Robotic cleaning machine

Mint is a robotic cleaning machine for hard-surface floors from Evolution Robotics. It automatically dusts and mops floors with the press of a button. The appliance works with cloths like Swiffer and Pledge dry and west cloths. In mop mode, a special cleaning motion dissolves and wipes up dirt and grime.
Mint cleans quietly for three or more hours on a single charge. It is low-maintenance; there are no bins to empty or filters to replace. It measures about 10 inches wide and about 3 inches tall.

Retailers: Contact the manufacturer for prices and minimums.

Shoppers: Ask your favorite independent retailer to order this item for you.

Saturday silliness--vote for your favorite TV housekeeper

We take a break from home decor, furniture and accessories for a bit of fun.

Alfred (Batman) and Daphe (Frasier) are deadlocked in the second round of my "TV Housekeepers, Nannies and Maids" poll. Vote now to break the tie.
Mr. French (Family Affair), Aunt Bee (The Andy Griffith Show) and Alice (Brady Bunch) are winning their races.
Click here to take the survey.

New mirrors in transitional, contemporary styles




Howard Elliott Collection has new mirrors in contemporary and traditional styles.
The Montana mirror features a rectangular frame upholstered in a chocolate-brown faux-leather outlined in antique brass nailhead studs. There is a singe floral medallion placed in the center of its arched top. The outer dimensions are 18 inches by 45 inches.
The David Mirror is a contemporary piece with a frame of intertwined strips of silver leaf and black glass.

It measures  38 inches by 38 inches.
The Dominic mirror features a puzzled arrangement of overlapping square frames. It is finished in a lovely brushed copper lacquer. The outer dimensions are  31 inches by  32 inches.

Retailers: Contact the manufacturer for prices and minimums.

Shoppers: Ask your favorite independent retailer to order this item for you.

Design bloggers have their say at NY gift show

The Bloggers' Choice Awards are presented semi-annually to exhibitors in Accent on Design, one of 10 divisions of the New York International Gift Fair. "Design bloggers have a unique aesthetic sensibility, as well as an inherent knack for identifying emerging talents," said Dorothy Belshaw, NYIGF director and GLM senior vice president.
"Accent on Design offers an excellent platform for sourcing and rewarding design innovation." Each blogger selected one product from among the thousands featured by 200 Accent on Design exhibitors.
The bloggers - and their choices for the "next big thing" - are:

Jennifer Lockwood of
Cast Iron Skillets by Borough Furnace (Murfreesboro, Tenn.)
"It is all about the story behind the product. From humble beginnings as scraped, upcycled iron to a cool, hip, useful cast-iron skillet that will last forever. Old made new."

Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan of
Sundara Rug Collection by Donna Wilson & SCP (London, England)
"One of the best new debuts I found at the NYIGF was the Sundara Rug Collection by Donna Wilson and distributed by SCP. All rugs are hand-made in India, using three different techniques: flat-weaving, hand-looming and hand-tufting. Like Donna's other designs for SCP - Frank, Henry & Ernest pouffes and Nos Das pillows, throws and bags - color and texture are at the fore-front for these new rug designs."

Kristin Coleman of
Umbrellas by Brelli (New York)
"I've been thinking for years now that the umbrella was due for a redesign. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the Brelli, which delivers a stylish, versatile and sustainable solution."

Rain Noe of
Chop, Patrick Jouin's bamboo chopping board, by Alessi (New York)
"This caught my eye because the indented, curved edges, in addition to making you want to touch the object, allow you to cut and swipe vegetables directly onto a plate. I think that simple, subtle human factors and details like this are what makes for great design."

Heather Clawson of
Michelle Parker Table Lamps by Stray Dog Designs (Chattanooga, Tenn.) for its lamps with shades made from vintage topographical maps and pages from old dictionaries
"It's such a cleaver and original idea and they look great. The company employs artisans in Haiti in Mexico so you know you are buying products that benefit those in need as well."

