The Total Home & Gift Market exceeded expectations during a summer show that touted strong attendance and confident order writing inside a safe and secure marketplace, according to Dallas Market Center.
Following accelerated pre-registration and a steady decline in local COVID-19 cases, the August 19-25 show welcomed 55 percent of the attendance compared with last summer’s market. In addition, the number of new buyers doubled from January, with the largest increase coming from the Southeast. Supporting the retail rebound and flourishing design business, 97 percent of exhibitors in Dallas were open to help buyers discover what’s new and to facilitate the significant orders placed at the show, according to DMC.
The marketplace presented more than 60 new and expanded showrooms, temporary exhibitors, ready-to-stock items and new product collections. The result was a steady pace of buyers in the weeks prior to the show as well as strong traffic and order writing throughout market week, the Market Center continued.
“This market was unprecedented in so many ways, so on behalf of our exhibitors thank you to our buyers for their tremendous support," Cindy Morris, President and CEO of Dallas Market Center says. "Working together, we created a market that supported business renewal while also being as safe as possible. Attendance was much better than expected, and the orders flowed into showrooms and Temps to drive business during a critical time. This show was a pivotal moment for retail but it’s one event as we support business throughout the summer, the fall and into 2021 with multiple buying opportunities and of course daily business. Superior to any other marketplace, we are able to serve buyers when they are ready, and over the last 90 days we have welcomed thousands of buyers from 47 states. This pandemic has in many ways confirmed what we see as the new marketplace model — to serve buyers on their schedule and throughout the year.”
Showroom Reports: Strong Traffic and Buying
Inside neighborhoods of permanent showrooms including gift and home, gourmet and housewares, holiday and floral, and apparel and accessories, retailers and designers discovered new resources, and exhibitors noted the market success measured by traffic and orders.
“Buyers need goods ASAP. In addition, the daily traffic here is phenomenal. Traveling all three marketplaces, Dallas being more open to change has made a big difference. People are coming here from Chicago. People that would go to Vegas are coming here. They feel like they can get the same service, but see more and are not limited to vendors being closed.” —Angela Roberts, National Sales Manager, K&K Interiors
“Summer show season for Ivystone began in June and will continue through the end of August and even into fall as we gear up for September and October markets. We have been very pleased with traffic and orders this summer. New products were critically important, and we were able to showcase lots of new items that buyers liked. I’m proud of our team and especially proud of all the sales reps who supported the show!”
—Monica Loving, Vice President of Vendor Development, Ivystone
“It’s terrific—way above what we expected. I need to go get some more merchandise. I mean, we've just about sold out. It's beyond my wildest dreams. Texas happens to be the best market in the United States [with] so many well-known designers after unique things. Dallas is the biggest market for that in the world. It's a really special situation.” —Paul Michael, Owner, Market Hill on 6 by Paul Michael
“We worked very hard on safety measures and to schedule and serve buyers. That hard work paid off; we reached 79 percent of total order volume compared with last summer’s show, even with a pre-selling program that has been in place for months. This market was all about the new — so vendors who had new products or essentials did well.” —Randa Crisler, Vice President, Portico
“The stores that come here are looking for something that's of great quality and that's unique. We go to three different shows. But I have to say of the three shows, our best customers come to Dallas. We have great customers at all of the shows, but as far as the value for us, Dallas has really proven to be the most successful show for us.” —Victoria Fanning, Crown Linen Designs
“Cyan Design had a great show! We didn’t know what to expect but the results were very positive. We opened 20 new accounts and the orders were flowing. Having the inventory was our success. The traffic was very steady and manageable. Everyone was very respectful about wearing their masks and social distancing for safety.” —Ed Kolb, Sales Director, Cyan Design
“It’s really exceeded our expectations. We really didn’t know what to expect…but it’s been terrific. We’re also open every day so we've got a longer window for stores to shop and we’ve had more daily traffic here in the building. Stores can shop on their own time [and] can come in whenever they are ready.”
—Cliff Price, Owner, Cliff Price & Co.
“The floral category continues to be very strong, and the customers are really seeing that trend in stores. The most promising thing that we've heard is the immediate need for inventory… [and] in fact, all of our orders so far have been 40 percent higher than last year. So there's definitely a demand for the goods.”
—Ronald Nguyen, Creative Director, AllState
“We’ve had a good show. Dallas has so many loyal buyers. I also think that Dallas has done a fabulous job at making everyone feel safe. I have felt very pleased with the safety first protocols so that I did feel ease in coming to the market and meeting my retailers.” —Kelly Wenzel, National Sales Manager, Beatriz Ball
“We didn't know what to expect with the shows. But again, we really wanted to be open and available for our customers to come in. We have so much amazing new product and we want to be here for our retail partners. Our buyers look forward to coming in, and touching and feeling all of our amazing products, and getting inspired to bring this back to their retail store and the consumer.”
—Amanda Marsh, Vice President of Sales, DEMDACO
“We’re a new showroom and everybody that comes in is always very complimentary about the range of products that we have and the affordability. We knew that it was going to be a challenging scenario coming into this market but it certainly has met our expectations and also gone beyond that as well. It's been nice and busy.” —Harry Loxton, Katie Loxton
“For our company, daily business in Dallas is about the same as the market business, which is to say that both are very important to us. Dallas has great designer traffic. So I think this is actually why we're really happy with the results in Dallas.” —Andy Zhao, President, Legend of ASIA
Buyers: Focused on Renewal and Growth
Over the last 90 days, buyers from 47 states have visited Dallas Market Center. During the Total Home & Gift Market, a few of them paused to provide their perspective on business renewal and attending the show.
