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Vol. 3 - Issue 8

Showcase 2012 Stand No: E44

Home &




Ambiente 2012, 10th-14th February, Frankfurt, Germany.

International Toy Fair 2012, 1st-6th February, Nurnberg.

Gift & Home Fair 2012, 26th-29th August, RDS, Dublin.

12 Furniture & Home Accessories Fair, 2012

16 Neil Friedman, President, Toys“R’Us

25th-27th March, RDS, Dublin.

7 Ashleigh & Burwood, Showcase 2012

19 New Products from Morrigan Ltd.

10 Christmasworld 2012

20 Craftspeople of Ireland

27th-31st January, Frankfurt, Germany

Premier Publishing Limited can accept no responsibility for the accuracy of contributors’ articles or statements appearing in this magazine. Any views or opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Premier Publishing and its Directors. No responsibility for loss or distress occasioned to any person acting or refraining from acting as a result of the material in this publication can be accepted by the authors, contributors, editor and publisher. A reader should access separate advice when acting on specific editorial in this publication!

Managing Director: Colin Murphy Sales Director: Ronan McGlade Editor: Mike Rohan Marketing Manager: Susan Doyle Sales Executive: Paul Lees Production Manager Susan Doyle

Home & Gift Retailer is published by Premier Publishing Limited,

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markets & fairs

10th – 14th February 2012 – Frankfurt am Main, Germany


mbiente combines the three world’s leading Dining, Giving and Living trade fairs in the international consumer goods sector. As the biggest and most international order platform visitors can explore new trends, obtain new impulses and information first hand at the fair, make valuable new contacts, and experience future oriented and innovative products in the fields of tableware, kitchen, home, furnishing and giving amongst others. Ambiente 2011 exceeded all expectations with over 4,500 exhibitors and attracted 145,000 trade visitors a year with 47% coming from outside Germany. Visitors from across the globe came to Frankfurt to discover new products, place orders and meet new and existing clients. Visiting Ambiente gives visitors a unique international environment to find out about new products, maintain existing business contacts, prepare for buying decisions, obtain an overall impression of market trends, increase specialist knowledge, compare competitors, make purchases and exchange information. It’s One Date. One Place. Innumerable Opportunities. No matter whether you are active in the table, kitchen and household segment, in the world of giving or in the home, furnishing and decorating sector, you can give your business a great boost at Ambiente 2012. Ambiente is unique in its three main sectors, it displays every product group in an ideal setting. Giving, Living and Dining are also then spilt individually to provide the best platform to place the newest innovations and designs in the sector. Giving explores the colourful world of giving and decorating for the best presents in the world – from classic gift and decorative items to humorous, unusual presents, jewellery, personal accessories,

beauty accessories and wellness products. The varied offering of gifts is well placed in Ambiente to take advantage of buyers from all round the world. Dining is the leading international fair for the tabletop, kitchen, houseware and indulgence sectors. With Kitchen, Houseware, Kitchen Trends and Table sections, Living presents the newest innovations and you can discover the latest kitchen trends and search for creative new ideas for the table area. Living showcases products for the living and decorating sectors. From furniture and home accessories, home textiles, lighting, decorations and emotional home concepts through to avant-garde design objects. At Living everything revolves around interior design. In the Loft area young designers and trend shows will be featuring pure avant-garde home accessories, furniture, lighting and textiles will be on show.

2012 Trends Ambiente’s trend team, with its accurate trend forecasts, constantly analyses international fashion, architectural and design trends. From this, they develop the trend statements for Ambiente, which are presented at an impressive trend show. “Our aim is to make visions tangible and carry them across to concrete trends. We formulate clear information and appeal to the senses and emotions which go with this. We are long-term inspiration facilitators for visitors.” Daily trend lectures will be held every day at Ambiente to outline the lifestyle and consumer trends of the future. In 2012 Ambiente is ‘the place to be’ for international, innovative consumer goods and promises an elegant and positive atmosphere, new products and orders, pleasant surprises, fantastic trends and blooming business opportunities. To purchase an advance discounted ticket to the show as well as travel, hotel information and much more please visit Date: Venue: Tel: Fax: Email: Web: Visitor Registration:


HOME & GIFT RETAILER Volume 3 Issue 8

10th – 14th February 2012 Frankfurt am Main +44 (0) 1784 415950 +44 (0) 1784 4159951

markets & fairs

AMBIENTE 10th – 14th FEBRUARY 2012 – Location 4.1 B16


ortmeirion Group is very much established at the forefront of the international market, through its world famous brands, Portmeirion, Spode, Royal Worcester and Pimpernel. The company’s stand will be a ‘must visit’ with a whole host of exciting launches for 2012. Portmeirion has secured a relationship with another very famous and internationally renowned brand, Sanderson, and is introducing two designs, Fifi and Porcelain Garden. Botanic Garden is 40 years young and its very loyal European fan-base will be delighted to see its new ‘exotic’ flower range and new cookware additions. There will also be a new and delightful dedicated Christmas collection to build on the Group’s existing Christmas portfolio of The Holly and The Ivy range and Spode’s Christmas Tree collection. Last but by no means least, the Sophie Conran for Portmeirion ‘Heart’ collection will also be featured as well as the licensed Vintage Kellogg’s range. (Pictured above is the Sanderson for Portmeirion Porcelain Garden Pitcher) In response to popular demand, Spode is launching six distinctively packaged Blue Room

