Spring 2015
Party Pleasers: What hosts and hostesses are looking to have in-house in 2015 By Leigh Jajuga

Everyday is a celebration, and with that in mind, retailers need to remain on-trend to keep their customers prepared for any party.

“The way to impress during that special event is presenting décor that is unique and creative in its coordination,” said Colin Littler, marketing director for Design Design.

While gold-foil printed products have carried over from last season’s party trends and are fast becoming a décor classic, customers are seeking the latest product lines and accessories to customize their events. New for entertainers in 2015 is a plethora of recently developed items designed to showcase any host/hostesses’ on-trend creativity.

Gift Shop was able to sit down with a mixture of retailers, designers and manufacturers to talk about which new party essentials are being sought-after this year and which products are imperative for any host to create a milieu of amusement for their party.

Q: What are the essential items for entertainers, whether thorough planners or impromptu preparers, to have on-hand for décor, serveware and party favors?

“Keeping a stock of basic white serving pieces is ideal for the frequent entertainer. You can change up the look by using patterned linens, colored glassware and flowers.” — Kelly Lyden, WH Hostess

“Humor cocktail napkins and paper coasters add a perfect touch of humor or flare over drinks while dessert plates and beverage napkins are great for quick snacks, hors d’ oeuvres or sweets. These types of items are perfect for impromptu get-togethers since they are stylish and fun, but also affordable and easy to store.” — Colin Littler, Design Design

“Serveware: Speckled ceramic, variety of glassware and mini serveware.
“Décor: Anything illuminated, our seed lit items are really on-trend right now, vertical hanging items to add height.
“Favors: Trinket dishes — anything with a homemade feel. Grasslands’ new fillable favor boxes are perfect for homemade baked goods.” — Valerie Federici, Grasslands Road

“Pennant banners take décor up a notch. Mason jars continue to be an important trend in every style imaginable and themed party straws are a unique way to personalize a theme.” — Ellen Fruchtman, Mud Pie

Q: What are some new design trends that are great to incorporate into party décor?

“Gold foil popped into the entertaining market last year, and is still out there in a big way! Foil-stamped napkins, coasters, etc. add a touch of luxe elegance to any event and are offered in different price points in the market now.” — Kelly Lyden, WH Hostess

“Nordic inspired prints, neutrals with a pop of a single color, mix-and-match solids with prints.” — Valerie Federici, Grasslands Road

“Gold foils continue to be hot and mixing with fashionable design is sure to impress. Our popular Kenzie collection of paper tableware combines dot and stripe patterns in hot colors with impressive accents of real gold foil.” — Colin Littler, Design Design

“Calm, natural color palettes coordinate with all party décor, so they are worth the investment. We are also seeing lots of mixed media – marble/wood, wood/metal, wicker/ceramic that add interest and dimension to the table.” — Ellen Fruchtman, Mud Pie

Q: What are some innovative ideas coming out on the market for table setting?

“Kitchen papers — my favorites are from Hester & Cook Design Group — are so fun for setting a different tabletop from party to party. Paper placemats and table runners are a great way to change up the look of your table-setting.” — Kelly Lyden, WH Hostess

“Rustic charm — pitcher used as flower vase, lantern with candles or flowers and tied napkins with fresh herbs. Industrial luxe items that have a factory feel elevated with elegant gold trims.” — Valerie Federici, Grasslands Road

“Table-runners in a variety of patterns and fabrics, caddies to hold buffet silverware, and initials and personalization.” — Ellen Fruchtman, Mud Pie

Q: What items can a host/hostess have that will make their party environment special?

“Host a party around a tasting, whether it is chocolate, wine and cheese or beer. With the right accessories and table setup, you can wow your guests with your creative set-up, and it serves as an activity/ice breaker for your party. Stores are carrying an assortment of products that are perfect for tastings — small plates, flights of small glasses, etc.” — Kelly Lyden, WH Hostess

“Personalize it! Chalkboards are everywhere these days. Have a fun message for guests. Pick a theme and run with it, we offer a variety of tableware to inspire a fun theme party, our whimsical Enchanted Waters collection would be perfect for a “Snowed-in” beach party to get toasty during the winter months.” — Valerie Federici, Grasslands Road

“Buffet markers that indicate what the dish is (and who made it), place cards and a centerpiece that reflects the event theme.” — Ellen Fruchtman, Mud Pie

Q: What are some new products that may be smaller, but give great detail to your party décor?

