Saturday, January 25, 2014

Market Trends 2014

A week ago I made my umpteenth pilgrimage to the Atlanta Gift Show to buy items for the new year. I found out, what has become second nature to me, is still a fascinating adventure for some friends and customers to hear about. Inevitably I am asked what trends I spotted or what new products were discovered but to be honest, I don't look for trends so much since that was never the Curious Sofa model. When you try to find new items that look old, "trendy" doesn't fall into that category. But to please those that are curious, I couldn't help but notice a few things.


The signage trend is taking over in a big way. Now I don't buy these things because I always feel my customers will look at them and say, "I can make that!" but more often than not the verbiage is a little touchy-feely for me; I prefer the tongue-in-cheek, sarcastic, irreverent type of signs:

I did see that the handmade/chalk style signs are appearing more which is not too bad. I like that they look original with better than average calligraphy, but again, in this new age of Pinterest, can't we all figure out how to make them ourselves?

I was pleasantly surprised that more vintage reproductions are filling the showrooms. This is what I am here for. More manufacturers are getting on the bandwagon and hiring buyers to find one-of-a-kind items and then having them mass produced. (I am still waiting on a call for that job!) But be warned, as with anything in life there are a lot of bad examples out there. But nothing thrills me more than when I finally find that one item (hopefully a few dozen) that have been expertly made using the right materials, perfectly painted then distressed. Then of course the best part is when the price is half of what the real antique would be; this is what I go to market for. It is my mission to find these items for you and sell them at

I have decided to stop apologizing for carrying new items because there are a lot of well made, great designed and affordable reproductions out there. For instance:


This new mannequin head caught my eye because it is nearly impossible to find an original vintage  style for under $300! I have tried to find them to use for display and for shooting my jewelry but the nose is usually chipped, the hair half missing and any older, antique style never has pierced ears. Although this new design above is a little matronly, her ears are pierced and she is just generic enough to use for so many accessories. And the best part, $48!!! (Coming soon to

I have forever wanted one of these European Bread Boxes. All enamel with black lettering. The original, antique styles are usually $120. This one, $66!!! (Coming soon to

On the other hand, one of the reasons going to market is so important is to physically check out the items I may see in a catalog. The basket above stopped me in my tracks but when I saw it in person- not so much. The metal was thin and the distressing was not that convincing- and a retail price of $130?! No way. I could easily find a real vintage basket for that price.

 Items that have a French appeal seem to be all the rage but I don't fall for that so easily... except now!  I do love this blue mailbox. Not only a great shape and color but good for so many things from the exterior of the house to your studio. (Coming soon to

I am crazy for this pair of Cuisine Plaques. Perfect for a dining room or European style kitchen. The illustrations look like the real deal. 24" high, the pair $132. About 30% less than framed antique prints would be. (Coming soon to

When I was asked to sell at Good Juju last Christmas, I was a bit nervous to offer so many new items because the owner of Juju discourages her dealers from doing it. On the other hand, I do feel I have learned the fine art of mixing the old with the new so the average customer cannot tell if something is vintage or not. I am not trying to fool anyone, this is simply the Curious Sofa brand. I never wanted my store to look like Grandma's Dusty Attic and being a sole proprietor with 3,700 square feet, it was virtually impossible to fill that store with all old items, especially with the bulk being impulse purchases from jewelry to hostess gifts to decor.

A customer at Juju picked up a Christmas ornament and asked me, "Is this old or new?" I said, "that one is new." She looked at me, slightly puzzled and said, "Then why does it look old?" I laughed and said, "Well to be honest, that is what I do. I am known for finding products that look old so they mix with real vintage items." That was the first time that description came out of my mouth and I have to say, it stunned me for a moment. Although I had never said it out loud, I suddenly took a little pride in explaining what my mission has always been. And after looking over my sales reports for November and December at Juju, 90% of my sales were new items! Yes it was Christmas and so many small items were ornaments and jewelry but customers didn't seem to mind.

I find nothing wrong with mixing the old with the new in home decor and if my trip to market said anything, its not that hard to blend it well.

Burlap: is still being seen everywhere; from pillows to curtains to upholstery. A touch of that immediately says urban/industrial/farmhouse/vintage. Manufacturers are now softening it up so you can actually enjoy feeling it! New designs are now being printed with graphics and florals, ruffles and pleating.

Rust: is still making an appearance because there are many of us (hopefully all of my blog readers!) who love informal decorating and objects and new rust is well, clean. No need to clear coat these items for fear they will ruin your upholstery. Manufacturers are finding a way to add a touch of age to many designs so the product doesn't scream new- as though it just came off the conveyor belt.

This rusted hook was so convincing! (Coming soon to

Handcrafted: In this age of Pinterest and Somerset and all things DIY- manufacturers are taking note. I do love when artists get a licensing deal and can finally make money with their designs.  Much of my new jewelry is a perfect example of that:

buy it here
buy it here

These paper pulp birds for Spring look 100% handmade. (Coming soon to
 As I write this I can't help but laugh at myself; these are the items I noticed because this is what appeals to me. Someone else on another blog somewhere, might be writing about all the neon colors they discovered at market!

I guess my desire for all things with an antique flair will never die. Good!

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