Monday, December 19, 2011

The December Digital Issue of Gift, Gourmet & Decor is Now Available

Welcome to the December digital issue of Gift, Gourmet & Decor Magazine.

GGD December Cover
This Month's Featured Content:
• Show of Shows
• Winter Markets
• American Treasures
• Hot Holiday
• Country Today
• Thinking Of You
• Good Wines, Good Times
• Gourmet Gift Guide
• Tis The Season• Calendar

New Feature: 
Now Viewable on Ipads

Please Note:

GGD Digital requires NO special downloads or applications to view in its entirety. 

Please click HERE to begin reading now!

We hope you enjoy this issue and all future digital issues of GGD. Feel free to contact us with your thoughts and feedback at

The GGD Team

Monday, November 21, 2011

The November Digital Issue of Gift, Gourmet & Decor is Now Available

Welcome to the November digital issue of Gift, Gourmet & Decor Magazine.

GGD November Cover
This Month's Featured Content:
• Put a Spring in Their Step
• Uplifting Gifts Have Wings
• Show Market Report
• Pets Play Vegas
• Gifts from the Heart
• Market Finds
• Pretty Petals
• Kitchen Aprons
• Super Bowl• Calendar
• and more!

New Feature: 
Now Viewable on Ipads

Please Note:

GGD Digital requires NO special downloads or applications to view in its entirety. 

Please click HERE to begin reading now!

We hope you enjoy this issue and all future digital issues of GGD. Feel free to contact us with your thoughts and feedback at

The GGD Team

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The October Digital Issue of Gift, Gourmet & Decor is Now Available

Welcome to the October digital issue of Gift, Gourmet & Decor Magazine.

GGD October Cover
This Month's Featured Content:
• Highpoint 101
• Holiday Cheer
• What's New? Ask Nancy
• Topping the Table
• Getting Personal
• Gifted to Wear
• Gift Alerts
• Kids Cuisine
• FAO Fabulous• Calendar
• and more!

 New Feature:
Now Viewable on Ipads

Please Note:

GGD Digital requires NO special downloads or applications to view in its entirety.

Please click HERE to begin reading now!

We hope you enjoy this issue and all future digital issues of GGD. Feel free to contact us with your thoughts and feedback at

The GGD Team

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The July Digital Issue of Gift, Gourmet & Decor is Now Available

Welcome to the July digital issue of Gift, Gourmet & Decor Magazine.

GGD July Cover
This Month's Featured Content:
• Candles
• Remnant Fashions
• Hospital Gift Shops
• Christmas

• Gluten Free
• Now Were Cooking

• Calendar
New Feature:
Now Viewable on Ipads

Please Note:

GGD Digital requires NO special downloads or applications to view in its entirety.

Please click HERE to begin reading now!

We hope you enjoy this issue and all future digital issues of GGD. Feel free to contact us with your thoughts and feedback at

The GGD Team

Friday, June 24, 2011

The June Issue of Gift, Gourmet & Decor is Now Available

Dear GGD Reader,

Welcome to the June digital issue of Gift, Gourmet & Decor Magazine.

This Month's Featured Content:
• Homegrown Talent
• Out of the Box
• Market Finds
• Shelftalk
• Last Look
• Helping Hands
• Calendar

New Feature:
Now Viewable on Ipads

Please Note:
GGD Digital requires NO special downloads or applications to view in its entirety.

Please click HERE to begin reading now!

We hope you enjoy this issue and all future digital issues of GGD. Feel free to contact us with your thoughts and feedback at

The GGD Team

Monday, June 6, 2011

Companies That Give Back: PeopleTowels

Name of Company: PeopleTowels

Years in Business: 2

Main Products: PeopleTowels, reusable personal hand towels

In what ways do you give back? “PeopleTowels is a proud member of 1% for the Planet,” says co-founder Linda Lannon. “Through 1% for the Planet we donate one percent of our revenues to the Breast Cancer Fund of San Francisco. We also created special edition Breast Cancer Fund PeopleTowels, for which we donate $1 per towel back to the organization. Being a mission-based business, we also give back simply by virtue of how we conduct business. Our products are made not only to preserve natural resources and reduce solid waste, but the products themselves are responsibly made using organic cotton and low impact dyes and packaged in minimal, recycled and recyclable packaging. The organic cotton is also certified to be Fair Trade, which means the people who grow the cotton work in safe, clean environments and are paid fairly for their commodity.”

