Oser Communications Group

OCG Show Daily Feb 1&2 2014 NYNow

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O C G S h o w D a i l y 9 Fe b ru a r y 1 & 2 , 2 0 1 4 HOME DÉCOR SUPPLIERS SPOTLIGHT FAIR TRADE, SUSTAINABLE, ECO-FRIENDLY PRODUCTS By Donna Boyle Schwartz Home décor suppliers are doing well by doing good, enjoying increased sales on products that are sustainable, eco-friend- ly and produced under Fair Trade guide- lines. These suppliers are serving a grow- ing cadre of retailers who make purchas- es not simply based on dollars and cents or return-on-investment, but also based on the moral and ethical considerations of the ultimate consumer. There are several broad categories that fall under the corporate good citizen- ship banner: sustainable products typical- ly are created using renewable resources; eco-friendly or "green" products often use organic components, recycled con- tent or repurposed vintage materials; the term "artisanal" generally refers to prod- ucts that are handmade or hand-finished; and Fair Trade merchandise is manufac- tured in accordance with international standards to guarantee workers a living wage, health care and safe working con- ditions. A wide variety of new home décor items that fit into these categories are being introduced in January at the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market, as well as at NY NOW in New York, the Dallas Total Home & Gift Market, and Las Vegas Winter Market. "Consumers have been better edu- cated on how their purchases affect the larger world around them as well as their own home environment," noted Shay Elder, Co-owner, Eangee Home Design. "There are a number of reasons driving the increase in sustainable and Fair Trade products. First, I think that these products tend to be higher quality. My experience in talking to clients is that, post-recession, people are more careful about what they buy. They want some- thing that will last, will hold up, and won't have to be repurchased because it has fallen apart. In addition to durability, eco-products are more likely to have a unique look." Eangee is a member of the Sustainable Furnishings Council, using both renewable and recycled content in its lamps and accessories and supporting Fair Trade standards for its manufactur- ing facilities in the Philippines. Eangee is focusing on interesting curvilinear looks for its new lamps. "We are continuing to add items with curves; this follows recent strong trends in the resurgence and growth in Mid Century Modern style," Elder said. "We are expanding color options in our Wave series as well as bringing a very popular elongated 'drum' style pendant into a table version, featuring random leaves." Suggested retail price for the Wave lamp is $429; table lamps are $109. Renewable resources and fast-grow- ing plants are key to many environmen- tally-friendly home furnishings, includ- ing products made from bamboo, mango wood, hemp, jute and sea grass. "We offer a collection of mango wood and bamboo, both eco-friendly and sustain- able," commented Scott Myers, Owner, Circa Asia. "Retailers love to be able to give their customers a 'story,' and that's exactly what this does. Consumers are far more educated in these areas than they were 10 years ago, and an increasing number of retailers pay attention to hot topics like sustainability and fair wages." Circa Asia is introducing serving trays in either a cherry or honey finish; nesting bowls in four colors, and decorative vases; suggested retails range from $34.99 to $69.99. The artisanal nature of sustainable products appeals to many retailers and consumers, according to Michelle Gach, Director of Operations for Acacia Creations. "Customers want more than just another product mass made," she remarked. "They understand what it means to buy Fair Trade and that it actually changes lives for artisans around the world. Sustainability is a central feature of our brand, and we strive to offer only products that are sourced, produced and shipped in the most sustainable way possible. For example, our line includes jewelry and home décor from recycled materials like paper and aluminum cans." Key January introductions include two new animal-inspired lines: the Can*imals collection of animal figurines made from recycled aluminum cans, with suggested retails of $12.95 to $16.95; and the Endangered Collection of faceted glass jewelry with recycled paper and silver accents. Suggested retails range from $6.95 to $25.95 and proceeds will benefit animal conserva- tion worldwide. The concept of Fair Trade is never far from the minds of many home décor companies, most of which source prod- ucts overseas. These suppliers are attempting to purchase items that are manufactured in a socially responsible manner. "Tragedies like the Bangladesh factory collapse are making people take notice of where their products come from, how they are made and whether the employees are treated fairly," explained Valerie Brod, Marketing Manager for Sobremesa by Greenheart. "Fair Trade also cultivates environmental steward- ship by encouraging responsible use of resources and eco-friendly means of pro- duction. All our products are made with sustainability in mind." Sobremesa is showcasing a new home textiles line in Atlanta, New York and Las Vegas, including reversible woven alpaca blend throw blankets, cotton woven throws, silk block print pillows and cotton woven pillows. Suggested retail price for the pillows starts at $66 and the throws start at $250. The company also is expanding its kitchen towel line with new fashion colors. Several suppliers are featuring