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Sunday, August 9, 2009

SF Gift Fair - just a shell of its former self

Yesterday my husband Bill and I went to the San Francisco Gift Fair to look for items for our miniature (dollhouse) business. We create nature and ethnic art and sell them at miniature consumer shows. The SF show has shrunk so much that it didn't fill even one of Moscone's two exhibit halls and there was very little traffic. One of the dealers (lotion manufacturer) commented to me that they were surprised that any dealers came back because the February SF show was so bad. She said that the Los Angles show is also hurting but did say that they did really well at the last Atlanta Show but not as good as in previous Atlanta shows.

While looking for items that we can adapt for dollhouses, I always keep my eyes open for trends in the giftware market and also what's new in licensed products. There wasn't much to see at this show because the only licensee that had a booth was Peking Handicraft (they are a SF based company) and even the few distributors present had downsized their booths so much that they had only a tiny sampling of products from each of their manufactures. The main Christmas themes shown were santas and snowmen. I guess it's true that manufacturers are staying with the tried and true motifs. There were a lot of images of Barack Obama on pillows, purses, and clothing. Robot images were on t-shirts, puzzles and toys. Browns, muted reds and oranges were prevalent for home decor and clothing. The only bright colors I saw were used in glass products (vases, ornaments, etc.) or dime store products. Note: We don't go to the offsite permanent showrooms because there are few manufacturers or distributors that carry licensed products or suitable for our miniature business.

We also toured the Gourmet Housewares Show that ran in conjunction with the Gift Fair. It had quite a few tabletop booths but none with licensed art. Most tabletop had none or very little art on them and ranged from bright fiesta ware colors to white.

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