This week is the April Tabletop show in Manhattan and we stopped by the NY Merchandise Mart at 41 Madison Ave. yesterday to check out the recent doings of our favorite brands.
There was a nice crowd at the show, although I've seen it fuller in times past. This may have something to do with the weather which was wet, cold and a bit nasty.
We have a couple of goals we seek to accomplish at these shows. The first being sourcing the best merchandise for our customers, as well as also learning the latest trends and plans of the industry's heavy hitters and designer lines. We feel we were successful at both, as you shall see.
We initiated contacts at BIA, Ginori and Oneida for discontinued product and overstock, which we hope to move forward on. We also renewed existing relationships at Devine, Lenox, WWRD, Herend, Portmerion and many more.
Now for the news: our friends at WWRD (which owns Wedgwood, Waterford, Royal Doulton, Royal Albert, Johnson Brothers and more) tell us that there is a strategic shift being put into place with their major brands. Their goal is to position Waterford and Wedgweood as their premium, high end brands, while Royal Doulton and Royal Albert will serve the more practical, modern market with value conscious pricing. I asked if this was the end of Royal Albert as we have come to know it, since Royal Albert has been defined by it's Old Country Roses pattern, which is as old-fashioned as it gets. They were quick to assure me that these changes would have no effect on the world's most popular china pattern of all time and that Royal Albert's history can merge with their new goals seamlessly. Time will tell.
We also visited Fitz and Floyd, makers of our popular patterns, Fitz and Floyd Cloisonne Peony Black and Renaissance Black and Peach. They have changed their focus away from formal in recent years and nothing we saw indicates any reversal in that area.
Check in again next time to read what we saw at Lenox, Herend, Royal Copenhagen, Portmerion, Royal Crown Derby, Arthur Court and Mottahedeh.