new home accents created using "up-cycled" materials or repurposed components. Fab Habitat, for instance, is offering rugs, cubes and poufs made using recycled plastic and recycled cotton. "Now it seems even mainstream, bigger retail stores are capitalizing on the green mar- ket," noted Kanan Gupta, Co-founder. "The look of any product is very impor- tant to all retailers—as it attracts their customers—but offering sustainable products helps retailers differentiate their products from their competition. "With ever-increasing social media and social awareness, consumers are looking for alternative and eco-friendly options," Gupta continued. "When con- sumers view recycled materials that look and feel as good as their counterparts, the choice is clear for them." Tessera Owner Cristi Ambroson searches the world for vintage textiles and unique pieces to repurpose into home accents. "I think people love the unique- ness of the refurbished fabrics," she asserted. "I think the product's initial appeal is on look and functionality, and then people ask questions and you can explain Fair Trade to them. It adds an additional selling point for the store." Tessera is showing in Atlanta and Las Vegas, and introducing ikat pillows hand crafted in Uzbekistan, bright vintage suzani and kilim pillows, and devotional folk art "retablos" hand carved and paint- ed in Peru. Suggested retails range from $250 to $340. Europe2You also is highlighting reusable, recycled and repurposed objects in its home décor line, includ- ing new glass cloche cheese domes made from vintage wine bottles; the Heritage collection of chopping blocks, bread boards and cutting boards made from antique wooden planks with recy- cled leather handles; and a line of kitchen accessories, including iPad and cookbook holders, crafted from aged wood. Suggested retails range from $85 to $145. "No new trees are cut down to make our lovely wooden serving pieces," explained Stacy Borocz, Owner. "For us, the big picture is important: we are trying to bring the European ideal of 'a life well lived' to the American consumer. Our whole concept is 'old becomes new' with the repurposing of antique pieces. It gives each item an authentic Old European feeling, the aura of stepping back in time." For more information, visit Eangee Home Design at www.defineyourspace .com/eangee/home.php, Circa Asia at www.circaasia.com/, Acacia Creations at www.acaciacreations.com, Sobremesa by Greenheart at www.greenheartshop .org/wholesale/, Fab Habitat at www.fab- habitat.com, Tessera at www.explore tessera.com or Europe2You at www.europe2you.com. ADORNABLY PUTS THE FUTURE OF INTERIOR DESIGN IN YOUR HANDS Adornably, a new and free home design platform driven by cutting-edge technol- ogy, is now available for iPad on iTunes. The Adornably app allows users to take pictures of their own space and then cus- tomize it with high quality, 3D photoreal- istic imagery of furniture that is automat- ically set to scale. Gone are the days of mis-measuring, mismatched furniture and heavy lifting –Adornably takes the work out of difficult design decisions, making furniture shopping a fun, stress- free experience. "We're thrilled that our technology is able to showcase virtual furniture in such a true-to-life photorealistic man- ner," said Marc Lebovitz, CEO of Adornably. "Adornably will set the inte- rior designer inside all of us free and make everyone's home a design play- ground." The easy-to-use app takes you from design inspiration to execution in your space, your way, personalizing the home design experience like never before. Using a magazine to help auto- matically scale furniture, simply drop it on the floor, take a picture of your space with the magazine in it, and then add furniture from hundreds of beautiful pieces found in the app from top manu- facturers such as Stanley, Vanguard and Theodore Alexander. You can even purchase furniture through Adornably, making it one seamless experience from inspiration to execution. "The Adornably application is a potential game-changer in the digital rev- olution now sweeping across almost every part of a home furnishings industry that previously offered consumers the same shopping experience for over 50 years," said Glenn Prillaman, CEO of Stanley Furniture Company. "Both sup- pliers and retailers should love this tool because it enables customers to fully visualize what furniture would look like in the home before the actual purchase." The MY DESIGN features in Adornably enable consumers to add to, or change and delete various furniture items within their design space whether it be their home, their office, potential real estate buys or spaces they are helping others design. The premium visual quali- ty that makes the virtual furniture look real helps consumers determine how the furniture matches to their space or to other furniture items, ultimately helping them make an informed purchase. Not only can consumers rotate, position and swap out the furniture within various angles of the room, they can also enter "LIVE MODE" and walk around the space while viewing the virtual piece of furniture through the app on their iPad screen. Consumers can also share their designs using Adornably. They can post designs to share them with the Adornably community or share through social media. New furniture will be added regu- larly. The expanded product inventory will stream directly into the app's product catalog, giving consumers access to new furniture items without having to update the app. For more information, visit www.adornably.com.

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