Thursday, January 26, 2012

wish list for valentine's day

We know choosing Valentine's gifts can be a little daunting, but we at Pomegranate are here to help, even if you just want a little something for a special person. How about a lovely French heart soap in lavender, lemongrass or tulip with some rosebuds, tucked into an organdy bag? Just $4.50. They're all wrapped up and ready to go. Oh, but we have other ideas, too. Fabulous lotions and perfumes, new totes, pillows, candles, cards, jewelry, champagne glasses... and my favorite, our new bike baskets (which you could fill with a nice selection of other goodies). Take a look at some of the pictures for a little taste of what we have (more coming in daily). We'll wrap it up for free, and you'll be a hero. Cheers!
New totes for travel and everyday

It's all beautiful

Cruising weather is coming!

You can't go wrong with our fun jewelry

Just add photos to the locket: great gift

One of our favorite handcreams, back in stock

Hand-carved Mary to watch over you

Cute and funky recycled metal animals

Chunky necklaces

Gorgeous perfume bottles

French script Scotty and pillows

Tea for one in a great box (one of Oprah's picks)

Tiramani perfume, lotion, talc – so citrusy and fresh

LOVE these winter white pillows created by two local artists

'Nuff said

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

More notes from market: styles and trends

Here are some random observations I made while at market last week, during my whirlwind buying trip for Pomegranate.

First, I love to complain about the "junk."  Junk meaning cutsie, stupid, meaningless, purposeless products that, when given as gifts, often end up in the garage sale/white elephant gift pile. I'm talking about talking, wiggling moose heads. Baskets with tutus and chicken head handles. Clown lamps. Lamps with plastic dolphins leaping into the air. Dr. Seuss-style santa heads exploding out of a cookie jar. Mermaid figurines holding pink plastic purses (also mermen figures – they do exist). Resin teddy bears with goofy 'inspirational' signs in their little paws. Oh, there's no end to the tragic display of useless objects (ahh, I wish I had pictures to prove it).

But, I have to say there was far less junk at this market: perhaps the times have dictated what will fall out of the edges of the retail world. Good news is, there were many more products that had a green attitude, that were well-designed, clever and beautiful. There were more small manufacturers and artisan companies that are making their products right here in the USA or Canada. I was really impressed with all these innovators and entrepreneurs, and judging by how crowded some of these booths were, other buyers were just as wowed.

There was some absolutely beautiful furniture at this market. We don't have the room to show much furniture at the shop (especially upholstered pieces), but that didn't stop me from observing and drooling over some of it. There was such a simplicity and naturalness to a lot of it. Great designs, less traditional and more modern shapes, mixed with rustic, organic and industrial design. My favorite design aesthetic is modern mixed with vintage, and so many of the offerings were right on target. It's kind of a Belgian/French takeover of the design world. If you've seen the work of Belgian designer Axel Vervoordt, you'll recognize the look. But it can go too far, too. There was lots and lots of burlap everywhere, which I like in small doses. Not so much as upholstery on a chair: it's scratchy! Give me a gorgeous linen (or burlap's softer cousin, jute) over burlap any day.

I also am a big fan of orange, and am so happy to see more of it. Tangerine is Pantone's color of the year, so expect to see it in little pops of color. Orange is a happy color, indoors and out. You might not want an entire sofa done in it (unless you're a daring Italian designer), but some pillows, or little accents here and there are so much fun. And, there are so many variations on orange. I love love love that soft, saffrony color you see in silk saris (in fact, that's exactly what I'm going to use to make new window coverings at home). Imagine some bright tangerine butterfly sling chairs in the garden (let's time travel to the 60s); what a fun contrast to the greenery. I'm bringing in my little orange fix via lanterns and artwork, totes, etc.

Other strong color statements were yellow, aqua, and magenta. And white. White is still classic and clean and goes everywhere. Navy is making a comeback, too, and not just for the Ralph Lauren crowd. We forgot about navy for so long. Did we get tired of it? Don't know what happened, but navy looks great with yellow, gray, and yes, tangerine.

The animal print thing will not subside. I saw even more products covered in faux leopard, and I still don't get it. Really cute on a pair of reading glasses. Not so charming all over a chair or on a big carpet-bag style tote. Maybe it's just me, but all I can think of when I see these prints is Siegfried and Roy.

The bird theme is still going strong, and I'm so glad for that. I've always loved the look, trend or not, and what I found in it feels timeless. Owls were another big icon everywhere, and I do love them, but don't want to go overboard with it. Funny how that was such a big thing in the 70s, and it's made full circle. My grandmother had all sorts of owl "things" everywhere. Sculptures, candles, prints. Wish I had some of it now, because all of a sudden, it's vintage and cool.