Marisa Marcantonio of
Nasca Collection of globally-inspired textiles by Suki Cheema Studio (Brooklyn, NY)
"Merges the traditional craft of handmade Indian textiles with saturated colors and creative pattern play. The 100% cotton Taquile pillow is made using an ancient embroidery technique out of several fabrics, so the pieces add history and tradition to a home. The collection is very current with its playful graphic designs and cheery colors."

Jaime Derringer of
Piggy by Materious (Chicago)
"A refreshingly new concept that shows us good design is more than just form and function - it's human too!"

Stephanie Murg of UnBeige (
Husque bowls by Designs Abroad (Lawrenceville, Ga.)
"I'm nuts for Husque products! Handmade in Australia, these colorful bowls and platters are not only inspired by the smooth curves of Macadamia nuts, they're also made from waste shells of the locally-farmed nuts. Queensland-based designer Marc Harrison developed the novel composite material, which is then colored and hand-polished (with Macadamia nut oil) to a beautiful luster. The resulting objects look good enough to eat - or at least eat off of."

Best new products from the textiles show

Five companies participating in Home Textiles Market Week in New York were presented with Best New Product awards last week. Designers Guild received the “Best of Market” award for its Orangerie Cushion. All of the winners exhibited in the At Home division of the New York International Gift Fair.

Designers Guild (New York), for its Orangerie Cushion, designed by Tricia Guild. Manufactured in the United Kingdom, the Orangerie design features hand painted florals on a fresh white base—which are digitally reproduced and printed onto the cushion’s cotton percale front fabric. The cushion’s trimming and solid silk back provide some extra contrast to its patterned front.

Bōdmer Blankets (Carlton, Ore.) for its Jaspé Blanket, designed and hand woven by Craig Bōdmer. Made of 100% natural baby alpaca yarn and bound with 100% hand-woven silk, the blanket provides both beauty and comfort. The non-dyed blanket has an all-natural alpaca color, which is revealed as its color subtly transforms from dark to light, and is woven with a classic 2/2 twill weave structure and available in twin, double, queen and king sizes.

Brahms Mount (Hallowell, Maine) for its Linen Towels, designed by Claudia Brahms. The towels, which are woven in North America, are 100% linen and naturally anti-microbial and available in 3 sizes: and six colors. 

Blissliving Home (Rockville, Md.) for its Samsara Table Linens, designed by Mei Xu and Amber Kleiner. The Samsara Table Linens include a runner, square placemat and matching dyed linen napkin and is available in two colorways. The linens traditional embroidery is borrowed from their Samsara decorative pillow. 

Alicia Adams Alpaca Inc. (Stanfordville, NY) for its Travel Set. Designed by owner, Alicia Adams and manufactured in Peru, the travel set comes with a blanket and eye mask, which conveniently fit in a travel-size pouch. Made of 100% baby alpaca, this soft blanket provides the ultimate in luxury for travel. 

Award criteria included innovation in design, creative use of materials/construction and new fiber, material or technology.

Home decor winners from the NY gift show

Four Accent on Design exhibitors at the New York International Gift Fair were honored last week for "superior design creativity and innovative product design," according to the fair organizers. Accent on Design is one of 10 divisions at the show. The winners are:

Best Product Collection
Paul Smith for Stelton (Copenhagen, Denmark) "for reimagining Arne Jacobsen’s classic Cylinda-Line collection and introducing color in celebration of Stelton’s 50th year." Manufactured in Denmark, Paul Smith for Stelton features AddColour (above), a series of stainless steel iced water, tea and coffee jugs, and French press with muted, bright or pastel colored handles. Available in nine color palettes, Dot features three small, medium and large jars and bowls in stainless steel with enamel tops and mouths. The collection’s bar set, Statement, includes ice bucket and tongs, cocktail shaker, martini mixer, glass coasters and serving tray in rich, black stainless steel. Each piece features a statement written by Paul Smith.

Best Product
Wabnitz Editions (Columbus, Ohio) for Boomerang Wok, by Royal vkb, for "its innovation in industrial design, solving an age old problem." Designed by Nikolai Carels, its unique patented edge shape alleviates the stresses of cooking by reducing the skills necessary for an evenly cooked meal – just a simple push towards the curved edge of the pan turns the food easily. This aluminum pan is ideal for cooking eggs, fish and meat.