How did you decide what to do/donate to? “We chose The Breast Cancer Fund because its mission to eradicate the environmental causes of breast cancer, aligns closely with our commitment to making the planet a better and healthier place for future generations. Breast cancer touches the lives of so many women and their families. Many of our supporters are women, so The Breast Cancer Fund is a natural choice for us.

Why is giving back important to you? “To quote Arthur Ashe, ‘From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.’ At PeopleTowels we want to make more than a living.”

Companies That Give Back: Flaunt by Faith Nicole

Name of Company: Flaunt by Faith Nicole

Years in Business: 1

Main Products: Travel bags and accessories

In what ways do you give back? Donating a percentage of gross sales on Palazzo Pink Tote Bag

How did you decide what to do? A personal connection to breast cancer

Why is giving back important to you? “My family has instilled in me the importance of giving back,” says Faith Nicole, Flaunt designer and owner. “I have worked at my church and with my family on projects like Hope for Haiti. I have seen the differences giving back can make in people’s lives. Now it is my turn. In my business plan, I have a long-term goal of establishing a foundation to support women’s issues. I believe I can achieve this some day. For now, I have set up a portion of the profits from my Palazzo Pink Tote Bag to go to a cause very dear to my heart, the Susan G. Komen Foundation. My grandmother and aunt were both diagnosed with breast cancer. The thought of losing them was devastating. Early detection and early treatment saved them. Our family was lucky. Susan G. Komen’s goal is to make early detection and treatment available to every woman no matter what her means. And with their research programs, we may be able to at last overcome breast cancer with a cure.”

Companies That Give Back: Zhena’s Gypsy Tea

Name of Company: Zhena’s Gypsy Tea

Years in Business: 10

Main Products: Organic, fair trade tea in gift tins

In what ways do you give back? “We are 100-percent organic certified, 100-percent fair trade certified,” says Mistress of Tea, Zhena Muzyka. “We are helping to fund college scholarships and programs through our direct trade programs in Sri Lanka and India. In the U.S., we support Women’s Economic Ventures, Tribal Trust Foundation, and many other groups who are working to end poverty for women and children through education.”

How did you decide what to do? “We wanted to ensure our products were a gift that kept giving, to the Earth, to the workers and to the children of the workers.”

Why is giving back important to you? “There is no other way to be. Giving is so much more fun than receiving and when I started the tea company, it was with a mission to end poverty for tea workers through education, healthcare and funds for social programs. I believe that business is our best bet to fix the problems with the world. I wanted to be the gift that kept giving.”

Companies That Give Back: Global Handmade Hope

Name of Company: Global Handmade Hope

Years in Business: 2

Main Products: Fair trade accessories, cards and bookmarks, Christmas, children’s items, home decor

In what ways do you give back? “Global Handmade Hope (GHH) is a fair trade company located in Park Ridge, IL,” says Cynthia Glensgard, president. “I opened the company in November of 2009 after completing a mission trip to Rwanda. I was so touched by the people. They work so hard for so very little, yet their generosity and faith is so great. What I have found is that people in developing countries may not be monetarily well off, however they are often richer in their generosity and faith than those of us from developed countries. After the trip, I felt as if this area is where my skills and training could best be put to use. GHH’s mission is to promote social justice, help families provide food, shelter, education for their children and gain access to health care by offering artists a place and opportunity to sell their goods.

While the items my company sells are from developing countries, I also firmly believe in the importance of working within my own community. As a way of giving back to the local community, I offer free meeting space to any non-profit. After years of volunteering, I became keenly aware of how tight finances are and how expensive meeting space can be. Through the gifts of others, I am fortunate to have office space and I want to pass that blessing along to others.

Education is the key to eradicating poverty; these children deserve the right to receive an education. Therefore, each year Global Handmade Hope sponsors an essay contest for 6th, 7th and 8th grade students. The goal is to help educate youth in the U.S. about how fortunate they are to attend school, to broaden cultural awareness and acceptance and to facilitate the pride our children can feel by helping others. Students write an essay about daily life of children in Africa who are their age. All participants are honored at a ceremony where the winning students receive a $50 award and a matching award is donated in their honor to help pay for the education of an African child.

