It was Sunday 7:30 a.m. at the World Trade Center in Dallas. When they say everything is bigger in Texas, they aren’t kidding. Fourteen floors, comprising over 2,000 customized showrooms, displaying over 25,000 individual lines of merchandise are just waking up, getting ready for another blissfully sunny day at the Dallas Total Home & Gift Market. Before all of the buyers made it to the trade center, I was able to make my rounds window-shopping. The market gives an overall feeling of a destination vibe in Paris and I’m not talking about Paris, TX. Nope, the other Paris. Everything was covered as far as color trends – vignettes dripping with violets, golds, blues and reds to displays of pale, muted neutrals. The French kiss on any interior can suit virtually every person’s discriminate taste – be it rich, bold jewel tones and the bohemian beauty of boudoir-influenced home fashions, or the pastel serenity of a traditional French country nook nearly absent of color.
The Parisian influence was everywhere in furniture silhouettes, intricately detailed accent pieces and printed textiles. Wall décor still had a strong presence, but the overall story with this trend is completely in the details. Glass, ceramics and pottery were everywhere, and the selection has never been better. As a former buyer, I loved the revival of these products because of their market versatility. They appeal to every retail consumer imaginable, be it the interior decorator or a bridal registry, and with price margins that cover everyone in between.
As buyers started to fill the atrium of the WTC, I headed for home base at Suite 6250, the IMAX showroom. I met tons of fun people and helped a lot of buyers in specialized retail markets – in particular lighting showrooms and galleries. It is my opinion that some of these specialized markets who traditionally sell a niche product or trade service are starting to see how merchandising their businesses with home accessories drives traffic to their store fronts, making their core products look even better and ultimately beefing up bottom lines. The IMAX showroom has long been a great source for products that suit the versatility individual markets demand. With over 600 summer introductions, buyers weren’t disappointed in the eye candy.
Today marks the last day of the Dallas market. In true Texas fashion this show always stands out on it’s own and never conforms totally to prevailing industry trends. Buyers and respective businesses they represent are as diverse as the Lone Star State itself. Although buyers from all over the U.S. flock to this market for the selection and great temporaries, it absolutely oozes with southern charm. There are all kinds of perks for making the short trip to the “Big D” including but not limited to fabulous comfort food like the mashed potato martini bar traditionally served in our suite (6250 of the WTC) on Friday evening, as well as live local bands, tex-mex snacks, margaritas and iPhone 4 giveaways. Yes, you heard me right, IMAX actually gave away two iPhone 4’s to lucky customers who wrote a qualifying order of $500 or more, and they also held a daily drawing for a free order! Pictures and postings are all up on our Facebook page. If you are not a fan already, you should be! Twitter and Facebook are the keys to the kingdom for up to the minute deals and exclusive content on our fabulous show specials as well as a fun glimpse at how hard we work and how much fun we have at these markets. If you are not able to attend one of the summer shows, I hope you find my blog posts informative, entertaining and most of all helpful. Enjoy a first-hand account of each market through the eyes (or rather the aching feet) of a former buyer turned industry insider, and feel free to call me or one of our many talented sales reps with product questions or for industry trends and merchandising tips.
Next stop is the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market. Mark your calendars for July 14th – 21st, and stay tuned for all the goings on in Hot-lanta!