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Sunday, April 8, 2018

Art Licensing Editorial: AmericasMart - Videos on Atlanta Gift Show Products and Trends


The following article is mainly aimed at artists new to the art licensing industry and those that are interested in viewing products at the AmericasMart in Atlanta where the Atlanta Gift Shows are held. 

Artists and art agents are always searching for manufacturers that license art.  One way is to attend trade shows where manufacturers sell their products to stores (internet, retail, gift, etc.), organizations, and more.  It is an excellent way to find manufacturers that license art even though not all manufacturers exhibiting at these shows do.  Often manufacturer art directors attend the larger shows especially those shows that have permanent showrooms. Thus, those are the shows that most artists and art-licensing agents attend so they can connect with the art directors.

AmericasMart
The largest gift trade show in the United States is located at the AmericasMart in Atlanta, Georgia. It has two gift and home furnishing shows each year in January and July.  The dates for the next shows are July 10 - 16, 2018 and January 8 - 15, 2019. The Mart consists of three buildings with 15, 18, or 23 stories that are accessed by elevators, escalators, stairs, and enclosed walkways from one building to another.  It has more than 1400 permanent showrooms and about 2500 temporary booths during a show.

Artists and agents that attend the Atlanta show are able to approach companies (manufacturers and distributors*) for contact information, meet with art licensing directors to show art for licensing consideration, get inspiration by looking at all the products, and view what art themes and colors are trending. Because the show is a wholesale trade show for buyers, artists/agents are only allowed to attend if they qualify for the AmericasMarts admission policy. Artists/agents can qualify by being a guest of a company exhibiting at the show**, a guest of a retail buyer attending the show, a buyer if the artist owns a business and qualifies as a buyer, or as press/media (some bloggers have been able to quality). To find out more about qualifying, read “Admission Policy” and “Press Credentials".
*  A distributor is a company that manufactures hire to promote and sell their products.
** A company that is exhibiting at the show normally is willing to get the artist/agent a badge if she/he has licensed their art with them.

Showrooms, Products, and Trends
The Mart showrooms on most floors have floor-to-ceiling glass windows that showcase an amazing number of “eye-candy” products. A person walking down hallways on the many floors in the Mart can quickly get sensory overload!   Below is a list of short videos from the 2015, 2017, and 2018 Atlanta Shows.  Numerous products and trends are shown in the videos. Make sure that you check the date the video was published so that you know that the art may not be the latest trend. However, some art is popular year after year and is still very licensable.  Not all manufactures in the videos license art.  Although, viewing the products is still helpful to spot what is popular for products, art design, texture, and color.

•  “Gift at AmericasMart” promotion for the 2018 July gift show. Six videos with interviewers Brian Patrick Flynn and Patti Carpenter.

1. "High Design, Gourmet, & On-Trend” Join Brian Patrick Flynn for some favorite picks from the High Design, Gourmet, and On Trend floors at AmericasMart.

2.  "Terri Schuver from American Made Collective” Patti Carpenter caught up with Terri Schuver and other artists from American Made Collective to talk about the trend of American-made and about how some artists achieve their unique spin.

3.  "Tamra Bryant from Creative Co-Op” Patti Carpenter caught up with Tamra Bryant from Creative Co-Op to talk about the new Pure theme, among other new product trend releases.

4.  "Robin Goad with Waterford” Patti Carpenter caught up with Robin Goad from to discuss how millennials can be brought into the high-end table top market.

5.  "Michael Brezicky with Kitchen2Table” Patti Carpenter caught up with Michael Brezicky to discuss how millennials can be brought into the high-end table top market.

6.  " Ellen Fruchtman from Mud Pie” Patti Carpenter caught up with Ellen Fruchtman from Mud Pie to find out what is going on in terms of experiential engagement to create inspiration for attendees.

