Sunday, July 13, 2008

Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market - July 8-16

I can hardly believe it, most of my working adult life has been spent as an exhibitor at boring trade shows of all types {copiers, food service, medical}. Since opening InkSpot Workshop, this past April, I've been tuned into a completely different segment of trade shows. By far...any trade show that is based on paper and/or gifts, is cause for celebration!! I never thought I would be excited to attend any trade show, so can you just imagine when my little business actually grows enough and I'm a real live exhibitor in one? Perhaps the Holy Grail of all stationery shows in NYC? ok, give me a few years:)

I decided to get my feet wet right here in my own backyard and attend the International Gift & Home Furnishings Market. I even took MARTA {ATL public train}, which {to say the least} is quite possibly one of Atlanta's biggest embarrassments. Did I mention a gentleman felt the need to expose himself to me, while on the train? oh, guess I'll save that for a later post:) That wasn't exactly the type of birthday present I was looking for, but at 40, guess I should be flattered.

This market is taking place in 3 different buildings, with at least 17 floors each building. There is a lot of escalator riding going on! It is almost overwhelming because not only are the permanent showrooms exhibiting, but a slew of temporary showrooms are there too. Everything from furniture, rugs, patio, home accessories, clothing, jewelry, kids toys, stationery, bath and body and the list does go on... I visited the permanent showrooms on Thursday and the temporary ones on Friday. The temps are fun because often times they are up and coming, independent folks just trying to get some exposure {of the non MARTA kind}.

I met some really nice people and saw some FUNTASTIC stuff!! In fact, one woman's line was so impressive I am saving a later post completely dedicated to her products {can you stand the suspense:} OK, now onto some colorful characters I found interesting, let's start in the permanent showrooms... but first I must warn.... this is an incredibly long post so grab our cup-o-joe. Once I started, I could not stop...

iota - just bought by C.R. Gibson - nice story - Designer Kelly Alford starts small business in Colorado, makes lively patterns and great products and is bought by a big fish. I love all the color here!! Great wine tags too.

Bungalow's Showroom was showing off these cool bags from Scout. Pattern shown is called Dots Bots - all Scout bags are virtually indestructible {even for my 2 year old?} and water resistant - made from a lightweight poly woven reinforced material. This will be my next purchase!

They have a whole line of lively, colorful products made out of this incredible fabric .

How about these thermoses from Pylones?...I'm picking out a thermos for you... remember that song from Steve Martin in The Jerk? ok, I've just really dated myself:( You need sunglasses in this showroom. If you are feeling blue? you'll perk right up with all the crazy, colorful, french designs they have to offer. Everything from hairbrushes, journals, ice cream scoops, you name it, they have put a pattern on it.

The Magenta Showroom was featuring some amazing talent as well.. How about these South Beachy melamine trays and plates in the Scandal pattern, from ceramist Jill Rosenwald.

OK, Now I'm pretty sure Jill is my long lost sister!! Look at the colors in these incredible Cocktail Sets!!!! The colors shown are Slip Cool and Slip Hot. The Disco Cool Tea set is shown below and has me thinking about Andes mints. Seriously, this woman's outrageous talent does not seem to end - She even does hip onesies and other accessories for babies and kids.

Another artist on display in the Magenta showroom is clay thrower, Rae Dunn. Her pieces are so simple and delicate, like little letter pressed cards. I love this set of Espresso Cups & Saucers - each one has the word "sip" impressed. Or the understated elegance of this plain French Cafe Plate, shown below. The other plates read voila, merci and ooh-la-la. Additionally shown are the coordinating Latte Bowls, WHO NEEDS A MUG ANYWAY ????

**** HALF TIME SHOW****** Now I'd like to introduce you to the folks down in the trenches of the hugely popular temporary showrooms...
Can you believe your eyes? 1/2 of a VW bug, right in the middle of a little display??? That's the type of creativity possessed by Marc Quilici, the main man behind Slip. His lamps were among the best eye-candy at the show. Don't you agree?

Sweet Juniper Guerrero of TIGO gifts is the brains and beauty behind the latest knit kraze! Her packaging is fun and cheeky - like Cap Puccino shown above, everything you need to knit a Cap comes inside the cup. She also has a Szechuan Scarf and of course it comes in a Chinese takeout box.

Move over Jo Malone, here comes ZENTS! Don't you just love the name? Literally breathtaking, this line is made up of eau de toilettes, candles, soaps and everything else you need in the bath, plus more. All of the ZENTS scents are able to be layered for that combo effect, which is easy when they are simple like earth, fig, ore, pear and petal to name a few.

Next a little shout out for my fellow Atlanta peeps at Whimsy Press, the retail outlet for Current. They have extremely creative design concepts and have them incorporated into everything from onesies, journals, note cards and double sided wrapping paper, my personal favorite. Anyone with a pink, green and grown logo is ok in my book! I'm only just getting to know them and when I grow up I want Current to design my website:) The designer must be my age because when I saw the Space Invader wrapping paper, I instantly thought... do they have that in Centipede too?

This next company called Cardboard Safari just cracks me up! For those ladies wanting to take down the dear heads from their manly men's dens - try these out as a substitute, they probably won't even notice:) Their specialty happens to be these cardboard puzzles and when you are finished, well as you can see they make stylish wall hangings:* I asked the owner Chris Jessee, how he came up with this and he told me a story about going to see his cousin who worked for a cardboard manufacturing facility and all the guy could talk about was hunting, not cardboard. Chris said on his drive home he came up with this idea! Wow, now I thought my mind worked in crazy ways but Chis, you have me beat!!

From cardboard deers to vinyl frogs - Plage out of France is making black vinyl wall appliques look so passe!!

I leave this post on a squeaky clean note...can't you just smell the simple cleanness? From Soapworx {family owned business} is a line of vegetable soaps blending Shea butter, natural extracts and essential oils. OK, I know their website needs some work, but trust me... to stand in this little booth was extremely calming. I don't know if it was because of all the pastel colors, 90 degree angle soap cuts or the aromas, but it worked a number on me. I especially love the heavy, beautifully patterned papers they use for hand wrapping, like little presents.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed the show.


GrayEyedScorpio said...

Sounds pretty intense, in a good way!

June Shin said...

Thanks for the market review. I'm thinking of going tomorrow since I am thinking I'd like to be a potential exhibitor.

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