Global Handmade Hope continually offers promotions in which we donate a percentage of sales to local community funds, national organizations, churches, etc. Since inception, Global Handmade Hope has donated 20-percent of the revenue to charities.

Why is giving back important to you? “Giving back is important to me because I believe that everything we have is a gift from God, a gift that should be shared. I believe that it is our responsibility to help care for the needy and vulnerable. To share the story of fair trade and not profiting from the misfortune of others and to share the joy of Christ’s love through my work. The motto I run Global Handmade Hope by is, “Together, we can make a difference in the world.”

Companies that Give Back: Santa Barbara Design Studio

We received more submissions than we could fit into the print edition of Giftware News for our June feature on companies that give back. Given how dedicated these companies are to supporting worthwhile causes and helping neighbors, we decided to share the rest of the submissions here on the blog.

Name of Company: Santa Barbara Design Studio

Years in Business: 35

Main Products: “Beautifully designed, high-quality giftware products that consumers are inspired to give — and want to keep,” says Gary Trumbo, president.

In what ways do you give back? “A percentage of our proceeds are donated to various cancer research charities. Also, we give 50-percent of the proceeds from Kimmidolls and/or Kimmijunior sales to benefit the Japanese Earthquake Relief Fund.”

How did you decide what to do? “This largely depends on the brand. At Santa Barbara Design Studio, we offer a wide array of giftware products. Since much of our giftware is geared toward women, it was only natural to support women’s related causes. With the news of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit the coast of Japan, we felt the need to help with their aid efforts as well.”

Why is giving back important to you? “We as a company feel it is the responsibility of all Americans to give back; we are only doing our part.”

Friday, May 27, 2011

Industry Insider: A Conversation with Su Hilty

Giftware News catches up with industry vet Su Hilty, vice president of marketing at 7 W New York. Hilty, with more than 40 years experience in the industry, recently announced her June retirement.

Giftware News: What are your plans after retirement from 7 W? What are you looking forward to the most?
Su Hilty: I plan on spending time writing my next chapter, which will include the following subchapters:Adventurous travel: There are places still on my list: Australia/New Zealand (my last continent to visit), India and Alaska, to name just a few. I have taken a major adventure trip every year since my husband died — Amazon, Machu Picchu, Antarctica, Galapagos, Africa, China, Mongolia, Egypt, Grand Canyon white-water rafting, etc. Why stop now?Design/art industry organizations and affiliations: Giving more time to discover, learn and volunteer with Gift for Life and DIFFA: Design Industry Foundation Fighting AIDS, Alpha Workshops, FIT, Bard Graduate Center, MAD, Rubin Museum, Met Museum, etc.

Charities: Hoping to make a difference. Of special interest is the Nature Conservancy and the Global Giveback Circle. I am most looking forward to doing things on my own schedule.

GWN: What are a few of your proudest moments from your career?
SH: After five wonderful years at 225 Fifth Avenue, followed by a difficult sale of the building and then a quick transition to a new building, [one of my proudest moments was] actually being able to cut the ribbon for our opening market at 7 W.
The other moment was winning the coveted MMPI Marty Award in 2010, which is the annual Wallace Olman Award, named for the first successful general manager of MMPI, who set the standards against which all recipients are judged.

GWN: Where do you think the gift and home industry is heading? 
SH: My favorite expression is “all we can be sure of is change” and this is what is rapidly happening to the industry. Those we thought would always be major players are no more. Those who did not exist last year are becoming the poster children for the industry. I look forward to seeing what will transpire over the next year and beyond.
Technology is and will continue to change how we do business, and those who succeed will embrace new ideas and processes.

GWN: What would you advise to new buyers, retailers, etc. just entering the industry?
SH: Embrace the new technology, but don’t forget the importance of the human touch in all business relationships — common courtesy, listening and being open to new ideas and direction. 
Image courtesy 7 W New York. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The May Digital Issue of Gift, Gourmet & Decor is Now Available

Dear GGD Reader,

Welcome to the May digital issue of Gift, Gourmet & Decor Magazine.

GGD May Cover
This Month's Featured Content:
• Greeting Card Gazette
• Plush: Soft & Cuddly
• Halloween: Best Witches
• Newsmakers

• Colors: Honeysuckle
• Candyland
• Calendar
New Feature:
Now Viewable on Ipads


Please Note:
GGD Digital requires NO special downloads or applications to view in its entirety.