The city of London was another big theme this season Was it the royal wedding that sparked our interest, or the bold, graphic iconography of the Union Jack that has everyone in love? Not sure, but again, a little goes a long way. One pillow tossed onto your family room sofa is probably enough. Pull it together with a knitted red or navy throw, and stop right there.

One final note, on hotel silver. If you've been to our shop, you know that's one of our little passions, and we are constantly on the lookout for it. We just love the simple lines, beautiful patina, and rich, romantic history these pieces represent. At market I saw a lot of reproductions (another 'trend' I suppose), and honestly, they can't hold a candle to the real thing. Some of the new products were pretty cute, but I didn't  order, preferring to bring in our authentic vintage finds (even if sometimes we can't source enough of it). We'll keep looking, and so will our trusty scouts. We'll always have something interesting and unique for you!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Greetings from Atlanta: notes from market

Just returned from Atlanta, home to one of the planet's largest gift/home, accessory/fashion markets. Large as in seven million square feet – three skyscrapers full of merchandise to choose from with a mind-boggling array of "stuff," from exquisite to hideous. The place was absolutely packed with product and people. It made me realize that claustrophobia could suddenly present itself later in life, as I occasionally gasped for air and fled showrooms that had 500 buyers milling about. I am not kidding about the 500 people.

I love going to market, I really do. I adore finding fresh products and new lines for our shop, and I get excited as a kid about all those special finds and orders placed. My mind starts churning with ideas and thoughts on displays and events for the new year (and wondering where it's all going to fit). Sensory overload starts on day one of market, and you just go with it. It's all good: the visuals, the scents, the sounds (including interesting accents from every region in the US and beyond). The possibilities.

The other things that start on day one are hunger, sore feet, and frustration at getting lost in the maze. Constantly. It's a shopping marathon, and you have to dress (a) and eat (b) appropriately... and keep a compass handy.

(a) Be comfortable and wear layers, because it's cold outside and in the hallways, and warm (sometimes hot and muggy) inside the showrooms. Do not wear a big jacket, unless you want to spend 45 minutes morning and evening waiting in the coat check line. Suffer, or wear a light jacket you can roll up and carry all day. Girls: do not wear heels. Your dogs will be screaming in no time (and no one cares how chic you are – there are too many people to even notice).

(b) Eat breakfast, because it may be hours before you find another morsel. Stuff an apple and an energy bar in your bag for the same reason. The meager convention-food offerings are hard to find, and not always open, even at the peak of market (Chik-Fil-A should be considered emergency rations only). You may always eat lunch standing up, balancing your plate in one hand, as there are rarely places to sit down. Thank god for that one showroom that was serving the most delicious albondigas on Saturday night; I am now a meatball convert.

Oh, and be prepared to give up good coffee for a week. Just when you most need it. There are various coffee kiosks around, some even purporting to use Starbuck's coffee. Beware. You may get a bitter, watered-down version of your morning favorite, after waiting in line for, oh, 40 minutes. I would have killed for a good latté. 

Now does this sound like I was unhappy with my experience? No, not at all! Just that I ran on empty for a week, end-capped by two loooong, sardine-packed flights (and on the way home, I nearly ended up in Missoula, having boarded the wrong plane – long story, ending in wanting to kiss the ground when I finally arrived in Redmond).

I saw amazing designs and so much talent and creativity. Some of the displays were absolutely breathtaking. One company had constructed a hanging, ten-foot tall bird cage out of reclaimed materials (metal, twigs, wood bits), wrapped it with chicken wire, and stitched burlap up around the base as the bottom of the cage. The birds inside were cooing and fluttering about. I stood for a minute and enjoyed the moment of peace and loveliness before rejoining the stream of buyers in the hallway.

Did I take photos of some of this wondrous and inspiring stuff? No, I did not. First of all, it is strictly verboten, unless the vendor gives you the okay for it (for instance, if you're taking shots of things you're ordering), yet everyone was snapping away anyway. Most were using their smart phones to do the deed. Which leads to the second reason for giving up on pictures: I am still hanging on to my dear old dinosaur flip phone, which doesn't really do the job very well. But I would have loved to have a photo of that hideously ugly, scary resin/plastic clown lamp, just to prove that bad taste is not dead.

Meanwhile, some of my finds are already shipping and due to arrive any minute. Bike baskets (so cute! arriving tomorrow!). Teapots, vases, planters, ribbon, jewelry, tea towels... It's very exciting to have some new product coming in to start the new year off right, and transform the shop once again. Stay tuned for more on market, including my take on some of the noteworthy trends in design.
Adorable bike baskets for your cruiser... spring is coming soon!