

Dining sets continue to lead outdoor furniture sales, topping $2 billion last year and accounting for 48 percent of the market share. According to last year’s Casual Living’s Consumer Buying Trends Survey, 4.7 million households said they planned to purchase an outdoor dining set in 2015, with most spending between $100 and $399 for a set. While the majority of consumers look to home improvement centers and discount department stores when purchasing dining sets, furniture stores are seeing a marked increase in sales.

By ProductOne of the fastest growing segments in outdoor furniture is conversation or chat groups—akin to living room furniture for the outdoors—which may include a combination of chairs, love seats, ottomans and occasional tables, with some sets including fire pits. Households with incomes of $150,000 or more are the chief buyers of chat groups, and they are looking for high style and smart design.

Shade products are also experiencing substantial growth. Modern, movable and repositionable options allow for more comfortable outdoor experiences, while also protecting furniture from the harsh rays of the sun. Umbrellas, shade sails, gazebos and other shade items account for nearly $600 million in sales.

Garden oasis every day
Comfort and style shouldn’t be reserved for indoor rooms. Consumers’ continued desire for the same comfort and style outdoors as they demand inside is driving an industry to evolve and grow. As designers and retailers, you can capitalize on that concept year round by shopping The Gardens® floors at AmericasMart both during Markets and in between.

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There’s unlimited potential for home stores, hardware stores, garden centers, even gift stores to capitalize on the popularity of outdoor living. Think of all the potential customers. Families want to enjoy their decks. Empty nesters want a cozy porch to relax. And new homeowners are eager to build their own nest, complete with versatile outdoor entertaining spaces. Whether it’s furnishing a pool house, finding the perfect comfy chairs for a front porch, using a water feature to add life to a space, or building the perfect evening seating group around an outdoor fire pit, there are product lines at AmericasMart to please any client.

Floors 9 and 10 in Building 2 encompass 170,000 square feet of unique space that feature leading casual lifestyles and gardens companies in a one-of-a-kind outdoor living environment. The floor configuration and product mix encourages shopping for an array of high quality visual displays in a relaxed, vibrant atmosphere. During Markets, the floors provide inspiration down each pathway. And the opportunity is
available every day: Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The Gardens® staff is always ready to help you find exactly what you need to place orders between Markets.


To learn more, attend What’s in? Going out! Trends for the Ultimate Outdoor Living Spaces presented by Modern Luxury Interiors Atlanta during Fall Design Week featuring Atlanta Gourmet & Gift, September 19 – 23, 2016. Educational Sponsor: Olliix.

For more information on The Gardens® Open Daily opportunities, visit AmericasMart.com or call 404.220.2030 to personally speak with a showroom manager.

Images provided by Windham Enterprises, Summer Classics, RATANA and Castelle.

Alfresco Summers

Teach customers how to create the perfect outdoor table
by Steve McKenzie

Warm weather, long days and starry nights lead us outside, spending time with friends and family, making memories over an alfresco lunch, dinner, drinks and picnics. A little prep ahead of time ensures you are ready to go at a moment’s notice, equipped with the proper entertaining items, creating less stress for you and putting your guests at ease.

Creating the atmosphere
Today’s technology makes it easier than ever to present an impressive outdoor table setting, full of style and design. From melamine dishware that look just like old-world European hand-painted pottery to synthetic crystal and polycarbonate glassware that look and feel like hand blown glass and crystal. Your guests will be delighted with your thoughtful alfresco setting, and you’ll keep your cool in the summer heat.

This season two major color palettes have emerged for outdoor entertaining. The first is the combination of pink and orange. This combination, used in conjunction with greenery or citrus green accents, shouts summer is here. The other big trend is all things blue and white, again. Yes, it is true that traditional blue and white was never really out, but it is so hot this summer. When you set a table with these palettes it tells your guests they are about to enjoy a special experience.

