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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Art Licensing - 2014 Summer Gift Trade Shows

The gift industry trade shows/markets* normally start off each year with the huge Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market in early January at The AmericasMart followed by other regional shows across the U.S**. Then in June, the Dallas Total Home & Gift Market starts the summer season of gift shows, followed by the Atlanta show in July. The attendance at the summer shows has ALWAYS been smaller than the winter shows because retailers do not need to restock their inventory with as much merchandise. Most retailers sell at least one third of their merchandise during the Christmas buying season. And, as usual the lower attendance at both the summer Dallas and Atlanta shows transpired. Read below about several of the shows.

* Gift industry trade shows are for manufacturers to exhibit their products so that retailers can purchase them for their stores.

** Read "Gift Show Directory for 2014/2015" for the dates and links to websites for gift shows.

• Dallas
For me, it does not bode well about the success of a trade show when a report about the show starts out with the optimistic phrase "the mood is upbeat" as editor Caroline Kennedy for Gifts and Decorative Accessories wrote in "Direct from Market: Dallas". She stated that even though buyer traffic was down, business was brisk. And, according to her it's a good sign for the rest of the season.

However, art licensing agent Jim Marcotte of Two Town Studios had a different impression about the Dallas show. In his article "Dallas, Tell Me It Ain't So!" Jim states "While the Dallas show is not nearly the size of Atlanta, most of the big players have showrooms and the rest are represented somewhere in the buildings, so it’s a good place to get an early read on the market. What we did not expect was the language we kept hearing - evaluate, retrench, slow, reduce exposure, wait and see, soft market - all those words that strike fear into the hearts of designers and agents." That sounds depressing but do not give up about the success of the summer trade shows because Jim has better news to report about the Atlanta show :)

• Atlanta
The Gifts and Decorative Accessories (GDA) staff reported in their articles "Direct from Market: Atlanta July 2014", and "Direct from Market: Atlanta, Part 2" a steady flow of buyer traffic at the Atlanta Gift Show (July 8-15) that increased on Thursday and Friday. And, art agent Jim Marcotte reported in his article "Atlanta: Land of Opportunity, or What's Yours Is Mine..." that "We spent 3 long days covering A LOT of those 7M square feet. The doom and gloom of Dallas (see the previous post) was not so evident in Atlanta, perhaps because it’s a better show even on its down days, but traffic was definitely slow." Make sure you read the GDA and Jim’s articles for more information and trends seen at the Atlanta show. And, check out the artist blogs listed below about the show. Also, look at the videos by interior designer Brian Patrick Flynn about AmericasMart to get a feeling on what it is like to walk the Atlanta show when it is busy. Note: Some of the footage for the videos was probably taken during the January 2014 show.

– Blogs
   artist Caroline Simas: "Atlanta Market July 2014 Recap"

   artist Genevieve Gail: "Atlanta Gift Mart Recap"

   artist Phyllis Dobbs: "Sights at Atlanta Gift Market"

– Videos
Brian Patrick Flynn is an American television producer turned interior designer. Also, he is on HGTV and gives presentations during the gift shows at AmericasMart. Brian calls himself an ambassador of AmericasMart. Watch the videos to experience the amazing AmericasMart.

   "An Interior Designer's Guide to AmericasMart Atlanta"

   "Brian Patrick Flynn's Top 10 Tips for Shopping AmericasMart"

• Las Vegas
The Las Vegas Market is the fastest growing furniture, home decor and gift trade show in the United States. By aggressive marketing and expanding the World Market Center Las Vegas campus, it is becoming the go-to trade show for the Western U.S. states. When this post was written, the July 27 -31 summer show had not yet opened. But the statistics on the expected increase in attendance is VERY impressive. According to the article "IMC: Summer Vegas Market Pre-Registration Gains Over Winter Show" the International Market Centers expects attendance ". . . to gain most abundantly in the gift and home d├ęcor category, with buyer registration pacing 18% ahead of the recent Winter 2014 Market and 83% ahead of the Summer 2013 Market."

Note: The health of the gift industry ultimately affects art licensing and the amount of art that is licensed by manufacturers. Thus, successful gift shows (Atlanta and other regional ones) bodes well for the licensing industry. Hopefully, this year and in the following years there will be an increase in buyers attending and purchasing merchandise at the gift shows so that the art licensing industry thrives. 

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  1. Thank you for keeping your finger on the pulse of art licensing, Joan, making your blog the go to place for information.

  2. Very nice post joan, i certainly love this website, keep on it
    thanks for sharing info