America’s Mart Blog Post

Don, Jeff and I attended the early 2009 Home, Rug, Gift and Apparel show at America’s Mart in Atlanta. While there, we met a lot of great folks in the industry, learned about some of the exciting 2009 innovations companies are offering, and saw a lot of new and trend-setting products. Since we specialize in providing integrated Marketing Communications services for companies in the field – and because we contribute articles and product narratives for the Home and Garden media – we spent a good amount of time at the event collecting information about the hot colors and design trends of the year.

Fresh and vibrant new colors and interesting textures were the apparent theme. Whether the new deep
red that seems to be taking Home and Garden by storm these days or the range of blues to purples or greens, muted grays, taupes, and browns, the new color trends for 2009 were visible everywhere we looked. Textures were more diverse as compared to last year in many ways. This included everything from combining ceramic and cork to patinas with panache.

Among many of the new products and trends we captured at the show, several were of particular interest. I’ve provided brief overviews of a few of our favorites here. If you are a member of the trade or consumer media and have interest in any of these companies or products, feel free to touch base with us. We can gladly put you in touch with the right contacts to learn more.

Seasonal Living
Specifically, from Seasonal Living, was a fresh line-up of great new lava lamps. In addition to coconut shell furniture (below-left), company representative Gary Pettitt proudly displayed natural materials that comprise their handsome inventory. Furniture and accessories of carved limestone, sandstone, honed travertine, and Carrara marble made an eye-catching vignette. Various tropical woods, weatherproof leather, glass, teak, glazed and unglazed ceramic, birdseed, bamboo, mother of pearl, and resin composite pieces were also displayed. The company’s surprising range of furnishings suits contemporary, classic, and exotic design palettes. They are hand chosen and never mass produced, making them truly unique.

The Magnolia Company
The Magnolia Company’s Seeds of Li
fe are sure to be a hit for bridal or baby showers in 2009. We think they will be perfect for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, or for anyone looking to give a living gift that lasts. With the trend of getting back to nature and the simpler things of life, gift-giving is taking on a new realm; Magnolia Company is addressing this by offering eco-friendly Seeds of Life products.

The company shared with us that since planting a tree is a beautiful way to honor a cherished person, they have found their Seeds of Life products to be popular for memorial services. Many occasions are fitting, whether welcoming the birth of a child, commemorating a milestone birthday, or honoring the passing of a loved one. Planting a tree is a meaningful way to leave a legacy. Magnolia Company provides three different ways to gift a tree – as a seed package, a seedling, or larger gift tree. Each one is grown on the company’s tree farm and beautifully packaged for delivery.

Company owner Matt Roth explained that seed favor boxes can be personalized to coordinate with wedding colors and create a meaningful gift that will grow into a tree for years following a wedding. Here’s what we liked best of all… Matt and his team make it easy; buyers can pick the appropriate tree or gift according to zip code. He books orders around wedding days and ships the favors three days prior to the events. No immediate care is required, as the seeds do not need additional watering or maintenance for three weeks.

To exhibit just how perfect they are for weddings, the Magnolia Company created a beautiful display showcasing the seed favor boxes tied with lavender ribbons and neatly stacked atop a beautiful white cake pedestal.

Pacific Arts & Crafts
We were also captivated by the wide range of attractive and stylish p
lanters from Pacific Arts & Crafts, as they displayed the current trend of distressed copper. Their exclusive line of decorative and versatile copperglass planters marries the rich color of copper with the lightweight durability of fiberglass, thus utilizing the positive qualities of both materials.

Because they are handcrafted of fiberglass, copperglass planters can be enjoyed indoors as beautiful cachepots or outdoors in any climate. The planters are extremely frost resistant and can be easily drilled for drainage. The company’s proprietary method of finishing with a layer of real copper creates the elegant look of solid metal without the excessive weight. As with traditional copper planters, copperglass planters will naturally oxidize over time, creating stunning patinas and a more natural copper look. Handcrafted and hand finished, each planter is slightly unique in color gradation, creating a one of a kind piece for home or garden. We were amazed at the many copper products at the show this year, given the lowering cost of materials since mid-2008. Pacific Arts & Crafts’ planters, in particular, stood out to us with their high-end detailing.