• 2018 January Show
– "Live from the Show Floor: Gift" - Published on Feb 26, 2018

– "Creative Co-Op Seasonal 2018" - Published on Dec 26, 2017

• 2017 January Show
– "RAZ Imports Christmas 2017 Glimpse of the line 720page" - Published on Jan 19, 2017

– "Creative Co-Op Showroom Sneak Peek: Traditions 2017" - Published on Dec 20, 2016

– "Creative Co-op Showroom: Home Dec 2017" - Published on Dec 29, 2016

• 2015 January and July Shows
– "The World of Gift" - Published on Aug 28, 2015

– "Spotted at AmericasMart Atlanta" - Published on Jan 20, 2015

Your comments are welcome. Click on the comments section (below) to write your comment. Note: Some people have a problem in leaving a comment. The most successful method is to comment as Name/URL (your name and website or blog with a "complete" URL address. For example: http://www.joanbeiriger.com/

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Art Licensing Editorial: January 2018 Atlanta Gift Market Success & Trends

Although attendance at the January 2018 Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishing Market at AmericasMart Atlanta seemed to be down from last year, manufacturer exhibitors that I spoke to were VERY satisfied with sales.  In fact, AmericasMart vice chairman, Jeffrey L. Portman, Sr in the article “AmericasMart January 2018 Market Sees Steady Pace of buying Power and Optimism” stated that "What we’ve seen, heard and experienced over eight days of nonstop buying and selling is unprecedented in recent U.S. wholesale trade history. This show marks the restoration of business confidence and hope for the future.”

It is easy to believe that sales at the Atlanta Show were up because holiday retail purchases were up 4.9% and retailers needed to replenish their merchandize. The article “2017 Holiday Retail Spending Up 4.9%” stated that the 2017 holiday season was the largest year-over-year gain since 2011. No wonder Jeffery Portman in the previous paragraph said that the Atlanta Show had a steady pace of buying power and optimum.  And, this surge in sales is VERY good news for artists that license their art. Not only will artist's licensing revenue increase as the manufactures sell more products but manufacturers will need more art for their products.

Read “2017 Holiday Spending Season to See Strong Growth, Finds ETA and The Strawhecker Group 2017 Holiday Spending Report Card” on the reason for the 2017-spending surge.

• Pantone Color of the Year
Last December Pantone Color Institute announced that Ultra Violet is the 2018 Color of the Year.  Pantone is a color consulting company that chooses a color each year that symbolizes design trends and cultural mood. According to Pantone, "A dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade, PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future.”  Note: Ultra violet color on products at Atlanta was not prominent. But, since the color was just announced it was too early to see if manufacturers will be selecting art with it for their products.  The use of color on products depends upon the art theme and product type. So ultra violet will not be appropriate for all.

• Trends
Atlanta had so many trends at this show that it was hard to keep track of them.  Of course, themes that are consistently good sellers for products were on all kinds of products.  They include flowers, butterflies, pets, seashells, anchors, roosters, pumpkins, fall leaves, turkeys, Santa Claus, snowmen, pinecones, and much more.

The most prevalent theme was words/phrases and quotes on every type of product imaginable.  Vintage campers and trucks were also on a large variety of products.  The lake theme is increasing in popularity as well as honeybees.  The popularity of farm themes is immense. And, flamingos are very popular with the coastal theme.

The newest animal that is replacing the popularity of the fox and hedgehog is the Llama. It was on all sorts of products at Atlanta.  Note: I kind of "scratched my head" on why a South American animal is so popular in the US even though it is very cute. That was until I read on Wikipedia that Llamas are becoming well known In North America since there are now over 158,000 of them living in the US and Canada.  Llamas are used as pack animals in the Rocky Mountain National Park, livestock guards for sheep, and for their wool. Lamas are intelligent and friendly and make good pets IF they are trained not to spit.

Another huge trend is the advent of cactus and succulent on products. With the ease of indoor care and the popularity of bringing the outdoors in, it is not surprising that cactus and succulents are popular.  Figurines of cactus and succulents as well as wall art, rugs, pillows and tabletop were in many Atlanta showrooms.

There was not one trend that seemed to be prevalent in all the showrooms that had Christmas themes except buffalo plaid (see below for the discussion about buffalo plaid).  Some showcased Santa’s, or snowmen, or elves, or reindeer, or moose, etc. icons. The large Christmas themed showrooms had vignettes of a variety of individual icons.

