An Antiques Primer

Learn to make the most of the myriad available collections
By Poormina Apte

Both retailers and designers are always looking for on-of-a-kind pieces, which is why the ANTIQUES Temporary collection and one-of-a-kind showrooms at AmericasMart offer an unparalleled opportunity to explore and find interesting treasures. The category brings together top dealers from across the country in one location, making it more convenient to source impressive, diverse collections.


These items add a layer of warmth and history that’s unique to each piece or project but you need to be a savvy shopper to ensure you find what you really want. While it’s both invigorating and challenging, the world of antique sourcing can be a bit intimidating for the novice buyer. Where does one start and how? We talked with some of the experts and offer a basic primer on buying and working with antiques.

Ask Questions
Be prepared with what you want to learn about the antiques you’re buying. Of the pieces they source from France, designers Ann Huff and Meg Harrington of Huff Harrington Home will find out what kind of wood is used, what region did the piece come from and how the specific style is defined. If a dealer tells you a piece is 100 years old, ask them how they know that, advises Huff. It’s always better to ask and confirm so you can pass along that knowledge to your customer.

Build Relationships
Building a working rapport with reputable dealers is a reliable way to know you’re buying a genuine product. “Buy from a group of dealers at venues such as AmericasMart. They don’t just let anybody into the show. These exhibitors have been vetted so they’re selling a good product at a good price,” says Kenny Ball of Kenny Ball Antiques.


Change It Up
Mix and match. “It’s never a good idea to have a one-note interior,” says Susie Quillin of MiNTY, “It’s the mix of eras, materials, and colors that creates a sophisticated look. If you sell new furniture, have your lounge chairs flank an age-worn table; use antique bookends to corral a collection of new books,” she suggests as ideas for retailers and designers. Start small and don’t go crazy when creating retail displays, advises Janice Palmer of Palmer Design Group, “You’re not creating a museum; you’re replicating a lived-in space.” Finding a common theme like color between a set of disparate pieces from different periods helps things not get too frenetic, says Meg Harrington of Huff Harrington. Vendors and designers recommend buying functional products for display purposes—working chests of drawers and mirrors are great examples.

Display Their Socks Off
Since antiques are great conversation-starters, they can be displayed in more interesting ways that spotlight multiple items. Ball placed an antique African mask atop an armoire to draw attention to both the mask and the furniture. Huff believes antiques are best complemented by contemporary art because each dramatically highlights the other. Huff Harrington has used sinks from an Italian church to display soaps and a painted armoire from the south of France to hold baskets in their retail store.

Educate Your Customer
“Point out the tongue and groove joints on that Harvey Probber cabinet, show your customer the pontil mark of a mouth-blown Murano ashtray; run your finger over the artist’s signature,” suggests Quillin, reminding buyers to inspect an antique thoroughly and learn all its flaws and damages. Learning the story behind each piece can really help sell it. “Antiques marry the past, the present and the future,” says designer Connie Seitz. Quillin agrees. “Every antique has a personality, a history, a story. It’s what makes them so beloved and interesting.”

In addition to the one-of-a-kind showrooms, visit the ANTIQUES Temporary Collection located on Building 1, Floor 2, January 12-15 from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. during The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market. Items purchased with the ANTIQUES exhibitors may be picked-up at the Distinguished Transport warehouse. Distinguished Transport also can ship items directly to the purchaser via white glove delivery service. Rates apply. Learn more about how purchases work, here. Find helpful answers to frequently asked questions about ANTIQUES, here.

Connie Seitz Interiors –, 985.630.7102; Huff Harrington Home –, 404.467.0311; Kenny Ball Antiques –, 434.293.1361; MiNTY –, 404.863.9220; Palmer Design Group –, 470.375.2506

ICON HONORS 2015 Winners Revealed!

AWH_PHOTO-9454The sixth-annual ICON HONORS celebrated the best in global innovation as top achievers and superior achievements were recognized on the most anticipated and important night in the home and gift industry.

As a centerpiece of The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market®, the July 9 event attracted a capacity audience of more than 1,000 to applaud the six ICON HONORS 2015 Honorees, which were selected in rigorous adjudication of a broad field of entries.

Here are the ICON HONORS 2015 Honorees:
The 2015 Innovation Honors
Product Innovations
Kuhn Rikon Switzerland

The 2015 Contribution Honors
Community Influence
Lamon Luther

The 2015 Branding Honors
Branding / Identity

The AmericasMart Medal of Excellence Honor
LEE Industries

The Lifetime Achievement Honor
Howard Henschel
The Norman Group

The Gift and Home Trade Association / Gift for Life Honor of Excellence
RM Innovation

An exclusive performance by legendary duo Hall & Oates added to the excitement of this momentous event.

