Winter 2017 Gift Show Review
Better late than never, this post was written but never posted (oops!), but full of great insights into the Winter Shows and the Fall line.
Since Fall is now available to ship, see what's new, discover something you didn't see the first time around and contact your rep or go to tagltd.com and shop!
Our tag staff is home after a grueling, but very satisfying, several weeks on the road introducing the industry to our new Fall/Holiday 2017 collections at gift markets from coast to coast. As we prepare for the Chicago housewares show in a couple of weeks, we have reviewed the reactions of our customers, and orders placed at the shows and would like to share the highlights with you.
We talked at length with National Sales Manager Steven Prokash, who was happy to review both his own observations, and the hard numbers analyzed back home at tag headquarters in Chicago.
"The new line was incredibly well-received in all markets," said Prokash. "from East Coast to West Coast. Independent retailers seemed to be in a healthy place after a positive fourth quarter. Combine that with strong, salable introductions and it makes for a very upbeat show scene."
Hey, Baby, they're playing our song.
"There were several new collections that we introduced. The hands down winner was 'Little One.'" continued Prokash. "The goal of 'Little One' was to instill a soft, sleepy, comforting design acumen to layer into today's baby room. So it's very neutral and not too colorful. The tone and look developed by Lynette Cvikota and her design team were spot on. That was key to the success of 'Little One.'"
The "Little One" collection includes woolen mobiles, plush children's animal themed chairs, hampers, stroller blankets, swaddle blankets, and even soft knit animal plush. They can be found on pages 2-9 in tag's new 2017 volume 2 catalog.
"Lynette focused in the good-better-best spectrum to offer better and best gift options. And not just for the mother but for the grandparents, relatives, and friends who are shopping for birthday and holiday gifts, as well as baby shower presents, for zero to four-year-old children. So the leaders within the collection were the higher ticket items. The hampers, the plush chairs, the mobiles, and the 'Cloud' stroller blanket."
tag introduced its first melamine dinnerware patterns several seasons ago. Since then the line has grown rapidly and has become one of our core assortments.
"The trend in tabletop shifting to 'casual and carefree' entertaining has helped make our melamine dinnerware a monster category at all regional shows," said Prokash. Consumers have been "dressing down" their tables for over twenty years. We've seen the growth of casual dinnerware at the expense of formal china patterns change the retail and wholesale landscape for tabletop companies throughout the world. But recently there has been another transition in consumer tastes from simply casual to casual and carefree. Convenient, break resistant (not just chip resistant) and lightweight plates, bowls, serving items, and drinkware are growing in popularity. And they aren't just outdoor deck/patio serving items.
"In our experience," said Prokash, "basic dinnerware pieces like the dinner plates and salad plates are the best sellers suggesting a year-round, indoor/outdoor use. Plus, our unique ceramic-like melamine look has established casual and carefree as a universal lifestyle choice, not at all down market." Indeed, at this winter's markets tag displayed ceramic and melamine patterns together on the same fixture. Retailers couldn't tell the difference without actually picking up the product. "It was a coin flip," said Prokash. "We made a little game of it at the shows. It made for a fun presentation."
Retailers have watched their melamine inventory turn, but they don't always understand why, or haven't processed the casual and carefree trend. 'We've been asked to travel to their headquarters or stores to help them and their staffs understand the casual and carefree trend so they can maximize their melamine business."
Best patterns? This winter it was Greenery (catalog page 156), a ceramic design that had melamine items added to the collection, and the Buffalo Check plaid pattern (catalog page 156), new this season. A winning plaid pattern is timeless and sells all year round. It works as a holiday look, but also as a year-round home decor decision.
"Our plaid doormat that says 'Welcome' was in high demand," said Prokash. "Customers said, 'I want that now!'"
You'll find tag melamine on pages 154-161.
"The strongest overall response for a pattern or motif was our Pomegranate design," said Prokash. "Hands down. It's a classic holiday or fall/holiday collection." A rich red pomegranate motif has been applied to ceramic items as well as tabletop textiles, doormats, dishtowels, and glass serving items. Find Pomegranate on pages 102-105 of the 2017 catalog volume 2.
In the Jewish community the pomegranate is an important icon related to Rosh Hashana, or Jewish New Year, to be celebrated on September 21 in 2017. The fruit with its 163 seeds symbolizes the hundreds of good deeds detailed in the commandments of the Torah, and the good deeds to be done in the coming year by the congregation.
And don't forget ...
"Quench," tag's popular collection of on-the-go, double walled stainless bottles with new patterns and metallic solid colors for this season. A big hit at the regional shows. And keep watching this blog for new availability and ASAP ordering and shipping information to be debuted at the Chicago housewares show. Find Quench on pages 38-41.
"Happy Holidays" with its whimsical, fun, but sophisticated, trend-right decorations over soft pastels in pink, green, and blue. You can put together your own "Cookies for Santa" sets that can retail for uner $20. Pages 128-129, followed by companion pattern "Hip Holiday."
And speaking of hip, tag's Halloween collections are targeted more toward adult entertaining with higher ticket, almost gothic-inspired designs featuring bones and bats and bugs and skulls! See pages 62-71.
A lot that's new ... a lot that's proven successful ... a lot more tag to attract your existing and new customers and bring them back for more.