Below are pictures and discussions on the tends of words/phrases/quotes, buffalo plaid, vintage trucks and campers, animal head art, farm, coastal, nautical, and lake/camping themes seen at the Atlanta Show.


– Words/Phrases/Quotes
At the 2017 Atlanta Gift Show, phrases on plaques and other products was featured in numerous showrooms.  And, at this show the phrase only theme (no art) was even more widespread with many new companies exhibiting at Atlanta that sold products with phrases. However, the use of words, phrases and quotes WITH ART was also on every kind of product imaginable as illustrated by all the pictures of manufacturer displays in this article.  Note: I received permission to photograph all the displays shown in this article.

Hand lettering of words, phrases and quotes is very popular. All kinds of commercial fonts including hand lettering are available on the Internet for sale and some are free.  However, even if they are labeled for commercial use that means they can be used in licensing, you should make sure from the seller that they can be legally used in your licensable art.  The term commercial use does not necessarily have the same meaning for everyone.


– Buffalo Plaid
The red and black check plaid has been used for blankets and shirts in the US for over 100 years.   In the late 1800’s, the Scot "Big Jock MacCluskey" introduced the plaid to America.  He bartered his Tartan woven blankets for buffalo pelts from the Sioux and Cheyenne, which they named "buffalo plaid.”  Read "Buffalo Plaid’s 100-year-old Mysteries, Finally Solved” for more information on the history of buffalo plaid.

Since 1916 when mythological lumberjack Paul Bunyan made his movie debut while wearing a buffalo plaid shirt, buffalo plaid became the symbol of America's rough and rugged wildness.  Buffalo plaid is often used as accessories on lodge themed products.

In the last couple of years, the buffalo plaid design has been seen on lots of clothing (men and women) and other products such purses, totes, pillows and of course blankets. Last year the use of buffalo plaid escalated and were on all kinds of Christmas decorations and Christmas themed products including wall art, tabletop, pillows, and towels.

Note:  Although the nickname" buffalo plaid" for the tartan red/black check design was not used at the time, the red/black checked tartan design has been produced for men’s shirts by Woolrich Woolen Mills since approximately 1850.  For more information, read "A brief history of buffalo plaid”.


– Vintage Trucks/Campers
Vintage pickup trucks has been slowly appearing on mostly harvest themed gift products in the last few years. However, recently they popped up on numerous themes besides harvest such as Christmas, Halloween, farm, lake, camping, gardening, and anything outdoors.

Vintage campers also started slowly for lake and camping themes but at Atlanta they were used on products for many other themes.  See the above picture that has fall truck and camper products.


 – Animal Head Art
One of the most prevalent themes seen at Atlanta was animal heads on various products such as mugs, plates, etc.  But it seemed that if an exhibitor had a pillow line the design on the pillows were animal faces.  They consisted of wild animals, woodland animals, horses, farm animals, dogs, and llamas.



– Farm
Vintage farm themes on products were also widespread.  Many of the products had farm sayings on them such as “Farm Fresh” without art and with art.  Chickens, roosters, cows and pigs are the most popular farm theme images.


– Coastal
The coastal theme last year was VERY strong.  It was not this year as nautical and lake themes took over.  Turquoise and coral colors for the coastal theme are still popular. Flamingos are VERY popular but the popularity of mermaids have severely dropped from last year.


 –Nautical
There were more nautical themed products than coastal at Atlanta.  Art with anchors seem to be the stable icon for nautical themes.  Blue and red colors on an off-white background were the most prevalent.


– Lake/Camping
Lake and camping theme trends are increasing.  Phrases related to lakes, rowboats and canoes with wooden docks on water and trees in the background are popular for lake themes.   Phrases related to camping, vintage campers, tents, and outdoor cooking are popular for camping themes.

• Related Articles
-  "Art Licensing Editorial - 2017 January Atlanta Gift & Home Furnishings Market Trends / Record-Breaking Attendance

– "Art Licensing Editorial - 2016 January Atlanta Market Trends

Your comments are welcome. Click on the comments section (below) to write your comment. Note: Some people have a problem in leaving a comment. The most successful method is to comment as Name/URL (your name and website or blog with a "complete" URL address. For example: http://www.joanbeiriger.com/