Matching these attendance increases was a historic number of new exhibitors including more than 50 new and expanded showrooms as well as more than 150 new temporary exhibitors.
The grand opening of the first phase of the Interior Home + Design Center also helped attract more interior designers to the market, who joined leading home décor, lighting, and gift retailers. The strong buyer traffic and order writing at the first show of the U.S. summer season is an important signal of the continuing vitality of manufacturing and retail.
The recent Dallas Total Home & Gift Market (June 21-27) included a record number of new buyers and new exhibitors as the marketplace buzzed with inspiration and steady order writing. Overall attendance included an increase in new stores, major stores, and buying groups plus an increase in buyers from key U.S. regions.
Cindy Morris, president and CEO of Dallas Market Center, offered the following assessment: “We were very pleased with our 60th anniversary summer market, which was filled with positive reports of steady order writing and significant new accounts opened by many exhibitors. We also welcomed more new and expanding showrooms than in over a decade. Buyers came to market eager to discover new products, unique items, and on-trend merchandise only available in Dallas.”
Attendance included more than twenty buying groups and leading industry associations along with top independent retailers. Final registration tallies show that buyers from all 50 states and 40 countries attended the show, 80 percent of whom have reported that they do not attend any other market. While delivering more new buyers from Texas and surrounding states, the market also welcomed an expanded number of retailers from key geographic regions in the U.S. including the southeast (up 17 percent) and the upper midwest (up 13 percent) following targeted outreach to underserved regions. Growth categories included home accents stores, Christmas stores, garden centers, interior designers, e-commerce, and apparel stores.
Inside the more than 5 million square foot Dallas marketplace, expansions by showrooms included Roadrunners TOLA, Kalalou, Goetz, Source One Marketing, VIP, Melrose International, Designs Combined, Gold Eagle, and C. Maddox.
Tosha Pearson of Roadrunners TOLA noted the historic results: “Buyers were thrilled to discover our diverse mix of brands and all the new-to-Dallas lines offered this market. Our company and showroom expansion was highly successful and overall we had our best market since opening in Dallas Market Center.”
John McKay of Kalalou, a home décor company in new and expanded space, enthused: “Our new location, and perhaps more specifically the additional space and exposure, paid significant dividends as we were able to create a better overall shopping experience for our customers, reach more buyers, and ultimately enjoy a terrific Dallas show. This was a great start to the summer for our company.”
Added Kay Hatterman of Source One Marketing, a comprehensive housewares showroom: “Our buyers loved our new expanded space and it definitely brought more customers to our showroom. Our order writing was up over last year.”
Patrick Ongena of Patrick & Co added to the enthusiasm: “As we continue to celebrate our 25th year at Dallas Market Center, we were very happy to secure a 25% overall increase over our June 2016 Market. With the quality of our buyers, we were able to celebrate another successful market! We were very pleased to kick off the summer show season with a bang!”
“Summer market was very strong for The Portico Collection,” said Randa Crisler. “We had our largest single sales day ever on Thursday and a large year-over-year increase. Customers were spending money and investing deeper into key lines which translated into an average order increase of $100.”
Following a highly anticipated design and construction period, the Interior Home + Design Center debuted with the grand opening of phase one and the largest expansion of home décor showrooms in Dallas in more than forty years. More than 600 guests attended the gala grand opening party hosted by Dallas Market Center and title sponsor ELLE DECOR.
New showrooms include Phillips Collection; Palecek; Visual Comfort; Ralph Lauren Home; Bliss Studio; Dessau Home; Emissary; in2green; SHADOW CATCHERS; Ambella Home Collection; ZUO; RATANA; Austin Allen James; ellahome; Spicher and Company; Ashore; Amity Home; The Botanical Mix; Farm & Factory; Robin Baron; Cari Davis; UMTD Bath Design; A Touch of Silk; Cloud9 Design; Zuhaus; Wink Gaines Photography; Lacefield Designs; Lazur Bespoke; Rose Casual; and Taylors, an agency of luxury lighting and home décor.
“The event was exactly what we had hoped for, and we were thrilled with the excitement,” said Jane Murray, owner, Taylors. “We saw lots of loyal customers throughout the show, and we picked up new customers, too. I’m looking forward to the remainder of the year and strong daily traffic from the design community.”
“This wonderful new building showcases our collections in stylish space highly convenient to both retailers and designers,” said Allan Palecek, founder of Palecek. “The grand opening was just the first chapter of success for Palecek’s new home in Dallas. We are extremely pleased.”
