15796 Fri, 12/19/2008 - 12:04pm
By David Gill
Even with the rocky state of the U.S. consumer economy, the New York International Gift Fair (NYIGF) will take place in late January in a mood of “cautious optimism,” as expressed by show organizers GLM.
The gift fair is scheduled for Jan. 23 to 29 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, Passenger Ship Terminal Pier 94, 230 Fifth Ave. and 7 W New York, all in New York City. As usual, exhibitors include vendors of bed and bath textiles, table linens, kitchen textiles, towels, decorative accessories, area rugs, window treatments and decorative fabrics.
The show has received an added blessing from the New York City mayor’s office. Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued a proclamation earlier this month designating the two weeks in 2009 in which the gift fair will take place—late January and Aug. 14 to 20—as “Home Textiles Market Weeks” in the city.
Acknowledging that all of the home-textiles industry’s segments “are challenged in this current economy,” Dorothy Belshaw, director of the gift fair and senior vice president of GLM, said, “We will have 2,900-plus exhibitors, which is our maximum given the available exhibit space. We are receiving new attendee registrations daily, which is one indicator of attendance at market.”
GLM is currently anticipating that attendance at the gift fair will total more than 36,000, according to Belshaw. “But [we] expect that fourth-quarter sales results will dictate at-market attendance, as well as order writing,” she said.
The signs for the textiles segment in particular, going into the gift fair, are good, Belshaw added. “We feel good about the textiles category,” she said. “From the exhibitor side, we are welcoming a number of new textiles suppliers to the winter market, both at NYIGF and in the showrooms at 230 Fifth Ave. and 7 W. 34th St.—and we continue to receive new applications for exhibit space.”
Some of the exhibiting vendors said they share GLM’s positive outlook for the show. Paul Hooker, president of Sferra, said the company plans to present a license program with a well-known designer, who has yet to be named. “We feel the market will be ready to have something to look forward to and to get excited about, when everyone else is battening down the hatches,” Hooker said.
Pamela Kline, owner of Traditions by Pamela Kline, said she feels positive about the gift fair “because one has to feel positive in this climate.” Kline’s company plans to introduce “lots of new product” at the show. “In a down economy,” she said, “you have to be on your toes and bring products to entice people to buy. This isn’t the time to be cautious. You need to be innovative.”
Hooker said an upbeat mood is one way to combat the gloom and doom in today’s market. Sferra has “survived World War I, World War II, the Great Depression and every catastrophe since. We’ll survive this as well,” he said. “I’ve told everyone in my company that, now more than ever, we have to work harder and smarter than anyone else, and if we do, we’ll be fine.”