Please click HERE to begin reading now!

We hope you enjoy this issue and all future digital issues of GGD. Feel free to contact us with your thoughts and feedback at

The GGD Team

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Giftionery Taipei: Unicake Bag

We all know that we're supposed to care of Mother Nature, but who remembers to tote along reusable bags when going out? Unicake Bag to the rescue! Starting out as a cupcake, cake, or other sweet treat, when you open the package they unroll to reveal a reusable bag.

Unicake can be personalized for weddings or companies, and make a great door prize or favor. The bags are the perfect size for bringing to farmers markets or the library. Established in 2004, the company initially offered a face towel wrapped up like a cake under the Unique Cake Towels brand. In 2010 they expanded to Unicake Bags. To learn more about Unicake, email

Giftionery Taipei: Pim

Serving tea is a traditional Chinese custom, but between the rise in Asian restaurants and hotels offering tea service, it's a ritual that seems to be gaining popularity in the United States. Pim, a Taiwan-based company, offers some of the most beautiful tea pots and cups I've ever seen.

Made of bone china, the designs for the tea pots, cups, and saucers are based on nature—cups resemble raindrops, the curve of a tea pot's spout is based on a person's smile. The line includes cups that can swivel in saucers, cups with handles and without, and tea pots with a little red hat (above). Pim also offers trays, soy sauce bottles, and salt and pepper shakers, like a cute angel and devil set.

To learn more about Pim, visit their website or email

Giftionery Taipei: DOSEE

One of my favorite companies that I met at Giftionery Taipei is DOSEE Design, which inverts traditional Taiwan crafts to give them a modern spin. The company, run by a group of young artists, got its start through metal arts, manufacturing sculpture, bookmarks, and more. Recently, though, they've made the jump into paper products, offering creative, unique items.

DOSEE takes the idea of a Taiwanese market, which sells fruits and veggies on the street, and presents paper products in the same way. Garlic shaped coasters are wrapped in red plastic bags, a presentation that mirrors the way garlic is sold. Small flower pots actually offer mini Post-it notes as opposed to leaves and buds. The line is focused around a traditional Taiwanese family, with images representing family members displayed on each product. The set-up of the group's booth at the fair, seen above, also mimics a market. It's colorful, innovative and providing a breath of fresh air to the traditional arts.

For more information, visit the group's blog here, or email them at

Giftionery Taipei: Piyo Piyo

One company worth noting for U.S. gift stores that offer kids items is PiyoPiyo from Tung Ling. I met with Piyo Piyo in at Giftionery Taipei and learned about the company, which offers products for children ranging from newborn to pre-teen.

While most design for the products is done in Taiwan, production is done in China. Piyo Piyo began 20 years ago on the stationery side and moved into children's products 10 years ago. They've recently begun entering the junior market, with new bedding and lunch boxes, and are working toward offering more stationery.

The photo is of a line of stuffed Piyo Piyo ducks, Abby Bear, Kaeru Fog and Genki Dog. The line includes stuffed toys, sheets, lunchboxes and silverware, rattles, clothes, and more. There's also a related Christmas line.

To learn more about Piyo Piyo, visit their website.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Giftware News Goes to Giftionery Taipei!

