Retail Meets Design

By Christina O’Flaherty

Retail meets design in the most stylish manner during The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market®.

With the launch of ANTIQUES in Building 1, Floor 2 and DÉCOR | Light & Lifestyles in Building 1, Floor 8 as well as HIGH DESIGN® in Building 2, Floor 1 and HD Home in Building 1, Floor 1 there are more design-driven resources available in our temporaries than ever before.

This elevated aesthetic highlights the intersection of retail and design, where interior design is influencing retail and merchandising in a major way. The new Retail Meets Design vignettes, curated by the Southeast’s top retailers and interior designers in Building 1, Floor 14, Vignette Gallery, 14-D-9, showcase how easy incorporating these influences can be. Furniture, décor, entertaining, outdoor and other lifestyle categories come together effortlessly with high design pieces and antiques alike.

Curious how you can work antiques into your store? We asked Toma Clark Haines, chief executive diva of The Antiques Diva® & Co., to share some of her top tips for incorporating antiques into a design.

Is there a different process for buying antiques vs. bulk merchandise orders?
Yes, absolutely. If you see it and it’s what you’re looking for, you should buy it. It’s not going to be there forever. The one-of-a-kind element makes it a radically different process. Also, the proportions are not always going to be what you’re looking for. For example, an 18th century chest of drawers was built for the dimensions of that era. You buy antiques because you love the patina, the quality, and the story. You make the room work with the piece, not the piece work for the room.

What is one key sourcing tip you can offer when it comes to antiques?
The antiques dealer is your friend. Get to know him or her. Even if they don’t have the specific item you’re looking for, they may have it in a warehouse or can source it for you. Developing relationships with dealers, particularly ones that match your specific vibe, is important.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

What are your top tips for navigating the new AmericasMart ANTIQUES collection on Floor 2?

  1. Walk the floor in both directions. The reason you do this is because your eyes will be attracted to one set of dealers going one way, and then on the reverse trip you will notice other vendors.
  1. Don’t be afraid to negotiate. Antiques dealers in general expect that negotiations will take place. The best way to get a bargain is to buy more than one thing and to simply say, “Is that your best price?” It’s polite and it pitches the question so that you’re not coming across as being pushy or aggressive.
  1. Ask questions. When you see a piece you want, get to know it. What type of wood is it? Where did you source it? You’re buying the story; this is not mass produced, so the details matter. Also, the more questions you ask, the more interested the vendor thinks you are and will most likely be more willing to work with you.

For answers to frequently asked questions about the new ANTIQUES collection, click here and to learn more about purchasing logistics, click here.

To get more tips from Toma, RSVP to Tyler Jones at to attend one of her guided tours of ANTIQUES in Building 1, Floor 2: Thursday, Friday, or Saturday during Market, starting at 1 p.m. Also, join us on Thursday, July 14 at 10 a.m. for Aged to Perfection: Why Antiques are Essential to Design Today, and How the Industry is Meeting Digital-Age Demand (0.1 CEU) in Building 1, Floor 15, Designer Workspace.

July16_NoPassport_FB July16_AgedPerfection_Facebook

The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market®, July 12 – July 19
ANTIQUES: Thursday, July 14 – Sunday, July 17, 2016
Temporaries: Thursday, July 14 – Monday, July 18, 2016

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. –, 561.801.5400; Evelyne Prélonge –, +33 1 85 08 59 55; Moe’s Home Collection –, 800.967.9942; OneWorld Collection –, 630.870.4799; Tissage Art de Lys –, +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 or 201.866.0122; French Market Collection at or 985.646.0678; Taylor Burke Home at or 800.860.5821

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

Shark Tank: Survive and Thrive

Exhibitors pitch their ideas to top investors

What does it take be a successful entrepreneur? Several exhibitors at The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market® can tell you. They’ve appeared on the hit ABC show “Shark Tank” to present their ideas to some of the top self-made business tycoons in the world.

What did they have to do?

Monkey_MatChristie Barany and Courtney Turich say just making it to the taping phase is an ordeal. The co-owners of Monkey Mat had to pass several tests before their episode finally aired on April 4, 2014. They originally submitted their pitch through the Shark Tank Web site in September 2012. Producers finally responded the following March.

“They gave us an on-the-spot interview over the phone,” says Barany. Then came the mountain of paperwork. “It was a 200-page document we had to fill out by hand,” says Barany. “If you have a business partner, you each have to fill one out your own. We found out later from the producers it’s a test to find out how interested you are. It’s a mind game the whole time.”

The final test was a five-minute video they put together to answer every conceivable question about their products. The invite to Los Angeles for the taping soon followed.

Is it a competitive atmosphere?

PullyPalz owner Julie Thompson, who appeared on the show April 10, 2015, says the intense experience tends to bond everyone who goes through it. She taped her segment the same day fellow Atlanta exhibitor Ryan Shell of The Home T taped his.

