Vintage Mercantile

Gift Shop Plus Fall 2021
Making a Splash By Regina Molaro

There’s a wave of interest in coastal and lake themed items as Americans return to entertaining

Many people yearn for the sense of serenity they experience after a day spent lake- or beach-side. Coastal areas and relaxing lake destinations have always been top spots for getaways — and during the pandemic, many found solitude and ample breathing space in America’s rural regions. With more of a return to normalcy in recent months, there’s also been an uptick in entertaining, both indoors and out.

“Homeowners yearn to be close to nature. The pandemic has reacquainted us with the outdoors. Outdoor living rooms have become popular spots for gathering,” said Jennifer Livingston, senior designer, DEMDACO—a gift manufacturer in Leawood, Kansas.

Destinations - Make It Yours Collection
Destinations – Make It Yours from DEMDACO

Consumers continue to update and improve their indoor and outdoor spaces. “The home has become a sanctuary. People are surrounding themselves with items that bring them joy, are multi-purpose and offer functional living,” said Katie McEachern, art department supervisor, Willow Street Designs by dei — a gift, home and seasonal manufacturer in Yarmouthport, Massachusetts.

Cabana 19 has seen an upswing in demand for coastal. “Customers yearn to surround themselves in feel-good gifts and accessories from the beach. They’re loving anything made locally that exudes good vibes and are happy to be out shopping and decorating again,” said Kristen Winters, owner, Cabana 19 — a shop in Red Bank, New Jersey.

Coral Snow Globe
Coral Snow Globe from CoolSnowGlobes

New for 2022

An array of home items are launching. Top-selling items offer practicality. Shatterproof bamboo serve ware and stemless acrylic glasses are moving off shelves.

Ships Insulated Wine Glass
Ships Insulated Wine Glass from About Face Designs

“I love quirky accents — a rope mirror or playful appetizer plates that reflect our sense of humor and optimism,” said DEMDACO’s Livingston.

Blue Octopus Pillow
Blue Octopus Pillow from C&F Home

C&F Home, a textile, décor and gift company in Newport News, Virginia, is launching a mix-and-match collection of linens. It features woven, applique, felt and printed-placemats, runners and napkins.

Oyster Napkin & Knife Set
Oyster Napkin & Knife Set from Mud Pie

As for themes, octopuses and blueberries are on the rise at C&F Home. Mud Pie, a gift manufacturer in Stone Mountain, Georgia, is showing sand dollars, starfish, sea urchins, sea glass and oyster shells.

A Beach House Journal
R and R, A Beach House Journal from Journals Unlimited

Color palettes are presenting sea blue, royal blues mixed with whites and neutrals, and sea greens. DEMDACO’s Livingston referenced color authority Pantone’s forecast for illuminating yellow, which expresses life, vivacity and positivism. Materials include driftwood, metal, jute and shell.

Wooden Coastal Dangle Plaque
Wooden Coastal Dangle Plaque from Kurt S. Adler

C&F Home also captures the relaxation and rustic sensibility of the lake/retreat lifestyle. At Mud Pie, checks and ticking stripes are mingling with boats, bass, canoes, oars, trucks and pups.

There’s also demand for customization, personalization and local pride. DEMDACO’s Make It Yours collection enables personalized and customized drinkware, coasters, wall art and frames. There are more than 1,500 designs in its art library.

Next year, DEMDACO will introduce seasonal designs, which will provide retailers with more merchandising options.

Showing Off

Creative displays are an ideal way to capture customers. Retailers are encouraged to fuse colors, patterns and textures to create dynamic presentations. Many themes can be cross merchandised.

Floral Art Print
Floral Print Art from Amanda Klein Co.

DEMDACO’s Livingston advised retailers to bring in props that set the tone and help consumers visualize the product in a space that aligns with their homes. She encouraged them to explore white-on-white, natural woods and shells.

Lake Life Print Braided Placemat
Lake Life Print Braided Placemat from Design Imports

She also suggested working with cotton braided cord, which can carry the coastal theme into the presentation. “Tie anything that is boxed or roll and tie tees, tea towels and hoodies. It’s a simple way to bring the display together and offer gift-ready items,” concluded Livingston.

Retailers are advised to create stories that are relevant to their specific regions. If your local beaches are known for sea glass, display sea glass jewelry with sea glass home décor.

Fashion Focused

At Town Pride, there’s demand for Made in the USA, feel-good fabrics and materials that offer extra benefits such as UPF—Ultraviolet Protection Factor.

Town Pride Custom Tumblers
Custom Tumblers from Town Pride

The Yarmouth, Maine-based company’s fashion categories are brimming with starfish, octopuses, rowboats and paddleboards, mermaids, oars, anchors, whales, surf vans, sharks, tie-dye and melted tie-dye. Newer innovations in embroidery such as 3D “pop” embroidery and textured printing are being customized for specific locations.

Custom Sweet Tie Dye Crewneck
Custom Sweet Tie Dye Crewneck from Town Pride

For 2022, Town Pride will unveil more custom apparel including sweaters, onesies and jewelry fashioned from eco-conscious materials such as plant-based plastic. It will also roll out coastal themed notepads, notecards and wrapping paper.

Lake Tahoe Pillow
Lake Tahoe Pillow from catstudio


Regina Molaro

Regina Molaro is a freelance writer who covers art and design, fashion,beauty, and home décor. She can be reached at

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Gift Shop Plus Spring 2024 has arrived, and it couldn't be a more gorgeous issue! 🌷 Cover to cover, this edition is packed with the latest trends to help guide business as you begin to think about the next buying cycle in just a few months. "Radiance, Redefined" (page 54) introduces four jewelry makers, unveiling the freshest trends in the market. To learn which eco-conscious companies are launching collections that positively impact the planet, flip to "Green-Living Essentials" on page 62. We're also thrilled to introduce a new category for us at the magazine: Sports & Tailgating. Head to page 66 to read about products that will elevate the tailgating experience and learn how to merchandise for the NFL's budding demographic. Also in this issue is our Stationery Lookbook, Halloween & Fall Décor feature and dozens of the freshest product offerings. Read our Spring 2024 issue here:📸 courtesy of Océanne. ... See MoreSee Less
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