jumbo cups and saucers, as well as introducing a Blue Italian cake stand and some new Christmas Tree cutlery. Also new will be Blue Italian, Christmas Tree and Woodland tisanieres. (Pictured right Spode Blue Italian Tisaniere) Royal Worcester will be showing its extended fine bone china mug collection and Serendipity, its elegant white bone china range. Pimpernel, now firmly established as the premier brand for placemats, coasters, trays, ceramic and melamine gift sets, will be introducing a number of new ranges including a number of designs to complement Portmeirion’s new 2012 launches. A feast for the eyes and for the table – but don’t just take our word for it – come to the stand and see for yourselves – you won’t be disappointed. For more detailed information on the Portmeirion Group, or Portmeirion, Spode, Royal Worcester and Pimpernel brand product ranges please visit the website: or telephone Portmeirion Group business enquiries on 01782 744721.

UK LAUNCH – Stand Q 97


axton are appointed sole UK agents by Tommy Design Italy for their new interlocking puzzle-shaped photo frames and whiteboards which are being showcased for the first time in the UK at Top Drawer, 15th-17th January 2012. The completely innovative puzzle-shaped frames which hold 7”x5” photos come in 16 vibrant colours and interlock with each other and also with the larger whiteboards, enabling you to create a fun and creative display in any room. With


just one hook, you can link them together to cover a wall with pictures, notes or messages and then change them around at any time. Tommy Design frames and whiteboards are ideal for the home, kid’s rooms, kitchen, office, studio or just about anywhere that photos need displaying and notes need noting. They will be stocked by on-trend retailers, photo shops and specialist stores in the UK.

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markets & fairs

Discover the UK’s largest dedicated Contemporary Gift & Home offering at Spring Fair International 2012 Find Contemporary Gift & Home products in Halls 6 and 7 of Spring Fair International


ontemporary Gift and Home at Spring Fair International is set to be the best it’s ever been at the 2012 show and buyers can expect this entire part of the Fair to look and feel completely different compared with previous years. It is to be the largest and most impressive presentation of contemporary gift and home products in the UK. The show has welcomed many new exhibitors, reflecting continuing strong demand for new and innovative, design-led gift and home products throughout the retail industry. There are now 266 exhibitors in Contemporary Gift and Home, with many of exciting new ranges that have never been seen before at Spring Fair. New exhibitors for 2012 include: Miho, Idea, Pluto, Isak, Rice, Donkey Products, Moomin, Chive, +d, Himla, Normann Copenhagen, Sia and Bloomingville. Having moved from their previous home in Hall 4, contemporary gifts will completely fill Halls 6 and 7 at Spring Fair, presenting a highly compelling offering of the biggest and best brands the industry has to offer, from both the UK and overseas. For 2012 these are to include: House Doctor, Pip Studio, Normann Copenhagen, Donkey Products, Rice, Suck UK, Present Time, J-Me, Rex International, Addject, Miss Etoile and many more. New for this part of the show will be the French Pavilion in association with UBI France, the French Trade Commission, which is bringing eight French companies to Spring Fair, such as: Lamali Paris, Collegien, Lib Editeur D’Idees and Bandit Manchat. Another new section called The Studio in Hall 6 will feature smaller niche and craft-based suppliers, celebrating products that are designed and made in Britain and also home to DesignGap, a longstanding and important part of Spring Fair for several decades. There will also be a new zone dedicated to higher end kids’ gifts such as Powercraft, Rice and Woo & Woo.

Now located next to The Summerhouse, the Contemporary Gift & Home has been carefully edited and laid-out to make browsing and buying a pleasure. Clear product zoning and wider, boulevard style aisles will provide plenty of room to take in the 50,000 fantastic new products being launched across this category. “This really will be the centre point of the entire show” says Event Director Sarah Charlton, “and completely focused on stylish gift, home and lifestyle products. The Contemporary Gift & Home offer will be the best seen to date at Spring Fair.” With the comfort of visitors in mind, extra seating is to be placed along the boulevards, providing convenient vantage points for them to recharge their batteries in the heart of the halls. The Trend Bar in Association with WGSN will be the centrepiece of Contemporary Gift and Home, located between Halls 6 & 7, where it will set the tone for the whole of Spring Fair with world-leading, directional style guidance to help guide buying for the year ahead. Home to an in-house DJ, the Trend Bar will also include a major product merchandising feature that displays to perfection the three key concepts that WGSN has pinpointed to define the Gift & Home market in the seasons ahead: Hyperculture, Radical Neutrality and Eco Hedonism will lead the way for retail in AW 2012/13. Products carefully selected from the show floor will demonstrate to buyers how these trends can be incorporated into their merchandising displays, while a special Contemporary Gift & Home new product showcase located in the Hall 5 – 9 link-through will provide more ideas and inspiration to help guide buying decisions. “When people see Contemporary Gift & Home at Spring Fair next year they are going to be wowed,” says Charlton, “because this really is a major transformation.” The seminar programme in Hall 6 will be better than ever before. Please see attached schedule for more details.

