We skipped the New York International Gift Fair (NYIGF) last year to go to Americasmart in Atlanta because you just need to go to the giant, enormous, huge metropolis that is the Atlanta gift show once every 5 or 6 years to see the vendors who simply don’t exhibit anywhere else. But the break just made us appreciate the New York gift show all the more. It’s (mostly at least) good quality, well designed products in a very easily navigated, and definitely not overwhelmingly large, show. The small, individual booths make it really easy to find stuff that is right for our store, rather than the huge showrooms in Atlanta where you kind of have to go in every one because they represent so many different lines and the line that is right for you might not be immediately visible.
NYIGF also has a really good handmade section so, even though we had just been to ACRE Orlando which is entirely handmade, we headed there first, and we were not disappointed.
Our first find was these really gorgeous one of a kind reclaimed wood belt buckles made by Margie Criner in Chicago. Lovely shapes, smooth finishes and beautiful colors with the natural grains shining through. A very unique addition to our belt buckle selection.
We also found these clocks and pins made in the UK by Kim Ellwood and Mike Abbott. (Yes, there are even some artists from Europe and elsewhere that come to NYIGF.) They are hand screened stainless steel and they are the most exquisite, delightful, beautifully made little things; they’ll put a smile on your face for sure. The pins come with stands so they can be displayed when you are not wearing them; and the wheels on the clocks actually turn – adorable. Inspired by the wild landscape and magical coastline of north Cornwall, the fanciful designs and whimsical shapes are decorated in bright colors, which just adds to the fun of them. But they are so much more than clocks and pins; they are little pieces of art. Hands down our absolutely most favorite find of the show.
Another handmade item we found are these earrings and necklaces made by Taina Hartman. She uses stainless steel layered over stained wood to create striking yet simple jewelry. There are several colors and several designs, making many lovely combinations. I especially like how the steel layer swings freely in front of the wood. Gives them an extra sense of movement.
There were lots of other good finds in the other sections of NYIGF too. These wallets are very cool. Made of soft leather, lined in different muted colors, they fold up to a very compact size. A great accessory for either men or women.
And the perfect accessory for kids? These adorable backpacks that are the perfect size for pre-schoolers. With adjustable straps and inner mesh pockets and lots of designs to choose from, they are both fun and functional. And they are made from eco-sponge neoprene which is a washable, cushioning, insulating fabric. How cool is that?
Nick and I are big Charley Harper fans so we were immediately drawn to these 3D replicas from his wonderful 2D art works. Some are made of wood, others of felt; and they all perfectly capture the aesthetic of the man that used to say that when he painted birds he would ‘count the wings, not the feathers’. They can stand on a table top or be wall mounted. Either way they are a lovely addition to any decor.
These dog coasters will be going in ‘Jack’s corner’ this summer. Simple silhouette designs, subtle colors and funny phrases make them the perfect pick up gift, especially for your pet sitter. And if it’s kitties that are close to your heart don’t worry, we ordered some of them too.
As well as new products we also got to see several of our existing vendors and check out the new designs they have for 2013:
Like these dog rope toys in blue kangaroo and lime green lizard (which will also be in ‘Jack’s Corner’) and this kids lunch bag and silverware with cars, trucks and bicycles racing all over it.
These wall bricks are vases that mount right on the wall and are great for little plants or fresh cut flowers. (Mix them up with the wall dots we already carry and write your own morse code message!) And this was our favorite new design of the flat packed, self assemble bird houses that we’ve had for a couple of years now. So cheerful.
Making a big difference in a room for not a lot of money, time or effort is no easy task. Peel and stick wall decals to the rescue. There were loads of new designs to choose from this year and we got lots of them – these are just a few. And even easier are window decals, which can be seen from the outside too. These were such a hit for us last year that we really expanded the line for 2013. Expect to have dozens to choose from next time you are in the store. These poppies were one of our favorites.
Last but not least was these gorgeous trees and ornaments and snowflakes for the holidays (if you can think that far ahead!). If you’ve been to i d or swell247.com anytime after September during the last few years you will probably remember the different trees, reindeer, penguins, etc. we’ve been carrying, and once again the company that makes them has come out with great new designs for this year. Made of stained wood they are just the most lovely, simple holiday decorations you’ve ever seen.
So… A very productive few days. Lots of things ordered and lots of exciting ideas for 2013. New finds, new products, new vendors; must be New York!