Earth-friendly housewares made of bamboo

Natural Home Products collection
Natural Home & Garden magazine debuted a line of housewares at the  2012 International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago last month. The line, called Natural Home Products, is meant to offer the consumer sustainable products with exceptional quality that are priced at or below the current market leaders is a huge step forward, says company president Bill Mitchell. 

Among the items is the space-saving Eazistore nesting cookware set, which reduces required storage space by up to 67 percent. The line is oven- and dishwasher-safe as well as recyclable.
Another collection is made from the material Moboo. The molded-bamboo kitchenware is made from bamboo sawdust, rice starch and an all-natural plant-based binder. It is durable, nontoxic and dishwasher-safe with a similar look and feel to plastic. The Moboo line is composed of kitchen tools, gadgets, bowls, measuring cups/spoons and compost bins. Most are available in a variety of colors such as Charcoal, Natural, Cherry and Pistachio. 

The Saturday Special: Dallas honors 2 retailers for their good deeds

Dallas Market Center announced the two winners for TheNext Big Give, a national search for specialty retailers that give back in their communities:
The winners were selected from more than 50 retailers thatare involved in a variety of ways through volunteering, raising funds or donating goods.

“Congratulations to The Next Big Give winners,” said Bill Winsor, president and CEO, DallasMarket Center. “Both winners are great examples of how retailers can give back in big and smallways. Their work is truly inspiring.”

A. Dodson’s Owner Alison Dodson Anderson learned the spirit of giving directly from herparents. During her childhood, Alison’s father, a local dentist in her hometown, often exchangedhis services with patients who could only afford to pay him with a livestock chicken or free yardwork. Spurred by the pride and appreciation for her father’s generosity, Alison began givingback through her store immediately following its opening seven years ago. A. Dodson’s supportsnumerous causes including blood drives, toy and school supply drives, even donating $12,000to Taylor Bend YMCA to assist in building a new facility.

Even after giving back in a variety of ways, Alison wanted a means to focus her store’s givingefforts. Her search led to the development of The A. Dodson’s Round Up, a program allowingcustomers to round up the cost of each purchase to the nearest dollar and have the extra centsdonated to charity. A. Dodson’s publishes a poll on its Facebook page in order for customers tochoose the cause the Round Up funds will be donated to at the end of each month. Charitiescan easily apply by simply emailing their name, contact information, and confirmation of their501c3 status to In 2011, A. Dodson’s gave more than $2,500 tovarious charity organizations. For more information on A. Dodson’s visit 

“This January we were able to donate hundreds of dollars to the Ovarian Cancer ResearchFund through The A. Dodson’s Round Up,” said Kim Glover, director of marketing, A. Dodson’s.“Through the program we are able to donate to charities near and dear to our hearts as well asexpose our customers to organizations that they in turn volunteer for. It’s incredibly rewarding.”

Originally operating under the name “Brookshire Brothers,” Brookshire’s Food & Pharmacy wasfounded in 1928 by Wood T. Brookshire in Tyler, Texas. Since its inception, Brookshire’s hasgrown to 150 stores spanning three states—Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. Wood founded thecompany with a foremost concern for the well-being of others, which continues to influence thecompany today.Brookshire’s has been giving back to the communities in which it operates since its founding.

In2008, the Community Connections program was founded to enable Brookshire’s employees toassist with the causes important to each store’s local community. Employees form teams bystore or non-retail department and gather to volunteer an average of four times per year with thecause of their choice. Last year, Brookshire’s donated more than 28,000 documented volunteerhours and more than $1.5 million to various charitable causes.

One notable effort was its WorldWar II Heroes Flight in May 2011, in which Brookshire’s sent 33 World War II veterans toWashington, District of Columbia, all expenses paid, where they visited several war memorialsand the U.S. Capitol building. For more information on Brookshire’s visit

“Giving back is an important part of our company culture and something we expect to continue,”said Sam Anderson, community involvement manager, Brookshire’s Food & Pharmacy. “Webelieve it’s important to support the communities that support us. Being actively involved in theschools and other aspects of the community helps us to stay in touch with our customers and bebetter prepared to serve their wants and needs. But, most importantly, helping others is the rightthing to do.”

