You could compare last week’s biannual trade show at World Market Center Las Vegas to the joy a child feels opening a new box of crayons. Bright oranges, reds, blues, greens and yellows were everywhere and there was a feeling of excitement and endless possibilities.
Robert Maricich, chief executive officer of International Market Centers, said that optimism and a true zeal were in the air, as he reported an increase in attendance versus recent summer markets.
Although International Market Centers does not release exact attendance figures, it has reported about 50,000 attendees at past events.
After the last summer market, changes were made to transform the campus into exactly what buyers want, resulting in an extensive array of furniture, home décor and gift offerings, he said. Highlights of this summer’s event included the debut of three new floors of gift and home décor showrooms, plus two expanded floors.
“We’ve made great strides in repositioning Las Vegas Market as ‘Today’s Total Marketplace,’ ” Maricich said. “The combination of the second largest furniture market in the Western Hemisphere, the country’s largest bedding marketing, one of the largest home décor markets in the U.S. and the nation’s fastest growing gift market is very compelling for buyers and exhibitors alike.”
A concentrated effort in expanding gift and home décor resources resulted in more than 70 new vendors and more than 1,000 new lines to Building C.
“We’re increasing the quantity and quality of existing categories, such as gift and home décor, while also introducing new categories such as specialty tabletop and vintage, as part of our creation of the premier market in the Western United States,” said Dorothy Belshaw, president of Gift & Home Décor, International Market Centers. “At the same time, our extensive retail relations efforts are increasing both awareness of and attendance at the Las Vegas Market.”
Among the new exhibitors was Alessi, which opened a showroom on c-ONE, the first floor of Building C that showcases fashion-forward tabletop, gift and home furnishings and accessories.
“There have been lots of new faces and that is what we were looking for,” said Paolo Cravedi, managing director of Alessi USA, adding there were lots of smiles, too, as visitors connected with the pieces on display.
“The location was important for us. We have a lot of business on the West Coast,” he said.
Cravedi said having a presence in the World Market Center was important as Alessi works to expand its customer base, including international buyers and the hospitality industry. The family-owned Italian company specializes in unique, artist-created products for the home.
Also opening a new showroom on c-ONE was Michael Aram.
Sebastian Herald, CEO of Michael Aram, said he has watched the Las Vegas Market mature and knew it was time to become a part of it.
“Vegas is an epicenter for other industries that are ambient to our core industry of gift and accessories, and those industries are the decorator business, hospitality and corporate gifting. So we view this as a platform, not only for expanding our brand but for slow and steady infiltration into new marketplaces that are present here.”
Herald said they had written a number of orders on the first day, and knew that he’d made the right decision to participate.
Additionally, company founder and artist Michael Aram created a 1,514-pound sculpture in the shape of a nest and containing three golden eggs for the lobby of c-ONE.
“A bird’s nest was the perfect metaphor for the idea of how we create homes with great care and attention,” Aram said during a dedication ceremony.
He described how birds gather individual twigs and intricately weave them together to create a strong, secure home for their young, equating that with how people select special items to accent their homes.
“I wanted the sculpture to be perceived first on a visceral level. Its universal twigs and golden eggs represent hope, potential, dreams and nurturing, the things we look to find in a home. In the case of a design-centered environment like this, the eggs also symbolize the concept of ideas brimming over.”
The changes invigorated longtime exhibitors, as well.
Abbyson Living reported a 43 percent increase in the number of visitors to its showroom, with a 30 percent increase from hotel/resort and décor/accessory stores, and more than double the sales from January’s market. The company introduced more than 60 new designs, including leather furnishings and outdoor patio collections.
“Summer market results exceeded our expectations and we were very happy with the overall execution efforts from the entire team at International Market Centers,” said Yavar Rafieha, president of Abbyson Living. “It’s been a very action-packed week of energetic parties, special exhibits and a wide range of educational industry seminars.”
Christopher Guy, which manufactures high-end luxury furnishings, had nonstop traffic the first day, said Ana Hester, director of business development.
“We’re actually writing orders,” she said, noting that they had intended only to generate leads and introduce their designs to marketgoers.
Christopher Guy’s newly expanded and remodeled 8,000-square-foot showroom, which is part of the open year-round Las Vegas Design Center, debuted its new Mademoiselle collection. The collection was inspired by Coco Channel and was created as if she had commissioned the pieces for a three-room Paris penthouse. It has an understated elegance with a modernized contemporary look, said Paul Watson, president of Christopher Guy.