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Reports on shows, trends, and more

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Trade Show Reports

The NAMTA and Stationery shows, Quilt Market, and Bead Expo.

by Various Subscribers & Ellie Joos (June 5, 2006)

National Art Materials Trade Association

At the recent show the number of buying companies grew to 285 and the number of booths was up by 11.

DrawingPod, a rolled-document carrying case by From Concentrate, was named Best New Product. 100 Feet of Fun, by Walter Foster, was named Best New Kids' Product. It is a paper roll kit to teach kids how to draw.

Tim Hooper of HK Holbein began his term as board President. Beth Bergman (Wet Paint) was elected to the board as Domestic Retailer Rep, Kim Fjordbotten (The Paint Spot) as Int. Retailer Rep, and Richard Goodban (ColArt) as Int. Supplier Rep ... Awards went to Ampersand Art Supply, Speedball Art Products, Pebeo of America, Waste Not Paper, Gamblin Artist Colors, Lineco, and Shinhan Int.

Stationery Show.

The New York show appeared to be smaller and less well attended. The number of scrapbook and craft exhibitors seemed down, too, although many of "our" buyers and vendors walked the show. E.K. Success took the top new-product prize in the Gift/Novelty/Craft division for its Let-Me-Tell-You & Me and My Honey – Wedding, Honeymoon and Anniversary Keepsakes.

Trend watcher/consultant Deb Murphy of Deborah M, Inc. said, "If anything, the design is even better, even more sophisticated, even more leading edge, even better produced and marketed than ever. Letterpress predominated, with 3-D treatments, personalization/monograms, hand screened looks, one-offs, humor, and Bombay Boho Baroque influencing surfaces as varied as wrapping paper, cards, correspondence kits, scrapbooking components, jewelry, rubber stamps, candles, tins, bookmarks, handbags, craft kits, journals, albums, travel and brief cases, stacking boxes, decoupage, ribbon, and furniture."

(Note: To read Deb's thoughts on why trends fade, click on Business-Wise in the left-hand column, or click HERE.)

Bead Expo.

There were 160+ exhibitors at the recent Bead Expo. Katie Hacker, author of Hip to Bead, reported key trends were "Big (25mm) disk-shaped gemstone beads. Opaque resin beads that look like chunky gemstones. Bead frames: geometric shapes that are open in the center. Shell beads: tons of different styles. Lots of rhodocrosite and rhodonite beads (pink gemstone)." A highlight was The Beaded Figure exhibit. It's available in the The Beaded Figure gallery at www.beadworkmagazine.com.

Quilt Market

(Note: The following was written by Ellie Joos of Ellie Joos & Associates, a veteran trend watcher and industry marketing pro. She has reported on numerous shows for CLN.)

As I walked the Quilt Market in Minneapolis, I kept thinking about a very good article I had recently read by Beth Mauro for CNA. She posed the question and the challenge to the quilt industry regarding the future of the industry, and she asked what are we doing as an industry to inspire and teach the future generation of quilters and customers.

I found myself being drawn to fabric and pattern booths that displayed products that had a more contemporary look and, to use an overused word these days, a "hip" feeling to them. Don’t get me wrong, I love traditional patchwork and appliqué quilts, and I have amassed a small collection of my own, but seeing some of the bolder patterns and fabrics and easy techniques made me think that these are the products that could do the trick.

I related it to the funky, chunky colorful yarns in the yarn industry that caused an explosion of knitting and crocheting among twentysomethings in recent years. (For those in the New York area or planning a visit, you may want to see Purl Patchwork on Sullivan Street in trendy, upscale Soho, owned by Joelle Hoverson. This delightful, colorful, although small quilt shop recently opened just a few doors from Purl Soho a delightful, colorful, although small yarn shop. Purl Patchwork's class schedule reveals classes directed at beginners, including beginning machine quilting, hand sewing, and another class for making simple accessories for the home.)

If you have not heard about it already, you may want to visit www.makeitu.com to learn more about a new marketing campaign directed at this "Generation Y" customer.

Back to the Quilt Market: the show organizers reported having about the same number of exhibitors as last year’s excellent show in Kansas City. In speaking with vendors on the show floor, many reported having a good show, while others reported having a slow show. Once again Michael Miller had a striking booth, done entirely in black and white, reflecting the trends in fashion and apparel and entirely done in fabrics from their new black and white fabric collection.

Another new collection, Button Up, features charming sewing product motifs.

By contrast, Moda’s beautiful booth had a romantic, vintage theme including a home décor vignette which had the look of a prairie homestead and featuring their loving vintage inspired prints.