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Selecting the products
Let’s take a closer look at the materials: who provides them and how to care for them. The unbreakable melamine china of
Le Cadeaux comes in more than 11 patterns and 13 solids. It is dishwasher safe and practically indestructible. Your guests will not know it is melamine until they pick it up. They have two fabulous new patterns Tangerine—a beautiful turquoise, light blue and citrus pattern evocative of a Moroccan tile; the second, Havana—in blue and white, celebrates the new open relations with Cuba, bringing a bit of the island to your home.

The crystal and glass looking items of Mario Luca Giusti, made from a synthetic acrylic, feel in weight and design like their crystal counter parts. They come in a wide variety of styles from highball glasses to wine stems and even pitchers. You can set your table and not worry about glass breaking poolside or on the terrace, yet as you look at the table it sparkles and feels like crystal. On the more traditional side of glassware is the acrylic of Baci Milano, also distributed by Le Cadeaux. In its crystal turquoise and blush, it is reminiscent of the delicate pressed glass of a fine crystal house.

Le Jacquard Francais introduced some of their beautiful jacquard cotton weave patterns with an acrylic coating on one side. It is a hardy material, perfect for family meals, that wipes clean with a damp cloth. Occasionally, you can machine wash it, knowing it will withstand years of use. The best part is you do not compromise the beautiful French styling for practical function.

To add the last bit of excitement to your table, Sabre from France has amazing flatware, every color of the rainbow. Accent your table beautifully with their nylon-handled stainless as well as amazing serving pieces in Acrylic with fun patterns in any color you need. All are non-breakable, colorfast and dishwasher safe. With all the new products in the outdoor living market, the only remaining decision is to choose your date, invite your guests and then relax and enjoy.

For more information: Mario Luca Giusti – mariolucagiusti.com or Rosse & Associates, Inc.; Le Jacquard Français – le-jacquard-francais.com or Rosse & Associates, Inc.; Sabre – sabre.fr or Rosse & Associates, Inc.; and Le Cadeaux – lecadeaux.com or Tango.


Steve McKenzie and his wife Jill own a home décor and lifestyle store, steve mckenzie’s, located in Atlanta’s Westside design district. At this location they operate their interior design business and offer a collection of home furnishings, accessories and tabletop as well as a line of textiles derived from his paintings. They parlayed his designs into a line of upholstery, rugs through Verde Home and a line of women’s scarves.

Join us September 19 – 23, 2016 for Fall Design Week featuring Atlanta Gourmet & Gift. Shop in a relaxed environment, spend one-on-one time with your favorite showrooms, and hear speakers like Steve McKenzie, who is participating in a panel entitled Naturally Inspired: How Art, Design and Nature Collide at Serenbe — and the 2016 Serenbe Showhouse. After the panel we will be giving away five complimentary tickets to the Serenbe Showhouse as well as fresh goodies from Serenbe Farms.

Images courtesy of: Mario Luca Giusti, Le Jacquard Francais, Sabre and Le Cadeaux

Fall in Atlanta

AmericasMart re-envisions September Experience

Fall signals prime time for refreshing homes before the holidays and for selecting the perfect gifts for friends and family. Retailers can jump-start the holiday season by filling last-minute inventory, while designers can source all the elements for clients’ seasonal projects. It all depends on having the right products in place at the right time. That means shopping Atlanta in the fall.

AmericasMart’s Fall Home, Gift and Gourmet Market is evolving into an all-new buying experience scheduled for September 2016. The new Fall Design Week featuring Atlanta Gourmet & Gift offers more services and newly imagined events, all timed within the business week for the greater convenience of retailers and designers.

Fall Design WeekThe re-envisioned concept celebrates and showcases AmericasMart’s design-driven Open Year Round showrooms. The showrooms – located throughout Buildings 1 and 2 – represent leading lines in case goods and upholstery, accessories, casual furnishings, lighting, area rugs, gift, gourmet, housewares, tabletop, outdoor living, holiday, floral and more.

