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NYIGF exhibitors think positive

New York - Despite a foggy economic climate, it's hard not to notice an optimist shining through to represent the ‘can-do' spirit at this year's New York International Gift Fair this week.
"This is our very first NY show," said Amisha Desai Vora, co-founder, The Green Elephant. "Fingers crossed!"

The Green Elephant will be presenting handmade home decor items by artisans, which include cushions, pillows, curtains, quilts, bed-spreads, table linen, and decorative accessories. Personal accessories such as silk scarves, a variety of bags, gift items and wrapping solutions will also be included. Price points range from $15 to $300. "So, I guess we will be covering all three tiers," said Desai.

More experienced players in the market also have a fairly positive outlook.

According to Sferra president, Steve Schneider, "The first half of 2012 has been very successful for Sferra and we expect this trend to continue during the second half. We have a large number of new introductions that have received rave reviews from customers in Dallas and Atlanta, and we are very excited about the upcoming fall season."
In bed linens Sferra will be introducing new styles in yarn-dyed jacquards, a new piece-dye jacquard, a new entry-level Egyptian Cotton percale, an embroidery expanded to top of the bed in new colors, cool weather Egyptian Cotton sheeting, new decorative pillows and many classics in new colors. Introductions in bat include new colors in Bello towels & Maestro rugs as well as new cotton jacquard bath linens and robes. New styles in table linens will also be on display.

Pendleton is cautiously optimistic about the second half, according to Bob Christnacht, director wholesale sales-worldwide. "Trade accounts reported sell through that was over plan for last fall and holiday. Our premarket meetings with key accounts indicate an increase in OTB allocation for Pendleton Home for Holiday 12 and Spring 13. We are also hearing from accounts who held back fall open-to-buy and are looking for immediate delivery."

Pendleton is introducing two new classifications at the show, jacquard robes that coordinate with the company's towel programs and infant layette sets within the Chief Joseph collection.
Garry Schermann, national sales director, tag ltd seems to agree with the appointment outlook. "Our top accounts continue to set appointments. They realize the value of having time set aside to work with their best vendors."

Shermann said the company will be rolling out seasonal themed collections for spring and summer 2013 and an assortment of new categories for the end of the year. Shermann added that new items in the company's basic categories such as table and kitchen textiles would also be part of the show.

Cathy Deale, founder/ceo of Jacaranda Living, was duly cautious, but had this to say about the business climate: "Overall we are significantly up on our best year, which was 2011, so we expect, and hope, this trend will continue." She added, "Generally we have found changes in buying patterns. Online wholesale orders have increased. Buyers are going to shows to find new products, to touch and feel merchandise and to establish relationships with manufacturers. Reorders are increasingly being done online."

Deale added some extra texture regarding social media outlets which she believes, "helped to create a buzz around trade shows and have encouraged store owners to attend so they don't miss out. I expect this to help attendance rates at the NYIGF."

At this year's NYIGF, Jacaranda Living will be introducing a new combination of hand towels made from a blend of linen joined by a row of ladder lace and embroidered - as well as new cotton sleepwear styles for the fall.

In this long, hot summer renowned for drought and blackouts, eco-friendly products might assume more importance. Asked whether customers were inquiring about these products and whether they are viable, Aileen Hagert, business development manager, Handmade Expressions responded, "Absolutely, the answer is yes on both counts. The trick is in getting the product right. That is the trifecta: sustainable, stylish and priced right."
Barbara Shaw, proprietor, Barbara Shaw Gifts concurs on the demand side, "There is a demand for natural fabrics, and products that conserve and recycle."
However, Shaw shares Hagert's outlook on price,

"Clearly shoppers and retailers are cautious, the economic news on both sides of the Atlantic does have an effect." Shaw continued, "Obviously some areas states and cities are hurting more than others. On the other hand it is not all gloom and doom and we have moved beyond the worst case scenarios. I believe there are opportunities for manufacturers and retailers alike particularly in the home textile area, as folk entertain and eat at home more often. The home as the hearth is a theme that I think we can capitalize on."

Shaw will be launching new ranges of table linens, design-led heritage products for the Chanukah festival, serving ware for the Jewish New Year as well as zany Yiddish themed products.

So how does business play out at this year's NYIGF?

Chortex USA representative, Eric Vergucht, who will be introducing new towel ranges in Supima Cotton and Turkish Aegean Fine Long Staple Cotton, said: "We do have a few appointments but most are walk-ins."


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