Archive for the ‘Trade Show’ Category

Service of Mood Change: NYNow and Then

Monday, February 13th, 2017

Witloft leather apron

Witloft leather apron

 

What a difference a market—or six months—makes. It’s as though a shade came down over the gift show—called NYNow—my overall impression of exhibited products was such a dramatic gear shift last week from last August.

I’d characterize what I just saw as visually quiet, matte in texture, mostly natural colors—lots of gray–and booths filled with linen, cotton, wood, ceramics, straw or products made to imitate them. Patterns were tribal-inspired. The few vibrant colors, flamboyant patterns and sparkles jarred.

Last week we were at the farm; last summer we prepared for an elegant party.

Walter GWhen I wrote about my last visit in “Service of What You Might Get For Your Birthday,” I was taken by the abundance of shiny things–highly polished stainless steel, aluminum, copper, platinum and some gold and silver tableware.

The reason for the shift could be timing. In August exhibitors/manufacturers are thinking of winter and holiday decor while a winter market dresses stores with summer goods. But glorious hot days can also call for all things sunny, crisp, clean and bright—they weren’t.

As always I warn that my impressions are made from largely visiting the Home section which represents relatively few exhibitors vs the whole, though I cover the same area year after year.

A few examples.

Fog Linen Work’s aprons, table linens and clothing, designed by Yumiko Sekine Farmhouse potteryfrom Lithuanian linen, epitomize the simple, natural style I described above as do Witloft saddle leather aprons from Amsterdam [Photo above] and pieces of Farmhouse Pottery from Vermont [Photo right].

One company, Couleur Nature Paris, true to its name, offered more than earth colors. It looks to the garden for inspiration but there was nothing glossy about its tea towels, tablecloths, market baskets and glassware.

I’ve previously written about washable, resilient, stretched and tanned paper totes and sacks. This market there were several in this category. The ones that caught my eye were by Bsimple Creations [Photo below, center]. An Italian brand, Essent’ial, featured paper slipcovers, an introduction for ecoitalystore.com.

hapticlab-sailing-ship-kite-white_d246919f-094e-4480-abb4-a4bd3ef17de1_grandeI was charmed by the handmade sailing ship kites in the Hapticlab booth [Photo left]. They were made, according to the website, “in collaboration with Balinese artisans exclusively for Haptic Lab from locally-sourced bamboo and nylon.” You can also display them as a mobile.

Some of Middle Kingdom’s porcelain vases at the show appeared to be a departure from the spring colors on their website. Oversized pieces with a tribal, ikat motif—especially the ones in a curry color—commanded the booth. Walter G’s hand block printed indigo and white textiles, cushions and napkins are designed by owners Genevieve Hewson and Lauren Emerson in Australia and made in collaboration with artisans from Rajasthan. [Photo above, left.]

Honest wood bowls, boards and accessories filled much of the Javits real estate. Peterman’s Boards and Bowls was just one.

The exhibitors hail from around the world. To what do you attribute such a change in mood to inspire this drastic shift in style or am I overdramatizing standard seasonal fashion tweaks and trends?

Bsimple CreationsBsimple Creations’ tote in treated paper

 

Service of It’s in the Cards

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

Ceiling of new subway station near Javits Center--No. 7 extension

Ceiling of new subway station near Javits Center–No. 7 extension

As I left the National Stationery Show at the Javits Center last week I stopped to speak with a guard to ask him whether he was worried about the thousands of wonderfully designed and illustrated cards for sale at a time in which people are writing less and mailing fewer and fewer greetings. I’d counted well over 300 companies in the program’s greeting card category. Some booths exhibited hundreds of options and others about 30. You do the math. 

“I send cards to my grandmother and mother,” he said. “Don’t worry. Lots of people mail cards.” 

I’m still concerned especially for what seemed to be the majority ofletterpress machine small booths that sell pricey, letterpress printed missives. I’ve noticed, in NYC at least, fewer shops which offer these cards at costs in the $6-$10/range and increasing numbers of greeting cards at lower price points in drug and grocery stores.

As I’ve written in previous posts, I adore paper—the scent and texture—and I also like to send greeting cards and display those people send to me. [Easter cards still decorate a shelf in my apartment.]

 A few of the things I enjoyed at the stationery show:  

  • Three blue birdsThe Swedish dishcloths from Three Blue Birds. I first saw this company’s wares last year at a craft show in New Paltz and gave away many as gifts. I spoke with the designer who said it was his first commercial show and he was pleased with the reception to his cloths that are printed in Connecticut.
  • The quilling on cards sold by Massachusetts-based Quilling Card is done in Viet Nam. A quick look at Wikipedia tells us that the art of rolling, gluing and shaping strips of paper at varying widths has been around since the Renaissance at least.
  • I saw the hip, glittery cards, made in NYC by Verrier [photo right], at theVerrier greeting cards show and also for sale at a kiosk in Grand Central Station.
  • Running water made me look at Rite in the Rain out of Tacoma, Wash. A special coating achieves a moisture shield on the paper so you can, as its name implies, write in the rain!  

Should I worry about the stationery business or do you think that there will always be wonderful cards and stationery products and enough people to send them?  Do you have favorite places to buy cards? Do you no longer send them? 

 

Cursive in Grand Central Station, NYC

Cursive in Grand Central Station, NYC

 

 

Service of Eye-Catching Gifts

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

 

Qlocktwo wall clock

Qlocktwo wall clock

 

I’ve highlighted some of the products that caught my eye at NY Now that ended this week. I’ve covered this tradeshow since well before the International Gift Show changed its name. I’d need more than a day to see everything and I was there only four hours hence the warning: This list is imperfect.

QLocktwo wall clocks by Biegert & Funk  [photo above] were showstoppers. The handsome clocks tell time in words: “It is ten to eight,” for example. The sales rep said they are made in Germany and Switzerland. The exhibit was clearly so popular that the staff had run out of marketing materials. I noticed that there were plenty of other timepieces at the show both to wear and display, a curious trend given the universality of smartphones, computers, laptops, tablets, automobiles and televisions all of which also display the time.

A French company, Cookut, introduced Creazy, a cup that you shake to make whippedRenova toilet paper cream in less than a minute. The secret: Three multi-faceted silicone beads. I stopped to admire myrenova’s toilet paper in juicy colors such as Marigold, magenta and lime. At the Ameico booth grownups had fun coloring a 71 x 39-inch coloring wall by OMY Design & Play.

Richard Upchurch founded and runs a two year old Brooklyn-based company, Brandnewnoise. He hand makes voice recorders and sound gadgets in his Red Hook studio.

sagegreenlife Edelwhite hydroponic gardenAt another booth I inspected the hanging indoor hydroponic garden, Edelwhite, made possible by sagegreenlife, [photo left], and had to touch Craft Advisory’s bubble wrap-like glass bowl [photo below] to confirm it wasn’t the real thing.

In the category of familiar if mislaid brands—I’ve not seen Louis Sherry chocolates in stores for years—I was glad that the 135 year old brand continues to sell its sweets in its traditional purple boxes [as well as boxes in other designs/colors]. My mother kept knickknacks in a kitchen drawer in a Louis Sherry tin box.

Whether or not you like to go shopping for gifts what catches your eye: Color, function, pattern, originality, or something else? With time evident from countless devices around us, to what do you attribute the burst of timepieces offered to the marketplace?

 Craft Advisory glassware

Craft Advisory glassware

 

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