Thursday, April 24, 2014

AmericasMart Atlanta Hosts Top Buying Event of Summer 2014

A buying experience of unmatched selection, ease and efficiency makes AmericasMart Atlanta the marketplace of choice when the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market and Atlanta International Area Rug Market open their doors to an incomparable product mix calling retailers and designers to shop the world for eight days this July 8-15.

In both the Home and Gift shows, buyers will tap the nation's most comprehensive home furnishings, rug and gift marketplace offering new and newly expanded showrooms in tandem with the rich resources of more than 35 trade show categories. All of this, together with a digitally-enriched environment and the fifth annual Icon Honors celebration, make AmericasMart the epicenter of wholesale trade this summer. "When imagination and ingenuity intersect, great things always emerge," says Jeffrey L. Portman, Sr., AmericasMart vice chairman and president. "Our July Markets create a global stage for the innovations that power the progress of the industries we serve. We've been at this for 56 years. And with each show, we're always ready to be amazed by what's new and next."

This July, new and next are the watchwords across all AmericasMart product centers—Home Accents/Fine Linens, Furniture, Rugs, Holiday & Floral / Home Décor, Living. Outdoor/Indoor. The Gardens. General & Specialty Gift, Gourmet & Housewares, Living & Entertaining: Gifts, Tabletop & Accessories, Home Accents & Gifts and Children's World—with enthusiastic exhibitors eager to share new lines and product introductions with the industry's top retailers and designers.

AmericasMart's trade show categories follow suit with key collections taking the July Market spotlight. Showcasing top lifestyle products for men, Gentleman's Boutique makes its debut, and the celebrated juried general gift collection relaunches as On-Trend Gifts at the July Market. The Market's signature High Design and HD Home categories features a fresh group of design-driven lines with many new-to-market collections.

Launched at the January 2014 Market, the AmericasMart mobile app delivers a greatly enhanced customer experience by making it easier for buyers to discover and explore new and existing exhibitors, categories, lines and products and to make note of Market events and promotions. It allows buyers to browse exhibitors by floor map or in a list, and enables them to record favorite lines and categories, to plan, organize and to manage Market details to optimize their AmericasMart visit. Supporting the app is free Wi-Fi connectivity throughout the three-building campus.

The centerpiece of the July Market, AmericasMart's ICON HONORS 2014 celebrates professional achievements of home and gift retailers, manufacturers, sales agents and service providers at the most important and anticipated night in the gift and home industry. The celebration will be Thursday, July 10 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, just blocks from AmericasMart. The Market's impressive speaker series features AmericasMart's favorites Brian Patrick Flynn and John Gidding, alongside Sunny Anderson and many, many more. The lauded Education Center also returns with a spectrum of industry leaders teaching free business-building seminars ranging from social media to customer service to how to shop the Market. Networking and social events will also take place throughout the Market. A full Market event schedule will be released at a later date.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

How the West is One

The management teams of the California Market Center (CMC),LA Mart and California Gift Showhave joined forces to launch a co-promotional campaign for Summer 2014 - "How the West Is One." Putting a spotlight on how the combined product offerings of the three venues create the largest gift and home market in the west, the new campaign is designed to maximize the buying experience for attending retailers. As part of the unified message, the three venues will honor each other's admission badges and provide free shuttle service between each location and host hotels.

Held Tuesday, July 15 - Monday, July 21, the LA Gift & Home Market at CMC is located at 9th and Main St. Running from Wednesday, July 16 to Monday, July 21, the LA Mart's GALLA Market is at Broadway and Washington Streets. Scheduled for Friday, July 18 to Monday, July 21, the California Gift Show will be in South and Kentia Halls at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

"Buyers come to the Los Angeles Gift & Home Market expecting to discover a wide variety of exciting and highly marketable products in a unified and easy-to-shop environment," states Gerry Seibel, vice president of new business development, California Market Center. "With the CMC, the LA Mart and the California Gift Show all coming together in a truly united effort, we will be able to offer our customers concurrent dates, coordinated shuttle services and other amenities to make their Los Angeles Market shopping experiences productive and fun."