Mark Phillips, CEO and president of Phillips Collection offered the following: “We are very pleased with our larger space showcasing our collections, and the opening events were outstanding. Our team looks forward to the year-round design events and to serving retailers and interior designers with one-of-a-kind pieces and new designs.”
“I surpassed every expectation at this first show by opening several large accounts as well as meeting lots of potential customers,” said artist Austin Allen James, who has space in The Gallery, a shared showroom located in the central corridor of the Interior Home + Design Center.
For holiday and floral buyers, the show offered inspiration and a new marketing campaign promoting Dallas as “The Home of Holidays.” Across all buildings, holiday resources were highlighted, including a special concentration of leading companies on the second floor of the Interior Home + Design Center.
Cathy Malcom with Craig Bachman Imports shared their positive results: “We were pleased with a successful June show. Our sales were up 33% and we wrote 22% more orders this year over last year.”
In the World Trade Center, Brad Gullion with Melrose International reported: “Our foot traffic and more importantly the number of orders was way up over prior years. Between that and our expanded showroom we had one of our best Dallas summer shows ever.”
In the Temps, more than 150 new companies joined the marketplace across six locations. The Temps are now easier than ever to navigate thanks to updated and simplified categories and enhanced signage. Temps on 12 are merchandised into four main categories making sections even easier for buyers to locate exhibitors. Ninety percent of Dallas buyers report that they visit the temps.
Included on the 12th floor was first-time temps exhibitor Natural Life: “We moved to the Dallas temps this year and had a blast! We’re so thrilled to hear how much everyone loves our new release,” said Shelby Thorne.
Jason Alexander, owner of J. Alexander Silver, exhibited in the Home Temps on WTC 6: “I had the second best market I’ve ever had. Really, we couldn’t be happier with the results, and Dallas Market Center is a BIG part of our success.”
Fashion accessories remained an extremely popular category in showrooms and temporary booths across the marketplace as retailers continue to stock broader lifestyle categories with profit potential. On the World Trade Center 13th floor, the largest permanent marketplace in the U.S. for fashion accessories, showrooms benefitted from steady traffic and orders. Scott McCartney of the Craig Clovis showroom noted: “We saw a remarkable diversity in the types of stores seeking unique and handcrafted products. Buyers arrived eager to review accessories, to meet the designers, and to place orders. We continue to be extremely pleased with the opportunity to reach more new customers in June.”
Returning as a temporary exhibitor was the International Folk Art Market | Collection featuring more than twenty global artisans. Countries represented in the annual showcase included Uzbekistan, Uganda, Ghana, Myanmar, India, Pakistan, Italy, Mexico, Peru, and Haiti. Handcrafted products included home décor, gifts, paper products, clothing, and fashion accessories. The collection opens the door for artisans to foster growth and cultural stability in their communities as they learn to market their ancestral trades. In turn, this showcase offered buyers a curated collection of merchandise to diversify their product offerings. It gives buyers the opportunity to hear the stories behind these products direct from the source and then share with their customers.
In addition to new showrooms and expanded resources, the market featured dynamic events, seminars, and celebrations including the 60th anniversary party for Dallas Market Center, which drew a capacity crowd to hear chart-topping Texas singer-songwriter Wade Bowen in the World Trade Center atrium.
No other market center or similar trade event has the number of social media followers and digitally engaged customers so it was no wonder that Market 360, the interactive market experience, was an unqualified success. Market 360 connected with tens of thousands of eager followers at market and remotely via DMC | TV Live at Nine, a new live broadcast morning show with special guests previewing market events, trends, personalities, and the latest market news. The show was viewed online and via campus monitors.
In addition, The Podcast Studio with James Swan, host of the Million Dollar Decorating podcast, took center stage with a compelling interview of Greg O’Neal, Chief Collaboration Officer for Cur8, a business co-op bringing smart design, healthy design, and environmental + socially responsible design products directly to the interior design marketplace. Cur8 launched exclusively at Dallas Market Center in June as an engaging exhibit of available products from designers who represent the forefront of home products and smart home design.
Looking ahead, Dallas Market Center moves forward from its summer show with tremendous momentum in advance of a series of fall design events on campus and the September Total Home & Gift Market (September 7-9). The September show features opportunities for buyers to discover new resources and to order goods for quick delivery and for the spring 2018 season.