Below is an outline of the 2018 conference agenda. Have questions? Email the GHTA office at [email protected].
Day 1: Wednesday, October 24
- Attendees arrive in Phoenix!
- 12:00PM: Conference registration check-in opens
- 2:00PM: Conference Day 1 kick-off + keynote speaker + GHTA Annual Business Meeting, including induction of new board
- 6:30PM - 9:00PM: Evening of Celebration Cocktail Reception & Dinner, including silent and live auction
Day 2: Thursday, October 25
- 7:00AM: Registration opens & breakfast is served
- 8:00AM: Conference Day 2 kick-off + full day of breakouts and keynote speakers
- 5:00PM: Conference Day 2 ends
- 6:30PM - 9PM: Big Social Celebration Event
Day 3: Friday, October 26
- 7:00AM: Registration opens & breakfast is served
- 8:00AM : Conference Day 3 kick-off + breakout workshops + keynote speaker
- 11:30AM: Conference concludes
- Attendees depart Phoenix and head home sweet home!
*Agenda is subject to change
conference speaker details
Learn more about all of our keynote speakers, breakout sessions and presnters, and general session presentations. Click here to download the full agenda.
US Water Filters & aiCommerce
"Lessons Learned on Amazon, Growing US Water Filters from $2M to $52M in Six Years"
Join Jamin as he walks you through a case study of the birth and growth of US Water Filters, from selling water filters online in his basement, through 10 straight years of doubling his revenue to growth of one segment from $2M to $52M in six years and another segment from $0M to $20M in four years on Amazon.
Jamin Arvig is a noted thought leader in the world of Amazon and has presented on Amazon topics at numerous industry conferences around the world. In addition, Mr. Arvig is one of four co-founders of OnlineMerchantsGuild.com, a trade association representing sellers and vendors on Amazon.
Mr. Arvig founded US Water Filters 15 years ago and has grown it into an established leader in online water filters and air filtration products. Under his management, the company has seen explosive growth, including doubling its revenue for 10 straight years.
Mr. Arvig is also the founder of aiCommerce, which combines human and artificial intelligence to power profitable marketplace growth for manufacturers, brands, and large resellers.
Mr. Arvig is a “values driven” entrepreneur with a history of awards (Inc 500, Best place to work, Minnesota Business Builder of the Year, Progress Minnesota Award, Young Presidents Organization Leader, etc.). Educated in engineering and law in Minnesota and in business at Harvard Business School, Mr. Arvig resides in Minnesota and Florida with his wife and four children.
Jamin’s LinkedIn page:
Jamin will present to our group on Thursday, October 25.
Buck Davis & Company
"The Business of Well-being: Happiness and Positivity in the Workplace"
Research has proven that happy people perform significantly better than their unhappy counterparts and have a positive contagious effect on those around them. Happiness also builds resilience and happier people hit their goals!
"The Business of Wellbeing: Happiness and Resiliency in the Workplace" taps into findings from leading experts in the field of positive psychology. Participants will explore and dismantle myths and assumptions about happiness, acquire proven happiness-increasing strategies and understand how to avoid attitudes that have the potential for negative impact.
For over a decade Buck Davis has worked in the field of personal and professional development. A recognized leader in the area of inclusion, diversity and happiness, Buck is a trusted resource for individuals and companies looking to make their lives and businesses better. His background in business consulting, clinical counseling and facilitation is supported by a strong education that includes an MBA and an MS in Professional Counseling.
What started out as a career in diversity training has grown into a consultancy that helps individuals increase the quality of their work life and businesses improve the capacity within their work force. Building on years of experience talking with people around the nation about achievement, Buck combines a unique style, practical perspective and business mindset that people relate to and executives appreciate.
He is a contributor on CNN regarding diversity issues in America and can also be seen on QVC launching new products. His personal interest in happiness has led him to grow a professional practice area now called The Science of Happiness. These workshops and talks are among his most requested speaking engagements.
