Reports on shows, trends, and more
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.
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.)
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.
(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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
(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.)