After receiving more than 50 applications, the entries were narrowed down to 10 finalists andthen two winners by a panel of industry experts and Dallas Market Center representatives. Thewinners will receive a complimentary trip to the March 22-25, 2012 Market in Dallas includinground-trip airfare and three nights hotel stay.

The Next Big Give winners were recognized on March 22 duringThe Inspired Event, a cocktail party benefiting charitable causes.For additional information on the contest visit oremail

Award-winning lacquerware for the home

J. Fleet Designs won the Best of the Best Award for Accessories from the American Society of Interior Designers. The company says its round trays and vide-poches were successful at shows in Paris and New York.

Established in 1995, J. Fleet Designs offers luxury lacquerware products for the home, including  bowls, trays and bath accessories. The accessories are made in Vietnam, and marry a centuries-old artisan tradition with contemporary, up-to-the-moment designs.

Guest blog: SURTEX Preview

Surtex 2011
Gift & Home Today invited Penny Sikalis, the vice president of show producer GLM and manager of the SURTEX show, to share insights into the trends and resources at SURTEX. Here is her report.

Penny Sikalis
If it's spring, then it's time to attend SURTEX®, on May 20-22, 2012 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. Why? Because it’s the market that influences product trends across all home categories! Think of it as the crystal ball of emerging trends, and the indicator of product colors and designs that will soon be making their way into shops and then homes. 

In its 26th year, SURTEX features more than 300 exhibitors representing the works of more than 1,000 artist and designers from around the world … all of whom are on the cutting-edge of the design business. They’ll be offering the latest original artwork and brands to the 6,000 attendees (art buyers and licensees) who annually seek surface designs, from textile and graphic design to illustration, photography and mixed media. 

These designs will take shape in a broad spectrum of markets, including decorative fabrics, tabletop, giftware, stationery, greeting cards, gift wrap and other paper products, ceramics, linens and domestics, wall coverings and floor coverings, apparel textiles, toys, packaging and publishing. It’s an all-inclusive marketplace for not only product developers, but also smart independent retailers who want to stay ahead of their competition. They’ll get a sneak peek of what will be in development and launched for 2013 delivery. 

Here, two SURTEX exhibitors share a bit about their upcoming offerings. 

Sam Abell is President and CEO of Courtney Davis Inc.,  a leading art licensing agency for more than 37 years. His unique perspective for what’s ahead includes four themes:
  1. Color: fresh, bright and being used in a dominant fashion as well as accent 
  2. Mix & Match: patterns are being juxtaposed in a unique, playful manner 
  3. Burlap: a key accent in higher-end design 
  4. Organic: a growing area of interest in both design and subject matter 

Nancy Fire is founder and creative director of Design Works International, a well-known design studio and trend service firm of more than 20 years. 

Surtex 2011
"This year we are focusing on eclectic mixes of patterns, like large scale floral designs paired with geometric accents. In addition, there are lush tropical patterns in deep color combinations, sun-struck mid-tone colors for retro florals, and coconut grove brights for junior conversationals. Nature remains strong, including birds with pattern-fill images in many styles."

In addition to seeing exhibitors’ offerings, SURTEX participants will have access to an all-new Trend Theater, where world-renowned forecasting companies will share their future visions via daily multi-media trend presentations. Complimentary and exclusive to SURTEX, these 30-minute sessions will inspire viewers with the pulse of the market, from consumer attitudes and street happenings, to color, design and theme directions across multiple categories.

To get the full picture of what’s ahead, and what every design-related business – whether manufacturer or retailer – should be planning for 2013/14, SURTEX is a must-attend. A comprehensive Conference Program as well as networking activities, will round out the experience.For registration and attendance details, visit