CHICAGO–Next month’s International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market, which will be held Sept. 20-23 at the Chicago Merchandise Mart, will feature HGTV’s John Gidding; editors from national, consumer home and garden publications; and a selection of other complimentary educational and networking events for exhibitors and attendees.
Gidding will present this year’s Casual Market keynote presentation, entitled “Turn Up the Curb Appeal for Great Outdoor Spaces.” In his talk, Gidding will speak about today’s trends and the importance of accessories to enhance outdoor spaces. The keynote presentation will take place on Thursday, Sept. 20 at 3 p.m.
A new addition to this year’s show is a Consumer Media Panel Session which will include Kit Selzer, of Better Homes & Gardens; Jodi Bech, of Garden Design; Amy Elbert, from Traditional Home; Amy Mitchell, Coastal Living; and Eugenia Santiesteban Soto, from Veranda. The session, “Inspired Exteriors: Consumer Media Panel,” will take place on Friday, Sept. 21 at 10 a.m.
On Thursday, Sept. 20 at 11 a.m., first time market attendees will have the opportunity to gain tips on how to make the most of this year’s show at the “First Time Attendee Welcome Gathering.”
Also, on Thursday, Sept. 20, the “Market Welcome Party” is scheduled, where exhibitors and show-goers can enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres as well as network with fellow industry professionals from 6-7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 22 features two events: At 9:30 a.m., retailers can learn merchandising strategies, techniques and tips on a budget. This seminar, “Five Budget-Friendly Ways to Refresh, Revitalize & Renovate Your Patio Store NOW!” is offered by Hearth & Home magazine and presented by Linda Cahan, visual merchandising expert.
Then, beginning at 1:30 p.m., Casual Living magazine will host a panel of experts who have successfully used social media to build brand awareness. During “Proven Social Media Success for Home Furnishings Businesses” panelists will share insights on where to focus efforts in the rapidly evolving world of social media.
Two awards events will be held at Casual Market. The ICFA Awards Reception will highlight the presentation of the Design Excellence Category Award winners and announcement of the Lillian B. Winchester “Best of Show” Award. The ICFA Sales Representative of the Year Award will also be presented along with the coveted Manufacturer of the Year Award. Hosted by the ICFA, this year’s awards reception will take place on Friday, Sept. 21, from 6:30-8 p.m., at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Ballroom. This event is for ICFA members and invited guests.
The Apollo Awards Banquet, celebrating the influential contributions made by industry leaders, will take place on Saturday, Sept. 22, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Field Museum. This event is by invitation only and tickets are required.