Giftware News Associate Editor Amy Cavanaugh is currently attending Giftionery Taipei, the annual exhibition of gifts, stationery and other products. She's meeting with Asian companies and attending seminars to uncover new and notable products and anticipate trends for the coming year. This is the first blog post about what she found; look for products to appear in future Giftware News articles.
On Thursday, Giftionery Taipei held an afternoon of international seminars on design trends. The most compelling discussion, on what we can expect in the world of product design in the coming year, was led by Elaine Tam, product manager of WGSN, which predicts global design trends. Tam presented three different areas — Cinematic, Laboratory and Primal Futurism — which can be directly translated into gift stores through products or store displays.
• Cinematic is based on 1950s California style, so think vintage, tropical florals and summer shades. Turquoise is hot, and so is retro photography. The age of digital cameras isn't over, and iPhones feature apps like the Hipstamatic, which takes retro-inspired shots. 
Ways to incorporate this into your store: cool reproductions of vintage cameras (Diana and Holga cameras are huge right now), products with Hawaiian floral prints or tiki-inspired dining items and generally anything with a laid-back vibe.
• Laboratory is the intersection of art and technology, which Tam says is inspired by art galleries showcasing work in online blogs. Think punches of bright colors set against white backgrounds. 
Ways to incorporate this into your store: Look for gift items made of transparent materials, like glass, or bright designs printed on a neutral background. Geometric shapes are big, and you can find cool geometric-inspired jewelry to sell.
• Primal Futurism is a complicated way of saying something we've been including in sister magazine HomeFashion & Hospitality a lot lately -- rustic is chic. The trend features heavy forms that are made upscale and more contemporary for today's living. 
Ways to incorporate this into your store: Rustic doesn't just include furniture — think accent pieces like throw pillows in dark browns and greens, country-inspired products (look to our June issue for a round-up of new country items!) and animals prints.
WGSN predicts that we'll see all three of these trends in the coming year, so if you start including them in your stores, you'll be ahead of the curve!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The April Issue of Gift, Gourmet & Decor is Now Available

Dear GGD Reader,

Welcome to the April digital issue of Gift, Gourmet & Decor Magazine.

GGD April Cover
This Month's Featured Content:
• Paper Power
• Season Greetings
• Paw Prints
• Baby Lookbook

• Top it Off
• Honeysuckle
• Calendar

New Feature:
Now Viewable on Ipads


Please Note:
GGD Digital requires NO special downloads or applications to view in its entirety.

Please click HERE to begin reading now!

We hope you enjoy this issue and all future digital issues of GGD. Feel free to contact us with your thoughts and feedback at

The GGD Team

Friday, April 8, 2011

Wholesaler Update: Dogeared Jewels & Gifts

Giftware News checks in with leading giftware and accessories designer, Dogeared Jewels & Gifts.

Giftware News: Tell us a little background on Dogeared. How did the company get started?
Marcia Maizel-Clarke, founder of Dogeared: Dogeared was started in California in 1991, out of our desire to share good energy with the world. My passion for beautiful design ultimately led me to start hand-making jewelry. The look was hip, casual and very California, and people loved it! The company has been growing ever since. Dogeared incorporates messages of hope, inspiration and wisdom into every product, and that has made us stand out as an industry leader. Dogeared is committed to the same values we held when we started 20 years ago: to be Earth friendly, to be 100-percent made in the USA and to work with non-profit organizations that share our vision of a better world.

GWN: What are the current goals for the company?
MMC: To celebrate our 20th year, we’ve increased our commitment to our non profit partners and launched a yearlong giving initiative called Karma in Action. Throughout 2011, portions of the profits from our bestselling Karma collection will benefit two of Dogeared’s nonprofit partners, One Voice and Girls Learn International. We’ll be launching a limited edition 20 Years of Good Karma necklace in August to help support this effort as well. We’re asking our customers to join us in creating a circle of Karma and making a lasting impact on the world. Our big goal for the year is to take what we’ve been doing for the first 20 years of the journey and do it bigger and better for the next 20 years and beyond!

GWN: What are some of the biggest trends in the industry for 2011?
MMC: Limited edition is huge right now. People want jewelry that tells a story, that they love to wear and that they don’t see on everyone else. Dogeared creates a limited edition Jewel Box collection every season, and people get really excited about that. Raw stones and other natural materials are being used to create a kind of unpolished, organic look and feel that’s really in right now. We’re seeing lots of rough edges: tassels and fringe, movement and texture. Geometric, architectural pieces in unexpected shapes, like square bangles. People are designing with layering in mind. Our favorite current craze is rose gold. We absolutely love it for its warm, inviting sparkle.

GWN: What does Dogeared have in mind for the future?
MMC: We want to keep doing our best work and looking for new ways to keep putting good energy into the world. Everything happens organically for us; the best things just unfold. Last year we launched Dogeared Bridal, and we hope to keep growing that part of our business. It’s all about choosing a direction that’s authentic and doing what we believe in. When we’re true to who we are, success always follows.

Photo courtesy Dogeared Jewels & Gifts.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The March Issue of Gift, Gourmet & Decor is Now Available

Dear GGD Reader,

Welcome to the March digital issue of Gift, Gourmet & Decor Magazine.

