International Market Center’s (IMC) Summer 2013 Las Vegas Market sprung to a spirited start, as buying, selling, ribbon cutting, networking, tweeting and more filled over 5 million square feet of space across the three buildings.
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 over recent summer markets. Maricich said that 18 months ago, Las Vegas Market began making changes to the campus to transform it into exactly what buyers want, resulting in an extensive array of furniture, home décor and gift offerings that appeal to the ever-sophisticated attendee. Summer 2013 Las Vegas Market highlights include the debut of three new floors of gift and home décor showrooms, plus two expanded floors. To attract more buyers, Las Vegas Market staffed a 16-person call center this year, which made more than 42,000 phone calls to extend invitations to retailers across the globe.
“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 decor markets in the U.S. and the nation’s fastest growing gift market is very compelling for buyers and exhibitors alike.”
Growth in the Market’s gift offerings and expansion of better home décor resources has been exponential, with the summer 2013 addition of 70+ new vendors and more than 1,000 new lines to Building C. Dorothy Belshaw, president of Gift & Home Décor, International Market Centers, said, “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. At the same time, our extensive retail relations efforts are increasing both awareness of and attendance at the Las Vegas Market.”
Sebastian Herald, CEO of Michael Aram, a story-driven collection of art inspired by Indian handicrafts debuting in Las Vegas for the first time this summer, said that he watched 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 added that he’d already written a number of orders, and knew that he’d made the right decision to participate. “We’re here for the long run,” he said. “We really believe in this. We have evangelized the benefit to our brethren brands in the industry, and I think if you miss out on this, you’re missing out on something special.”
“While Las Vegas Market has grown and changed over the years, so has the industry,” said Maricich. “We are seeing a whole new generation of buyers and designers attend, and they’re shaking things up. Retail has fundamentally changed and the old tried-and-true paradigms are being broken. We are seeing millennials come into the market with fresh eyes and fresh thinking, and are keeping pace with that by offering a complete shopping experience that supports cross-category merchandising.”
Across the campus, the enthusiasm of attendees, buyers and industry insiders was clearly visible. Phil Haney, president and CEO with Lexington Home Brands, B500, was thrilled with the first day. “It’s fabulous!” he said, “And, really, the traffic is nonstop!”
“The Market is going great,” said Nicolas Trujillo, owner of Luna Bella, a manufacturer of better home décor and furniture. “It’s been fantastic. We have taken on so many new customers from the west coast. Being in business for 18 years and only showing on the east coast, people get used to you and know you. It’s nice again to have a “brand new product” for people that have never seen you. We’ve seen a lot of stores and designers working on fantastic projects. Utah and California have been very strong, as well as Nevada, Arizona, Texas and Colorado. I’m seeing customers that I have never seen on the east coast. The response has been double, triple what we expected and I think it’s only going to continue to grow.”
The buyers, too, were having great success during opening day. Lauren Winskowski, associate buyer of living room furniture and art gallery with Overstock.com, was impressed with all of the new exhibitors, new designers and fun colors she saw at Las Vegas Market as she searched for items related to the home. “We come to Las Vegas Market because it has the hottest trends, it has new exhibitors and vendors, its great place to look for new potentials and it really has everything you’re looking for, from furniture to rugs to home décor,” she said. Opening day kicked off with the elbow-to-elbow “First Look,” a biannual tradition that highlights some of the exciting trends and top product picks for the year ahead. This year, “First Look” expanded into two different seminars in order to spotlight even more products and categories including tabletop and gift, as celebrity designers and HGTV television hosts Monica Pedersen and Emily Henderson along with home products/trends editor Julie Smith Vincenti guide attendees through a vibrant virtual tour of new products at market. Look forward to temperate, earthy colors reminiscent of the Pacific Northwest this year, along with modern upholstery, vintage-inspired accessories, edgy flowers, experimental splashes of color and more.
It’s just a taste of what is taking place in an action-packed week of energetic parties, special exhibits and seminars. One of the most anticipated annual presentations was yesterday’s Ahead of the Curve, an exclusive preview of the hottest new trends and designs in home furnishings and décor through the lens of top tastemakers. Moderated by TODAY Show contributor and design author Susanna Salk, Susanna Salk, the program boasted renowned designers Alexa Hampton, Ron Woodson and Windsor Smith, who curated their favorite picks from around the Las Vegas Market campus. Attendees used the hashtag #AOTC2013 on Twitter.
The summer 2013 Las Vegas Market runs through August 2, 2013. For more information, visit www.lasvegasmarket.com.