New York Now (NYN)
The name change to New York Now (NYN) from NY International Gift Show (NYIGS) signified the final stages of the presenter’s “Focus Forward” strategic reorganization. Accompanying the name change was new staging that divided presenters into four distinct market collections: NYIGF Home, NYIGF Lifestyle, NYIGF Handmade and NYIGF Artisan Resource- all running concurrently. Each section was bursting even more so than usual, with vendors spilling into the lobby and mobs of people.
Spilling outside the show and into the lobby of Jacob Javits was Karen Alweil’s Studio hosting the following brands- , selling whimsical lunch boxes, ukuleles and harmonicas; Wolfum, with animal- shaped peg boards and teepees; , candy dealer; Bottle Blond, a cheery stationery seller; Zebi Baby and Baby YaYa, both obviously baby-oriented companies; Bla Bla, a sock monkey lover’s dream; Petite Home, selling children’s linens, and Little Nest, which minimizes Eames chairs to tot size. In the front corner of Alweil’s cubby was Megan Fales’ line of jewelry that was non-touristy in a touristy way with city and state themes.
Once inside NYN the most notable brands are listed below.
Home/Skin Care Gifts Companies:
Archipelago‘s scented candles are the rider- mandated candle on Rihanna tours. According to Archipelago’s rep, Rihanna demands their spicy Black Forest candles wherever she rolls. With regal packaging and an intense scent, the allure of the Black Forest candle is easy to understand. Bonus-They aren’t even that expensive, so you can always have the smell of Rhi Rhi. Archipelago’s large soy candles in grapefruit and current candles are FashionEdits’ fav. Not to burn the wick at both ends, Archipelago has a skin line of mostly paraben-free products in Milk, Soy and Rice.
The charm of the south drew us like bees to honey for Savannah Bee Company, a relatively new company from Savannah, Georgia. Everything is natural, paraben-free and packaged in charming bee-themed wrapping. SBC’s best sellers include Royal Jelly Body Butter ($12.50-$76.50) and Earl Grey Lip Balms ($57.60 a case) and tints ($79.20 a case), but also check out SBC’s Doggy & Me line as well as their body washes. Royal jelly has numerous health benefits and apparently soft, moist skin is one of them.
Nappa Valley’s Olivina stood out with their natural and icky-toxic-stuff-free creams and lotions. Owner, Susan Kenward started Olivina after she went West to write about women-owned wineries. One thing led to another, and Kenward became a Nappa Valley woman-owned skincare line. Her products are lush and creamy enough to feel moisturized but not so thick as to tug at the skin on application. Olivina’s woodsy scented Cyprus & Fir line is perfect for holiday gift giving. Their lip care melts onto the lips like hot chocolate chip cookies.
Next store to Olivina, we found Freddie Boersma’s Made By Humans, a Nordic company specializing in odd little gifts like rabbit paper-mache banks, skull bicycle lights, robot dog pencil sharpeners, hand frames and gummy bear erasers and notebooks. FashionEdit’s approved Kitsch.
Boutique incense purveyor Nippon Kodo showed off their new Surf Burner incense boards for those who burn and surf or just body board. Their Morningstar Dragon Ballz cartoon graphic incense doesn’t look calming, but it’s pretty cool for 13-yr olds who need to chill out to scents like green tea and lavender. Kodo’s Natu Rense, an all natural incense range looks more likely to set a relaxing and eco-friendly vibe. For some reason, they also sell clay and charcoal Deitanseki soap, reported to be a best seller in Japan.
Up Country isn’t new but deserves mention for their cute pet accessories and charity work with shelter rescue dogs. They specialize in collars and leads to fit any dog and every cat. Brides can bring Spot to the wedding or marry FiFi off in Up Country’s bridal collection. New themes include classic New England, Hipster Brooklyn and Americana. Up Country also makes a green line of bamboo. Sizes range from XS teacup 1/2” to XXL for Great Danes and other giant dogs.
More pet-related products appeared at South Carolina’s Harry Barker. Founded by former Ford model and fire eater (?) Carol Perkins, Harry Barker carries everything from biscuits to chewie toys to beds and poop scoopers. This brand of folksie designer pet products will appeal to pet lovers. They also sell a range of designated all natural pet care products.
British Apples to Pears’ line of toy kits starting at $7.50 is a delight that will appeal to adults and kids alike. Their products bring back nostalgic memories of having your tonsils out as a kid and someone who loves you bringing you recuperating time treats. Kits come in little lunch boxes and hold adorable things like a working train set-up, a 3-D dinosaur puzzle, pressed flowers kit and everything else kids 7-70 marvel at.
Onto stationary. UK Caroline Gardner sells sweet totes and paper printed with her whimsical drawings. It’s fem-centric, airy and palatably saccharine.
Upscale paper lines from Thomas Cushing’s Libretto array of paper products. Architectural Watercolors line is as wonderful as it sounds, as is the Christian Lacroix series. Very dressy and gift appropriate.