“Don’t underestimate a cute toothpick/holders, spreaders, or dip/condiment holders that are fun and unique. Chalkboard signs and picks are also on-trend.” — Valerie Federici, Grasslands Road

“Guests will appreciate effort to coordinate items and tell a fantastic story. We offer unique sculpted birthday candles that coordinate with our paper tableware to add that extra layer of personalization. Cup décor and straw décor are also small accents that add a big impression. The key to memorable entertaining is truly in the details.” — Colin Littler, Design Design

“Themed party straws, cake toppers, votive candles, coasters and/or serving pieces with humorous sayings act as conversation starters.” — Ellen Fruchtman, Mud Pie

Q: What new party themes have you seen on the rise?

“I am seeing a lot of old Hollywood glamour in formal events lately, as well as classic, beautiful décor. Monochromatic parties are making a big splash, especially the ‘white’ parties. For kids’ parties, we always see trends based on favorite movies or books. In 2015, I predict ‘Paddington Bear’-themed parties and ‘Minecraft’ will be two of the big favorites.” — Kelly Lyden, WH Hostess

“Classic cocktails like Old Fashioneds and Mint Juleps are making a comeback, especially when they are made using crafted liquors from small batch distilleries. Consumers also have an increased interest in using appropriate glassware for cocktails and craft beer to optimize the flavor profile of the beverage. Extra points for nostalgic cocktails served on vintage bar carts. Beverage and food pairings, such as beer and bacon, and anything with locally sourced ingredients.” — Valerie Federici, Grasslands Road

Q: What are some great party favors to gift your guests?

“Edible party favors always receive rave reviews. Have your local bakery whip up some sugar cookies that coordinate with your theme, or bag up macaroons in a cellophane bag, tie it up with a bow and a cute gift sticker.” — Kelly Lyden, WH Hostess

“We have found that our Hankies are often used for favors. The broad range in artwork from fun and fashionable, to humorous, to elegant and sophisticated offers solutions for a broad range of events like showers, girls’ night or formal dinner parties. Affordable stationery items like fashion purse note pads and designer pens also make for great purse accessory items and are appreciated as a unique and thoughtful gift.” — Colin Littler, Design Design

Q: What gifts should guests be bringing to hosts’ or hostesses’ table this year?

“A personalized gift shows your host that your put thought into it — for a couple, personalized cocktail napkins or paper coaster set, for a woman, a beautiful set of personalized stationery. Edible gifts are always welcome, as well. A box of gorgeous truffles or a bottle of champagne is a classic choice.” — Kelly Lyden, WH Hostess

“Wine bags are cute, eco-friendly and make a last minute gift special — stock up. Mason jars are perfect for homemade goodies!” — Valerie Federici, Grasslands Road 

Q: Are there new entertaining trends that reflect social trends?

“I am seeing a lot of semi-homemade projects for entertaining out there these days. For example, buying cloth napkins to use over and over again but personalizing them by painting an initial on them or having them embroidered.” — Kelly Lyden, WH Hostess

“Thanks to Pinterest and Etsy, crafting is on the upswing, but for the not so crafty, consumers can buy the look. More and more people are gardening to save money and have the joy of fresh produce, whether it’s in the backyard or even herbs on the window sill. Grasslands Road has tons of fun and unique items for gardens big and small. Potlucks are a great way to entertain, while saving money and having fun, any kind of serveware that travels well is an A-plus.” — Valerie Federici, Grasslands Road

“Entertaining has extended from more traditional areas like the dining room to include the casual areas throughout the home like the kitchen, great room and the deck. We design our paper tableware collections accordingly by including solutions for both formal and casual occasions in a wide range of art styles.” — Colin Littler, Design Design

Q: What invitation trends have you been seeing in the industry?

“After a long cycle in recent years of people going digital, sending e-vites for invitations and text messages for thank you notes, we are starting to see the pendulum swing back towards printed items. A beautifully appointed invitation sets the tone for the celebration, and leaves no doubt in your guest’s mind that they were certainly not an afterthought. With so many online companies and gift stores that customize invitations and stationery, we encourage clients to take a few extra minutes and use snail mail!” — Kelly Lyden, WH Hostess

“Eco-friendly and recycled paper has continued to be on the upswing. Rustic/vintage design, minimalist typography — perhaps with some foil pressed gold touches — and watercolor inspired brush strokes are all very big this year.” — Valerie Federici, Grasslands Road

Leigh Jajuga





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