GGD March Cover
This Month's Featured Content:
• Zen-spirational
• Dear Ol' Dad
• Time for Tabletop
• Garden State

• Natural Designs
• Shelftalk
• Calendar

New Feature:
Enchanced Page Zooming Feature Now Available-Zooming is now easier then ever!

Please Note:


GGD Digital requires NO special downloads or applications to view in its entirety.

Please click HERE to begin reading now!

We hope you enjoy this issue and all future digital issues of GGD. Feel free to contact us with your thoughts and feedback at

The GGD Team

Behind the Design: Fig. 2 Design Studio

Continuing our pre-coverage of the National Stationery Show, we've peeked behind-the-scenes with new exhibitor Claudia Smith of Fig. 2 Design Studio.

Giftware News: What's the history behind Fig. 2 Design
Claudia Smith: Fig. 2 Design started purely out of coincidence. As a graphic designer, I designed various custom wedding invitations throughout the years. When I left my full-time job at a local design studio to pursue my own clients, I sent an announcement to a bridal boutique here in Washington, D.C. hoping they would simply refer me to their brides. After meeting with the boutique, they asked if I would put together a collection of designs they could carry in their store, and so Fig. 2 was born. 

GWN: This is your first time exhibiting at NSS. What are you hoping to take away from your first show? 
CS: I hope to take away a better understanding of the stationery business. I want to meet new people (both buyers and media), get exposure, and build on the Fig. 2 brand.  

GWN: Why did you decide to exhibit at this year's NSS? 
CS: It was my time. I learned a lot by having my album at the bridal boutique — the pros and cons of certain printing methods, what brides like and dislike, etc. It took a long time to find the right printers as I offer offset and letterpress, but I found excellent, quality printers to work with. 

GWN: What are your future plans for Fig. 2
CS: I focus mainly on wedding invitations but will have some note card sets that will debut at this year's show. I'm eager to learn how the bulk side of the business goes. For next year, I have plans for a baby announcement line.

Photo courtesy Fig. 2 Design Studio.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Getting to Know the GHTA

As a retailer, getting involved in the industry is a vital tactic for keeping up to date and promoting your store. We spoke with Diane Carnevale Jones, executive director of the Gift & Home Trade Association (GHTA), to learn a little more about getting involved with other retailers.

Giftware News: What's the mission of GHTA, and why should retailers get involved?
Diane Carnevale Jones: The mission of the GHTA is to lead and transform the gift and home industry, ensuring its long-term health and viability. The Association helps and encourages vendors, sales agencies, industry affiliates and retailers to work together, improving relationships and making business better by providing members with the opportunity to exchange ideas, develop content and effect positive change in our industry.

GWN: Tell us about the yearly GHTA conference. 
DCJ: The GHTA conference provides all GHTA members with an opportunity to connect, learn and contribute. This year, our conference will be held in Las Vegas at the Red Rock Casino and Resort. The theme is "Playing to Win: Strategies for Success." All of our speakers and breakouts will speak to this theme, highlighting how vendors, sales agencies, retailers and industry service providers can build upon this year's upbeat markets.

GWN: You recently announced a health insurance program. What does this mean to GHTA members?
DCJ: GHTA members now have the opportunity to identify the best possible health insurance provider through our insurance partner. This is a real breakthrough for our industry — an opportunity for individuals to secure affordable healthcare. Members are encouraged to contact our insurance partner and to follow the process outlined. Our health insurance partner works with nearly 250 other trade associations, so we are happy to be able to provide this same opportunity for our own members!

GWN: How can retailers get involved with the GHTA? 
DCJ: There are several ways in which retailers can get involved in our Association:
1. Network: Take advantage of each of the networking receptions the GHTA hosts at market centers throughout the year.
2. Conference: Attend our annual conference and learn from speakers, from peers and from all members of the Association.
3. First Fridays: Join a GHTA member-only webinar and hear industry veterans discuss relevant topics to our industry.
4. Participate in the Members-Only Industry Forum, located on our website (
5. Take advantage of the many member discounts and free legal counsel, as outlined under Member Benefits.
6. Volunteer time on one of the many Action Groups, which address industry issues and opportunities.

GWN: What do you have planned for the future of GHTA?
DCJ: Our Association and its leaders continually work to offer tangible benefits to our members — benefits that impact the bottom line. Over the next few months, several new member benefits will be announced, all of which will help the retailer and our other members immensely.