Many booths were very traditional in feeling with quilts and fabrics done in shades of browns and tea dyed colors. FreeSpirit Fabric introduced several new collections by young, creative artists to appeal to a new generation of quilters. This approach to design is part of a huge trend in product development that I have been reading a lot about lately called "Customer Made."

Companies look to their consumers for design and product ideas and then make products that reflect the consumer’s wants and needs. This is also a trend appearing in advertising with MasterCard, for instance, inviting viewers to write the copy for two "priceless" commercials.

Quilting Treasures also had a new collection of contemporary prints inspired by quilts designed by artist Robbie Joy Eklow. Their American Glory collection, celebrating America’s 230th year of independence, used vintage postcard images as inspiration for this collection that is "Made in the USA," as are all of their fabrics.

I was intrigued by several new techniques including the Rip n Wrap Tabletopper pattern from Rag Merchant. This pattern makes great use of remnants and is easy enough for a kids’ class.

Fourth & Sixth Designs is owned by two sisters who were exhibiting for the first time and reported having a great show with their non-traditional patterns using strip quilting and making sensational-looking quilts. One sister has a store in NY state and many of their techniques have been tested by their customers.

Donna Babylon, a well-known home dec expert, author, and designer, launched her More Splash Than Cash® decorating program of patterns called Roommates, which gives quilt shops another way to sell fabric while capitalizing on the do-it-yourself decorating trend.

There was not the knitting cross over at this show as we had seen at the Houston show. There was some punch needle however and one new exhibitor, Lizzie Kate, reported a good show with their fresh and whimsical patterns.

More great products:

Vanilla House Designs: Unconventional fabric pattern mixing, styled with a new generation of customers in mind – with the help of the designer’s 18-year-old daughter made up in patterns for home décor and the best aprons in their Great American Aprons collection.

Mountainpeek Creations: Wonderful patterns for fat Quarters. I especially loved one called County Lines.

Amy Bradley Designs: Her patterns illustrate that quilters have a sense of humor, very fresh and fun animals and quilt divas.

Crazy Quilter Girls: This first timer had quirky and amusing animals featured in patterns for wall hangings.

Tools, Notions, and other great products I spotted:

J.T. Trading: 606 Spray and Fix No-sew fusible adhesive for appliqué and quilting. It can’t get any easier than this.

Kandi Corp: Zwade is a new fusible synthetic suede in a wonderful color range; it can be sewn through and embroidered, and can be washed and dry cleaned.

YLI : DigiBobbE – digitized bobbin embroidery, lovely ornamental and woodland swirl designs.

Cedar Canyon Textiles: The company is distributing Shiva's Artist’s Paintsticks, oil paint in crayon like sticks for fabric application.

The Colonial Needle Co.: Superb English needles for hand sewing; Gold’nGlide™, a new line from John James of England, that glide effortlessly through fabric and batting; and Mary Arden of England (William Shakespeare’s mother), which includes needles for all types of sewing projects.

June Tailor: Another exhibitor that reported having a great show. As always, this company had several new products. Their Checkerboard Kit is cleverly packaged in a large, malt-type drinking glass and contains 24 game pieces, fusible grid, and batting to make your own fabric checkerboard game set.

In a nutshell, the floor seemed quieter than the last Spring market, although a number of exhibitors reported having a good show. The overall message I took away was that many vendors are looking for ways to reach the younger, 'next generation' of quilters. Exhibitors with 'hip, cool' fabrics or patterns had good shows."

Note: Ellie is president of Ellie Joos & Associates, a marketing, pr, and product development firm. To read Ellie's reports on other industry-related shows, click on the titles in the right-hand column. To contact Ellie, call 908-459-9269 or email eleapple@hotmail.com.

(Editor's comment: Reports from all of the shows described above had one thing in common. Exhibitors who had good new products had a good show. Vendors who did not have new products did not. Hmmm, think there's a lesson to be learned there?)

One exhibitor's Quilt Market report: "Both the StenSource booth and the Creative Iron booth were consistently busy (occasionally swamped with customers three deep!) through the whole show," Bonnie Benjamin wrote. "We wrote as many orders as at Houston, which is WAY above what we have considered 'normal' for past Spring Markets. The Creative Iron is becoming known to the marketplace and people are now searching me out, which is great. I also had some cross-marketing projects going with a couple of other companies, including Michael Miller fabrics, which resulted in even greater interest in our products."

(Note: To read previous Scene & Heard reports, click on the titles in the right-hand column.)



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