Suppliers Find Commitment

Carole Sloan, February 25, 2008

As markets go, this month's event was pretty spirited, despite the dour macro-events taking place around the world and at home.

A surprising number of suppliers cited cases of actual commitments — albeit not confirmed orders — for specific items or collections, in contrast to most markets where items and groups are considered and then sent to the home offices of the retailers for second, third, fourth and then perhaps final consideration.

By any barometer, the entire world of eco-friendly product was the buzz of the market. There has been a retreat from a year or so back when so many suppliers were touting "organic" with little or nothing to back it up.

"Recycled" seems to be this market's buzz word, and with all the soda, milk and water bottles discarded daily, there appears to be an ample supply to be recycled. The critical issue is how much more energy is needed to produce a recycled item versus an all-cotton or linen or silk non-organic item.

Hopefully, there will be less hype and more substance in the marketing as the products get to the retail floors.

* * * *

An observation about the new market dates, in particular the upcoming one for September. There are quite a few folks — both buyers and sellers — that thoroughly shop the decorative fabrics show, Decosit, in Brussels, Belgium that is being held from September 13 to 16. And even more — especially retailers ranging from Target to Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Stein Mart and Fortunoff among others — attend Maison & Objet which begins the prior weekend.

For the supplier side, these events are key for sourcing relationships as well as being on top of design trends.

The change of dates from February and August was probably heralded by most folks in the industry. But the marathon that will take place for those needing to attend these two European events could well have been avoided with a search of dates for related industry activities.

Let's hope a look at the next several years' dates will avoid a conflict before it's too late to change.

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