HOME & GIFT RETAILER Volume 3 Issue 8


showcase 2012

Leap into Spring with

Ashleigh & Burwood


ith the consumer ‘frenzy’ surrounding Christmas already fading into a distant haze, retailers are looking for ways in which to revitalise their shelves (and customers!) by offering fresh and inspiring home and gift items to embody the blossoming arrival of spring. As the ubiquitous ‘nesting’ trend continues to gain momentum, this year sees it coupled with a trend for all things British – thanks to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee as well as the inescapable anticipation surrounding the summer Olympics. With such excitement poised around the UK retail industry, who can retailers rely on to inject excitement into their sales for 2012? Ashleigh & Burwood proudly present their perfect ranges of home fragrance products to guarantee a flurry of customer interest, appealing to both an existing loyal customer base, as well as attracting new ones with their revitalised collections and innovative market-leading product launches. Remaining committed to their strict ethos of presenting retailers with products that offer forwardlooking design and excellent value as well as assured quality across a wide variety of ranges, means they have an amazingly versatile catalogue of products with something assured to suit every retailer. Their stunningly elegant and increasingly popular ‘A La Maison’ range (pictured) is an ideal offering for customers looking for an exceptionally distinctive item to spruce up their homes for spring. The sleek black packaging is perfectly accented with bursts of colour, which alongside the beautifully coloured liquids in each bottle create an unmistakably eye-catching display, as well as presenting customers with a beautifully packaged gift proposal. An above average volume of the diffusers in this range (250ml), together with an irresistibly exotic selection of six fragrances are guaranteed to attract customers looking for a touch of the extraordinary. Recently reformulated to

give a stronger fragrance and improved diffusion rate, each diffuser is guaranteed to last for up to 6 months – proving excellent value for customers and encouraging repeat sales for a product of undeniable quality. Maintaining outstanding value for money are their standard 200ml Reed Diffusers with over 35 fragrances to choose from, enabling retailers to pick the ultimate combination of fragrances to suit the time of year, as well as their style of customers. The vibrant, colourful packaging is sure to enhance any retail space, and with their extremely competitive pricing as well as the availability of fragrance refills, this range proves to be one of their fastest selling home fragrance collections. Quirky spring-time inclusions such as Baby Powder (pictured) and Parma Violets provide an exciting variety in fragrances, as well as a departure from the more ‘standard’ options, not often seen from other brands. With 2012 bringing so much emphasis to the UK, Ashleigh & Burwood are very much focusing on showcasing their newest ranges, produced and crafted here as a celebration of the nation’s skill, design and expertise. The exclusively designed ‘Artist Collection Fragrance Lamps’ are an exciting new addition to the fragrance lamp market. Made by experienced glassmakers Andrew Sanders & David Wallace at their studio in North Yorkshire, they are crafted from 100% recycled 24% lead crystal, using only traditional glass making tools and techniques to produce a gorgeous range of contemporary masterpieces. Each completely unique item is entirely handmade and blown by mouth, as well as individually signed, dated and numbered by the artist for authenticity. As ever Ashleigh & Burwood are always looking to extend their fragrance offering to support their increasing lamp styles – all their fragrances are expertly developed and produced in the UK using the finest English scents. The newest additions to their extensive lamp fragrance collection are Wild Mint, Citrus Burst, Pomegranate and Japanese Orchid – a clever selection of spring inspired fragrances combining traditional scents with unusual and diverse notes, guaranteed to appeal to a wide range of consumers’ scent preferences.

HOME & GIFT RETAILER Volume 3 Issue 8


showcase 2012


2012 Collections


apiz enter the spring season, with their most comprehensive collection of jewellery, handbags and accessories to date. Fashion lead pieces in all the latest colours of the season, will be sure to make a statement. Jewellery ranges from soft and feminine with hearts and crystal detail, through to bold statement pieces in citrus brights. Again statement rings, and earrings play a large part in the collection. Price points from £2.95 - £16.95. With a sell out collection last season, Capiz re-introduce a new range of “Scarf/jewellery”. Soft jersey fabric bejewelled with beads, and charms, in a colour palette of mint, coral’s and soft silvers and mochas. Price points from £7.95 - £11.95 The Capiz handbag range continues to go from strength to strength, with this season’s predicted ones to watch being small patent designs in nudes, red and black. Also a collection of structured “Lady-like” handbags in a range of fabrics such as faux ostrich, textured mock croc, and soft faux leather. Price points from £7.95 - £19.95 We invite you to view the full collection at one of the spring trade

Oyster Pearl and Full Moon Martina Hamilton brand

show, online at www. Alternatively contact us for a full colour brochure, or for a sales agent to visit. Capiz are attending the following spring shows:

Showcase Dublin – Stand E1 Scotland’s Trade Fair, Glasgow – Stand E120 Spring Fair International, NEC – Stand E20/F21 Hall 19 Moda, NEC – Stand N13 Contact: Angela or Paul Waldie Tel: +44 (0)1449 775566


ward winning designer Martina Hamilton has created two new sterling silver jewellery collections “Oyster Pearl and “Full Moon” for her Martina Hamilton brand. The collection was recently launched in Martina’s outlet The Cat & The Moon, Sligo and featured on RTE’s Nationwide Pearls catch the light and both reflect and contrast with either textured or polished metal surfaces in the Oyster Pearl collection. Full Moon, Ice Moon and Blue moon pendants embellished with precious stones represent the seasonal moons. The new collections will be launched nationally at Showcase Ireland 2012.

