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Creative Leisure News
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Reports on shows, trends, and more

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I. A Craft Vendor Tries the Dallas Gift Show

Plus reports on PaperWorld and a letter from Europe.

Name withheld by request (February 7, 2005)

(Note: A long-time craft manufacturer who wanted to test the waters of the gift industry exhibited at the recent Dallas gift show for the first time and sent this report.)

We had a great show. It was our first time and we didn't know what to expect. We did a 10x10 in the temporaries and just showed one line plus a new line of embellishments. We wrote more business out of that 10x10 than we usually write at HIA or ACCI. We were packed for three and a half days and had many buyers tell us that we "were the only really new and innovative thing at the show." I have a hard time believing that but I'll take it.

Across the aisle were two regular exhibitors in 10x20's and they were amazed. I talked with them and with friends at another company, which has a large showroom which was still open since Silk and the gift show overlapped. All of them said that Atlanta was much busier and their booths there were doing as much as double the Dallas exhibitors.

We were experimenting with the gift industry and after this show are re-thinking our sales and marketing strategy as a company. These people were almost all small businesses, bought at the show, loved our prices, didn't ask for entitlements and other b.s., were having FUN, and were FUN!

There are still thousands of small gift shops out there looking for creative stuff, and if I can sell just $1000/yr to 10,000 of them at dealer price, I'd be a happier guy than selling $10 million to Michaels and JoAnns and being angry and miserable all the time. Don't be surprised if you see our presence (and other vendors') declining in crafts in the next few years. – Name Withheld


by Ellie Joos, Ellie Joos & Associates

If the Paperworld/ChristmasWorld show in Frankfurt, Germany is any indication of what is to come for the U.S. in 2005, then get ready for a bright and brilliant Christmas. This show is enormous, taking place in a number of halls that are all connected and seem to go on forever.

I have never seen so many gorgeous displays of products, far more exciting that what I am used to seeing at the gift and stationery shows in the US. One particularly gorgeous booth was that of C.E. Pattberg, parent company of Morex Corp. in the U.S. The booth was a feast for the eyes with beautiful ribbons and very creative displays of end use.

In addition to these two shows, one hall was dedicated to Creativity, "reflecting the trend for do-it-yourself handicrafts and activities," according to the show brochure. EK Success was exhibiting here and had a demonstrator for the first time. Their representative reported that although cardmaking is still more important, scrapbooking is beginning to catch on and there was interest in their tools, cutters and circle scissors, and the Disney items.

I also spoke with The Scrapbook House, from the UK. This was their first show; they reported that scrapbooking has been hot in the UK for several years now. This company hosts an event in May similar to cropping parties here in the US and this year they are expecting 2,000 attendees, up from 500 a year and a half ago.

Each section in the show had a trend area with exciting displays of products from the exhibitors. Here’s an overview:


Color. I expected to see bright colors given the color direction in apparel and home dec (Pink, pink, and more pink, mixed in with a lime green) What I did not expect were the shades of brights or the combinations of colors. Throughout the show, Orange made a statement in ornaments, ribbons, giftwrap, fabrics, and more. It looked especially good mixed with red and pink or toned down with brown or bronze. (Think Indian sari colors.)

(To digress for a moment, recently I've seen these hot, intense colors filling the ground floor of ABC, one of the trendiest stores in New York. These colors are in products from India and used for pillows, throws, and home dec accent items, often combined with beads and embroidery. The Indian influence is very strong in fashion and lifestyle with Broadway shows and movies catching on.)

Forget Emerald and Hunter; Lime Green has established itself as the most important green color. It looks good with other shades of green as you would see greens in nature, and it looks wonderful with red and orange.

Gingerbread Brown was another strong color, used as accent colors on snowmen and Santas, and mixed with orange, bronze, gold, red, or lime.

Trend Direction. Lord of the Forest: think earth tones, cozy brown, spiced with lime and a darker avocado green, natural elements, wood, stone, natural fibers, and organic shapes.

