Tag Archives: Atlanta Gift Show

The Atlanta Show January 2015 and Trends

Dennis and I  got home Sunday January 12th after being at the Atlanta show for five days. There was a really bad virus and cough going around and we both got it. Luckily not at the same time. So we were able to spell each other at the show. I still have it and it has has slowed me down. and since I am a bit late now to report on the show, I’ll write on some topics related to trade shows.  There is a lot of important things to say about the show (or any trade show you go to) . I am going to start with:   Trends  

How and where to spot them at the show. (At the end of this blog I will mention other good sources of trend spotting).

At the shows Look for trends that predominate and show up in at least 5 major showrooms and more. In Atlanta Showrooms like C & F , Manual Woodworkers and Evergreen are good for trend spotting.

 Check out the fashions you see in the halls and showrooms – We saw, of course chevron, animal prints,lots of patterns, and combinations of patterns. At the July show I am sure we will see lots of floral patterns.

         Check colors and patterns that appear in the showrooms- Seen were a lot of the warmer colors in the orange, pink and coral family. Also sunflower yellow. In the Cools   were, you guessed it Blues. Lots of Aqua, Cobalt and Navy. Lots of warm and cool grays combined with the blues and warm shades.

Patterns and bright colors

Patterns and bright colors

Spot recurrent themes – Foxes and owls still around. Woodland animals, deer, moose etc. are showing up. Not as much as was predicted a year ago. The little Hedgehog so popular in England didn’t live up to last year’s predictions. We saw some, but not enough to call it a big trend,.

  I saw  a good showing of black and white designs, patterns and black line art combined with watercolory butterflies, flowers. This last was starting to appear last year in gift wear fashion and tabletop.

Black and white line art with some color

Black and white line art with some color


LOOSER WATERCOLOR AND NATURE THEMES, especially birds and flowers
 Photos of two products in a line sold by Overstock.com by yours truly. This look on Home decor products has been coming about in the last 5 years. And you can bet I am happy about that. The products will be on the Overstock site in late February.

Overstock.com Duvet

Overstock.com Duvet



Looser Watercolor styles on Paper. This look has been popular on pillows for 3 or 4 years and is now appearing on other products.

Looser watercolor designs

Looser watercolor designs



Collage style inspirational art where the art is very stylistic. These two pieces by Kelly Rae Roberts and Lisa Kaus are good illustrations. Type is used in unusual and varied styles often looking like a snippet of typewriter type. Kelly and Lisa were among the artists that first developed this style around 5 or 6 years ago.By now I’m sure if you have been looking you’ve seen lots of other artists now doing this look. I remember seeing this style and the artists who did it for the first time in the Demdaco Showroom in Atlanta. Then it was new. Now there are many artists doing this look. It caught on and became popular. With artists and with the public

Kelly Rae Roberts collage style

Kelly Rae Roberts collage style

Lisa Kaus collage inspirational style

Lisa Kaus collage inspirational style

Some Themes that come to mind as always popular.

Coastal. I think that we saw a lot more than in past years.

Birds, florals and patterns. (I read in Gifts and Dec Accessories that florals are trending again this year in home decor.

Wine and grapes

Traditional Holiday

Other ways to follow trends:

Check the Pantone color reports for the current year. This is the palette I saw a lot of at the show. And it should be showing up more as Spring is being show in stores.

Pantone colors Spring 2015

Pantone colors Spring 2015

“About the PANTONE Color of the Year
The Color of the Year selection requires careful consideration and, to arrive at the selection, Pantone combs the world looking for color influences. This can include the fashion and entertainment industries – including films that are in production, the world of art, popular travel destinations and other socio-economic conditions. Influences may also stem from technology, the availability of new textures and effects that impact color, and even upcoming sports events that capture worldwide attention. “

This years color is marsala. It is the luscious rich red brown. Watch for it to start appearing all over!

I try to think of trends when I do my nature paintings. But don’t always incorporate them. If I am working on a collaged piece with Dennis then we are mindful of trends More decorative artists like Jennifer Brinley do use them in a lot of their designs.

Whether you choose to use these colors in your art or not it helps to be aware of them. Don’t feature colors that are out of date for that year.

 Some other ways that I follow trends are: Remember that,  The trends start in  fashion and apparel move to home decor rugs furniture and tabletop and then giftware. ) It can take a year or two for this moving along of the trends. It seems to me that they move from one market to the next faster now than say 5 years ago.

Trade Magazines. Especially Gift and Decorative Accessories

Watch QVC on TV to see what is trendy in fashion.

Visit local gift shops. Talk to the shop owner and see what they are considering hot trends.

Check some of the trendier stores on the internet: ex: West Elm, Anthropologie, Pottery Barn, Pier One

Go to other trade shows. There are so many around the country.

I  was going to make this a short post. Ha ha lol.

It is a cold night in the big apple and I smell Apple and Butternut squash soup from the kitchen.  Let me know about other trends you are spotting.

So I will end here. Stay warm and if you are in a warm place

enjoy it!



























Filed under Atlanta Gift show, Owls, watercolor birds and wildlife

Everything you need to know about Trade Shows – Part I

This post is a little later than I had intended because of Hurricane Sandy. Everyone below 40th street in NYC lost power. We were without electricity and hot water for five days and all work was suspended while we lived a life of yesteryear using candles, boiling water and walking five flights of stairs.

Dennis and Andrea working by candlelight

So now here is Everything you Need to Know about Trade Shows Part I.