Fruity, Vibrant, Full of Fun, Summer 2012 Fragrances Sweeten Up the Season


ankee Candle® the leading home fragrance company continues to excite its consumers this summer with a new range of succulent scents. Launching five new Housewarmer® fragrances for summer 2012, Yankee® promises to deliver ‘must have’ brand new fragrances to both its new and existing customers. Summer is the perfect time to create colourful and vibrant displays using additional items to bring displays to life. The bright and tropical colours are perfect to feature in creative outpost displays, sure to captivate consumers and get sales booming as consumer buying habits change for the summer months to purchasing more fruit and floral fragrances.


The new Yankee Candle® fragrances include; Pink Dragon Fruit- a colourful and intriguing fragrance, there’s a lure of adventure in the sweet aroma of this tropical fruit that brings out your seductive summer feelings Sicilian Lemon- a bright and sunny citrus fragrance that diffuses the perfectly ripe, naturally sweet and refreshing scents of summer Wild Passion Fruit- a vivacious and bright fragrance, this exotic passion fruit is blended with melon and mandarin Fruit Fusion™- a summer-licious mix of berries, oranges and lime make this sunny fruit blend refreshingly tart and sweet

HOME & GIFT RETAILER Volume 3 Issue 8

Loves Me, Loves Me Notthe pretty white daisy traditionally linked to the game “He Loves Me, He Loves me Not...” where picking off the pretty white petals one by one reveals the true emotions of the man in your life! Loves Me, Loves Me Not is the ultimate focus fragrance for summer 2012. Captivating consumers with a clean white colourway plus stunning scent as consumers purchasing floral fragrances is at its highest point of the year. For further information please visit or call 01454 454 500. Yankee Candle® - the affordable luxury for you and your home



he Herbi4 range can be seen at Stand S96, Top Drawer Spring 2012, Earls Court, 15 - 17th Jan. Hot out of the kiln in time to be showcased at the Top Drawer Spring trade show, Herbi4 are launching new bowls and jugs with their trademark feature animal heads at the bottom of the handles. This is the beginning of a drive to create a lifestyle range to complement Herbi4’s already successful Gardener, Betty Blue and Eva Green Mugs. Subtle shades have been introduced to appeal to a broader customer base. Handmade in England, the Herbi4 range is playful pottery, designed and created by renowned ceramic artist Jon Barrett-Danes, whose bespoke garden sculptures are widely commissioned and exhibited across the UK. Herbi4’s smaller, more affordable products, which reflect the quality, style and character of Jon’s larger work, enable more people to enjoy his artistic creations in their own homes. The highly collectable ranges of Herbi4 home and garden ware are unique, fun and stylish pieces of ‘proper pottery’. The Herbi4 Planters, Hoarders and Mugs are versatile pots, available in terracotta and white earthenware, featuring different animal designs - cow, sheep, pig, chicken, rabbit, cat, – with new ones just around the corner. See the full range by visiting the website Herbi4 co-founder, Rob Lord, says, “Customers love the high quality and fun design of the Herbi4 range. The pots never fail to raise a smile and a comment. It’s proper pottery, well designed, sensibly priced and it’s handmade in England - there really isn’t anything like it on the market.” Herbi4 continue to enhance their product range. The increasing number of designs and products encourage customers to collect the series, and thereby offer retailers strong potential for repeat sales.

christmasworld 2012


he world’s leading trade fair for festive decorations starts the new business year by introducing the new trends and innovations for the coming seasons – from Christmas, Halloween and New Year to St Valentine’s Day, Easter, Summer and birthday parties. The unique range of products on show makes Christmasworld the world’s foremost trend and order platform for the wholesale and retail trades, boutiques, florists, interior furnishing specialists, designers and decorators. In Frankfurt you won’t only find products that delight customers but also decorative and professional elements for dressing shops and windows. Christmasworld is the most important meeting place for the international decorations sector that gives visitors and exhibitors the chance to explore new market trends for the upcoming seasons, make new business contacts, maintain clients, and find out about different product types to help and support successful buying decisions. The creative business opportunities at Christmasworld 2012 are endless. Christmasworld 2011 set a new record to start the new business year profitably with 971 leading exhibitors from 39 countries and over 31,000 visitors travelled to Frankfurt to see the varied product ranges on display. The main product groups included Christmas decoration, annual and seasonal festive decoration, ribbons and wrapping, candles and fragrances, florist’s requisites, festive lighting, shop and display, fireworks, party and festive articles.