Winter Red: Warm red and ORANGE. Add some lilac and gold, the color of candles, bases, accent items packages, and mixed with beads and glitter.

Black Magic. Elegant black, white, crystals, silver, and dark blue – a very upscale, evening, and modern look.

La Table en Fete. White accented with silver and gold, classic and traditional. Silver candlesticks, modern shapes, and porcelain.


Color and Trends. Noblesse. Elegant, high styles, smooth, surfaces, silky textures, rich, elegant colors, romantic borders, papers with stitching, flocking, throughout, animal prints, crushed velvet

Technoform. Sleek design, natural elements such as leather and other skins, metallic colors such as silver, chrome, and grey.

Artesania. The handcrafted look with bright colors such as purples, greens, yellow, and red, and bold designs in flowers, stripes, dots, and fruits.


A number of companies in this section were exhibiting scrapbook materials, reflecting the growth in this category. K & Co. and Making Memories had products there through distributors, and EK Success had its own booth.

Beads and jewelrymaking were important. One exhibitor was applying beads to glasswear, then baking it so the beads melted and the finished look was very nice.

Painting and rubber stamping are popular. Several companies were selling wool felt in 1/8" thick sheets, on rolls, in kits, and in bags of fibers. These fibers was being used in makeit/takeits to make gorgeous eggs, flowers, beads, and other shapes, often embellished with beads.

The display area featured room settings that illustrated the many products and techniques found in the Creativity section. Once again, orange appeared in room decor, particularly in the tween girl’s room, mixed with red and pink. As with the entire show, this area was well done and inspirational.

(Note: Ellie is president of Ellie Joos & Associates, a marketing and design consulting firm. Contact her at eleapple@hotmail.com.)


(Note: The following is from a long-time veteran of the European craft market.)

Every two weeks I read your newsletter with great interest, especially now that I see the column in the current issue about how scrapbooking will dominate the CHA show. Here in Europe scrapbooking is still not the hottest trend; in some areas like the UK, Scandinavia, and Holland it is an important category, but certainly not the biggest trend.

The craft market is good all over Europe, but the trends are different in each country. As in the U.S., knitting is good and jewelry-making with high-class, fashionable glass beads like Swarovski is tops in Germany, Holland, Italy, Spain, etc. Cardmaking still #1 in the UK and Holland, home dec and a completely new use and technique for acrylic paint is booming in Germany, and decoupage has been the biggest trend in Italy for several years. The Italians are masters in design and some companies will show their decoupage products at the CHA show, as will the leading bead company from Germany, Rudolf Vater. Needlecrafts and sewing are extremely soft.

Regarding the dollar: it was weak last year, is even weaker now and everybody expects it to get weaker; but for the moment it is stable. The weak dollar will not help sales of U.S. products that much because all of the imports from Asia are also in dollars. As the competition gets tougher amongst Chinese manufacturers, prices are getting lower.

Another story is Wal-Mart, which I haven't seen in CLN or most other media. They have a real problem in Germany – closing stores, not renewing leases, etc. All the articles that I have read about it are in German. On the other hand, they may expand in other areas, but Germany is still the most important market in Europe.

Attended the Paperworld show last week. It was excellent and the atmosphere was very good. Although the economy in Germany is tough , with a new record 5 million people unemployed, the general feeling was that the craft business is really doing well. Best categories: jewelrymaking and home dec. Several U.S. companies like EK Success and K&Co., exhibited, along with those who exhibit every year, such as Activa and the Beadery.

Buyers were from all over the world, including chains from the U.S. The total number of visitors to Paperworld was 66,000, 3,000 less than last year. A survey showed 94 % of the visitors were happy with their visit.

Expect good interest for the CHA show from the Europeans, but expect most visitors to stay for two or three days instead of four, due to a very busy show calendar in Europe. – Name Withheld

(Note: To read previous Scene & Heard reports, click on the headlines in the right-hand column. If you would like to comment on the issues raised here – or any industry issue – email Mike Hartnett at mike@clnonline.com.)



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