Atlanta Gets Gift Market Off to Good Start

Wintersong Hostess Tray by Wendell August

Wintersong Hostess Tray by Wendell August

ATLANTA-Retailers began descending on AmericasMart days before the International Gift & Home Furnishings Market even began last week, providing at least a psychological boost to the first trade show of the winter gift fair circuit. Many vendors reported that business continued to be good throughout the week. The show wraps up tomorrow, Jan. 18.

“The show’s been great,” said Kim Livengood, marketing manager for Tervis. “We had people here the day before the show even opened. The new items are being very well received.”

Like many other tabletop and gift vendors, Tervis fine-tuned the mix that it first presented in New York last October before presenting it to the audience here. But it also added licensed properties to its collection of thermal tumblers. Designs from new licenses Star Wars, NASCAR and Peanuts made their debut here.

Elements, a division of Lifetime Brands, introduced new fountain garden designs, decorative ceramics with mottled and lustre finishes in several colorways, and more embellished lighting. Melannco, the company’s frame division, launched highly decorative metal collages with jewels, stamping, marbles and other add-ons.

Atlanta also served as a launch pad for brands, both new and revitalized.

Wedgwood launched its Wedgwood & Bentley brand of high-end, limited distribution giftware pieces. The decorative works of art feature the iconic designs Wedgwood is known for, including a line of Queensware and several black basalt figures. Minton dinnerware, 24K gold-banded archival patterns that retail for around $500 per dinner plate, are also part of the collection.

Belleek used the Atlanta show to highlight its more modern designs to the U.S. market. The Ireland-based company, which now has an American division led by industry veteran Bill Follett, featured its Aran dinnerware, whose design calls to mind the intricate patterns of Irish handknitting. The company shared space with The Zrike Company in Building 2. “Having the space here is a step forward for us to get inroads in this marketplace,” Follett said. The company is looking to expand its distribution to mid- and upper-tier department stores as well as specialty independents.

Colonial Candle, a division of Midwest-CBK now owned by MVP Group International, has been completely revamped, and it unveiled new products, new formulations, new candle formats, new packaging and new fixturing programs.

And Wendell August, an aluminum giftware company that’s been around since the 1920s, made its debut to the wholesale community. The company, based in Grove City, Pa., has five retail stores, in Pennsylvania, Ohio and North Carolina. Showcasing its wares – beautifully intricate platters and serving pieces with nature-inspired designs – in the Made in America section of the Temporaries “is a dream come true,” said President Will Knecht.