Goofy but cute products of note include Fred’s Ninja Bread Men for every little boy’s super hero lunchbox and Meninos’ Food Zombie party picks. which devoted a whole booth to the walking-dead. Fried Confetti’s hair ties are new products for psychedelic graphic artist Jo Dee Krotz. Domoreidea, a Taiwanese company, deals in humorous and somewhat vulgar gifts, for those who like that sort of thing.
Clothing and Accessories
“How old are you?” I blurted out, before I could stop myself, to baby-faced Steve Mayer, founder and principal designer at Bird Dog Bay. This ,after he informed us he started out 25 years ago, working as cheap labor for a British textile firm. “38,” he admitted. “You look like you’re 23! Not aging must have been a side benefit from lack of sunlight during your years as a child laborer,” I restrained from following up with. Anyway, Mayer specializes in ties and the like in insanely preppy animal motifs he draws himself. He proudly mentioned he develops around 100 new a year. Wouldn’t this drive someone crazy? Not Mayer, who humbly explains he’s not an artist but can draw precise anatomical renditions of animals and plants. Like Beatrix Potter- for adult males! The designs are whimsical Chicago WASP and vaguely like some of Hermes animal-themed prints. Love the little bunnies. Starting at $75 for his quality silk neckwear, it’s the perfect gift for men who will never give up their button downs. BTW-Bird Dog Bay is named after Mayer’s dog. Awww….
Angel Rox carries multifunctional knitwear that is popular with yoginis. From $13 up, the clothes are cuddly and versatile enough to carry on from dreadful-benefit office job or school run to yoga class.
Also reputed to be popular among yogis, YANA (You Are Not Alone) sells really nice tee shirts among other things. The company is based in Rhode Island and owned by Wayne A. Glover. Glover explained the company is some sort of well-meaning charity that every year gives a portion of proceeds to someone who joined YANA through a purchase to then donate to any person or cause he felt needed it. What if the winner feels Al Qaeda deserves some cash compassion? While the concept doesn’t seem all together worked out, Glover is a good salesman and the t’s are very nice.
In the much promoted English section of NYIGS, Lettuce, owned by Tammy Barrett, carries smart, whimsical bags and matching scarves at low price points that don’t look like low price point bags and scarves. Barrett carries a zillion keen patterns so you don’t get bored.
French company, Elisabeth Riveiro uses ancient lost wax casting techniques to turn out delicate but strong statement jewelry. Lost waxing casting imbues metal with an intense but soft honed finish.
Brooklyn-based Alexandra Ferguson brought her mom to showcase her line of wordy, eco-friendly (made from recycled PET containers or Hemp) US made pillows. Best bets are the Call Your Mother, Go to the Gym and Be Nice Or Leave, but my favorite was No Whining. Priced $32 up, the pillows snap.
Three Potato Four deals in snappy vintage housewares. Couple Janet Morales & Stu Eli run the company out of a not-too vamped up garage in Media, Pennsylvania, where they indulge their love of all sorts of cool stuff. Their 3P-4 products have a nostalgic cinematic quality to them. One could see them outfitting props for a Woody Allen Movie. So, if that’s your thing…
Insomniacs will appreciate Spoonkspace which claims their natural material mats will invigorate and calm you, easing your sleepless nights. It’s an eco-friendly version of a foam mat or waterbed and sounds good to us.
Namaste, another French company, sells little perfume boxes and some perfume. The French are great at this type of thing. We want 40 in our boudoir.
Cali based Jan Johnson Porcelain Arts carries ceramics in the arts & crafts vein. Being legged-mermaids, we were drawn to Johnson’s mermaid line but also admired her sea creature tiles which are similar to those you’d see at Anne Sacks by Busby Gilbert.
Mercado Global is the project of Yalie Ruth Degolia, specializing in totes handmade by fairly paid women in Guatemala. Large totes and dip dyed ipad covers are easy best sellers at decent price points. Degolia hopes to promote women-owner businesses in Guatemala through importation of their hand goods. She developed the business during her year abroad at Yale.
Also promoting women-owned businesses through sales of artisan house products and accessories is Creative Women. Vermont-based owner Ellen Dorsch painstakingly manages to import high quality scarves and linens while maintaining her commitment to promoting female economic growth in developing companies.
If you’re into stained glass, check out Israeli Varda Avnisan’s line of stained glass housewears. Avnisan’s sense of color and layering combine into pleasantly ambient and calming home products. We’re loving her pendant lights but would settle for a Zen or Indigo salad plate. Priced from $19.75-$1225 for sculpture pieces.
Newcomer, Bronwen Jewelry, is owned by delightful, petite, wavy blonde haired Oregonian Bronwen Lodato. Her line is active jewelry for people who do yoga, surf and other active endeavors. I’ve never been able to wear jewelry during a work-out but her mala-like bracelets, African beading and tranquilo blue necklaces are hard to resist.
South African Chic Fusion turns out interesting felt pieces. Company founder Razaan Jakoet apparently hires South Africans working horrible jobs to make cuddly felt products and better their lives. Shawls and bags are best in the line-up.
With its successful show of over 2,800 exhibitors and 3,500 visitors, NYN is headed in a the new right direction.