Service of Display
January 31st, 2013
One of the owners of a favorite gift store, Lilli and Loo in Hudson, NY, once told me that she bought most of her stock at the New York International Gift Fair. As I strolled the halls of the Javits Center where over 2,000++ exhibitors strutted their stuff I was reminded how physically daunting it is to do this show justice, what an overwhelming road retailers must follow to fill their stores with wonderful things and at the same time how amazing it is that they can visit one place and see so much from here and around the world in a few days.
The Internet is a miracle but there’s nothing like seeing and feeling fabulous things.
Don’t be surprised if Aunt Poll shows up for dinner sporting a temporary tattoo. There were numerous glittery ones, faux watches and much more.
Expect to see a flourishing number of paper placemats in pads with all sorts of motifs.
In the home textiles section the bed ensemble patterns were subtle and colors muted with a few exceptions. If you wanted hot colors and patterns there were some from Jonathan Adler Designs, Roberta Freyman collection for Roberta Roller Rabbit, BlissLiving Home, Libeco and Pine Cone Hill [photo at right].
Are mustaches a motif to watch for? I loved The Rise & Fall‘s pillow cases [photo above].
I was puzzled by some exhibitors who inadvertently hid their names: One Lucite logo was unintelligible against its background; another company neglected to take into account the size of the booth and installed a tiny sign high up and almost hidden behind merchandise.
Speaking of hiding, a well known brand concealed some of its pieces in makeshift rooms so visitors had to commit to entering to see the displays. As this is a company that manufactures inexpensive takeoffs of more expensive looks, the sense of secrecy was a puzzle.
I’m amazed at how many manufacturers forget that they are marketing to retailers for whom the visual is essential. At the least they should spend the money to hire a merchandiser/stylist. Jamming everything that they stock in a booth using tired, unimaginative displays is not an effective way to catch a person’s eye especially when there’s so much else to see.
I remember a fellow slumped on a folding chair surrounded by knife sets in lackluster storage cases that dated from the 1960s. Placing the cases at a slight slant so you could see what was inside would help and designing wonderful boxes to house the classic knives would help even more!
I took note of some of the spectacular displays. Great lighting helped especially the smaller booths. You may want to check out the websites as I also admired their products.
- The sun appeared to shine on Mary Lake Thompson‘s garden. The artist decorated napkins, paper placemats, towel sets and more with bees in hives and flowers on bright, white, crisp cotton ironed to perfection.
- You couldn’t miss Daisy Hill‘s napkins, round straw placements and napkin rings for its graphic display that would translate to a retail space and transfix shoppers.
- From Japan, Craftholic‘s stuffed soft creatures stole my heart. You could learn a lot about display and simplicity from the exhibitors in the Japanese Pavilion–Craftholic joined the JETRO exhibition area as well. It included standouts such as Maison Koichiro Kimura.
- Bloembox in a teensy space with diminutive boxes topped by silk flowers [with seeds inside] mesmerized me.
- There was genius at work on the Pinch Provisions booth. This was a large space selling personal care kits the size of an iPhone. You couldn’t miss the handsome oversize black and white wallpaper pattern backing the booth and curiosity drew you to the counter with the small kits.
- Pearhead‘s animal shaped frames and the charming crocheted Maileg characters [below] were artfully on parade.
- And there was so much more.
Does wonderful merchandise overcome poor display? Will great display help sell lackluster merchandise? Are you doomed if you don’t have both? Have you ever thanked a retailer for selecting a creative assortment of goodies that are a joy to see and to gift?