Tara Dennis shares her top picks from the gift fair

Giftguide caught up with Tara Dennis at Reed Gift Fairs in Melbourne for some insight into the latest trends and to share some retail inspiration for your store.

What trends have you spotted at the gift fair?

It’s always so exciting to walk the floor at Reed Gift Fairs and the Melbourne fair has so far been nothing short of amazing, showcasing some really amazing products and trends ahead of Christmas and spring/summer 2018.

Across the show floor, natural textures were constant. Along with this, I noticed a lot of green, which is one of the colours to keep an eye out for this season. Shades of green and ambers were also incorporated into glass pieces, which will also be popular and bring with it somewhat of a 70s vibe.

I’m also pleased to see the return of the Scandi trend across the fair. I believe the Scandi trend has come such a long way, taking on more of a sophisticated look. It’s great to see soft pastel colours incorporated into this trend, along with well-made timber furniture that resembles somewhat of a travelled look.

What are you looking for in your own store?

I try not to place all of my focus on trend-based pieces, rather, I work them in with my own personal aesthetic. 

I’m all about the classics. I like people to enter my store and experience my personal style and the types of things that I incorporate into my own home. This is something that has always been extremely important to me, as it wouldn’t feel right to sell my customers something which I myself don’t actually like.

From [the fair], I will be looking to source classic furniture to use as good base pieces for my store. From here, I will source good accent pieces to match―incorporating earthy tones, with deep blues and greens in order to create a muted palette.

I like to create a calm palette within my store, as I want people to feel calm and restful whilst visiting.

Any tips for retailers visiting the show?

I actually ran a talk about this at an earlier Reed Gift Fairs event and I personally stick to what I told those that came along―always come prepared.

I recommend starting to look through magazines a few weeks out. If you’re not sure of the type of look you want to achieve for your store, this will give you an idea of the types of trends starting to emerge. Look at fashion magazines and collate images from the big fashion houses such as Gucci, Chanel and Dior. From here I like to lay all of the images out on a page and pick up the bold patterns and colours I notice. I then look at my current store layout and how I will work these new trends in the coming season.

It’s also important to factor in the inventory you currently have and how you can make it move. A little bit of ‘in-store theatre’ as I like to call it is important here―make your current stock work with the new pieces you’re looking to implement. You never know, this could be what gives your shop front the ‘WOW’ factor.

And most importantly, make sure that you pick things up that actually work for your store. It’s very easy to be swayed by all of the beautiful products on display at Reed Gift Fairs

Which 3 products/companies stood out for you at the gift fair and why?

I loved C.A.M (Creatively Active Minds). This team had the look spot on, with the tropical and greenery trend huge across the fair and completely in the moment. It was colourful, well priced and displayed so beautifully.

Albi has always been one of the exhibitors to watch. Their buyers are hot in the trends and also took on the tropical theme, as well as implementing the Australiana look of flowers and animals. They also implemented soft neutrals with a vintage twist through with soft whites, greys and sage greens.

This year, I really loved that the exhibitors outside of the hall were really buzzing. Their displays were fantastic, with Leilah really grabbing my attention with their boho theme of classic black and white.

Across the show floor it was evident that we are moving away from natural coloured timbers and in a more monochromatic and sophisticated direction.

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