What I learned in Dallas
While snow was piling up everywhere across the country, it was a cool 40-something degrees in Dallas last week. Thousands of people with a penchant for product inundated the Dallas Market Center to see the myriad of both permanent and temporary showrooms offering all the gift, home and décor items anticipated to take over shelves in 2016. As another successful winter market comes to a close in Dallas, we’ve gathered some of the Total Home & Gift Market’s highlights.
Showroom after showroom had their newest Christmas décor standing center stage this January. From Melrose to Creative Co-Op, attendees couldn’t turn a corner without running into another winter wonderland. Some classic favorites for the tree and mantle were on display, and other companies like The Roundtop Collection offered sports-theme spins on tree toppers and other décor pieces.
Bath & Body
Perpetually popular is the bath and body category. Buyers and retailers alike are constantly looking for new fragrances, scented products that have stood the test of bath time, and chic, fun and elegant packaging. “People are very excited about our brand,” said Steve Lewis of Creative Consumer Products. The company’s lines represented at the show are the ever-popular Dionis and the endearing children’s line, Guess How Much I Love You. Dallas offered him a lot of reorders, “but a lot of new customers across the U.S. as well.” It had released a holiday gift set that did so well, it’s now planning to package favorite fragrances all year long.
Home Décor / Accents
Under the parent company, Creative Co-Op, Bloomingville is a line with Danish design roots and popular Nordic trends. The collection of home décor pieces hone in on an organic, natural shape with subtle-yet-eye-catching colors. The best part about the collection, “Everything is mix and match,” said Michelle Uhar, marketing manager for Bloomingville. Her take on the color combinations Bloomingville showcased? The company paired gray accents to calm their pink counterparts, offer mint palettes to add depth, and other saturated colors for a pop. Blue and rose gold colors have been its best sellers, and the skins and furs were wildly popular in Dallas in particular. “The furs are real, but secondary harvest, so nothing was killed for products,” Uhar added.
Bridgewater Candle Company has no problem with its famous fragrance jar candles flying off the shelves. But it took one signature fragrance and offered a variation of products outside of its jar-candle comfort zone. “Sweet Grace is our signature scent,” said Janet Rosman, director of brand development for Grace Management. The company developed a collection of different size, shape and color variations in the fragrance that has really taken off.
Gifts, apparel and the like
When it comes to gifts — apparel and jewelry especially — beauty is in the eye of the beholder. For Julio Designs, graphics and hometown pride were big sellers, among its line of jewelry. Hometown pride, a theme that resonates with a lot of companies found at the show. Ohio-based My State Threads put together a spirited booth to showcase its state t-shirts, glasses and coasters. An effort that earned it a Best Visual Presentation award for team spirit.
Over the course of our time in Dallas, we’ve come to some valuable realizations. This industry is so full of passion, so full of art and so full of a je ne sais quoi that’s intoxicating and contagious. The companies are exuberant about their product lines; shoppers who ferociously forage all the must-haves for their store; and an excited Dallas Market Center team, who provides useful seminars with knowledgeable hosts, an easily accessible show floor encompassed in multiple buildings, and, of course, another wildly successful ARTS Awards presentation that allowed us to gather and honor all the hard work that goes into a show on every level.