“AmericasMart’s Open-Year-Round showrooms provide design and retail inspiration throughout the year,” says Dave Savula, executive vice president of Leasing. “The new Fall Design Week lets us showcase these lines to retailers and designers in a more relaxed environment while offering some additional amenities and opportunities to network.”

AmericasMart’s continued growth in designer attendance is also a factor in the Market redesign. “Our Market center has more design-driven resources than ever before,” Savula says. “The new September event lets us showcase those resources like never before with a buying and educational opportunity that serves designers when it is best for their business.”

AWH_PHOTO-0338Designer-focused programming will include taste-maker presentations, continuing education courses, industry networking opportunities and celebrations. It is set to be the must-attend event for the Atlanta, Georgia and Southeastern design communities.

The popular Atlanta Gourmet exhibitors will be showcased in a series of targeted events designed to spotlight the flourishing local food and restaurant scene and the resurgence of the category with gift retailers, especially for the holiday season.

AmericasMart’s Fall Design Week featuring Atlanta Gourmet & Gift takes place Monday, September 19 through Friday, September 23, 2016. For more information, visit www.AmericasMart.com/September.

Why Rugs? A Q&A with Joanna Gaines

Joanna Gaines_LOLOIWith the recent launch of the Magnolia Home by Joanna Gaines rug, pillow and throw collection with Loloi, we wanted to take a deeper look into rugs, and the design opportunities they afford.

We had a chance to catch up with Joanna and get her thoughts on designing with rugs, and why they are so crucial to a room.

-Why are rugs so important to the overall room design and aesthetics?
Rugs can change the feel of an entire space. They can tone down a colorful room, or bring a monochromatic room to life. Rugs are such a great design element because they bring in warmth and texture and have the ability to really anchor the furniture.

 What are some of the most important styling points to remember with rugs?
Rugs should cover a larger area than the space your furniture covers. So essentially, a living room rug should be large enough to fit underneath the couch and chairs, rather than in between them. A bedroom rug should be large enough to fit under the bed, and extend out on both sides with plenty of space.

 Do you feel rugs should blend in with a room, or define the space?
It depends on your style! If your furniture is neutral, it can be fun for your rug to be a show stopper. If your furniture is bold and tells a story of its own, a neutral rug that blends with the space will still add texture and an extra design element.

– What is your personal favorite kind of rug?
I don’t think I could ever choose just one. At the farm I gravitate toward neutrals, but a lot of our Fixer Upper clients appreciate a more bold choice. And honestly, I can appreciate both styles.

– Why did you feel this collection with Loloi was important?
It’s always been a challenge finding the perfect rug for a space, so this line has been a dream of mine for years. I wanted to curate a collection that makes the process easier for everyone. These Magnolia Home rugs are high quality and hand-woven. Each one is truly a work of art and I had so much fun putting the collection together!

Going Global: 7 Tips

What you need to know about working with international vendors
By Jessica Harlan

Crossing the borders and exploring the offerings of manufacturers and distributors from all over the world is sure to give your store a distinctive product mix. But it can be daunting to work with a supplier from another country where the currency, language, customs and standards might be different from yours.

But establishing an international roster of suppliers is worth the extra effort to find unusual products and to incorporate trends into your assortment even before they start catching on in the U.S.

Insider Info
AmericasMart is the perfect place to find international suppliers; you can travel the world while staying on one interconnected campus. We spoke with some of the global exhibitors at The July Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market to get their best tips on how American retailers can best work with suppliers from other countries. Here’s what they have to say:

Image courtesy of Eightmood

Image courtesy of Eightmood

1. “A vendor who has gone through the hurdles of entering the U.S. Market is determined,” says Fredrik Axelsson, sales director for the U.S. for Eightmood, a home furnishings design company based in Sweden. “If you see what you like, start a dialogue, establish a partnership, place an order, and grow together.”