Viducci’s Garden
Viducci’s Garden ceramic is produced in the traditional manner, as it has been for hundreds of years. The entire Viducci’s collection is hand-crafted in factories that are known for quality work in American, European and Japanese markets. Their terra cotta planters are available in various classic and modern styles. Being hand-crafted as such ensures that no two products are exactly alike, a process that has evolved through centuries of dedication. The company boasts the kilns being used for their 2009 line of products have been in service since the year 1300, which we find amazing. The Viducci’s Garden product line has been created and designed to satisfy demand for high-quality container products in the upscale United States market. What’s more, the story behind how the company arrived at the Viducci’s name is an interesting one, as it is a combination of Vietnam and Germany, originating countries, as we learned directly from company President Walter Panfil at his showroom area.

The “Oxide Dark Brown” ceramic container pictured above-left is certainly in keeping with the new trend color of bold brown. Its finish was likely the most beautiful we saw at the show this year, undoubtedly, a contributing factor to Viducci’s Garden receiving the coveted “Best Of Floor For Outstanding Visual Display” award at the America’s Mart last year (in 2008).

The Pottery Market
The Pottery Market features high-fired, frost-resistant
Vietnamese pottery and unglazed terracotta pieces. They specialize in high-quality pottery of all shapes and sizes and have a new line of oil lamps and other accessories. They offer a diverse selection of pottery designs and finishes from intricate and fashionable containers to basic good sense garden pots. The Pottery Market also has birdbaths, gazing balls, strawberry jars, and herb planters. The company reports the Wasabi color (right) has been a strong seller for several years now and is expected to remain so in 2009. The color of this container is in keeping with a focus group study we did late last year to uncover color trend predictions for this year. So, we expect to see more home and garden products like these making their way into garden centers and retail locations soon.

Three Birds Casual
Having written about outdoor furniture many times, we enjoyed learning about Three Birds Casual, one of the fastest growing manufacturers of premium furniture for the outdoor living market. We learned a few things about the company from its president, Tad Varga. Their casual teak furniture is a favorite among retailers an
d designers who aspire to offer their clients or customers quality furniture with exceptional value. Classic character with quality construction is what the Three Birds Adirondack represents. Used with a matching footstool or without, the Three Birds Adirondack provides a restful and relaxing experience. But, we could see this for ourselves by taking a moment to sit in the chair and relax our show-worn feet. All of us imagined how these chairs could make a design statement in our own back lawns or on our patios, as similarly seen above in the photo.

One Scheurich offering of particular interest is the company’s opaque planters that are available in lilac (pictured), red and white. With glass furniture and accessories seeing
a recent comeback, these planters artfully capture light and capitalize on today’s trends of rich reds and purples being used to create home decor that is airy and bright. Their translucent surfaces are captivating with an unusual combination of light and color, as these planters create the effect of being illuminated from within their centers.

Green plants with glossy leaves make great applications, as they capitalize on light emphasizing their foliage. We just might adorn the Eberly Public Relations offices with these planters, as they would cast a rich glow of color on sunny days. Look to Scheurich glass planters if you are interested in something unlike the norm.

Unique Stone Inc.
Unique Stone, Inc. has an interesting collection of terminal statues depicting the four seasons. According to the company, they provide a breathtaking design element to any home or even commercial spaces. The originals, which are circa 1902, were of fine carved marble. They were carefully restored and redesigned by the artisans of Unique Stone Inc. Terminals were typically used to delineate property boundaries on large estates of the very wealthy in Europe and the United States, and they can be traced to the ancient Greeks. Integrating hardscapes with smartly designed landscapes is one of the most popular trends we are working on this year. This provides stunning visual interest and draws homeowners and guests to outdoor living areas. A garland of flowers can adorn the small knobs on the terminals, thus adding an artistic touch to enhance the sense of sight and smell. These terminals would be attractive under gazebos, in continuous fencing as posts, garden entries, and custom drives. We think they would be perfect additions per the season or when opting for all four. We’ll be keeping them in mind the next time we write an article about outdoor design spaces that are benefitted by substantial adornments that cause lasting impressions.

Look for additional posts from us in the near future. Between our clients and other great companies we know, we will be blogging a lot in the coming weeks and months about some of this year’s newest and most coveted products in the Home, Garden, Design, and Agribusiness Industries. We’ll be helping clients and some of our editor friends at various home and garden shows in May and June; we’ll be sure to blog about more trends as we uncover them and when they unfold.

– Doug

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Don Eberly

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