Notes from Atlanta
Well, I've been here in Atlanta for two days now, and while it is always fun to come to this show, I have to say, traffic does seem noticeably slow. The summer shows are always slower, but I think the economy and gas prices are helping to contribute to the reduced traffic. It's been easy getting on the escalators, and the halls don't seem as crowded.
Thursday the showrooms that were the most busy were those that carried cute jewelry, fun purses and other fashion boutique type items. There also seemed to be buyers at the showrooms with inexpensive pick-me-up gifty products. Yet the home decor and furnishings vendors were slow.
A few trends I noticed: Birds and botanicals still seem strong, and in garden collections there are a lot of mushrooms and gnomes. Remember when gnomes were big in the '80s? Well, they're back! I also saw a lot of bright polka-dots, especially paired with monograms. And aprons were still abundant. Two trends I'm watching now--fleur di lis and crowns--are starting to populate the gift market. Fleur di lis were at Lang, Amia, K&K, Primitive Artisan and many others; crowns were at HomeArt, Peking Handicraft, CBK and Grasslands Road to start.
Another trend I noticed, although not a product trend, was the use of videos in displays. A few seasons back Burton & Burton had a display that looked like the inside of a window with a fresh-from-the-oven pie sitting on the sill. The video ran in the space where the window would be. It was a video clip of kids playing football in the yard. One kid threw the football and it landed near the window. As another kid came over to get the football, he noticed the pie and kept licking his lips while periodically looking back at his friends. The display was very effective. At this show, vendors used videos in displays to demonstrate product and showcase other design options.
The Atlanta show is also great for seeing wonderful displays.
The display in Big Sky Carvers showroom by laying down a few pieces of flagstone, adding moss around the edges and circling the perimeter with river rock, they created a simple but impressive base for this rustic setting.
At Dept. 56, they hung the moss-covered faux vines from a rack hanging from the ceiling and tied their animal birdhouses onto the vines. Painted leaves on the wall behind add to the display.
The display from Park Hill illustrated how effective it is to place a chair or other unexpected element on top of a table to add height.
Enesco had a very clever display for their Jim Shore Fairytale line. They attached branches to the ceiling and then hung books from thick twine at different levels from the branches. I was amazed at how the books stayed open so I examined them carefully. Pages are grouped together with thin fishing line (they punched holes in the pages and then tied the pages together in groups). Then they strung fishing line through the entire book, making knots at each group of pages so they stayed separated and open from the other pages. The designers covered the books in paper so they had a uniform look.
That's it for now from Atlanta. If I get a chance to post again, I will. Otherwise, my next trip takes me to Chicago Market!