2. During an in-person conversation, be sure to ask questions if you don’t understand, and don’t be afraid to summarize or restate the discussion to make sure everyone is on the same page.

3. Bring a tape measure – basic measurements might be different in other countries. Outside the United States, most countries use metric measurements, so having a tape measure (or downloading a conversion app on your smartphone) will allow you to translate sizes for your market.

4. The way products are designed or constructed might differ too, says John Goumas, sales and marketing vice president for Australian company OneWorld Collection. “In America, lampshades are mounted with harps and finials, and in Australia, our lamps are done the English way, with the shade that attaches to the base of the bulb.” While OneWorld has adapted, redesigning its lamps to reflect the American market, some products just might be different from what’s expected – and that’s part of what makes it unique.

Image courtesy of Evelyne Prélonge

Image courtesy of Evelyne Prélonge

5. Double check details about financial transactions to make sure there are no unexpected costs associated with your orders. “Make sure the price includes transport and duties,” says Marylou Altounian, brand manager for Evelyn Prélonge. She also recommends retailers make sure they can set up payment in U.S. dollars via bank transfer or credit cards.

Image courtesy of Tissage Art de Lys

Image courtesy of Tissage Art de Lys

6. Plan for longer delivery times. One of the challenges to working with an overseas source is that getting goods might take longer. Aureline Maillard, spokesperson for French company Tissage Art de Lys says her company typically proposes DDP delivery (Delivery Duty Paid) and does everything possible to limit the time it takes for orders to be delivered. Altounian also recommends double checking that quoted delivery time includes transport time, since sea freight can be as long as four weeks.

Image courtesy of Moe's Home Collection

Image courtesy of Moe’s Home Collection

7. Take advantage of a vendor’s offerings. At Moe’s Home Collection, a Canadian/American home furnishings company, the company can sell a retailer a whole room package, from the rug to the furniture to the lighting and decorative accessories, and even has available photography for retailers to use in promotions. Inquire about promotional materials and bundled assortments to help give your imported merchandise a boost.

Read more tips for working with international vendors in the July 2016 Market Magazine.

For more information: Eightmood, Inc. – eightmood.com, 561.801.5400; Evelyne Prélonge – evelyne-prelonge.com, +33 1 85 08 59 55; Moe’s Home Collection – moeshomecollection.com, 800.967.9942; OneWorld Collection – oneworldcollection.com, 630.870.4799; Tissage Art de Lys – artdelys.com, +33 3 20 75 42 10

Design Resource Debut

DÉCOR │ Light & Lifestyles Temporary collection opens in July
By Laura Raines

Building on the success of HIGH DESIGN and HD Home, AmericasMart unveils DÉCOR │ Light & Lifestyles during The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market®, July 12 – 19, 2016. On Floor 8 of Building 1, the temporary, juried collection gives manufacturers of design-oriented home furnishings and accessories a showcase for fresh lines and ideas. Expect to discover a mix of lighting, furniture and a plentiful variety of fine linens and textiles, which are a fast-growing sector in the home market.

“Quality is the strong-point of this space,” says Marie Knight, vice president of Tradeshows. “We have found that grouping exhibitors in like-minded neighborhoods is a good idea. They often share similar buyers and complement one another.”

Madison Chair by TAILORED Taylor Burke Home

Madison Chair by TAILORED Taylor Burke Home

The new space creates an entirely fresh buying experience. “The collection is an expanded expression of what is new and next in lifestyle and lighting design,” says JoAnn Miller Marshall, AmericasMart executive vice president of Tradeshows. “The spacious booths, hard walls and floor layout give these top manufacturers the ultimate venue to showcase their sophisticated mix of the hottest trends in home furnishings design and décor.”

Exhibitors will be able to showcase their best options in a unique space. “The 8th floor is the perfect opportunity for us to show buyers a new mix of products,” says Julianne Taylor, founder and creative director for Taylor Burke Home. “We will create a beautiful cross-merchandised space to provide a fun shopping experience for our buyers.”