GWN: How can retailers learn more about GHTA membership?
DCJ: Visit the GHTA website, review the member benefits and sign up online or via fax or mail. We encourage all retailers in good standing to join our growing network of industry partners to work together to make improvements within the industry!

To learn more about the GHTA, visit

Image courtesy GHTA.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Merchandising Fair Trade

For many retailers, incorporating fair trade products into your store isn't the easiest transition. Giftware News spoke with Andrea Newman, manager of the Chicago-based fair trade retailer Greenheart Shop, to get a few ideas on creating a fair trade display in your store.

1. Group like things together. Your display can be grouped into a specific fair trade category, like jewelry, or grouped by a characteristic, such as eco-friendly products. "We move and re-merchandise every day so our displays stay fresh for regulars and look new to someone who has been here before," says Newman.

2. Use informational signage. You never know how much your customers know about fair trade, so including brief information (bullet points are helpful) will help them understand what makes these products so special. Newman suggests keeping it professional; use a clean-looking sign, and a plexiglass cover is always a good idea.

3. Purchase items for your store that support each other. "You don't want your display to have zero continuity or flow," says Newman. "For example, we're expanding our home decor selections from pottery to dinnerware and ceramics. We have to have other things that support that group of products. Giving people help visualizing what you can do with products is helpful."

Photo courtesy Greenheart Shop.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Show Coverage: Ambiente

Catch up on all the excitement from Ambiente in Frankfurt, Germany. With more than 4,000 exhibitors, Ambiente is the largest consumer goods trade show in the world, and more than half of the attendees are from other countries.

George Little Management and Forty One Madison brought together industry leaders and executives for an annual cocktail party during February's show.

GLM & Forty One Madison reception hosts (from left): Marc Delman, sales manager NYIGF; Dorothy Belshaw, NYIGF director and GLM senior vice president; Cathy Steel, owner of Steel Associates for NYIGF; Alan Steel, president of GLM; Laurie Burns, executive director of Forty One Madison; and Christian Falkenberg, NYIGF manager.

From left: Mark Ross of Two's Company, Dorothy Belshaw of GLM, Bobbie and Tom Gottlieb of Two's Company

From left: Raquel Goldberg, Ted Goldberg and Karen Mainenti of Alene Candles LLC

See you next year!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Behind the Design: Ink + Wit

Excitement is building for this year's National Stationery Show, and we're checking in with a few of the leaders in the paper industry. Giftware News goes behind the scenes with Chicago-based letterpress stationery company, INK + WIT.

Tara Hogan, founder of whimsical design company INK + WIT, harbors a not-so-secret adoration of letterpress printing, despite today’s digital age of e-cards and text messages. “I love the history of letterpress, the texture and the way it makes everything feel like a keepsake,” says Hogan. “In that way, it feels more sustainable as well. People save letterpress cards, frame them or find resourceful ways to reuse and repurpose them.”

Hogan, a graduate from Syracuse University’s School of the Visual and Performing Arts, has always had a secret love for design and paper products. Hogan’s at-home Web and print designing work eventually led to running her own paper studio out of her home, and she’s since added on an impressive client list, creating works for the likes of babysoy,, Great Arrow Graphics, Graphique de France, Bella Figura and Pinball Publishing. With a firm goal in mind to create elegant, simple designs, Hogan has focused on the creative dialogue in her pieces. INK + WIT has evolved to include not only greeting cards, but to letterpress prints, apparel, customizable and ready-made wedding stationery and more.

Hogan finds her inspiration everywhere: yoga, animals, nature, Scandinavian folk art, Dutch design, abstract expressionism — and the list goes on. But being constantly inspired means a consistent slew of new projects. This year, she has added letterpress calendars, linen tea towels, felt bunting, stamp sets and bamboo mobiles to her line. And there’s more coming for 2011, including illustrated books, sculptures made from reclaimed wood, ceramics and more. Despite INK + WIT's foray into several different mediums, letterpress will always remain close to Hogan’s heart. “Letterpress has a tactile feeling and a long history,” says Hogan. “Although most printing is done with photopolymer plates these days, originally all the type was hand-set, and the perfectionism in this craft is extraordinary.”

Photo courtesy Ink + Wit.