Temps on the Move

Tabletop & Housewares and Gourmet Foods Shift Locations
By Chris Gigley

AWH_PHOTO-6101With an aim toward connecting buyers with the product they are looking to find, AmericasMart has moved two Temporary product collections in Building 2. Tabletop & Entertaining and Housewares is now located on Floor 2, while Gourmet Foods shifted up to Floor 3.

Marie Knight, vice president of Tradeshows for AmericasMart, cites two reasons for flip-flopping the categories. First, it reflects the growth of the tabletop and housewares industry. “It’s what more people are doing these days, coming together and enjoying each other’s company,” says Knight. “As a result, there is an array of options available beyond the traditional high-end product. New lines are bringing the fun back to the category.”

AWH_PHOTO-7384The move also puts Tabletop & Entertaining and Housewares adjacent to the High Design area, a juried selection of design-oriented products located on Floor 1. Tabletop Luxe, a juried selection of high-end tabletop products in the pre-function area of Tabletop & Housewares, has moved to Floor 2, making the progression from Floor 1 to Floor 2 even more natural for buyers.

“Part of what we’re trying to do is strengthen the natural synergy that already exists between Tabletop & Housewares and the more design-oriented products found in High Design,” says Knight. “We want to attract design-oriented buyers and give them access to more of the products they need.”

Moving the Gourmet Foods area to Floor 3 provides direct access via bridge to the Temporary collections showcased in Building 3. “As consumers revive entertaining in their homes, Gourmet products continue to be a viable option for a range of retailers,” says Knight. “The location makes the collection even more accessible to a growing buyer audience.

For more information about The Atlanta International Gift & Home
Furnishings Market® January 12 – 19, 2016, visit AmericasMart.com.

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.


A Fabulous Friday in Atlanta

The Temporaries opened in full force on Friday with excited, bustling crowds. All 12 Temp floors were busy with buyers exploring, looking for the next big idea. The new 158Antiques, Vintage and One-of-a-Kind segment on Floor 2 of Building 1 brought a welcome, new element to Temps.  As usual, HIGH DESIGN was as popular as ever with150 both favorite returning exhibitors and first-timers. Zoe Lancaster of Barkology reports a great day on Friday as did Kelly O’Neal of Design Legacy. “Those retailers who are in business after the last tough year are here to buy,” he says. “They aren’t fooling around; they’re on a mission to replenish inventory and find new items.”

polynesianpartyA high-energy, lively Polynesian Party kicked off the Order ’til Eight evening, as exhibitors on Floor 6 of Building 2 and 2 WestWing welcomed buyers with luau party favors and tropical drinks and snacks. Buyers partied, danced in the halls and shopped into the evening. In both Buildings 1 and 2, exhibitors offered evening specials along with food, drinks and fun.167 162

Aidan Thomas – A boy, a harmonica and a mission: In Atlanta this July

aidanAt only 10 years old, harmonica extraordinaire, Aidan Thomas, knows how to work a crowd and he will be here doing just that this July in the Market Temporaries. Aidan is real, humble and loves the fact that he didn’t have to wait to start living. He says, “This is a great way to jump-start my life.” As if raw talent weren’t enough, the young musician has a big heart as well; all of the money earned from his talent is donated directly to charities.

 Aidan plays at restaurants, on the streets of Atlanta, Tybee Island, Savannah and on Bay Street in Beaufort, South Carolina. He has entertained in the home of Mayor Billy Keyserling of Beaufort, at corporate events, festivals, restaurants and private parties. His favorite gig to date was at Hard Rock Cafe’s Velvet Underground in downtown Atlanta. So don’t miss your opportunity to see him during Market. Aidan will be playing everyday that the temps are open, July 16-20, at the Design Legacy by Kelly O’Neal booth (2 West Wing, Floor 1, Booth 119). Be sure to stop by and here him play!

 More information about Aidan Thomas and his mission can be found here.

Upbeat and Positive Vibe

tempssunSo much has happened during January Market! Celebrated designers Thom Filicia, Kathryn Ireland and Brad Ford presented creative ideas on myriad aspects of the business from home to tabletop to making the most of your online presence. Virginia Willis, Shaun Doty, Tyler Florence and Alton Brown cooked up all kinds of excitement in the demonstration kitchen. John Grady Burns offered great Gardens ideas. Erik Qualman taught everyone how to make better use of social media to build business. And so much more!

The good news: exhibitors report that customers are writing. They’ve stayed busy, saying stores sold tempsun2out of most inventory and needed to restock. Retailers say they aren’t always buying deep, but they are buying – especially lines they know their customers want or something that catches the eye as especially new and different. The overall mood is upbeat and positive about the next retail season.

Temporaries are open until 2 p.m. on Tuesday; permanent exhibitors are open through 6 p.m. on Wednesday. There’s still plenty of time to shop.

Special Guests in the Gift Temporary Exhibits

JSchwankeThe Gift Temporary Exhibits will be filled with Special Guests for The January International Gift & Home Furnishings Market. Special Guests include a five time Emmy Nominee, Television Host, exceptional artists and authors. 

Special Guests
Marcia Ceppos – Author – Building 2 Floor 2 – 200
J Schwanke – Host of JTV – Building 2WW Floor 3 – 519
Donna Compher – Artist – Building 3 Floor 2 – 2108
Angie Wyatt – Author – Building 3  Floor 3 – 1810
Eric Maurus– Artist – Building 3 Floor 4 – 703
Lorraine Coffey – Artist – Building 3 Floor 5 Booth – 1105

Plus, more throughout all of the Gift Temps!

And,  ACME Design, booth 1-211, is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Stop by the booth and congratulate them!

Stop by and say hello to these Special Guests during Market!

North Carolina Pavilion to debut at January Market, in Temps

NC Ag BlogThe North Carolina Department of Agriculture is proud to sponsor a North Carolina Pavilion at the January 2010 Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market. The creation of the pavilion is attributed to the success and growth of the Gourmet category in Atlanta. The pavilion will be located within the temporaries: Building 2WW, Floor 2, Booth 305. It will feature more than 400 square feet of gourmet goodies created in North Carolina

NC Pavilion Participants include:
D’Vine Foods– Making the finest homemade gourmet jams, jellies, ciders, juices, pickles, relishes and other products. Located in Elizabethtown, NC.

Chef Ricardo – Sauce winner for best new product and best packaging in the 2009 North Carolina Specialty Food Products Show. Located in Clyde, NC.

Fancy’s Candy – Sin in a Tin Toffees. Best Chocolate Winner at the 2008 Atlanta Gourmet Market.Located in Rougemont NC.

Fryar’s Sauce – “It’s from the country and we like it that way.” For over 30 years they have been making Fryar’s sauce. Located in McLeansville, NC.

Polka Dot Bake Shop – A gourmet bakery specializing in unique sweets and savory treats. Located in Charlotte NC.

Race City Sauce Works – “Flavor First & Flavor Last… with a Tingle in Between.” Located in Charlotte, NC. 

AmericasMart is expecting continued success with the debut of the North Carolina pavilion, a first of its kind!  Make sure to check it out during January market, as the pavilion is sure to be a destination point.