27th – 31st January 2012 – Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Christmasworld also expanded the range of florists’ requisites to cover two exhibition halls and introduces a promotional area with young, innovative decoration companies from Germany. Altogether, 13 newcomers will present their products in an area sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology to showcase their original ideas

Trend Guide Christmasworld is a driving force behind current decoration trends that provides exclusive information in relation to the latest industry forms, colours, shapes, materials and much more. In Galleria 1, everything will revolve around the question, which themes are going to be ‘in’ during the 2012 / 13 season. Answers to this question can be found at the Christmasworld Trend Show where the designers and stylists from the bora.herke studio will present four thematic worlds using products from Christmasworld exhibitors. This way, visitors can discover which colours, shapes and materials are likely to set the tone in the coming season. The Trend Show also offers visitors practical tips for compiling their product assortment, as well as inspiration for window dressing and product presentations. Christmasworld 2012 is a ground-breaking source of inspiration and a must-visit event for everyone involved in the World of Decoration! For more information about Christmasworld 2012 and how to purchase an advanced discounted ticket please visit

Playful creativity is in demand In 2012, the most important get-together for the decorations and gift sector is set to give yet another impressive demonstration of its strength and original creativity. For example furled street-cafe sun parasols will be covered playfully next winter by an ‘umbrellatopper®’ in the form of an oversized Santa’s hat. Screw-in holders that permit standard table candles to be used will replace classic tree candleholders to add originality. The gift-wrapping industry is turning to industrial fibres and sheeting. The tear and water proof fabrics and paper, which are also non-inflammable and come in a variety of colours and Date: designs, are ideal for making presents Venue : 27th – more creative. 31st Ja Tel: nuary Frankf 2012 urt am Fax: Main +44 (0 ) 1784 Email: 41595 +44 (0 0 ) 1784 Web: 41595 info@ir 1 eland.m Visitor registr essefr www.c ankfur ation: hristma sworld www.u .messe kfrank f r a n kfurt.c om .uk 10

HOME & GIFT RETAILER Volume 3 Issue 8


For pre-registered visitors

markets & fairs

Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair Nürnberg 2012 – presents new gift ideas for retailers

the Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair Nürnberg 2012. The over 2,700 exhibitors at the world’s biggest toy fair present 1 million products, including 70,000 new articles. Particularly the product groups of dolls and soft toys (hall 1), craftworks, gifts, wooden toys (hall 3), and arts and crafts, creative design (hall 9) offer retailers a wide choice. Here they find lots of products to make their customers’ hearts beat faster.


mall gifts maintain friendships. This proverb is probably one of the best known and shortly before Christmas in everyone’s mind. But making gifts is not just restricted to Christmastime. There are innumerable other occasions, such as a wedding, a birthday, the long-awaited top mark in maths, the birth of a child, a new home or Valentine’s Day. People also often make gifts to their near and dear ones away from anniversaries. And this is where the problem of what to choose begins for buyers. A gift should always be something personal and unique. The choice of products is huge and most consumers have little patience. Should it be a games box, something for putting on display, or rather a do-it-yourself article? It’s not easy to find your way around in today’s gift jungle – not for retailers either, because they have to find gifts for all their target groups, not just for one person. Retailers find an extensive overview and a large selection of new products at


HOME & GIFT RETAILER Volume 3 Issue 8

markets & fairs Teenagers get gifts most often The next Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair Nürnberg 2012 takes place from 1–6.2.2012. The fair’s motto of “Toys4Teens” focuses on a particularly interesting and high-spending target group, the 13- to 16-year-olds. It is no secret that teens of this age don’t earn any money of their own, but generously spend their family’s money. Because in the end, the teens determine when and why mum, dad, grandma and grandpa reach for their purse and what presents they receive. The Toy Fair Special Toys4Teens tackles the consumption and purchasing behaviour of the adolescents with the aim of giving retailers a better understanding of the teenagers’ worlds. Retailers must know their target group and their preferences to be able to tempt them into their shops. With the aid of many best practice examples, the Toy Fair Special Toys4Teens makes retailers “fit for teens”. They get ideas on how to present their products in a more targeted way and what measures they can use to reach teens. Those interested can find more tips on handling teenagers at the Toy Business Forum in hall 4 of the International Toy Fair on 4.2.2012, when several practical experts report on how retailers can equip themselves for the challenges of the future. For all retailers who would like more in-depth knowledge, the Global Toy Conference takes place on Monday, 6.2.2012. The conference based on the motto of “Tomorrow’s Toy Industry – Opportunities and Challenges” gives participants such useful information as how to establish a rapport with the digital natives using concept stores or online marketing. Retailers and manufacturers can compile their own individual programme from the various conference modules.

New products attract more customers into the shop. With 70,000 new articles among the 1 million products on display, the International Toy Fair in Nuremberg is rightly regarded as the international pool for new

All age groups appreciate creative gifts Painting, moulding, cutting – nowadays, more and more adults spend their leisure time on creative design. They seek their own entertainment and increasingly withdraw to within their own four walls. Social researchers speak of cocooning, the term that describes precisely such withdrawal from public. This trend particularly benefits the trade, because those who stay at home spend more money on home hobbies. For retailers, it is a matter of appealing to different target groups with a sophisticated range, which means specialist shops must build up a broad assortment to cover all demands. This is the only way to succeed.

products. The 80,000 trade visitors from all over the world who travel to Germany for inspiration in February think the same, because only those who are inspired themselves can inspire their customers too.

Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair Nürnberg: 1–6.2.2012 ( Toy Business Forum: 2–6.2.2012 ( Global Toy Conference: 6.2.2012 (

HOME & GIFT RETAILER Volume 3 Issue 8


toys & baby products

Identifying the Top Market Trends for 2012


ome & Gift Retailer spoke with Neil Friedman, President of Toys"R"Us, US, about toy trends for 2012, the importance of product packaging and the forthcoming International Toy Fair 2012. Toys"R"Us is the world’s leading specialty retailer of toys and juvenile products. The US-based group sells a variety of products in the core toy, entertainment, juvenile, learning and seasonal categories through its retail locations and the Internet. Merchandise is sold in 873 Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us stores in the US and Puerto Rico, and in more than 600 international stores and over 140 licensed stores in 35 countries worldwide. In addition, it exclusively operates the legendary FAO Schwarz brand and sells extraordinary toys in the brand’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City. With its strong portfolio of e-commerce sites including,, and, it provides shoppers with a broad online selection of distinctive toys and baby products. Toys“R”Us employs about 70,000 people globally. The group had net sales $13.9 billion (Eur10.4 billion) and achieved EBITDA of $1.04 billion in its last financial year.

Q What top trends are anticipated in 2012 to influence toy sales? As a specialty toy retailer, with stores in 35 countries and jurisdictions worldwide, Toys“R”Us has the ability to track global toy-shopping trends, so we have unique insight into what kids want. Coming off the heels of the 2011 holiday season, we expect some of our top toy trends to continue to experience popularity, including appcessories for tech-savvy kids and quirky stuffed characters such as the UglyDoll line. Another trend that continues to grow is collectibles, like our Trash Pack and Moshi Monsters products. Kids love these toys because they can collect and swap them with their friends. Over the next several months, our team of global merchants will attend toy fairs around the world, scouting for the next big thing. Once they are over, and our merchants begin to evaluate what they’ve


seen, new toy trends will begin to emerge.

Q How important, in your opinion, is the packaging of a product in relation to its sales figures? Packaging plays a direct role in marketing a product to consumers as it showcases the toy and tells its story. An attractively packaged item is going to catch the customer’s eye and lead them to pick it up, learn more and want to buy it. With Toys“R”Us exclusive brand products, we strive to ensure our packaging is of the same great quality and look as the toy in it, because that’s what our customers have come to expect. As an example, in 2010, we revealed a brand redesign for FAO Schwarz featuring a new logo and many items presented in truly gift-able packaging that requires no wrapping and can be preserved for years as keepsakes to reflect the quality synonymous with its heritage.

Q Can you explain what the buying process is, from identifying a potential new product to getting it on the shelves of your stores? We shop the world for our customers and use our toy expertise to bring the best and newest assortment of products to Toys“R”Us stores year-round. Because we’re in the toy business 365 days a year, we can test items in our stores and determine what will be in high demand. We also consult our buying teams from all over the world to see what types of toys are performing well and work with our manufacturing partners to determine which ones have the strongest appeal. In addition, we keep an eye out for new products by scouring trade shows, watching hit online videos and tapping into the extensive knowledge of all our toy industry resources.

Q What are the plans for advancing the company’s Exclusive Portfolio in 2012? To further our exclusive brands business, we opened our own sourcing office in Shenzhen, China in 2010, and continue to build the team there. In October 2011, we unveiled a fresh new look for our popular Imaginarium brand adding 50 new products to bring the total assortment to more than 100 classic toys. We also work with our manufacturing partners throughout the year to develop product lines that can only be found at Toys“R”Us. Some of the manufactured exclusives we had in 2011 were among the hottest toys of the year,

HOME & GIFT RETAILER Volume 3 Issue 8

toys & baby products

including My Keepon, Trash Pack and Air Swimmers. This year, we will continue to advance our exclusive brand portfolio by expanding lines with new products and categories to provide our customers with exciting and differentiated merchandise that they can’t find anywhere else. Right now, we carry thousands of toys available only at Toys“R”Us and offer more than 25 exclusive brands, including favorites like True Heroes, Journey Girls, Fast Lane and more, along with our Babies“R”Us and FAO Schwarz product lines.

online children’s game site. As The World’s Greatest Toy Store, we are always on the lookout for innovative, fun toys that will really resonate with our customers and make them smile.

Q How important are educational toys to Toys“R”Us? Very important! At Toys“R”Us, we understand that parents want to invest in toys they believe will help their children build skills for the future, and we continue to see the demand for these toys grow. That’s why we offer a wide assortment of educational toys for kids of all ages that stimulate creativity and make learning fun! Imaginarium represents the largest segment in our exclusive brands portfolio. This recently expanded collection of educational toys has long promoted learning and discovery and is a favorite among children and parents. Other popular choices include educational gaming systems for little ones, like the LeapPad Explorer from LeapFrog and the InnoPad from Vtech, and CSI kits and telescopes from Edu-Science for older kids, among many others.

Q How important is the International Toy Fair for Toys“R”Us US and Toys“R”Us International? It’s tremendously important! The International Toy Fair is a crowning industry event that we look forward to every year because it allows us to check out new products, get an early read on what’s trending, see what our business partners are offering and look for new opportunities. Our buyers know what items will excite our customers, and they’ll be searching the Toy Fair high and low to find and bring them into Toys“R”Us stores worldwide.

Neil Friedman, President of Toys“R”Us,

Q What primarily entices you to a new supplier? At Toys“R”Us, we pride ourselves on working closely with our business partners to provide our customers with a differentiated assortment of toys based on what interests kids today. As THE toy authority, we collaborate with our manufacturers to bring the most innovative, first-to-market products to our consumers. We are committed to providing high quality products that create a truly exceptional playtime experience to kids and families. We will remain focused on offering the hottest toys, games and more, including exclusive brand items that can’t be found anywhere else.

