The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market is home to 2,000 permanent exhibitors; in January 2003, the show welcomed more than 71,000 attendees and hosted more than 4,000 temporary booths. This year, the event runs from January 6 to 17, showcasing product categories that include: holiday and floral, home accents, fine linens, tabletop, gifts, home furnishings, area rugs, fine gifts and accessories, the gardens, gift and resort, gourmet, apparel, fashion accessories and fine jewelry. Here, a preview of some licensed products and trends that will be unveiled at the show.Applause celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and intends to make a big splash at this and other shows. "We will introduce some strong licenses at this show, including Suzy's Zoo; Disney's Home on the Range; and a new line of baby products including those for "Guess How Much I Love You," Blue Jean Teddy, Baby Winnie the Pooh, and Baby Mickey and Friends," says Applause Chairman and CEO Bob Solomon. These new launches are in addition to Applause's licenses of Winnie the Pooh, Mickey Mouse, Curious George, Raggedy Ann & Andy, Sad Sam & Honey, Little Red, Peanuts, and The Simpsons."I think the trend in 2004 continues to be to differentiate specialty from the mass market," Solomon says. "We've also found that more wholesome, traditional characters and products trended up last year, and that will continue this year. We are re-introducing R. Dakin Company's Dream Pets-The Original Stuffed Toy, as an exclusive for the gift and specialty market.""Department 56, Inc., continually seeks to partner with classic brands that have stood the test of time as popular American icons," says Dana Card, Department 56 spokesperson. "For example, past Department 56 licenses include Coca-Cola, LEGO, Harley-Davidson, and Barbie. This year at the Atlanta Gift Market, Department 56 will showcase newly introduced collectibles from Rudolph, Pillsbury, Harley-Davidson, and Peanuts."Dugan-Bliss & Associates, Inc., will feature licensed products from Susan Winget, Debbie Mumm, Raymond Waites, Erika Oller, Julia Junkin, Anne Ornsby, Pamela Gladding, Becky Denny, Wyland, Tracy Porter, the Pink Panther, and more. "Many of the products [popular now] are nostalgic or whimsical," says Maciel Slagel, Dugan-Bliss & Associates, Inc., spokesperson. "The products we are showing are functional, as well as decorative. We have many licensed products that are designed for home entertaining-everything from cocktail napkins and spreaders to pitchers and cookie jars." Just Got 2 Have It! Inc. recently licensed Bad Girl Art, and will manufacture cosmetic cases, magnets, mugs, and wall tiles for the property. The company also will showcase licensed lines for Mary Phillips Designs, David and Goliath, Bart Simpson, Gumby, and Betty Boop. "We are looking for new artists to license, as well, for our new company launch of Lolly Lu Inc.," says Barbara Knight, co-owner, Just Got 2 Have It! Inc. "As for trends, we think cosmetic cases and figurines will be big at this show."Landmark Publishing LLC will highlight its licensed Collegiate Image products that feature campus images in a high-quality lithograph format, as well as logos and mascots of more than 300 college and university campuses, presented in a number of different product formats. "This product category historically has been sold through on-campus channels such as the bookstore or alumni center," notes David Grayson, president, Landmark Publishing LLC. "However, Landmark has seen a significant increase in interest and sales in collegiate licensed product in gift stores as it presents a huge, highly affiliative market (42 million-plus college grads in the U.S., 12 million enrolled students, plus parents and supporters) that identifies with this category as 'gift.'"Landmark teamed with The Southern Link Group for the upcoming Atlanta show, positioning products in the company's showroom, called The Locker Room, which will feature collegiate licensed product as a stand-alone category.The Memory Company will show college and licensed products for Major League Baseball, the National Football League, and the National Hockey League. "We believe one major trend for next year is functionality in many of the new items that are being developed," says Charles Sizemore, CEO of The Memory Company. "In addition, with many retailers looking for 'better' items that are more upscale, we believe there will be fewer lower price, cheaper items shown this year."
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