Best Product
Branch Lamps (New York) by Rich, Brilliant, Willing as part of the American Design Club Collection, for "a modern classic used in a multitude of ways." With bent wood arms attached to metal hubs resembling the branches of a tree, the chandeliers, floor lamps and table lamps filter light through perforated brass shades. Ebonized, natural and custom color wood finishes are available.

Best Product
The Sasa Clock  (Housatonic, Mass.) designed by Thorunn Arnadottir for HeadsUp Design Company Inc., for "its interpretation on the concept of time in an artistic and poetic manner." Made of a polished stainless steel hub and beech wood beads, time can be read from a color coded necklace—with each bead representing a 5 minute increment. The necklace is available in both 12 and 24 hour versions; natural wood with white, "hour" beads and blue stained wood, with orange "hour" beads.

Retailers: Contact the manufacturer for prices and minimums.

Shoppers: Ask your favorite independent retailer to order this item for you.

Winning products from the Ex-tracts show

Ex-tracts honored six companies with Best New Product Awards last week in New York. The winners are:

Royal Apothic
Royal Apothic (Los Angeles) for its Bathe Collection – City of Angels Fragrance, a distillation of gentle marine top notes blended with Night Blooming Jasmine, particular to Southern California, and a crisp base of Eucalyptus. The indulgent formulation provides skincare with next generation hydrators and micronized conditioning ingredients, and is paraben free.

DayNa Decker (Los Angeles) for its Couture Body Treatment, offering Body Cleansing Crème, a creamy, lather-rich cleansing crème that gently soothes and nourishes the body with calming extracts; and Hydrating Emulsion, a naturally derived body lotion that combines sultry fragrances with Shae Butter, Gold and Pearl to enhance skin’s radiance and youthful glow.

Archipelago Botanicals (Los Angeles) for its Pomegranate Purse Set, a sheer lip gloss wand, roll on EDT and travel lotion collection that carry the delightfully fresh scent of pomegranate and are blended with premium ingredients, including Phase II Enzyme boosters that help detoxify and cleanse.

House of Lubin (Paris, France) for its Lubin Perfume, a reintroduction of the legendary force in the perfume industry with 10 designer scents and vintage perfumes crafted in the Grasse region, including Gin Fizz, a delicate fragrance of iris and swamp lily, inspired by the luxurious Metropolitan lounges, and Bluff, a new scent drawn from the tonics found in the saloons of the American Wild West.

Winner: European Soaps LLC (Seattle) for its Rampal Latour, a certified organic soap made with olive oils and sweet almond oils, and natural mineral pigments, excluding preservatives (EDTA) or artificial coloring, that hydrates and delicately perfumes the skin.

Altru (Los Angeles) for its Purity Collection, an exotic floral fusing ylang ylang, tuberose, gardenia and magnolia, with base notes of blond woods and tonka bean, in a hammered copper candle vessel, hand-blown glass diffuser and aromatic incense packaged in an antique Japanese kimono print.

Nautical-theme pillows

Brightly colored woodcut nautical prints from Kevin O'Brien Studio are screen-printed onto 100% linen. There is a zip closure, and the feather/down insert is included. The pillow measures 14 inches by 20 inches.

Retailers: Contact the manufacturer for prices and minimums.

Shoppers: Ask your favorite independent retailer to order this item for you.

Lightweight stylish tote bags

Saky Sacks, a Seattle-based company launched in March 2010, is showing five new prints and two new contemporary styles—the Saky Weekend and Sakcessories—this week at the Seattle gift show. The company's original bag is the City Saky. Saky Sacks are made from DuPont Tyvek. The bags are lightweight, strong, tear, stain and water resistant. They are machine washable and recyclable.

Retailers: Contact the manufacturer for prices and minimums.

Shoppers: Ask your favorite independent retailer to order this item for you.