Q What advice would you give companies that are trying to get their products on the shelves in Toys“R”Us stores? If you believe your product is the next big thing, by all means get in touch with us! There are many ways in which we discover new toys both conventionally, such as industry events like the International Toy Fairs, our manufacturers, inventors and otherwise. For example, our Annoying Orange product line came from a series of hit webisodes on YouTube while Moshi Monsters began as an

As President, Toys“R”Us, U.S., Neil Friedman oversees all merchandising, marketing, Neil Friedman, President of store operations, merchan- Toys“R”Us, US. dise presentation, global sourcing and product devel-opment, as well as merchandise planning and allocation for the company’s more than 870 stores and online business in the United States. A toy industry icon, Neil. Friedman has extensive knowledge of, and has made significant contributions to, the toy and juvenile product businesses throughout his career. Neil Friedman spent 14 years at Mattel in various executive roles, serving most recently as President, Mattel Brands. His career with Mattel began in March 1997, when Tyco, where he then served as President, Preschool, was acquired by Mattel. In 1999, he was named President, Fisher-Price Brands, and served in that capacity until October 2005 when he was appointed President of the newly formed Mattel Brands, which brought Mattel and Fisher-Price together under one corporate unit. During his time at Mattel, Neil Friedman drove innovation in the toy industry and is often credited with being among the first to introduce the trend of combining technology and toys, most notably with Tickle Me Elmo. In addition, he led his team in reinvigorating the Barbie brand, among many other noteworthy accomplishments. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance from Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ.

HOME & GIFT RETAILER Volume 3 Issue 8


t s i t r a

f o t i a r t r o P

e h t


n a cold and windy mid-summers day in Donegal Thomas Joseph sits peacefully waiting for inspiration or humour for his next painting of a sheep? The truth of the matter is Tom is painting the landscape, a winding river, a country lane, or a cottage, the subjects that have interested him for many years. His aspirations for recognition as a painter, in a very different traditional style, have been diminished today to the Irish artist who paints silly sheep. The regular painting trips have continued and quite frequently a silly sheep appears from somewhere. Tom enjoys the fame and quietly accepts his good fortune. In frustration ten years ago he combined several painting techniques and low and behold a picture of an odd looking sheep was the conclusion. After showing several of the mystery paintings to visitors and friends, they laughed and thus began the Whimsical World of Thomas Joseph. Following a year or two of success selling prints from the boot (trunk) of his car to the Irish gift trade Morrigan Ltd appeared and hesitantly developed the brand. The hesitation was a question about ‘good art’ as the style was somewhat ‘rough’ but was immediately full of appeal. All at Morrigan still scratch their heads and ask the inevitable question about ‘when is it going to end?’ The opinion is that it never will end. The style and Tom have become ‘ewe-nique’ and a permanent part of a mystery still to be answered maybe it is just honest fun? Visitors to Tom’s gallery close to Carrickfergus Castle, on the shores of Belfast Lough will see a very small room which doubles as a studio and a shop. Tom’s wife Pat explains the gallery as an excuse to meet many of his fans. Gee are ‘ewe’ the real Thomas Joseph? He continues to smile and loves the attention. There are many sheep designs, pictures, and products on the

new products

market but Thomas Joseph is ‘the man’. The first ever large format calendar will be launched in 2012, for 2013, following many requests. Each of the past eight years has seen the smaller desk calendar being sold in record numbers. The new large format calendar will be a collection of classic pictures from the past and will be available internationally, with a major launch in North America and Australasia. Two other formats of the same calendar will be available. For the serial collectors Morrigan Ltd will also be releasing a new 2013 edition. Not surprisingly these calendars sell primarily through the summer months and are very popular with tourists from Easter onwards. They sell to tourists of every nationality even though they quite often misunderstand the play on words, they just like the pictures. The promise of kitchen textiles has been slightly delayed until June when stock of Aprons, Tea towels, gloves, etc will be available. Trays which are food safe are now available in six designs, with more to follow during 2013. New designs mugs, coasters, placemats are all available. Essentially, the kitchen textile and tabletop accessories will be a developing part of Morrigan Limited plans in the future. The stationery range of cards, notebooks, and prints, and other items will continue with new products periodically throughout the coming year.

HOME & GIFT RETAILER Volume 3 Issue 8

Island Distribution based in County Wicklow are the appointed distributors for Thomas Joseph in Ireland. See the advertisement in this publication for contact details. UK and international enquiries should be made to Morrigan Limited who will also be exhibiting at Scotland’s Trade Fair, SECC Glasgow, Stand G70 and the International Spring Fair, NEC, Birmingham from the 4th– 9th February, Stand 4J80. Additional information is also available from