He has worked with manufacturing and government professionals, sales teams, retail staff, executives, administrative personnel, and union and non-union employees. His clients are among the most recognizable brands in the world and include The Coca-Cola Company, Booz Allen Hamilton, Newell Rubbermaid, Starbucks, Disney Consumer Products, Disney Interactive Media Group, The Home Depot, Volkswagen, General Mills, Pratt & Whitney, DanoneWave, GE Appliances, Novartis, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Yahoo, Microsoft, Kimberly Clark, Kellogg, Showtime Television, The US EPA and Sodexo.
He is certified as a Workplace Disputes Mediator by the Atlanta Justice Center and has served as an instructor at The California Design College and The Art Institute of Atlanta, where he taught classes on career development, professional business practice and ethics in the workplace. He lives in Atlanta, GA.
Buck will present to our group on Thursday, October 25.
the leadership difference, Inc.
"Creating A High Performing Culture: Inside the Minds of the Best"
Leadership is hard. Even the best leaders can struggle and there are few resources to help them. For years, Dave Mitchell has worked with companies all over the world to enhance their leadership. This experience is the foundation for this incredible exploration of leadership best practices.
• How can an organization effectively respond, even anticipate, changes in the marketplace?
• How are high performing organizations structured for success?
• What is horizontal and vertical alignment and why are they so important?
• What are the personal characteristics of the best leaders?
• What are the origins of personal accountability and can they be instilled in people after they reach adulthood?
• How do you create a work environment that inspires all kinds of people to be committed to high performance?
• How do you resolve conflict with colleagues, employees and even customers and keep these relationships healthy?
You will find out the answers to all these questions during "Creating A High Performing Culture." This program is designed as a follow up to Dave’s award-winning seminar and book, The Power of Understanding People and features concepts from his soon-to-be-released third book, Extracting Me – The Power of Understanding Yourself.
Since founding the Leadership Difference in 1995, over 350,000 people have attended Dave's “enter-TRAIN-ment” seminars on topics that include leadership, customer service, selling skills, and personal performance enhancement. He has a M.Ed. in Global Human Resources Development and has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois. In 2013, Dave was named Best Speaker of the Year at the Meeting Professionals International World Education Congress in Las Vegas. In 2015, Meetings and Conventions Magazine named Dave one of the Best Speakers of t she Year.
Dave is the author of two books, with a third upcoming. Live and Learn or Die Stupid! focuses on personal contentment and performance excellence. His second book, The Power of Understanding People, was released in December 2013 and was immediately named Editor's Choice Best Business Book of the Month by Amazon. His soon-to-be-released third book is Extracting Me – The Power of Understanding Yourself.
Dave will present to our group on Wednesday, October 24.
"How to Maintain Relevancy in an Uncertain Future"
While the US economy is fundamentally healthy, retail is being impacted at an unprecedented pace by demographic, societal and technological factors. While physical retail is not dead, retailers must undergo fundamental change to thrive in the next decade. Retailers can win by offering great value, unprecedented levels of convenience, great experiences and by truly engaging with the end consumer. We will provide examples of a wide range of innovative concepts from brick and mortar to pure-play retailers and everything in between, showcasing best practice examples from around the world in the era of frictionless retail. We’ll address opportunity areas and equip wholesalers and manufacturers in the Gift, Garden and Home Industry with ideas and innovations to succeed in today’s everchanging retail environment.
Neil Z. Stern is a senior partner of McMillan|Doolittle specializing in the area of strategic planning and the development of new retail concepts. During his career at McMillan|Doolittle, Neil has developed strategies and new concepts for a diverse variety of world class clients across the retail industry.
Neil is also recognized as a key thought leader in the retail arena, serving as editor of Retail Innovations, an annual global overview on the retail trends and is a regular contributor to publications such as Forbes.
Neil has been named one of the 40 Rising Stars in Retailing by Chain Store Age and is the author of two books, Winning At Retail and Greentailing and Other Revolutions in Retailing. Neil currently serves as Chairman of the Ebeltoft Group, a global alliance of leading retail consultancies.
Neil will present to our group on Friday, October 26.