Seattle gift show supports Gift For Life

Gift for Life, the gift, stationery and home décor industry's sole charitable organization, announced it will serve as the beneficiary of the first annual Tabletop by Design, a celebration of all things tabletop and home entertaining organized by the Pacific Market Center (PMC).
The program was initiated by PMC as a special event complementing its Summer Gift and Home Accessories Show, taking place August 18-24 in Seattle. Eleven PMC permanent showrooms--AKA, The Barron Collection LTD, Bulkley Associates, Grasslands Road/Amscan, Hazen and Associates, Jenny Hammons Northwest, Kolibaba & Associates, Kurt S. Adler, Penny Harrison & Company, RH Studio and Scarlett--have designed tabletop displays that will be on view daily during the Show in Suite 340.
Buyers are encouraged to vote for their favorite designs and make a donation to Gift For Life, with all proceeds benefiting DIFFA: Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS.
Buyers are invited to a wine and cheese tasting on Monday, August 23, from 6:00-7:00pm in Suite 340 hosted by the Washington Wine and Cheese Commissions. A $10 suggestion donation is requested to benefit Gift for Life/DIFFA.
The third-generation, family-owned Matouk company makes bed, bath and table linens.  At the New York International Gift Fair, the company introduced Lowell and Mirasol table linens, elegant top of bed styles Bryant Park and Greenbrier, fragranced candles and soaps, and new small-scale prints. Shown are examples of Matouk's style.

Retailers: Contact the manufacturer for prices and minimums.

Shoppers: Ask your favorite independent retailer to order this item for you.

Decoupage decorative objects

Scott Potter Designs creates beautiful decoupage decorative objects, including vases, bowls, plates and goblets. The company exhibits at the gift show in New York. See a previous post about Scott Potter here.

Retailers: Contact the manufacturer for prices and minimums.

Shoppers: Ask your favorite independent retailer to order this item for you.

Contemporary-style table lamps

The new Rift , Squeeze and Trudy collections will be introduced by Nova at the October 2010 High Point Market. The table lamp designs feature sleek finishes and brushed metal accents. The company will also exhibit home accents and wall décor.

Trudy collection

Squeeze collection

Rift collection

Retailers: Contact the manufacturer for prices and minimums.

Shoppers: Ask your favorite independent retailer to order this item for you.

Entertainment serving pieces in a modern style

At the upcoming New York gift show, Teroforma launches new accessories for entertaining, with a focus on pieces that work double- and triple-time.
The collection includes a crystal carafe whose stopper can hold ice or garnishes; sauce bowls with pouring spouts, and a system of stackable hors d’oeuvreware with lids so they can travel from table to fridge.
Teroforma will show its Artists’ Canvas Collection, encompassing decorative art work, trays, coasters, runners and paper products. Rounding out the introductions are handturned salt/pepper grinders, crystal barware and additions to the linens and felt color palette. The company collaborated with 11 far-flung designers and makers in eight countries to realize the new pieces.

Ekke Tapas Plates

Ekke Tapas Bowls and  Lid

Avva Pinch and Pour Bowls

Avva Large Bowl & Board

Retailers: Contact the manufacturer for prices and minimums.

Shoppers: Ask your favorite independent retailer to order this item for you.

Greeting cards for birthdays

NobleWorks has added 20-plus designs to its line of humorous greeting cards, including new cartoons from Dan Reynolds, Stan Makowski and RUBES. The most recent introduction features numerous birthday cards, including three designs for celebrating 50th birthdays, as well as several geared specifically toward women.
Also new are cards featuring "text language" to help retailers attract a younger demographic, including a birthday card for a "BFF" (Best Friend Forever) and a graduation card that reads "Congr8tulations!"

Retailers: Contact the manufacturer for prices and minimums.

Shoppers: Ask your favorite independent retailer to order this item for you.

Furniture sample sale

M2L, an importer and distributor of modern Genuine Design from Europe,announced the extended offerings of its virtual showroom, Michael’s Loft. The site features an online gallery of floor samples, over-stock furniture and discontinued models from its three locations in New York, Boston and Washington D.C., at prices up to 70% off. M2L is now offering an additional 15% discount to trade professionals who provide credentials.

