Reports on shows, trends, and more
New York Gift Show Report
An upbeat show – and then
by Ellie Joos, Ellie Joos & Associates (September
As I write this report on the recent New York Gift Show, the
television is on with continuing coverage from the Gulf Coast, and I
am overwhelmed by the devastation and heartache confronting the
residents of that area. I am also well aware of how the country as a
whole will feel the reverberations in the near future, beginning
with the price of oil to the extended impact on the price of
everything made from plastic.
Had the gift show taken place this week, I wonder what the impact
Katrina would have had on the buying activity at the show. I now
wonder how many businesses, whether retailers or vendors, present at
the show have lost everything, their businesses and saddest of all,
their homes. I know I join millions of Americans in praying that our
fellow citizens will emerge from this tragedy and be able to rebuild
their lives with the help of each and every one of us.
Well as they say, life must go on, so I now continue to write my
report on the Gift Show, the emerging trends, and some of the new
products that I sincerely hope will be successful as we face the
upcoming challenges in the near future.
Color and Pattern.
Those of you who have read my reports in the past know how strong
I have felt about the green family. Move over green: shades of
orange (see my report from the Paperworld/Christmas World show;
click on the title in the right-hand column) have emerged. The
orange I saw at this show was more of a burnt orange, not the
colorful orange of the summer trend. It looked especially refreshing
as a booth backdrop color. It is appearing in all kinds of products,
from textiles to accessories.
In a recent European Preview show of trends for Fall/Winter 06 I
attended, this color called "Pomegranate" was featured
mixing with warm brown neutrals and bluish green shades.
Coral as a color looks great, and coral reef motifs were
everywhere. Two’s Company, a vendor that is always right on
with trends, had framed coral motifs in a booth with a brown-toned
background. Coral reef motifs appeared on pillows, embroidered on
linens and hand towels, and formed into chandeliers, sconces, lamps,
salad servers, tableware, etc.
Ankasa, the husband and wife team of Sachin and Babi
Ahluwalia, exhibited for the first time with the most exquisite line
of decorative pillows and bedding, including embroidered coral
motifs with beadwork as well as outstanding bold florals,
geometrics, novelty fabrics, appliqués,
Brown also looked quite good as a booth backdrop in the Jonathan
Adler booth. This designer exhibited a line of hand-crafted
furniture and accessories, including his distinctive needlepoint and
bargello pillows. (As yarn crafts get stronger, watch for a growing
interest in these categories.)
In another booth, I especially liked the use of a warm caramel
color with deep purple or amethyst, another emerging color this fall
and looks to continue into next year.
In baby products, the overall color palette is softer; the colors
have a dusted or opaque quality to them while still featuring baby
motifs and patterns.
As for other patterns, geometric designs continue, florals, when
evident were bold and graphic and Asian and Indian designs are
growing. Beadwork and embroidery continues to be a featured
embellishment. Especially beautiful were the beaded table
accessories from Kim Seybert – simply gorgeous placemats,
cotes, table runners, and napkin rings.
At past shows, I have reported on the influence of the scrapbook
industry on the gift show. At this show, I was not surprised to see
how the interest in all things knitted and crocheted have impacted
the gift/home market. Finished items reflected this direction and
several companies also introduced their kits.
Alex Toys has expanded their popular yarn craft kits for kids
to reflect the interest in this category. The packaging is very
clever and the designs are timely, including a kit for a "pooch
poncho" for girl’s best friend.
Tigo Enterprises, a company that already has a great line of
suede products including a pencil set that made the "O"
list, as in Oprah’s list of favorite products, has now introduced
the Cup of Yarn. Picture a plastic cup like that used for a
Starbuck’s Frappacino and imagine it instead filled with enough
colorful yarn to make a Rainbow Sherbet Scarf with bamboo
knitting needles coming out of the hole where the straw would be.
Style Hounds Handknits introduced kits for dog
sweaters in great colors and vintage buttons or a zipper.
Remember the Magic has a delightful line of activity craft
kits for kids featuring whimsical fairies, wands, and wizards. These
nature-based activity kits are very appealing to adults as well as
Ribbons continue to be important as bows and rosettes in apparel
and accessories, and Midori showed ar beautiful product line
featuring new wide stripes and bias silk stripes. Also new was their
gift wrapping papers in very elegant, upscale patterns.
The Great Outdoors.
The outdoor living space trend is getting stronger with more and
more products for the patio, porch, lanai, deck, or terrace. Look
for wrought iron, pottery, outdoor cushions, and decorative accents.
I reported on Potting Shed Creations in my last gift show
report with their Garden in a Bag collection of herbs and
flowers. This company has sprouted new varieties and designs and
once again had one of the best press kits in the press room.
In apparel, Garden Frou Frou turned basic gardening
clothing and accessories into a pretty collection using gorgeous
fabrics and prints that are functional as well as fashionable.
Man’s Best Friend.
I’ve reported on the growth in products for our dog and cat
family members. This continues as I mentioned above with knitted
Other products from City Dog introduced city specific and
national guidebooks with all the important information when
traveling with pets, from services and parks, to hotels that permit
Planet Dog presented lines of unique pet toys, bedding,
clothing and other accessories. This company also has several
cause-related products with a portion of the proceeds going to
cancer research organizations.
New and Noteworthy.
It is nearly impossible to see everything at this enormous show;
however, two new products did stand out and I’m sure there were
many others that I just did not have time to see.
Twenty2, an innovative wallcovering design company introduced
Wallbands, a collection of bold, graphic, pre-pasted, very
wide bands for the "creative modernist." Great colors and
From Built NY, using neoprene, or wetsuit material, this
company presented a fabulous line of brightly colored totes for
beverages and food and introduced a baby line of bottle totes, bibs,
and strolling totes in similar soft, washable fabrics.
The mood at the show was enthusiastic and optimistic, and I
sincerely hope that this attitude is not diminished in the days,
weeks, and months ahead as this country recovers from the horrific
events of this past week affecting the thousands of people along the
(Note: Ellie is president of Ellie Joos & Associates,
a marketing, pr, and product development firm. To read Ellie's and
others reports on other industry-related shows, click on the titles
in the right-hand column. To contact Ellie call 908-459-9269 or