Learn more about our 12 breakout sessions for this year's conference. Have questions? Feel free to email the GHTA office, [email protected]
Thursday, October 25
Key Strategies for Amazon Success
Presenter: Jamin Arvig, aiCommerce & US Water Filters
In the ever changing "Wild West" of selling on Amazon, what does it take to win? Join Jamin for a thought provoking discussion on key strategies to build a profitable and sustainable marketplace business.
Managing Retailers Expectations: In-Store and at market
Panelists: Coming soon!
Moderator: Becky Tyre, retail consultant, owner of Retail Details blog and contributing editor for Gifts & Decorative Accessories magazine
Join a panel of independent retailers as they discuss how sales representatives, sales agencies, vendors and trade show personnel affect how and when they make purchases for their retail stores and what they expect from the process. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions of the retailers.
The Responsibility of Business
Moderator: Jonathan Jones, DEMDACO
Panelists: Coming soon!
Are there responsibilities for a business beyond a financial bottom line? If so, what are they? What is the WHY? How can businesses help shape communities? GHTA will host a panel discussion on these and other topics related to the reach of business in the community.
Retail Distress in 2018 and Beyond: Shielding Your Bottom Line From the Apocalypse
Presenters: Andrew D. Behlmann, Lowenstein Sandler & Bruce S. Nathan, Lowenstein Sandler
Following a flurry of retail chapter 11 bankruptcy filings in 2017 continuing into 2018, the retail sector remains in transition and distress. This program focuses on the reasons for ongoing distress in the retail sector, warning signs of an impending retail bankruptcy, and the importance of the credit department in managing financial exposure to retailers in distress and in bankruptcy. The speakers will discuss the disastrous 2017 Toys ‘R’ Us bankruptcy, and the events leading to it, as a cautionary tale in dealing with troubled retailers both before and after they file for bankruptcy protection, including the risk of extending credit to retailers in chapter 11 and strategies for minimizing risk of non-payment of claims.
Retail is NOT Dead! But it is changing...
Presenters: Todd Litzman, Brandwise & Joe Harris, Whereoware
If there’s one thing we are all keenly aware of, it’s that the retail landscape is changing. A large part of that change includes technology, and we’re not talking about the giant that is Amazon, but how you interact work with retailers. Joe and Todd will review current tech trends and shifts being seen within the industry, as well as provide resources for tools and services that are available to help you to work more efficiently and build stronger relationships with your retail partners. This breakout will also include a Q&A session.
Product Sourcing in China & India
Presenters: Lance Hart, DEMDACO; George Kacic, AmericasMart Atlanta; & Ari Lowenstein, Emergent Workshop
Sourcing product in China continues to evolve, and countries like India, Vietnam, Thailand, and many others are becoming viable options for finding innovative ideas and designs for the gift industry. In an industry where things are constantly changing, both experience and knowledge [of the most current trends] is vastly important to creating efficient and cost-effective sourcing operations. With more than 60 years of combined experience, this group of presenters will provide insight and promote discussion on best practices and ideas of how you to maximize your sourcing operations in the most efficient and effective way.
Presenter: John Toler, Evergreen Enterprises
The vast majority of vendors in the U.S. don't have a significant wholesale or retail presence outside of the U.S. but, with the evolution of services like FBA (Amazon) or Castlegate (Wayfair), grabbing a piece of the international pie has become much easier. We will also explore running an international wholesale subsidiary and/or approaching distributors. The goal of this session is to show vendors how to develop a roadmap to explore both wholesale and direct-to-retail strategies to extend product lines into foreign markets.
Gift Industry 2020
Presenters: Alison Anderson, A. Dodson's [Retail]; Doug Cofiell, Ivystone Group [Sales]; Cole Daugherty, Dallas Market Center [Market/Shows]; Phil Krieger [Outside Investor]; TBD [Vendor]
Moderator: Eric Dean, Whereoware
The Gift and Home Industry has seen considerable change over the last few years. Still, it feels like even more dramatic transformations are around the corner as factors - both inside and outside of the Industry - exert their influence. This session’s panelists represent leaders and progressive thinkers from all sides of the industry: vendor, sales, retail, and more. Join them as they present their predictions of where the change will fall, and even some ideas on how to prepare to take advantage of them.