ICON HONORS was founded and is staged by AmericasMart® Atlanta and is sponsored exclusively by the Gift & Home Trade Association (GHTA) and Progressive Business Media.  The ICON HONORS 2015 celebration took place Thursday, July 9 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.

Visit for information about ICON HONORS.

Interior Design Camp is coming to AmericasMart, January 10 – 11, 2015!

Kelli and Lori Design Camp Orange CountyWe are happy to announce Interior Design Camp will partner with AmericasMart Atlanta and hold its next camp during the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market!  After hearing your feedback and repeated requests seeking a conference on the East Coast or in the Southeast, Design Camp delivered by bringing a two day Camp compliments of AmericasMart.  The Camp will be held in the Penthouse Theater at AmericasMart, January 10 – 11, 2015.

 We will once again start our Camp with a self-guided showroom tour, giving you the opportunity to view some of the leading companies in the home & gift industry.  Keeping you active on social media, there will be an Instagram scavenger hunt at each showroom which will enter you for a chance to win some amazing prizes!  The last day of Camp will feature four new presentations from some of the most respected professionals in the interior design industry.  You will walk away with all the skills, knowledge and resources to improve, grow and succeed in your business!

At Design Camp we are all about learning, connecting and of course designing but we like to have a little fun too.   Our welcome cocktail party, which commences after the showroom tour day, will give you the chance to network with other designers, meet us and win wonderful giveaways over some cocktails and hors d’oeuvres!  Breakfast is on us too!

Seating is limited so register today!  Visit for more details.  We look forward to seeing you at Design Camp Atlanta!


July 10th – CAN’T MISS THIS!

ICON2014_BuyTIx_DFP_DesktopICON HONORS is the HOTTEST ticket at Market – and the home and gift industry’s biggest night.

Make sure you’re there.  Move fast!




Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees Ann and Nancy Wilson and their band, Heart, topped the charts for decades. Along the way, they sold more than 35 million albums, rocked arenas worldwide and found their way into the soundtrack of American life.

Join us for an unforgettable night of entertainment and inspiration:

Thursday, July 10, 2014
7:00 pm | Cocktails
7:30 pm | Dinner & Honors Presentations
Atlanta Marriott Marquis
265 Peachtree Center Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30303

A Look into the Past…Urban Ava Boutique

Urban Ava BoutiqueUrban Ava Boutique was the recipient of the ICON HONORS 2013 Contribution Honor for Community Contribution and Influence.

Their fundraising events have grown tremendously year after year.  View this inspiring video to find out more.

The 2014 call for entries closes Friday.
Nominate your heroes or enter your best work NOW!

The ICON HONORS 2014 Call for Entries Closes Friday – Why Should I Enter?

ICON HONORS LogoWith only five days left to enter, here are the top three reasons why you should enter today:

  1. ICON HONORS is the gift and home industry’s most celebrated recognition
  2. The entry process is easy and all online
  3. No one’s more eligible than you!

Think about the work that you completed in 2013, everything you accomplished and the results that you achieved.  Enter your best work NOW!


Think about those who inspire you, give you ideas for your work and represent the best of the best in the industry.  Nominate someone NOW!

ICON HONORS 2014 AmericasMart Lifetime Achievement Honor Goes to Barbara Bradley Baekgaard of Vera Bradley

Barbara Bradley BaekgaardBarbara Bradley Baekgaard, co-founder and chief creative officer of Vera Bradley, will receive the celebrated ICON HONORS 2014 Lifetime Achievement Honor in ceremonies marking the fifth annual ICON HONORS scheduled for Thursday, July 10 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.

Baekgaard co-founded Vera Bradley in 1982.  From 1982 through June 2010, she also served as co-president.  From the outset, Baekgaard has provided leadership and strategic direction in the brand’s development by providing creative vision to areas such as marketing, product design, assortment planning and the design and visual merchandising of the company’s stores.  In May 2010, she was appointed chief creative officer.

As co-founder of Vera Bradley, Ms. Baekgaard serves a key leadership role on the company’s board of directors, and provides the board with a broad array of institutional knowledge and historical perspective as well as an in-depth knowledge of business strategy, branding, product development and store design.

Vera Bradley creates stylish luggage, handbags and accessories combining smart product designs with distinctive and colorful fabrics and trims.  For over 30 years, the demand for their unique handbags and luggage items has grown and so has Vera Bradley, which is now nationally and internationally recognized.

Click here to view the press release for more information.