All the elements
French Market Collection has a permanent showroom of furniture, linens and rugs on Floor 14, but Peggy Richardson will show products from her new lighting company, Get Lit, in the new temporary space. Her venture with J.M. Piers took off in HD Home last year. This year, she’ll bring more designs in alabaster, glass and ceramic, a blend of traditional shapes with contemporary shades and colors, in low, medium and high price points. Having just returned from China, she plans to introduce muted colors (celadon, turquoise, pinks) to coordinate with French Market’s textile collections. “White will be back—it was a surprise hit last year,” she says. Designers exploring white’s range of warm to cool tones have made it a hot decorating trend.

Bamboo lamp by Get Lit

Bamboo lamp by Get Li

The new Décor │ Light and Lifestyles section allows Richardson to cross market. The booth floor will display one of her rugs and she’ll show Get Lit lamps in her permanent showroom. “With lighting, we have a new niche and revenue generator. Most homes need at least eight lamps,” she says. “We expect this area to be a must-see for stores and designers looking for something new and exciting.” She knows she’s in good company with quality manufacturers of lighting and soft goods. “Lighting, textiles and linens are growing because they are an economical way to change the entire look of a room,” she says.

Sophisticated mix
The new area is an opportunity for Taylor Burke Home to showcase the company’s new TAILORED by Taylor Burke Home line. “It’s perfect for designers working on a budget,” says Julianne Taylor, founder and creative director. “The styles are classic everyday chic designs and include gorgeous Lacefield and The Blush Label patterns among many other solids as part our standard fabric options. Best of all, the fabric is included.”

Glory by Callisto Home

Glory by Callisto Home

Gerry Nichol, co-owner of Callisto Home, sees the space as an excellent match for his elegant and sophisticated pillows, bed linens and window treatments in pale colors and neutrals, including designs featuring the latest demand accent, subdued gold. “Textiles are always in vogue, because people use them ubiquitously, and styles generally evolve faster than in furniture,” says Nichol. “We are excited to have the opportunity to showcase our work here. Our aim is to display our products beautifully and give our customers a pleasing experience.”

For more information: Callisto Home at callistohome.com or 201.866.0122; French Market Collection at frenchmarketcollection.com or 985.646.0678; Taylor Burke Home at taylorburkehome.com or 800.860.5821

Shop the new DÉCOR | Light & Lifestyles collection July 14 – 18 on Floor 8 of Building 1.

Classic Revival

Incorporate antique pieces to drive creative sales
By Jessica Harlan

The world of antiques might seem daunting to the uninitiated, but it also offers an unparalleled opportunity for home furnishings and giftware retailers to give their stores a reputation for truly unique and one-of-a-kind merchandise.

If you’re looking to incorporate pieces into your merchandise mix that have a history or the patina of age, you don’t necessarily need to become an expert in period furnishings. You can rely on the knowledge of experienced exhibitors who’ve spent a lifetime learning the business. A sense of what will incorporate well into your store, and an eye for value will serve you well and enable you to dabble in this realm.

Antique horse statue from Acanthus Studio

Antique horse statue from Acanthus Studio

“If you walk into different stores these days, you’ll see the same tables and chairs because everything is mass produced,” says Misty Fowler of M. Fowler Antiques. “They might be beautiful but customers realize they don’t have anything unique that won’t be found in the house down the street. The appeal of buying antiques is that you’re buying something that was handcrafted during a period of time when they took care in handcrafted construction.”

Adds Gayle Baker, co-owner of Acanthus Studios, “Carrying antiques will give a depth and quality to your inventory and will attract new clientele. And when designers can find both new and antique items in the same place, it makes it easy for them to shop.”

If you’re looking to dabble in the wonderful world of antiques, these words of wisdom from antique dealers will help smooth the way.