Sales Production: Doing More with less
Presenters: Coming soon!
Description: Coming soon!
Friday, october 26
Can Your Fulfillment Strategy Make or Break Your Business on Amazon?
Presenter: Jamin Arvig, aiCommerce & US Water Filters
FBM, 3PL, FBA, SFP and VFP… Alphabet soup or fulfillment strategies on Amazon? Come and educate yourself on key pros and cons and required capabilities and systems for various Amazon fulfillment strategies for your business.
Presenter: Buck Davis, Buck Davis & Company
Overcoming adversity is intertwined in the human experience. Struggles and setbacks can deplete energy, decrease motivation, undermine confidence and lead to procrastination and self-doubt. Our minds play a critical role in managing these threats to our well-being.
In his dynamic keynote, Positively Resilient, Buck Davis draws from evidence-based research on positivity and resiliency, sharing insights about remaining centered and retaining perspective even when anxiety, burnout, cynicism and exhaustion threaten our ability to be at our happiest and healthiest.
You’ll walk away with immediately useful knowledge, insights and tools to help you handle difficult challenges and be at your best.
Tips and Tricks to innovating in the transformative age of retail
Presenter: Neil Stern, McMillan|Doolittle
E-commerce and digital retail transformation strategies are affecting all categories and company sizes. This session will look at digital retail trends, and how your company can evaluate direct-to-consumer e-commerce and selling via marketplaces—as well as important issues to consider in your digital strategies. Retail is changing at a transformative pace in today’s world and there are many ways and strategies for your company to address.
General session presentations
Learn more about our 15 breakout sessions for this year's conference. The below list will be updated with remaining breakouts very soon. The additional topics include: Retail Disruption, Sales, and more!
A Seven Year Study of the Shifting Retail Landscape of the Gift, Garden & Home Industry
Presenter: Michael Meyers, ABC-Amega/GAIN
Join the leadership team of ABC-Amega to learn more about how the independent, national account and e-commerce retail landscape has changed over the last seven years. ABC-Amega through their partnership of the industry's premier credit interchange (GAIN) has developed unique insight into what is really happening in terms of number of retailers, financial health, and shifts in distribution within these three core channels (independent, national, and e-com). Come learn how many active retailers there really are in the US, when Amazon took over from Wal-Mart as the largest consumer of Gift, Garden and Home products, and the current financial health of our independent retailers.
2018 Gift and Home Accessory Industry Spotlight Report
Presenter: Craig M. Gibson, TM Capital
TM Capital will be providing an early release of its 2018 Gift and Home Accessory Industry Spotlight Report exclusively to attendees of this year’s GHTA Annual Conference. The report provides proprietary market insight into: the health of the independent retailer; the continued development of the online marketplace; opportunities in international markets; the continued wave of institutional investment and acquisitions; industry growth drivers; and, the current state of market valuations.
americasMart Atlanta & IMC Merger Update
Presenters: Dorothy Belshaw, Las Vegas Market/International Market Centers
Dorothy Belshaw, President, Gift, at International Market Centers, will provide attendees with an update on the status of the AmericasMart Atlanta and IMC merger as of October 2018.
The 2018 GHTA Annual Conference will be held at the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass in Phoenix, AZ.
Took book your reservation via phone, please call: 602.225.0100
Be sure to tell them you're with the Gift & Home Trade Association
Slideshow photo credit:
Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass
GHTA Group Rate
$179/night + $5 resort fee (below amenities included) and applicable taxes. The rate will also be available 3 days prior and 3 days after the Conference, based on hotel occupancy, for anyone that would like to extend their stay. Please note: GHTA cannot guarantee extended stay rates, as it is based on hotel occupancy and availability. Please contact the hotel directly regarding an extended stay reservation: 602.225.0100.