PullyPalz“We’ve stayed in touch ever since and I’ve stayed in touch with a few others, too,” she says. “You feel like you’re on the front lines together. We’re our own Shark Tank support group.”

For Thompson, the uncertainty was the hardest part. Producers offer no guarantees that a segment will air, even after the taping.

“Then you make it to the tank and it’s intimidating,” says Thompson. “I thought it’d be intense and I could handle it, but that day I was a nervous wreck. Knowing 8 million people might see it and knowing anything you say can air, with so much on the line, it’s definitely stressful.”

Shell says the experience is even more nerve wracking in person because contestants are in front of the sharks for much longer than the 5 to 10 minutes that air. A pitch can last up to two hours depending on the sharks’ level of interest.

“It is extremely intense standing in front of them,” says Shell, who appeared on the March 21, 2015, episode. “They often hit you with multiple questions at once. You have five very confident individuals grilling you, and if you don’t know your stuff, it’s a very long day.

How do you pitch your idea on TV?

Freaker_USAZach Crain of Freaker USA appeared on the October 18, 2012, episode. He says once he walked onto the stage, he let go of all his concerns and inhibitions.

“I thought, ‘If I get nervous and start sweating, I’ll just own it,’ but luckily I was comfortable and acted like myself,” says Crain. “It was like I stepped into my TV screen. Mark [Cuban] has that funny grin on his face the whole time. You don’t know what he’s doing over there in the corner. And Kevin [O’Leary] did his thing.”

Erin Bickley and Jenny Greer of Hold Your Haunches appeared on the April, 10, 2014, episode and say they had a great time pitching the sharks.

“When Kevin was carrying on we were laughing, although they edited it to make it look more intense than it really was,” says Bickley. “They got shots of us looking pensive and tense at some point. We don’t remember that, but there must have been some tense moments.”

What happens after the show?

While Crain and Shell left without a deal, Bickley and Greer got one from real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran. Mark and Hanna Lim of LollaLand stood in front of the sharks for 90 minutes before finally accepting an offer from tech mogul Mark Cuban on the April 27, 2012, episode.

“One thing that has surprised us is Mark’s willingness to learn,” says Mark. “It still baffles me that he would email us at 11 p.m. on a Saturday to ask us about our business and our strategy. That tells you a lot. Here’s a billionaire who defines success and he wants to learn from us. It taught me I need to be constantly learning and adapting.”

Everyone who got deals agreed that they get as much value from working with the sharks as they do from the money they received. Even entrepreneurs who didn’t get deals say the experience was worthwhile.

Ray Phillips, CEO of SoapSox, appeared before the sharks last October. Fashion mogul Damon John made an offer but Phillips declined.

“Everyone is a Monday morning quarterback, saying we should have taken Damon’s offer,” says Phillips. “But when you air on Shark Tank it increases awareness. It’s increased our distribution three times over. Disney is now aware of us and talking to us. NASCAR is aware of us.

It’s a benefit that is ongoing. Exposure from reruns, follow-up segments and clips posted online make every participant a winner, deal or no deal.

For more information, visit the exhibitors during Market.  Monkey Mat: Carolina Baby Company, Building 3, 13-W124; The Home T: Building 3, 2-2200; PullyPalz: Building 3, 13-E319A;  Freaker USA: Just Got 2 Have It!, Building 2, 17-1721; Hold Your Haunches: Building 3, 4-115;  LollaLand; Carolina Baby Company, Building 3, 13-W124 and SoapSox Building 3, 3-315.


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 ( 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. 

Products for Pampering


This gallery contains 5 photos.

Retailers looking to incorporate bath and body products into their merchandise mix will find a plethora of artisan spa and personal care products at the Atlanta Spring Gift, Home Furnishings and Holiday Market® (Temporaries and Showrooms through March 15). In … Continue reading

Perennial Favorites for Spring

Spring FootwearIf April showers bring May flowers, then January Apparel Market brings an array of Spring prints. The 2015 collections offer myriad options, from bold to subtle to ensure there’s an option to suit any style.


Sweet Sinammon Uncommon Fashion Group Maggie London

One key look – confirmed by Carson Kressley in his Market Faves – is mixing prints. Stripes and florals are one of the most popular combos but we also spotted stripes and polka dots as well as mini florals with gingham checks.

Umgee USA Strawberry Blonde Clothing Ark & Co.

Florals are perennial favorites for spring and summer, but each year, the scale and implementation changes creating a fresh look. This season, no one look dominates. Stripes created from florals are one look, while watercolor prints offer another and updated takes on traditional toile are yet another.

House of Perna Hem & ThreadB the Collection

When mixing prints in an outfit, remember to consider both color and scale to avoid ending up with a look that’s more haphazard hobo than trendy chic.

Gracia RYU Gracia

Check out all these styles – and more – at the next Atlanta Apparel Market, March 19-23, 2015.