20 August 2011

California gift show wrap-up


Refreshed, California-centric positioning along with increased traffic, healthy order-writing, innovative product concepts and authoritative presentations set stage for 2012 expectations.

By the California Gift Show

LOS ANGELES, CA (August 15, 2011) - MMPI and California Gift Show® (CGS) report a robust Market experience with positive indicators on multiple fronts defining an encouraging CGS trajectory. The show's California-centric focus delivered, in a uniquely L.A experiential manner, a broad array of new and on-trend merchandise across all of the most popular, volume generating categories. More than 10,000 lines from over 1,200 temporary exhibitors and permanent showrooms, at two dynamic venues, provided buyers a myriad of product offerings, with emphasis on the region's emerging product designers, artists and craftsmen.

"We are extremely pleased with the performance of this July Market," said Jeff Sampson, vice president marketing L.A. Mart/CGS/L.A. Mart Design Center. "Placing greater import on California as our brand position differentiated the overall show experience, emphasizing the significance of this region to the gift industry and beyond. Redefining CGS as a celebration of California style and innovation supports our permanent showrooms and temporary exhibitors as they continue to present innovative concepts in the most sought-after categories with the modern retailer in-mind."

A 24% increase in traffic over July 2010 reinforced the strength of CGS and the California marketplace as a unique and highly desirous resource destination among buyers from across the country and around the globe. Attendees from as far east as New York and Boston in the Northeast, to Atlanta and Miami in the South, joined buyers from New Orleans, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Phoenix, Las Vegas and more, representing 42 U.S. states seeking what only CGS can offer. International attendees in search of California's mystique were also present in force. North American neighbors in Canada and Mexico shopped side-by-side Pacific Rim buyers from Hawaii, Auckland, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul, as well as Middle East retailers from Dubai and Kuwait.

From high-end corporate brands to boutique independent retail shops, CGS served as a must-stop Market for such best-in-class retailers as Forever 21, Fred Segal, Hallmark Corp., Knott's Berry Farm, Vons, Whole Foods Market, Williams Sonoma Home, Beverly Wilshire Hotel, Bloomingdale's, Firefly, Harvard Museum Of Natural History, Kaiser Permanente, Kitson, Ritz Carlton Hotel, University Of Southern California, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Universal Studios, Warner Bros Studios, Bel Air Country Club, Disney Consumer Products, Elton John AIDS Foundation, Four Seasons Hotel, H&M Enterprises, Paramount Pictures, Ross Stores, San Diego Zoo, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Target.Com, TJ Max Companies, Vroman's/Book Soup and Wynn Resorts among others.

"This vigorous uptick in traffic and vitality of buyer, in light of continued economic challenges, further demonstrate the value of California Gift Show as a Market of strategic importance to the buying trade," said Mark Furlet, vice president of Gift & Home, MMPI. "As consumers become ever-more informed and discriminating in their purchasing habits, retailers are sourcing unique products with greater intelligence. CGS is their entrée to manufacturers known worldwide and to the innovations for which California is renowned."  

California Bespoke - a gallery-inspired design showcase debuted one-of-a-kind, limited edition and new-to-market furnishings, home accessories, hand-crafted objects and original works of art from the region's next generation of design tastemakers. Curated by contributors from The Editor At Large ... Vanessa Kogevinas, Marisa Marcantonio, Jason Oliver Nixon and Jennie Nunn ... California Bespoke was brought to life against a sophisticated, three-dimensional backdrop inspired by the diverse natural terrain of the region as conceived by interior designer Christopher Gaona.

Destination L.A.: Pop-Up Case Studies - four conceptual exhibitions located in the main entry aisle of LACC's South Hall featured Los Angeles-based product artisans demonstrating how their innovative products are made and used. Hysteric Haus, SKULLASTIC, Dollhouse Republic/Better Than Naked, and Velvet Rope Bake Shop represented show categories (home décor, stationery, fashion accessories and gourmet), offering buyers the opportunity to experience and source their offerings in a fresh, compelling format.

Extreme Art Challenge, presented by L.A. Art Machine - Located in LACC's atrium, Los Angeles' urban artists Hans Haveron, John Park, Mear One and Abcnt competed in a dynamic performance-art challenge where large scale art installations were painted to reflect California culture as attendees made their arrival to South Hall Gift and Kentia Global Marketplace.