Resort Fee Includes:
- Unlimited Internet access in guest rooms and lobby areas
- Access to the Aji Spa Fitness - Workout Room
- Complimentary bottled waters in-room, replenished daily
- Any local, long distance (domestic), and 1-800 guest room calls
- Expanded shuttle service to the new Phoenix Premium Outlets
- Tennis court and full tennis equipment rental (based on availability)
About the property
Find yourself a world away at Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass, Arizona’s premier Native American-owned luxury Phoenix resort. Designed to be an authentic representation of the Gila River Indian Community's heritage and culture, the architecture, design, art and legends of the Pima (Akimel O'otham) and Maricopa (Pee Posh) tribes are celebrated in every detail at the Phoenix resort. The AAA Four Diamond resort includes Aji Spa with private pool and cafe, Whirlwind Golf Club with two 18-hole Troon-managed golf courses and the only AAA Five-Diamond and Forbes Five Star award restaurant in Arizona as well as one of Open Table's 10 Best Restaurants in America for 2015, Kai.
Thinking about bringing your family to stay the weekend, post-conference? Great news -- there’s something for every member of the family at the Sheraton Grand Resort at Wild Horse Pass. Splash around in one of their four pools with waterfalls and 111-foot waterslide. Discover horseback riding at the Koli Equestrian Center with lessons, trail rides, and outdoor events. For younger guests, the Sheraton Adventure Club offers daily activities including exclusive Native American cultural programming. For a more active adventure, experience the tennis courts and extensive jogging/walking trails. Or enjoy a boat ride to Rawhide Ranch or Whirlwind Golf Club on the 2 ½ mile river that surrounds the resort. Our group rate will also be available 3 days prior and 3 days after the Conference, based on hotel occupancy, for anyone that would like to extend their stay. Please note: GHTA cannot guarantee extended stay rates, as it is based on hotel occupancy and availability. Please contact the hotel directly regarding an extended stay reservation: 602.225.0100.
Airport + Transit
The Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass in Phoenix, AZ is a short, 15-minute ride from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport [PHX] and 15 miles from downtown Phoenix. Self-parking at the hotel is complimentary for GHTA Conference attendees.
Attendees will want to utilize the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport [PHX] for the most convenient arrival and departure.
- Airport Car Rental
- Taxi Service
- Van Service (i.e. SuperShuttle)
- Ride share services, like Uber and Lyft
Directions to hotel from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport
- Take AZ-143 South
- Merge onto I-10 East toward Tucson
- Exit Wild Horse Pass Blvd
- Turn right onto Wild Horse Pass Blvd
- Continue on Wild Horse Pass Blvd through two signal lights
- Follow the signs onto to the resort grounds and guest registration
2018 Conference Attendee Roster
This section features a roster of those registered for the 2018 GHTA Annual Conference. Have questions? Email the GHTA office at [email protected].
Adams & Co.
Anne McGilvray & Co.
The Big Book of Knowledge
The Butler Group
Candle Warmers Etc.
Carnevale Jones Group
Diane Carnevale Jones
Chavez for Charity
Dallas Market Center
Darrah & Co.
Dennis East International
ELK Group International
Fine Lines Company
Gib Carson Companies
Gift Associates Interchange Network (GAIN)
Gift Shop Magazine
Gifts & Decorative Accessories
Great American Media Services
International Housewares Assoc.
It's Time Consulting
Joanne & Company
Kitras Art Glass
Las Vegas Market
Laura Janelle by Cousin
Lotus Jewelry Studio
Mary Meyer Corporation
Michel Design Works
New Era Sales Team
Next Step Reps
Nora Fleming, LLC
Pink House Imports
Primitives by Kathy
reALIGN Expansion Sherpas
The Street Brands
Terry Moore & Associates
Total Biz Fulfillment
Urban Expositions | Clarion UX
Trip van Roden
the winters group
The 2018 GHTA Annual Conference will be held at the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass in Phoenix, AZ, October 24-26. Registration rate details are below. Have questions? Email the GHTA office at [email protected].
Member Rates [GHTA, GSMA]:
> Until May 31: $499/person*
> June 1 - October 24: $599/person
*GHTA members that register by May 31st also have the opportunity to participate in a two-installment payment plan. First half of the fee is due at the time of registration; the second will be charged to the card on file 60 days later.
> Now - October 24: $799/person