“I’m looking for furniture, lighting, rugs and accessories. And also outdoor furniture. I have been to the Atlanta show before, but Dallas is closer and they had all new items for this year. You have a good selection to pick from [and] we felt very very safe.” —Sarah Mincey, Sarah’s Design Studio, Oklahoma City, OK
“We’re designers who now have a retail shop that’s little bit like a hardware store boutique. When things were closed down we thought it seemed like a great opportunity to come and actually get new products. And we've found everything that we need and more.” —Kelly Cook and Ashley Garza, Hatch + Home, Kansas City, MO
“Business is good. June was phenomenal, and July was fantastic [so] I’m on the search for new products.
I think Dallas is an easy market to shop. I think the mart is very good to its customers, people like me. I just find everything I need in Dallas. I love it here, and I feel safer here than I do actually at home.”
—Cyndi Olsen, Quality Drug Group, Laguna Beach, CA
“I needed to restock and find new things to replace the items we'd sold. I always find wonderful things here, as well as just a unique accent piece for the home or for the desk, something useful and beautiful. Arriving at market here, it was clear that this would be a different market, a different show. Everyone has been so gracious and accommodating. It's been effortless. It really has. It's gone very, very smoothly.”
—Sean Bradley, Tabula Rasa, Salt Lake City, UT
“Our business has been really good; I’m opening a second store [and] I needed to come to market so I can actually touch, see and feel. This is such a big part of our business, coming to market and finding new things and the innovation. And you just can't do that with a catalog and you just can't do it online. We were a little unsure how this market was going to work [but] it's been great. I've not seen one person that hasn't had a mask on. Everybody's been very polite, very cordial. This has been the cleanest market I've ever seen. It was easy for us and I felt totally safe.” —Anne Dowell, Apron Strings, Hutchinson, KS
“Business is booming right now for us. It's just a better experience whenever I can touch and feel and smell and talk to a person versus … just what's in the description on the website. Also, it's really important to find the new and bring in the new, always being the cutting edge, always having the next best thing, looking ahead.”
—Terra Gardner, Switch Salon & Spa, Goldthwaite, TX
Summer Temps Feedback
Among the hundreds of Dallas Temps, exhibitors reported steady traffic and orders as nine out of 10 Dallas buyers continue to make the Temps a destination for discovering new resources.
“It has surpassed our expectations, really. Business has been great. We have been constantly busy. And we've had some really good orders with really good, solid customers, and we're super excited about that. We'll definitely be coming back.” —BJ Weeks and Summer Weatherly, Weeks-Weatherly
“We've signed up a good number of new accounts and look forward to signing up even more. So that's the thing we're thankful for; it's been a good show.” —Les Joines, DaySpring
“It exceeded my expectations. We came in not really knowing what to expect. We've had a great show that the people that have come here have come to buy. And so we're very, very excited about the show. It's been great. We will definitely be back. We love Dallas markets.” —Wendi Kaplan, Parker & Hyde
Health & Safety First: 32,541 Temperature Checks
Outside of the show, Dallas County continued to report a significant decline in local COVID-19 cases. The latest reports indicate the lowest daily case counts since April. Inside the marketplace and supporting the comfort, health and safety of all attendees, the market center continued strict new measures that began earlier in the summer and will remain in place for the foreseeable future. Those protocols, available for review via a link on the front page of the DMC website, include mandatory face covering and temperature screening for every person entering the marketplace every day. Dallas Market Center performed 32,541 temperature checks the week of the show. Other efforts included low contact entry via the Market FastPass, which saw a dramatic adoption in the weeks prior to the show, as well as enhanced cleaning with hospital grade products, hundreds of hand-sanitizing stations, limited food service, no gatherings and signage for social distancing. Along with these new steps, there are safety measures that are part of the design of the marketplace: open parking, large entryways, quick registration in multiple areas, wide hallways, multiple escalators, and showrooms with controlled access to allow for the appropriate distance between customers.
Virtual Events and Interactive Displays
Although in-person events such as tours and seminars did not take place, the market center offered an array of virtual programming including trend tours with retail guru Rawlins Gilliland, who invited viewers to join him as he stopped by a range of showrooms and temps. Sessions included Unexpected Gifts, Hottest Temps, Gifts Guaranteed to Sell, Trending Home Decor, Giftable Floral and High Design Home. In addition, the QR Code displays and contest returned for August. Buyers were able to visit displays across the marketplace and use the DMC mobile app to scan QR codes for a chance to win $1,000. Inside the Gourmet Market, home to more than 300 tasty pre-packaged products, a gift card giveaway, a three-night hotel giveaway, and socially distant product tastings took place throughout the show.
Looking Ahead: Events Throughout the Fall and Winter
As retailers continue to seek a wider array of new products and to visit the marketplace on their own schedule, Dallas Market Center will be open daily and present a series of fall events to support inspiration, discovery and ordering. In September, Total Home & Gift Market takes place September 23-25, together with an Apparel & Accessories Open House September 22-24 and Fall Design Week September 22-24. In October, First Monday & Tuesday takes place October 5-6, followed by Apparel & Accessories Market October 20-23; KidsWorld October 20-23; and a Gift & Home Open House October 20-23.
Looking further ahead, November and December will offer First Monday & Tuesday events. January Total Home & Gift Market will take place January 6-12 with Temps January 6-9; and Lightovation takes place January 7-10.