By Andrea Lillo
A brighter attitude accompanied the slew of new product introductions at the recently completed Dallas International Lighting Market. Though most attendees seemed hesitant to admit that business may be starting to revive, they agreed that mood was more positive than in the past.
“We had high expectations for the show and we exceeded them,” said Terry Stewart, executive vice president of sales, Midwest-CBK. He added that retailers were upbeat, as most of them had a better performing holiday season than expected, as well as low inventories, He added, “[retailers are] still cautious.”
Murray Feiss saw people buying higher-ticket items, said Maria Scutaro, vice president of merchandising. “Usually retailers pick up a sconce or a mini pendent to show a new collection in a lighting showroom or store, but “now they’re buying the chandelier instead; that’s a good sign.”
Philips launched both its new showroom that brought the Philips, Forecast and Thomas Lighting lines together for the first time, as well as Philips-branded products that focused on energy efficiency. Philips’ Ledino made its U.S. introduction with a line that had a sleek, Eurotech look and which used powerLEDs to illuminate, while ecomoods paired fluorescent lighting with contemporary style. And the Philips’ LED-powered home lighting accessories group called IMAGEO included portable candle-like items and a wine chiller and vase.
“We think LED will be the future,” said Allard Bijlsma, chief executive officer, BG Consumer Luminaries, Philips Lighting. Eventually the Forecast and Thomas Lighting lines will also debut LED lines, he added.
Pacific Coast Lighting introduced an outdoor collection under the National Geographic line. It featured 12 styles using compact fluorescents. Four of the items were a hybrid of solar power using LEDs and compact fluorescent bulbs.
E.L.K. Lighting and its Landmark Lighting brand introduced LED lights in an outdoor collection. They are powered by AC LED, said Brad Smith, E.L.K. Lighting’s chief executive officer.
Eurofase also took part in LED introductions. It introduced four new LED collections that incorporated a remote color changer, so the consumer can choose which color to show or to have it randomly rotate through different colors.
Art glass items saw many modern updates at market. Kichler, for one, showed Spyro, which uses art glass in a modern shape and in one color tone. “We’re staying with buff or beige tones and doing something interesting with the shape,” said Jeff Dross, Kichler’s senior product manager.
Landmark Lighting expanded its contemporary art glass line with Dimensions, which uses uniform colored glass and is designed with cut outs for a three-dimensional feel.
Dale Tiffany is also offering more contemporary looks in some of its items, said Ken Kallett, executive vice president. “You’re seeing more geometrics, with updated bases.”
And for those retailers looking for more Tiffany-like art glass, there were those, too. Dale Tiffany debuted new reproductions made with zinc bases instead of the bronze ones that were done in the past. “Customers are always asking for reproductions,” said Kallett, adding that bronze bases have become very expensive. The result are zinc-based reproductions wholesaling between $175 to $325, while a bronze one might carry a wholesale price of $1,450.
Art glass items are a big part of Quoizel’s business as well, and it showed a limited edition of value-oriented product: 12 styles of table lamps to retail at $75 each, and four styles of floor lamps at $99 each.
For the designer lines at Quoizel, Laurie Smith’s inspirations for her new items ranged from French designer Jean Royère’s C curves to a lamp base bought at a flea market. “I take the fine line between traditional and modern,” she told HFN.
Quoizel’s other designer, Richard Soard, added a modern look to his usually highly decorated chandeliers with Ferrara. “I am inspired by all of Europe,” he told HFN, and this one was influenced by mid-century Italy, and comes in two finishes.
Besides showing larger-sized items and more forged items, Hubbardton Forge also debuted a new display with a smaller footprint for showrooms. “People were asking how to tell our story, so we came up with a new booth,” said Kit Hastings, sales manager. The company also now offers glass samples for the first time, as well as larger shade samples.
Along with new designs such as Janos, a youthful, Danish look, Progress displayed some of its pendants from the 1950s, which fit in with today’s styles, said Colleen Visage, director of product development, Progress Lighting. In addition, several new sconces can be used both indoors and out. And its La Papier sconces offered the consumer six handmade paper choices, which were well received at the show.
Drum shades continue to be a must-have for companies, and new introductions had it in a number of materials and styles. Dainolite, which also makes custom shades, showed double drum shades, as well as ones with Lycra. “It’s a fun fabric and we’ll be expanding it,” said Stephen Inglehart, Dainolite’s U.S. sales manager.
And crystal continues to expand beyond traditional styles. “Crystal used to be looked at as gaudy, but now it’s coming in transitional and contemporary looks,” said Trey Wilson, national lighting showroom, sales manager, ET2, a Maxim Group Company. “Crystal is really doing well for us.”
By Andrea Lillo