Fred Segal: A California Success Story - Owner/designer of Fred Segal Originals, Annie Segal presented to a captivated audience how the family-owned, multi-generational business grew from a Los Angeles concept emporium to international retail icon. According to Segal, "having great product" is key to success. Segal followed-up " ... that when times are bad, it's the perfect opportunity to create something new."

Editors' Panel: Retailer Business Review - Editors-in-Chiefs Caroline Kennedy of Gifts & Decorative Accessories, Jenny-Heinzen York of Home Accents Today and Design & Style Editor Krissa Rossbund of Traditional Home engaged in a dynamic dialogue moderated by Marisa Marcantonio of Editor-at-Large and Stylebeat.com. The powerhouse panel addressed the new generation of empowered consumers, offering insights on fresh, relevant products, marketing, and merchandising, helping the modern retailer stay ahead of the curve.

Styled for Success: Perfecting the Accessorized Space - Traditional Home's Krissa Rossbund shared fresh merchandising and accessorizing tips that captivate and sell, including space planning and vignetting that integrate accessories, table-top, wall art, florals, textiles, and more. A reception with Ms. Rossbund celebrating the debut of L.A. Mart Design Center's new Designer Lounge followed.

World Style Stories - A special presentation recognizing five inspirational exhibitor essays recalling the journey each Kentia Global Marketplace exhibitor traveled in creating the products they've made, as well as the positive impact on the people and communities served by these international craftsmen. The honored list included SPIRAL Foundation | Healing the Wounded Heart Project, Project Have Hope, Good Paper, Heavenly Treasures and Dunitz & Company, Inc.

Two's Company Celebration - A ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception for the industry titan celebrating their long-term lease renewal and showroom redesign. Tom Zimmerman, vice president marketing and sales, welcomed buyers for a champagne reception. For nearly 30 years, Two's Company has served the West Coast gift and design communities from its L.A. Mart address.


Tom Zimmerman, vice president sales & marketing for Two's Company made the L.A./California connection clear. "Our day-to-day business is stronger in Los Angeles than anywhere else in the country," said Zimmerman, on the heels of the brand's recent multi-year re-commitment to L.A. Mart.

"The success we have experienced thanks to L.A. Mart's ability to drive trade traffic substantiates our recommitment to MMPI and the marketplace." Stephen Young, principal of his eponymously named showroom, shared, "I've seen a nice, healthy jump in traffic. Every day has been busy. We had a lot to talk to buyers about, keeping them in the showroom longer."

Daniele Semeraro of Sempli enthusiastically expressed, "This show is our worldwide debut! We just started the business in January and decided to launch at L.A. Mart's Beckman's Handcrafted Show. The traffic has been steady and we are getting a great response from the buyers, designers and media who have stopped by."

Kevin Ebert, assistant director of operations for Harvard Museum of National History furthered the California advantage. "This is our fifth year coming to L.A. Five years ago we found our best-selling product ever at the L.A. Mart. We continue to buy it and it continues to sell very well. We don't even bother with the shows on the East Coast anymore, everything is the same. We see different, fresh and unique merchandise here at the California Gift Show."

For a complete listing of CGS show information, please visit: www.californiagiftshow.com.

L.A. Mart® is a registered trademark of MMPI. The California Gift Show® is a registered trademark of MMPI. Beckman's Handcrafted Show(TM) L.A. is a registered trademark of MMPI. L.A. Mart is home to nearly 200 permanent year-round, residential, decorative accessory and gift showrooms serving the retail and interior design industries.

The California Gift Show Temporaries feature over 800 temporary exhibitors of lifestyle merchandise, home décor and furnishings, in the newly enhanced and expanded Temporaries at L.A. Mart and Los Angeles Convention Center, making the California Gift Show the preeminent market for gift and home furnishings products on the West Coast. L.A. Mart is located at 1933 South Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90007.

For more information call 213-763-5800 or visit www.californiagiftshow.com or www.lamart.com. MMPI is a trade show and property management firm, specializing in managing buildings devoted to wholesale showrooms and commercial office space.

MMPI produces more than 300 trade shows, market events and conferences each year.

MMPI manages The Merchandise Mart and 350 W. Mart Center in Chicago; Architects & Designers Building and 7 W New York in New York; Boston Design Center in Boston; L.A. Mart in Los Angeles; and Washington Design Center and Federal Center Southwest in Washington D.C.

Vornado Realty Trust, owner of MMPI, based in New York City, is a fully integrated real estate investment trust. Vornado's common shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange and are traded under the symbol VNO.

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