The new normal market in a word…Bingo!!
Our perspective may be different than the typical exhibitor because we go to market looking for style, trend, strategy and signs of recovery; and we found every bit of that in the huge Atlanta International Gift and Home Market.
… Lifestyles are becoming simpler, and as a society
we understand that less is more, reusability and recycling is smart, and repurposing is recreating.
A Better Marketplace: As a venue, the Atlanta Market or “AmericasMart” has traditionally been a maze of hard-to-navigate buildings, narrow corridors, crowed elevators, and so on… but with the addition of the new west wing in building 2 the Atlanta Gift Market is dramatically improved. Products are better organized into categories, aisles are wider, and the buildings are well lit and clean.
Buyer strategy: While traffic was down from 2007-2008 levels as expected, for the most part those in attendance were superior quality buyers and indeed they were ready to buy. Smart buyers know to shop the temporaries for trends, new emerging companies and established vendors who change displays and products to keep up with the times (like Nashville Wraps). The strategy of buyers seemed to be conservative, yet realizing the quality and value triumphs over pure price. They were loyal to their vendors who have continued to provide quality, value, trend and proven products and those vendors saw larger orders. Buyers were not so much willing to take a chance with the latest, greatest thing…but were still shopping for it.
New Normal meets high design…
Nashville Wraps always shops the market looking for overall trends that influence retailers across many different tiers, and we found exactly that in the “high design” category. We were somewhat surprised, yet pleased, to see nearly a complete revitalization in the high design area as exhibitors adjust their lines to better target today’s “new normal” minded consumers. Indeed the new normal experience was the theme in high style.
The key word for high style products is “repurposed”. Repurposing is taking things that are old and making them into new useful products. This is as wide ranging as is your grandmother’s attic. Jewelry made from the keys of old manual typewriters was not only beautiful, but literally charming. We saw really cool products made from the works of old watches, flint wheels from cigarette lighters, gears, cogs, wheels and gizmos of all sorts repurposed into many creative pieces for home and personal use including jewelry, picture frames and more. These products carried a message that says, smart, conservative, concerned, and cheerful all at the same time.
Color influence: We also found colors in abundance, but not so much the loud colors of recent past; these colors, while still beautiful, are all found in earth, sky and sea. Glossy becomes metallic; sheens and mattes replace lacquered looks. Blues from the sky and sea, oranges, browns, reds from the soil, and greens from the forests; silver, pewter and tin from recycled nostalgia and vintage mechanical devices of yesterday. Colors were in many different combinations, not necessarily seen before.
Quick themes: A few quick themes were old typography, repurposed sports equipment, nostalgia from the 40’s through the 60’s with some earlier; both American and European nostalgia, circus and carnival. New fabrics made from sustainable fibers of silk, linen, hemp and especially bamboo were being worn and sold, creating renewed excitement. Bamboo makes an incredibly soft and silky fabric.
All in all it was positive, despite the smaller crowds, but those in attendance were experiencing vendors showing genuinely better products than we have seen in several years; all in tune, in style and very desirable. Our lifestyles are becoming simpler, and as a society we understand better that less is more, reusability and recycling is smart, and repurposing is recreating.
Robby Meadows, Nashville Wraps
Nashville Wraps • 242 Molly Walton Drive • Hendersonville, TN 37075 • 800-547-9727