This weeks edition we will take a brief journey to the thriving metropolis known as Atlanta, Hotlanta or in this case; Coldlanta.
My associate Designer Jordan and I traveled down south for the International Home and Gift show held at America’s Mart.
America’s Mart is a ginormous 3 building complex in downtown Atlanta, totaling over 50 floors and an untold amount of square footage. It is comprised of mini (and not so mini) corporate showrooms to everything you could possibly imagine that is sold in every home goods and gift stores in the US.
Traveling to Atlanta was anything but fun last week. The previous snow storm and then polar vortex wreaked havoc on the fragile airline industry.
Our first Airtran/Southwest identity/brand crisis flight that was scheduled to leave at 5:30 pm was cancelled by 9am. We re-booked for a flight out of Buffalo at 3. As we approach the Thruway, I asked Jordan to check the flights, Cancelled again. Multiple calls and flight changes later, we ended up on a flight for the following day at 5:30pm. So we lost a whole day of the trade show.
When we finally made it the temperature was 12 degrees outside. So much for going South for a break from the cold.
Over the next two days and untold amount of miles were walked; photo’s taken; tweets posted (@followjason for photos); feet in pain; 30 gallons of coffee; 200 lbs of snacks, appetizers and candy consumed; 60 different candles sniffed and we didn’t even go in the Yankee Candle corporate showroom!
The trade show is full of everything you can imagine. From cards, to gifts, to furniture, accessories, home goods, apparel; you name it. We probably only saw about 50% or less becuase we do not run a Bed Bath and Beyond or a gift shop.
Here are my 5 trending “highlights” of the show:
- Grumpy Cat – Holy Merchandising . .this is insane. Its actually a she and she was doing a meet and greet. No I didn’t wait to get my photo with Grumpy Cat much to the dismay of my friend Amy, an avid poster of the “GC”.
- Downton Abbey – Merchandising of All Kinds! I am an avid Downton fan so this was “cute” but I am not sure if I will be buying any of the Dowanger’s sayings on a pillow, but many will! “What’s a Weekend?”
- Candles – Exotic flavors, designer packaging and SOY. Yes SOY. Soy is terrible in food but its amazing in candles. People don’t realize that you can create bad indoor air quality with those candles that burn god knows what in them from the chemicals and gases produced when burned. Soy Based candles are much healthier because less toxins are released into your home during burning . Here’s some fun facts: http://www.pureintegrity.com/
benefits-of-soy-wax-candles. html Oh and Duck Dynasty has a new line of candles coming out. For people who dislike “them-that-there-homersexuals”, it’s pretty gay to have your own candle line . .#justsayin
- Red Cup Merchandise – Every time I feel like American culture hits the proverbial floor / toilet, I am reminded of the never ending entrepreneurial spirit that creates our very success. It’s a love / hate relationship. Yes folks you can get your very own Red Solo Cup inspired novelty merchandise. Any type of drinking cup is now available. Mad Men Martini, WT style? No problem we have you covered! College parties just got klassy-r. Now I can drink my White Zin from a proper shaped Wine Glass Red Cup. https://www.facebook.com/
- Vintage, found, reclaimed everything – Yes everywhere we turned, things were made to look like they were found in a beautiful Parisian dumpster somewhere. I am not sure when this will end, but I am rather over it. There are now chairs that come pre-shredded and “vintage”. They basically look like someone started an upholstery project in 1896 and then let a grump cat have a good go at it and now are selling it. Do you really want this? What shall you tell your guests? “Oh don’t sit on that . .you may die and something may have died on, in and or around it, some time ago” Charming design . . what a story this chair could tell. Throw it back out please or move to Paris. If I see another designer clown post something about a found object in a Paris flea market that has absolutely no meaning to anyone living…well I will just keep reading. If you really have a love for the antiques check out: http://www.1stdibs.com/ They are the best but it won’t come cheap. Dumpster diving nets great returns as it were.
BTW Jordan is still in an airport somewhere in the Midwest. 2 days to Fly home from Orlando starting Tuesday am after a race at Disney with his family. We may have an opening soon if he doesn’t make it back . . . . Airtran and Southwest . .that merger and your flight schedules has been an amazing one for us patrons. #blessed #sarcastic4ever
Also Happy Birthday to Jordan as he turns 30 today! “My madam, your looking younger every day! Thank you Rose.”
Until next time. -JDL