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Reports on shows, trends, and more

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The New York Gift Show Report

Some similarities -- and differences -- with the Atlanta and Dallas Shows.

by Ellie Joos, Ellie Joos & Associates (February, 2004)

(Editor's note: CLN welcomes our newest columnist, Ellie Joos, who has extensive experience – and success – in product development, marketing, and design in our industry. Ellie attends a wide variety of industry-related shows and will periodically file reports on what she sees.)

The New York Gift Show took place during the long winter freeze being experienced by the Northeast, but the show floor was bustling with activity and vendors were feeling optimistic about business. This show is enormous – taking place in the Javits Center as well as the Piers on the Hudson – and impossible to see everything in one day.

A gift retailer can choose from home dec to jewelry to chocolates to candles and aromatherapy and so much more – a tremendous expansion of the types of products available to the consumer just five years ago. The following highlights some of the trends and new products I spotted on a cold Sunday in New York.


Strong, pretty, fresh colors were everywhere in accessories, home dec, and booth displays. These colors, especially pink, have been hot in fashion and have influenced products for gifts and the home.

Green, a color we have been seeing for some time, continues in shades from celery to darker variations and looks good with pink and apricot or combined with blue. In Christmas products, the green used is still a softer, greyed green.

On everything from pillows to papers, large florals inspired by retro patterns looked very fresh, again in new combinations of brown/pink, brown/blue, shades of pink, orange, or red together, or blues and greens together. Stripes are strong, especially in belts and accessories. Bright colors also appeared in the kitchen cleaning products from Casabella and leather products for journals from Fiorentian.

(Note: Pantone just released their top 10 colors for Fall/Winter 2004/2005 chosen by designers participating in Fashion Week and strong colors continue, including Shocking Pink, Sunset Purple, and Limoge, a rich blue shade. Balance these with Camel, Fall Leaf, Pale Mauve, and a classic brown shade called Pinecone.)


Handbags – many had a handcrafted look, often with embellished surfaces using beading, charms, ribbons, etc.

Jewelry – so many lines from which to choose, and so beautiful with gorgeous, often larger beads.

Embellishments – on everything from pillows, bedding, and lampshades to the adorable slippers from Fanciful Solos.

Red Hat Society – products to appeal to women celebrating their middle age and their vitality. I saw hats in red and purple, pillows, T-shirts, ornaments, greeting cards, and jewelry.

Baby – not only to appeal to the new moms, but to Baby-Boomer grandparents who have high enough incomes to indulge their grandchildren. Charming dinnerware, bibs, etc., from Kinderware, and sweet blankets, and hats from Lil Doodlebug. Two’s Company offered baby products in adorable animal and cowboy/cowgirl prints reminiscent of the 50’s.

Cause Marketing – an increase in products with a portion of the profits going to a particular cause or charity. I loved the brightly colored silk purses from Gecko, being made by disabled and handicapped women in Viet Nam.

Motifs – elves and cats, florals, dots, and fruits such as cherries and strawberries.

Tween – accessories, pillows, and lotions, in pretty girly colors.

Pet Products – there were many products for pet lovers. It's an exploding market.

Photo albums, journals, and stationery – the influence from the craft market is evident with beautiful hand-bound books, often embellished with ribbons, braids, cords, appliques, and/or beads. Motel Deluxe, Inc. had a lovely line of sewn cards each made by stitching simple objects to the cards under sheer fabrics.

In our next issue I'll give you my thoughts on the huge HIA show.

(Editor's note: To contact Ellie call 908-459-9269 or email eleapple@hotmail.com. It's interesting to compare Ellie's view of the New York Gift Show with Lynda Musante and Tracia's report on the Dallas and Atlanta Gift Shows – and Jean Kievlan and Julie McGuffee's Dallas report. You can learn which trends appear to be national and which are regional. To read Lynda/Tracia's report, click on "Designing Perspectives" in the left-hand column and then "Trends at the Atlanta, Dallas Gift Shows" in the right-hand column. To read Jean/Julie's report, click on "Category Reports" in the left-hand column and then "Why the Gift Market is Seeing Red" in the right-hand column.)



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