"The LA Mart is proud to be on the ground floor of this Los Angeles Market unification," notes Frank Joens, senior vice president, general manager, LA Mart. "Combining resources and partnering with the California Gift Show and the California Market Center is a natural fit for a strengthened market that will offer attendees everything from the largest national brands, to the extraordinary and unique one-of-a-kind Los Angeles lines. With the power and reach of all three LA venues working in consort, the buyers are sure to find everything they need all the while enjoying an unparalleled and convenient shopping experience. When you add the fantastic weather, the incredible revitalization of downtown LA's restaurants, hotels and nightlife, to our thousands and thousands of product resources, a shopper can truly make this their one-stop destination in the West."

"When we acquired the California Gift Show in August 2012, we launched a rebuilding process to revitalize the trade show marketplace for retailers from throughout Southern California and surrounding areas," explains Doug Miller, president, Urban Expositions. "There is great strength in numbers. By partnering with the LA Mart and California Market Center to shine a spotlight on the vast product resources and service offerings of the permanent showrooms and temporary exhibits, we deliver a strong, vibrant marketplace that truly meets the needs of retailers and vendors alike."

As part of the co-promotional campaign, each venue will use the "How the West Is One" logo to highlight all three locations in their own individual marketing efforts, including direct mail, print advertising, email marketing, web banners and other marketing tools. In addition, the three venues will honor each other's admission badges and provide free shuttle service between each location and host hotels.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

High Finds at High Point Market

A Special Report By Marilyn Nason
Home furnishings, decorative accessories and special gifts featuring eye-popping solids and exciting patterns and textures were on display in both permanent showrooms and temporary booths at the semi-annual century-old High Point Market April 5-10 in North Carolina. The equally powerful mirrors, distinctive lamps, light fixtures and prints also made an impression.

A record-breaking number of national and international buyers converged at High Point armed with lists of specific styles in these categories, as well as in certain color, fabrics and embellishment treatments that their core customers will likely purchase in the coming months.

Weston Farms Regal Tapestry Southern Magnolia Wreath.

Thanks to having a better, more definitive understanding of what their core customers prefer, buyers indicated they were far from gloomy about their future business in home décor. Retailers emphasized that their buying focus should reflect what they know their customers want, not what they think they should want.

Exhibitors, both permanent and temporary, were on the same buyer customer preference page about what tomorrow's consumers want for their homes–both indoors and outdoors–and emphasized they were focused primarily on these requirements.

Lee Industries pairs luxurious leather with modern flair in this leather metallic

Because of the increased interest in outdoors from small backyards to extensive outdoor complete kitchens and entertainment areas, this year's High Point Market showed a very expanded selection of quality poufs and pillows. In recent years, exhibitors expanded on the category to a point where several buyers observed that poufs became a basic alongside pillows as a way to perk up every room and outdoor family area. This was proved by the spectacular solids and distinctive patterns from blazing firehouse red to Easter yellows, sea grass greens and shiny blacks.

An interesting leather and steel ottoman highlighted an almost limitless assortment of pillows and poufs shown through the market, while emphasizing how adding leather and steel to these bright textiles is a décor winner.

Growing in equal importance as a way to brighten every space were table lamps and wall sconces, especially in creatively-finished metals combined with shiny metallic highlights in lamp bases. Drum, rectangular and octagon-shaped linen shades in subtle hues of soft gold and deep ecru worked well to make these metal table lamps terrific eye-catchers.

Another decorative accessories standard–candles–was even stronger than usual at this market as part of an emphasis on creating eye-appeal against all backdrops including walls, window treatments and flooring in any color. A growing variety of candles in over-sized glass hurricane lantern styles were featured as centerpieces in a variety of dining room place settings, as pairs. or alone on end tables.

This table lamp by Bungalow Belt is appropriately titled "Oak Park" because it's reminiscent of resident and famed Frank Lloyd Wright's prairie style architecture. It features a brushed nickel finish on a high gloss black base with a coordinating shade.