Award-winning exhibits at Chicago gift show

Chicago Market: Living and Giving Best In Show Award Winners

Gourmet Winner
Rolf Glass,
Rolf Glass is an American glass cutting and engraving manufacturer. They offer customers distinctive images and timeless icons on quality crystal and glassware.

What A Girl Wants Winner
W.I.N.O.S Inc.,
W.I.N.O.S offer cookbooks, apparel and accessories with a sense of humor.

Home Winner
Amity Home,
Amity Home offers fine linens,Crib Beddings,Quilt Patterns that feature great quality and workmanship.

Beckman's Handcrafted Winner
Erin Smith Art,
Erin Smith offers fun and sassy mixed media artwork.

Beckman’s Handcrafted Winner
Printed Canvas,
Printed Canvas offers distinctive, artist-signed stationery and unique art.

Gift & Accessories Winner
Royal Green Enterprise, Ltd and Chit Chat Beauty, and
Royal Green Enterprises Ltd is an importer and wholesaler that was founded in 1980. Their products include a wide range of Artificial Flowers, Trees, Fruits, Vegetables, Christmas Decorations, Vases, Containers, Furniture and more. Chit Chat Beauty is an inspirational bath and beauty line created for young girls.

Design Design, showroom 13-518,
Design Design’s product lines include paper tableware, humorous beverage napkins, ceramic and aluminum serving pieces, gift packaging, greeting cards, stationery, home décor, and gifts.

Daniel Richards, showroom 13-512,
Daniel Richards offers fine gift and stationery representatives, with products ranging from baby, home decor and general gift.

AND!Sales, showroom 14-109,
And!Sales is a rep organization specializing in home lines and serving the Midwest territory. Their goal is to bring a broad range of products and style to Mid-America. Products range from home decor, indoor and outdoor, fashion and trend.

Saro Trading, showroom 14-105
Saro Trading offers traditional home textiles in delicate laces in the European tradition as well as a multitude of contemporary textiles in varied textures, spanning the wide range from napkin rings to table throws to bedcovers, supplement the selection of textiles into full collections

Kitchen gadget: the Baggy Rack

Jokari's Baggy Rack holds open sandwich bags so they can be filled easily. The rack is adjustable to hold various sizes of sandwich storage bags. To use, slide the bag under the clips located on the arms of the Baggy Rack to hold open and start filling. The company says it is like having an extra set of hands.

Retailers: Contact the manufacturer for prices and minimums.

Shoppers: Ask your favorite independent retailer to order this item for you.

Sunday silliness

I'm playing around with Survey Monkey, the website that let's you takes surveys. So, since I like old TV shows, I figured I'd ask:
  • Who would you hire as a housekeeper, maid or nanny?
There are eight questions, pairing two TV characters against each other in eight divisions. It will take you less than 30 seconds to complete the survey, unless you ponder each question deeply.

Click here to take survey

SnapRetail Releases TrafficBuilder Marketing System

press release

Easy email & social marketing system drives store traffic for independent retailers

