NY Now- Gift Show
Strong sales, brutal weather and a Seattle Super Bowl win marked this season’s NY Now gift show held from 2/1-6/14 at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and Pier 94. With over 35,000 attendees spilling over the 4 sub-shows of NY NOW-Home, Lifestyle, Handmade and New, it’s no wonder the 2,500 exhibitors reported a successful run.
NY Now awarded the following companies excellence in their various product lines: Tom Dixon, Finell, Tina Frey Designs, Lifetime Brands, Inc. and Vici. Dixon’s furniture and accessories, crafted from masculine elements and darkly modern, proved highly award-worthy. Tina Frey Designs captured clean lines and the essence of the form in quality resin- available in eye popping colors. A savora colander won the Best of Home award for Life Time Brands. Vici’s Spherovelo, a ride-on for children aged from one to two encouraging early connections between senses (vision, pressure and equilibrium) and their motor systems was awarded a Best eifestyle award.
Candles and lotions dominated the real-estate at Javits and no bees are alike.
Everyone knows C.O. Bigelow stands for quality in impressive packaging. Their Italian made Marvis toothpaste and mouth washes still impress, with fab flavors like Ginger and and Jasmin Mint. C. O. Bigelow’s Skincare line, Great Barrier Island Bee Co., is derived from Manuka bees in New Zealand. Bigelow’s bee products instill moisture into winter-dried hands, transforming skin into velvet.
Under a huge bee logo, David and Glenda Baer’s Santa Cruz based Blithe and Bonny take bees in a totally different direction. Glenda is an artist and named the company after the opening song of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Look for paraben-free lotions and oils, soy candles, dish towels, totes and stationery with cool period graphics. This couple is adorable with coordinated tattoos and a hint of Cali-conservative liberalism that’s endearing.
K. Hall Studio Inc., out of St. Louis, Missouri, had the most impressive candle display at the show with four separate but supportive brands- K. Hall Designs, Barr Co. Simpatico Home and US Apothecary. All products are made in the USA and come in simple, charming packaging. Hall only uses natural, locally sourced waxes and other ingredients. Wonderfully particular to her brand is the hand-crafted hobnail glass holders of the Simpatico candles. Home fragrances come in over 18 interesting and memorable scents. Peony is a favorite but there’s always rose, lavender and orange amber. Barr Co., named after Kelley Hall’s husband, John Barr, is the skincare line featuring triple milled soaps and shea products. While the line is limited to basics, there is still a lot to choose from packaged in sweet vintage wrapping. Sales representative, Regi Alonso, spoke of K.Hall Design products’ unique elements, like their vegetable wax candles are sourced entirely from Midwestern farmers, and glass comes from recycled barware. They aim to be environmentally responsible and support the local economy in St. Louis. Alonso also reported things were picking up in the Midwest with stores opening and employment rising. Prices are very good- topping out around $13 wholesale for high quality products.
Texas company Farm House Fresh decorated their booth in huge paper flowers for one of the sweetest displays at the show. Their skin products range from basic lotions to serious cosmetically wrinkle and fade creams, all produced in the USA of 90-99% natural ingredients with no parabens or sulfates. Many are vegan and gluten free. Disney Resorts and the Hershey Hotel stock Farm House Fresh toiletries. The Whoopie cream line is addicitvely sweet with no calories. Body moisturizers go for around $15 and specialty products are more.
Choiselle produces divinely smelling organic artisanal lotions and oils. The packaging and quality are what you’d expect at a high end spa, but the prices are a reasonable $20+. Choiselle explained that she developed her passion for oils from her Caribbean grandmother, who mixed her own potions from what she found in her tropical environment. Her Lemongrass and Ylang Ylang are exceptional scents and her creams have a thick whipped constancy that melts right into your skin.
Rabbits and foxes are dear to FashionEdits so we voted best toys at NY Now to be Danish brand Maileg Toys. Expect whimsical rabbits, foxes and kittens, all ready to inspire adventurous childhood fantasies of play. Yoga rabbits come with little mats and are too cute without being twee. Maileg toys have a sense of wonderment with soft bodies, sweet faces and nice smiles that melt hearts. Rabbits come in many sizes and clothing and accessories are available for play.
In the Home section, Golden Rabbit enamelware hit a sweet spot. Inspired by the mythical golden rabbit and guardian of drunks and utilitarian enamelware used in Bali, Peggy Hedgpeth’s company deals in high quality enamelware decorated with Beatrix Potter, Mary Engelbreit and Laura Fair Chirp, among others. Despite the whimsy, it’s not just for children but also for serious entertainers. Lobster and patriotic enamelware have summer party enameled all over them.
Maxiga amazed us with everything they sold. Putting a fun face on utility, Maxiga’s goods offer handy products from bicycle lights to paperclip holders that put a smile on your face. We loved their Andy Warhol trash bin and bunny desk set as well as their cedar closet squirrels. Their staff is great, too. Amanda Kagiwada is extremely helpful and enthusiastic about the products Maxiga sells.
Michael Kriss’ Oyobox sells delux eyewear cases that protect expensive glasses while looking neat and snazzy. Kriss’ cases would nicely accent a walk-in closet or an up-scale mud-room. Prices range from $150 up, depending on the finish.
Located away on the top floor of the show, Global Handmade was busier than the last show during the summer. Sculptures were a big theme. Aviologie specializes in hand carved birds designed by owner, David Hall. Working with his wife Anna, Hall produces his designs in Indonesia of non-endangered, renewable woods harvested under fair-trade practices. Of course, Hall is British, but he and his wife have re-located to Canada.
Mbare, Ltd. specializes in fair trade products from 5 countries in Africa. In the language of the Shona People of Zimbabwe, Mare (pronounced “im-bah-ree”) means “a gathering of things” or “a marketplace”. Robbie Stewart, the president and owner of Mbare grew up in Harare, Zimbabwe and has set forth the mission of Mbare to enrich peoples’ lives and showcase African culture and craft-making. Best bets are their totes and anything with animals on it.
Also in Global, Kristen VanZandt’s Vida Dulce was taking fast orders for their skull-heeled shoes. Products are produced in Guatemala, by mostly women craftsmen who received fair compensation for their labor. While the skull shoes are NSFW, they are lively. Vida Dulce aso sells more subdued bags and knick-knacks.
El Ceibo trades high cacao content, non-alkalinized raw chocolate from Boliva as well as other products. El Ceibo boasts of being the first brand owned 100% by small farmers without exploitative middlemen.
South African Africa Works is distinct for their hand crocheted bags and blankets. Prices run from $1 for a bookmark to $210 for “eco-friendly cotton” blankets. Again, wages are “fair” and allow people in South Africa to earn a sustainable wage.
Trends at NY Now continue along the lines of turn-of-century Americana, vintage graphics, ethical (whatever that means) and environmentally conscious.
By: Elizabeth Maher