Each year it’s good to plan in advance which trade shows you would like to attend. Do some research via networking; google and find out which companies will be at the show. Are there enough that fit your market categories to make it worth going? But you might consider going even if there aren’t.  You will you see the latest trends and they may inspire you to develop your own new ideas. Plan on going to at least one or two.

If you decide to go, the next step is to make your wish list for the year. Some wishes may work out and others may fall by the wayside. That’s natural.

Then make your hotel and plane reservations. For Atlanta there was a service that made  your hotel and plane reservations. Or if you wanted to do them yourself as I did the Atlanta booking service or the airlines (Delta) could give you your code so that you could get the attendees discount.

Book your hotel early – and I mean early – for Atlanta and probably for most of the big shows. I booked for January 2013 back at the end of July and booked for the July 2013 show around the same time. I even tried to book for January 2014 but found out that I would have to wait till it was a year in advance.As I was rereading this I  made an entry in my iPhone calendar to call and book our hotel for January 2014 the first week in January.  The earlier you make your airline reservations the better a price you will get.

Then it’s time to start making your appointment calls. I began making mine for the July Atlanta show a month beforehand. With some companies that was okay, others wanted me to call closer to the show. I found that 8 or 8:30 AM was a good time to begin calling. And I made sure to keep this appointment with myself each morning for a month.

The appointment section of my word notebook


I kept all my notes in a word notebook.I found this very helpful. It was difficult to take a clear photo of the notebook from my computer. This is the best I could get. Basically it shows what I wanted you to see: The tabs on the right; this section on Atlanta appointments: how I kept a record of my calls.

I  created tabs for topics such as: Manufacturers, websites and blogs and other related categories..  I also kept detailed notes about what time I called and if I reached the contact.  I would then try again towards the end of my calling session usually around 11 am. At that point I would transfer all my scribbled notes to the work notebook. I found that if I waited a few days to make my entries I would be all mixed up. So DO IT THEN AND THERE.

In order to keep feeling good about the whole process, have some strategies and goals you want to reach. This makes it more of a challenge and even smacks a bit of game playing. But don’t feel let down  if you don’t meet your goals right away. And remember, be sure to give yourself rewards.

I wrote a phone script and used it at first, but then after a day of calling found that I didn’t need it anymore. I also searched “appointment calls” on google and got some good tips. It helped me to feel more professional. Be courteous and friendly to the assistant, receptionist or customer service people. You will enjoy it more that way and they can be very helpful to you.

In each successive post on the Everything you need to know about Trade Shows I will feature another manufacturer I met with at the July Atlanta Show.

Right now I’ll give you a little tour with me of my meeting with a valued licensing partner, Burton and Burton.

Libby Embry is not really one of Santa’s elves.

I had set up an appointment in advance with Libby Embry, creative Director.

Libby Embry and Maxine Burton at Surtex 2012

I also hoped to see and meet with Maxine Burton company owner and CEO. Maxine Burton is hard to pin down. She’s never in one place for too long. Look one way and there she is taking care of customers, or running into the back to check stock and orders. Next glance she is talking to one of her sales people. Hers is a super large showroom to supervise. Maxine and her husband Bob started this family business 50 years ago and have grown it from one small showroom to this huge space in the Gift Mart.

Christmas in July at the Burton and Burton Showroom

Halloween in July at the Burton and Burton Showroom

Burton and Burton Spring Showroom

This year they’ve added a new and separate Spring Showroom.

In addition to her full time job at Burton and Burton, Libby started her own on line business, Daisy Doodle on Etsy selling adorable and imaginative crocheted hats, creatures and accessories. It’s good to get to know your clients. It creates a more personal relationship and helps you to know them better. Seeing them as the creative people they are creates interest and trust.

Libby modelling hat band

Daisy Doodle Frog Hat on Etsy shop

I have a new collection of giftware which will be debuted at the Burton and Burton showroom in January. Dennis and I will both be going this time.

Savannah Afternoon Tote bag for Burton and Burton

The collection is called Savannah Afternoon and there are around 8 pieces in this collection including, picture frames, fabric and ribbons, planter, mug and more.

Savannah Afternoon Mug for Burton and Burton

Savannah Afternoon Collection, Balloon

Here is a preview from Part Two of Everything you need to Know about Trade Shows. It comes under the category of how artists show their designs.

Opening page of our i pad portfolio

We show our collections on our iPads. There are tabs along the left side for each category of design. Once you click on the tab you start the show rolling.

Thumbnails and full size images

Dennis used a program called Portfolio for iPads to set it up.  There are various ways to show the designs. Our preferred way is to have thumbnails along the bottom and one large image. Your client can easily scroll through either the thumbnails of the large version of the design.When they find something that interests them all they need to do is click on the thumbnail and the larger image appears.We’ve found that the iPad presesntation saves all parties a lot of time and all art directors now seem not only to like, but to expect it.

Next post I’ll cover these topics:

  1. Deciding what you goals are.
  2. How to approach a new company and make contact.  What questions you need to ask.  What you should expect at a meeting.
  3. How you should and want  to come across.
  4. How to establish a personal rapport that you can build on.
  5. How to be yourself and overcome anxiety.
  6. How to follow your instincts.
  7. How and when to do your follow thru.
  8. How you should dress. I googled many different ways to look at fashions for creative people. One of the helpful catch phrases was,”fashion for the artist” Most of what I found was for women. But guys please do not feel left out. I’m still searching around for some good sites.


Filed under Etsy, Uncategorized