August 2, 2010 (PITTSBURGH) – SnapRetail, a company dedicated to helping independent retailers drive store traffic and increase profits, has announced the release of its revolutionary software product: TrafficBuilder. TrafficBuilder is an easy-to-use email and social media marketing system that helps retailers connect with their customers, driving higher store traffic and profits.
   “TrafficBuilder is a virtually automatic marketing tool that makes it a ‘snap’ for independent retailers to effectively market to their customers using customizable marketing materials that come directly from the vendors they love,” said Ted Teele, CEO of SnapRetail. “TrafficBuilder also offers retailers the ability to entice consumers by posting online photo albums on Facebook, Twitter and via email of fresh products that are about to arrive in stores.”
   Over 90 leading vendors have signed up to provide their marketing materials to the 100,000 retailers in the gift, home décor, furniture and garden industries including Mud Pie, Midwest-CBK, Yankee Candle, Lindsay Phillips, Beatriz Ball, Bailey Street, IMAX, and Evergreen. “TrafficBuilder is an effort to support our independent retailers,” said John Toler, Evergreen Enterprises. “We believe this will help them thrive in the retail marketplace.”
   More than 1500 retailers have signed up for TrafficBuilder’s Trial Edition which gives store owners a 3 month free subscription period to use the software. “We are delighted to have so many retailers helping us fine tune our system,” said Ted Teele, CEO of SnapRetail. “All software systems benefit from having large numbers of users, and the feedback from participating retailers during the free trial will undoubtedly strengthen our software.”
   Retailers are enthusiastic about the release. “We are thrilled about TrafficBuilder. We are especially excited about the online photo albums of incoming merchandise so we can share the newest products with our loyal customers via e-mail and Facebook,” said Marsha Fleming, Something Special, Vincennes, Indiana.
   Retailers can still sign up for the free trial which runs through October 31st at “The earlier a retailer signs up for the free trial,” said Mr. Teele, “the more time a retailer can use the system to market to their retailers without charge.”
   SnapRetail will celebrate its launch with retailers in its Las Vegas showroom C-0637 on Tuesday, August 3rd at 4pm.
   Interested retailers can learn more at:

# # #
About SnapRetail

SnapRetail is dedicated to helping independent retailers drive traffic and increase profits by making it a “snap” for them to market to their customers using the new marketing, including social media, email marketing, and ecommerce. Our revolutionary software “TrafficBuilder” will help independents compete effectively with larger retailers. Also, with the largest online wholesale MarketPlace in the industry, we help vendors and sales agencies with the “sell to” of products to retailers. In other words, SnapRetail provides the complete solution for making retail a snap! More information is available on and SnapRetail’s Facebook Fan Page:

Candles and room sprays

New candle fragrances from Lakeshore Candle Co. include Cranberry Clementine, Vanilla Lime, Spiced Granola, and Pomegranate. A CandlePot Votive has a 25-hour burn time. An 18-ounce Click Clack Tin burns for 90 hours.
New room sprays complement the candle. Available in a 2.5-ounce aluminum spray bottle, scents include Lavender Eucalyptus, Lemongrass, Cucumber Apple, Sweet Bay Magnolia, Morning Rain, and Lilac. The company exhibits at gift markets in Atlanta, Chicago, Columbus (OH), Dallas, Las Vegas, Minneapolis and Philadelphia.

Retailers: Contact the manufacturer for prices and minimums.

Shoppers: Ask your favorite independent retailer to order this item for you.

Platform bed, home entertainment furniture

Loft 102 for the Home debuts its first bedroom collection, called Avalon, at the Las Vegas Market this month. The platform bed has a low-profile headboard with angled sides. The bed is supported by antique black iron style legs. To maximize functional space one can add up to four caster mounted storage drawers underneath the bed. The drawers offer the versatility of being oriented to open from the sides or foot of the bed.
Bedside table options include an open side table with a single shelf and a two-drawer nightstand with a wood profile handle.  In the top drawer of the nightstand is a tray the fits the company’s proprietary SmartLight remote control device.
Avalon’s home office and home entertainment introductions (below), including a writing desk, TV consoles and storage tower-bookcases.

Photo frames with love, friendship themes

Prinz Ltd.has released a special grouping of mid-year introductions featuring eight new love and friendship themed photo frames in a variety of formats, styles and sizes. The new pieces will begin shipping Sept. 1.

“Sweetheart” features laser-engraved black wood frames with hot pink wording along the right-hand corner. The 5x7 frame is available in three styles: “Madly in Love,” “You and Me” and “Hugs and Kisses.” Miniature versions are also available. The “Lovestruck” series of red wooden frames has mirror cutout accents. The 6x4 frames are available in three designs: “Falling for You,” “Madly in Love” and “Love at first Sight.”

Retailers: Contact the manufacturer for prices and minimums.

Shoppers: Ask your favorite independent retailer to order this item for you.