Don’t attempt to learn it all

Mix antique and modern pieces into design. - Blue Ocean Traders

Mix antique and modern pieces into design. – Blue Ocean Traders

If antique and vintage items are only going to be a small portion of your assortment, don’t even try to become an expert in the industry, says Jason Mulvene, president of Blue Ocean Traders. Just evaluate items on whether they seem like good quality and value for the money, if they’re on trend and sellable. “We’re trained to source it for you, so you don’t have to take too much time to buy vintage,” he says.

Fowler notes that the antiques dealers themselves can be your best resource for information and advice. “Most of us got into this business because we have a passion. [A dealer will] be able to tell you the history, the lineage, what it’s made of. Use them as your resource and when you find an antique dealer whose style you really like, keep in contact with them.”

Start small
Mark Weinstein of Golden Oldies Ltd. suggests that smaller decorative objects that aren’t highly collectible can be affordable options to incorporate into your merchandise mix. Jess Baker of Acanthus Studios agrees. “Smaller items such as lamps or jewelry boxes will blend in with the items you’re currently selling, and they’ll fit into a consumer’s home a lot easier than, say, a large piece of furniture.” As you start learning more about buying antiques, you can then progress into larger pieces or more specific items that make sense for your brand.

Antique lamp from Kenny Ball Antiques

Antique lamp from Kenny Ball Antiques

Mix old and new
Increasingly, designers and home furnishings retailers are finding success with a mix of both old and new to create an inimitable look. “It’s as simple as taking old china and putting it on a new table,” says Fowler. “Mixing eras, mixing materials like brass and Lucite. It’s an extreme mix, nothing matches anymore.”

Adds Mulvene, “Mixing vintage with more contemporary furniture, makes it a lot harder to reproduce what you’re doing.”

And Kenny Ball, owner of Kenny Ball Antiques, says, “Shelter magazines are a good source for getting ideas on how to mix. An antique chest with modern art: incredible!”

Know what will sell
When you start adding antiques or vintage to your mix, choose items that will mesh nicely with what you already have in your store. After all, your regular customers already like your aesthetic and may even have a similar look going on in their own homes. “One of the best lessons I learned early on is, buy what you love,” says Fowler. “If you love it, odds are your clients will love it too.”

Also look for functional, useful pieces. “People want pieces they can use,” says Ball. “Chests of drawers, mirrors and lighting always sell. Pieces that people can collect such as boxes and porcelain sell well too.”

Gayle Baker says that it’s important to get an idea of what might be popular in your market before you start acquiring pieces. “Educate yourself by reading magazines or blogs,” she says. “Know who you’re buying for and know that every market is different.” As an example, Jess Baker points out that a primitive cabinet might not sell in Miami, but it would in the Rocky Mountains. Midcentury modern and industrial pieces, say the Bakers, are particularly in demand right now.

Play Up the Story
If you’re making the effort to carry antiques, it’s crucial to convey their history to your customers, so they’ll easily be able to differentiate your new merchandise from your vintage assortment. Create hang tags and signage with as much information as possible about the piece: where it’s from, what it’s made of, what it was used for, and how old it is. While signage is good, “nothing beats training your salespeople, having them on the floor and engaging with the customer,” says Mulvene.

With these considerations in mind, adding antiques to your store will help you distinguish your brand and will give your customers yet another reason to return.

For More Information: Acanthus Studios – 877.886.8673, acanthusstudios.com; Blue Ocean Traders – 502.637.1840, blueoceantraders.com; Golden Oldies LTD. – 718.445.4400; Kenny Ball Antiques – 434.293.1361, kennyballantiques.com; M. Fowler Antiques – 850.496.6304, mfowlerantiques.com.

In addition to the one-of-a-kind showrooms, visit the all new ANTIQUES Temporary Collection July 14 – 17, 2016 during The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market®. ANTIQUES will be located in located in Building 1, Floor 2.