Just about the time we start thinking about taking down the lights and ornaments of Christmas, it’s time to start packing for market… and getting ready to choose all our favorite finds for the next holiday season (and everything in between). So January is always a bit surreal, looking at décor and trends for a season nearly a year away… but that’s how it works. If you don’t step up and put in your orders now, you won’t get what you want. (What’s almost stranger is having jingle bells arrive in July or August, and packing them away when it’s 98 degrees outside, but that’s how this crazy business works.)
After a very busy (record-breaking!) December, this January was especially hectic for us with travel to three different markets. Phew! This was a marathon exercise in shopping and decision-making, all done while the snow and ice was packing Bend into a state of deep freeze. First there was Seattle very early in the month. I went solo for what should have a quick, two-day trip, but got stranded there when the Redmond airport closed. There are far worse places to be stranded than Seattle, no? Since I was due to fly out to the Atlanta show three days later, I simply stayed in Seattle and had fun. And bought a few new things to wear that weren’t winter sweaters and boots… because it was going to be 75º in Atlanta! I walked everywhere, treated myself to delicious seafood, went to the Yves Saint Laurent exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum, and took the tram to the Chihuly Gardens. Heaven! Meanwhile, the snow was dumping in Bend, and we had to close the store for more than a week because – like everywhere else in Bend – it was impossible to get close enough to park, let alone walk through the snow drifts. Let’s just say it was kind of a slow month for everyone in town.
The Seattle show is very small, but I was thrilled to find some northwest artists to order from, and catch up on some of our favorite core lines. You’ll see some of this coming in very soon.
Then off to Atlanta. The hotel I normally stay in is within walking distance to the market buildings, a huge advantage if you don’t want to stand in line for an hour waiting for a shuttle bus. It’s nothing special, but they’ve been updating it all year into a kind of mid-century mod look, and they gave me one of their brand new suites. It was so brand new, I had to sleep with a lavender sachet on my pillow to drown out the paint smell (another good reason those little sachets are one of my must-have travel items). This is a market where you don’t get a lot of sleep, you don’t eat all that well (it’s kind of hamburger and fried-chicken land, unless you have the energy to venture out to the different neighborhoods in the evenings), and you always use up your travel arsenal of aspirins and ibuprofens. So having a good bed to collapse on is a necessity.
The Atlanta show is massive, and seems to grow every year. It’s hard to even describe how huge and convoluted it is: three buildings, each the size of a large city block, and each about 20 stories tall, filled with every sort of merchandise there is, from furniture (indoor and outdoor) and rugs, to home décor, gift merchandise, fashion, accessories, holiday, tabletop, linens, paper, gourmet foods… everything. I always start on the 20th floor of building one; the top floor (out of five or six floors) of all holiday merchandise. Take a deep breath, focus, and go (after standing in line for at least half an hour at the Starbucks downstairs). Only five more days to go… Some store owners knock out this show in a few days, but I have to see everything, because we have so many categories at Pomegranate. And I want to see everything new and fresh on the market. I skip the furniture and rugs (and the floors and floors of clothing), because I only swoon over stuff that we cannot possibly fit into our store. Keep moving, and stop and order if something really sings to you. You may not find your way back into the maze if you walk away to think about it.
I saw a lot of junk and useless things at this market – as always. It’s a little depressing, actually, to think that people (somewhere) fill their stores and homes with some of this stuff, but, there’s a market for everything, and all I have to do is keep on walking/running right past it all. I wish I had taken pictures of some the ridiculous pieces on display (a 3-d wall hanging thing of mermaids in various shades of shiny and sparkly gold), but they discourage picture taking, especially if it’s for the purpose of making fun of it. We should keep our snark to ourselves…
What trends were showing? Well, the new Pantone color of the year is a pretty, appley green, so there was a lot of that, but it needs to be done just right, and not everyone was pulling it off. I was happy to see more of some of my favorite combinations of navy and gray, with pops of color to set it off. Soft linens in monochromatic colors was a hit in my book, from tea towels to throws. By the way, I’ve decided that every good bed needs a throw.
There was a lot more gold and copper and brass in home décor and jewelry, and I was glad to see it. The idea of mixed metals started awhile back, but is now getting the finesse it needed. I love all the holiday décor I found in more of a champagne color – somewhere between gold and silver – that you can mix with whatever pieces you already have. Last year’s Pantone color (a soft pink) showed up quite a bit, too, but I think that’s a harder one to carry out: only the very brave would opt for a pale pink sofa. There were lots of sayings everywhere: on signs, on totes, on journals, umbrellas, linens, glassware, mugs… endless. I did pick out a line of canvas totes that I think are really great, and we have our great pillowcases and tea towels with good sayings, but a lot of it was overdone. Monogramming and personalization was huge there, but I don’t think that’s as much of a west coast thing… mostly it didn’t look like Bend to me.
I was really happy to see a lot of good modern design: the kind I like best is simple, somewhat organic, able to mix with other pieces. We love to bring that in, too.
And I saw a lot of fabulous clothing, even if I tried to skate past it. Seems like a lot of the home décor companies are venturing into that arena, some with a really good eye, some not so much. I did order a little bit, not being able to help myself, but our upstairs doesn’t really lend itself to holding a lot of clothing (nor being able to try it all on). This spring, though, we’ll have some simple linen tunics and block-printed, lightweight kimono-style wraps that you can layer over t-shirts and summer wear. Yum!
Oh yes, then it was off to Las Vegas – another market – for both of us. The market itself was good – we found lots of fun things to bring in, and as busy as it is, it’s calmer and more organized than the Atlanta market. But Vegas itself is officially not our favorite city. And the Paris hotel: well, there’s a lot more smoke to breathe in than Paris itself. That did not help the fact that we both came down with ferocious colds by the end of it all.
So, can we just kind of write off January and start fresh? Sure! Some of our orders have already started pouring in, and we can’t wait to share all the new finds with you. Let’s hope the snow and ice are mostly behind us, and we can start getting around safely…
Pictures below are kind of a mashup of travelogue (Seattle!) and random observations.
|Best note seen (on a great little vintage clip)|
|So lucky to have seen this fabulous exhibit on the last day!|
|Fascinated by these 18th century silver pieces at the Seattle Art Museum – rice bowl on the left could be contemporary|
|African masks: so artful|
|A few favorite pieces at the Chihuly museum: worth a trip to Seattle just for this!|
|Spectacular off-center garden pavilion by Chihuly: stood in there and listened to classical music, gazing at the art and light (and the Space Needle looming over it all)|
|A fantastic feathered dress (and hat!) in a showroom|
|Gigantic gold chair: so Las Vegas, right?|
|Another giant chair on display (about 6′ tall). Why?|
|Darling vintage trailer filled with retro goodies|
|Um. Poodle. Paris, Las Vegas.|
|Put this on my birthday wish list: not going to happen|