As all indoor and outdoor aspects of the home assume increased individual home décor importance with today's consumers, both natural and artificial quality floral pieces are taking on a key role in accessorizing a room. Vases in hand-blown glass in vibrant strong colors in numerous shapes and sizes have become a major category, whether as standalone decorative pieces or when brimming with floral arrangements. Preserved magnolia leaves were among ways to make this all come together both for vases and containers as well as year-round wreaths and mirror drapes.

Indicative of growing importance in home décor are products made in America and products that are sustainable. High Point Market expanded its special Made in America section, as well as developed a new section, Pavilions, where an expanded number of exhibitors could show all kinds of items from distinctive Hungarian-made bread boards, unique versatile changeable narrow strips of under-cabinet LED lighting, and throw rugs following the market's predominating theme where color and style ruled buyer purchase order decisions.

After surveying countless buyers throughout the six-day market, as well as at other recent shows, Giftware News learned more consumers are turning to family-owned, local and regional retailing. This trend coincides with requests for products made in the U.S., a trend that was ignited a few years ago and has continued to expand in the industry. Several attendees remarked that their confidence and loyalty is often won when they speak to a family member, artist or designer at the show.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Distinguished Pavilion at the Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair The Hong Kong Exporters' Association Takes Lead and Exhibits Corporations' Competitive Edge

Organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and co-organized by The Hong Kong Exporters' Association (HKEA), the world's largest Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair will return during 27 – 30 April 2014 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Riding on the recognition of last year, it is believed that the 29th edition in 2014 will attract more attention. In 2013, the fair achieved a record-breaking number of exhibitors, which was 4,128 exhibitors from 37 countries and regions, and more than 50,000 local and overseas buyers. Being the co-organizer of the fair, the HKEA will establish distinguished pavilion in Hall 1E, 3E, 5B and 5C with over 200 exporters, manifesting their competitive edges and also invite buyers for beers, drinks and massage service for free.

New Product Zone Enhances Brand Value
The HKEA has always been committed to assisting Hong Kong exporters in enhancing their competitiveness and promoting their products worldwide. With the development of Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta, it is of paramount importance for Hong Kong's exporters to develop higher value added products and services. Many exporters have already started designing and developing proprietary products and brands. This year, the HKEA especially develops a new zone Brand Oasis (Hall 5B & 5C) to provide a promotion platform to enhance the awareness of new brands and corporate images. Individual brand stories will be highlighted at the zone to demonstrate their uniqueness of products and services. This platform will also serve to attract foreign brands to work with Hong Kong exporters to penetrate the Asian and the mainland China market. Visitors will find more fun there by joining a game to share their insights on branding and to vote for the best brand presentation at booth.

Focus on Original Designs
To enhance competitiveness and uniqueness, local companies have been striving to instill innovative ideas into products. In particular to Hong Kong's giftware exports, which are mainly targeted at the middle-to-high-end market, innovation and original designs are elements of our quality lifestyle and modern living. The HKEA has set up the zone of Isle of Originality (Hall 1E) since 2011 to manifest the innovation and creativity of local companies and motivate local designs and brands. Riding on its success and overwhelming response, the HKEA further encourages industry transformation and promotion of original design. It thus establishes the zone of Design Village (Hall 5B & 5C), which showcases a wide variety of original designs and trend-setting gifts, offering opportunity for buyers to explore the fantasy of design.

Design Awards Honoring Product Design and Business Innovations 
Since 2012, the Hong Kong Smart Gifts Design Awards, organized by the HKEA under the auspices of CreateHK, has encouraged integration between design and business strategy and has been successfully fostering the creativity and innovation of Hong Kong corporate, young designers as well as students. This year, the 3rd Awards has attracted over 400 entries. Winning entries will be firstly displayed within the Design Village (Hall 5C-A23) for roving exhibition, recognising the efforts of local talents.

While the list of finalists and winners will be announced on 2 April and on 23 April's press conference respectively, the Awards' Presentation Ceremony will be held at Terrace Panorama, Level 5, HKCEC during the fair's networking reception at 6:00 pm on 27 April, where guests can also get to know these emerging talents, exchange market information and explore business potential in a relaxing atmosphere.