craftspeople of ireland

Craftspeople of Ireland Candles

Company Name: BLUEBELL ECO CANDLES Address: Kilquane, Headford, Killarney.Co-Kerry Telephone: 00353 86 8112398 Email Address: Website: Contact Name: Fleur Daly Company Description: Welcome to Bluebell Eco candles. Our Soy Aromatherapy Candles are clean burning, hand poured & drenched in natural essential oils. By using essential oils in our soy candles means you are filling your chosen environment with a delightful, natural, soot free alternative. Not only do you have a beautiful scent but also have the healing properties of your chosen essential oils. Discover the benefits of natural, long lasting, non toxic soy candles.Inspired by nature. Made by hand. Discover the benefits of Natural, Long lasting Non Toxic Soy Candles. We are committed to providing the most natural candles and products as possible. Made under the beautiful Kerry mountains in Ireland we are helping to positively affect the environment of your home and the world around us. Soy wax is all-natural renewable sustainable resource. All Bluebell Eco Candles are made in small batches and hand poured to ensure our highest quality standards. Let a hand poured essential oil scented candle soothe your senses through beautifully crafted, all-natural soy products. Our handmade soy candles do not emit chemicals into the air you breathe, or increase CO2 levels. They are 100% NON TOXIC and biodegradable. Resulting in a healthier air quality for you and your family while enhancing the sustainability of the earth.

Ceramics Company Name: CLARE JORDAN CERAMICS & JEWELLERY Address: Swallows Rest Studio, Rathjordan, Herbertstown, Co Limerick. Telephone: +353 (0)87 4169450 Email Address: Web Address: Contact Name: Clare Jordan Company Description: Clare Jordan Ceramics creates art forms of unique style and intrinsic beauty through organic fusion of nature, emotion and spirit using handmade porcelain in single and series sculptures, limited edition jewellery and bespoke commissions. Providing art for all occasions, such as that special birthday, wedding or racing day outfit, prize or award, or a more casual piece, to the discerning customer for personal, gift and corporate needs through gallery, retail and web outlets. Based at Swallows Rest Studio, in rural County Limerick, Ireland, I am a Ceramic Artist, currently exploring concepts of life through the delicate strength of porcelain. Having a passion for porcelain I create unique, innovative design in handmade jewellery and sculpture gifts. Contrasts and opposites attract me. I find porcelain reflects contrast very well. With varying degrees of translucency and decoration of handmade ceramic organic forms I portray the contrasts of fragility and strength often found in life. The concepts are diverse, as is life in it’s many forms of nature, humanity and spirituality. A key inspiration is water, a fundamental life form. The fragile beauty of a single drop contrasts with the powerful strength of a crashing wave, as in the “Waterflow” piece pictured to the right.Each piece I make has a story, a reason for being, born of a concept. My challenge is to tell it’s story well.


Company Name: FRED CURTIS CRYSTAL Address: Genavie House, Brandane, Bannow Bay, Co Wexford Telephone: +353 (0) 51 560559 Email Address: Website Address: Contact Name: Fred Curtis Company Description: Fred Curtis designs and produces 100% Irish crystal, mouth blown and hand cut by Master Artisans at his studio in County Wexford Ireland. Specializing in Bespoke and personalized pieces for all occasions. He has designed pieces for Mother Theresa, Numerous US Presidents and Clint Eastwood to name just a few.


Fashion, Accessories & Textiles

Company Name: ALICE HALLIDAY Address: 1 The Lawn, Castletownshend, Skibbereen, Co.Cork Telephone: 028 36942 / 086 8843585 Email Address: Website Address: Contact Name: Alice Halliday Company Description: Beautiful, unique, high quality fashion and accessories. Handmade using a majority of recycled materials. Cork Fashion Week Designer of the Year 2011. Offering a wide range of products; Womenswear; casual and evening, bridalwear, hair accessories, jewellery, belts, bags, household textiles and menswear. Pieces can be made to order.

Handbags and Hats Company Name: BINTYBAGS Address: Ashbury, Ballybeg Great Screen, Co Wexford Telephone: 087 7416655 Email Address: Website Address: Contact Name: Ann Spring Company Description: My love of sewing and life long experience in the fashion industry, together with my passion for fashion, lead me to designing and making these beautiful textile handbags and hats. By choosing fabric and colours carefully, I have created a fantastic selection of bags and hats to cover all occasions. My designs are vibrant and unique and will catch the eye of all fashion lovers.

Handmade Waistcoats & Wood Crafts

Company Name: OWENMORE MANUFACTURING Address: Clooneagh, Gurteen, Co Sligo Telephone: +353 719 182984 Mobile: 085 1122135 Email: Website Address: Contact Name: Stephen & Clare Kelly Company Description: We produce a wide range of Handcrafted Irish Products from Shillelagh Walking Sticks to clocks and Wall Plaques. The Tweed/Wool Waistcoats are original and exquisite, yet retain a rural charm. Our products make unique gifts from the West of Ireland. We specialize in commissions for any occasion, special gift or event.


Company Name: MARY BRENNAN DESIGNS…. YOUR JEWELLERY Address: Old Coach Road, Stonehouse, Dunleer, Co Louth Telephone: 086 2213411 Email Address: Website Address: Contact Name: Mary Brennan Company Description: I Design and Handcraft Jewellery in Silver, Inset with Gold and Semi-Precious Gemstones. I have had a lifelong interest in Jewellery and Design and draw my inspiration from Nature Contemporary Design, Abstract Celtic Design and Animation. I also work on commissions where I can create and designs you may have. My Aspiration Is To Design Your Jewellery…..

HOME & GIFT RETAILER Volume 3 Issue 8

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