2017-2018 GHTA Board & 2017 Conference Wrap-Up

In case you were unable to join us at the 2017 GHTA Annual Conference, below is a recent press release announcing the new Board of Directors that was inducted onsite, along with a conference wrap-up. Thanks to all involved. We look forward to the upcoming year! You can learn more about this year's conference - and see photos - right here on the GHTA website.

GHTA Confirms 2017-2018 Board at 2017 Gift & Home Bridgeway Collaborative Conference
The successful, two-day conference was held in Washington, D.C.

Grand Rapids, Mich. (November 2017) - The Gift and Home Trade Association (GHTA), whose mission is to create a national forum connecting industry leaders in their pursuit of ideas, innovations and best practices to advance business programs, confirmed its 2017-2018 Board of Directors during the 15th Annual GHTA Conference, also known as the 4th Annual Gift & Home Bridgeway Collaborative Conference, held November 12-14, 2017 in Washington, D.C. The Gift & Home Bridgeway Collaborative includes the following industry partners: GHTA, Young Gift Executives (YGE), and Gift For Life.

The GHTA’s 2017-2018 Executive Board is as follows: Allison Barrows of GANZ, chairman of the board; George Kacic of AmericasMart Atlanta, president; Lance Hart, DEMDACO, vice president; Jackie Moon of Next Step Reps, secretary; and Michael Nieves of Paladone, treasurer.

Additionally, the GHTA has added four new members to its board: Terence Morris of Las Vegas Market/International Market Centers; Meg Gilmore of Anne McGilvray and Company; Angela Schmook of Road Runners, LLC; and Julia Higgins of Corkcicle. Continuing their board terms are: Nicholas Vafakas of and!Sales; John Toler of Evergreen Enterprises; Robin Kert of Southeast Marketing; and Kelly Shiley of Mary Square. Andy Bjork of Ivystone Group will continue as parliamentarian.  

All GHTA board members are chosen using a nomination and interview process. The members of the GHTA then vote to confirm each member at the annual GHTA conference.  

“I have been involved in the gift industry for more than 40 years and involved in the Gift and Home Trade Association for more than 10, and am looking forward to working with my peers on this year’s Board of Directors,” said George Kacic, newly elected president of the GHTA. “In building upon the groundwork that has been laid, we will be focused on offering members the best possible benefits to enhance their businesses, successes, and personal development. That will also play hand-in-hand with our efforts to bring in new members. Our goal is to bring our members together and consistently provided resources that will build the stability and strength of those in our industry.”

GHTA is also celebrating another successful conference, which was held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center.

2017 GHTA Conference Highlights

Keynote & General Assembly Presentations: This year’s conference was held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center. Throughout the two-day conference, individuals learned from three outstanding keynote presentations:

Tom Mirabile, vice president of Global Trend and Design for Lifetime Brands, Inc., as well as consumer trend forecaster for the International Housewares Association and a contributing editor for Pantone, delivered a deeper understanding of the desires and expectations motivating today's consumer.

Dave Mitchell, communication and leadership expert from the Leadership Difference, provided attendees with the tools to understand each participant's own unique communication style and develop the competencies necessary to build stronger and more effective relationships with others.

Ryan Craver, with the Lamour Group and Founder and Chairman of Commerce Canal, explored the intersection of technology and retail and the understanding of why creating intrigue and delivering immediacy in a frictionless way will define your future success.

In addition, the general assembly learned from the National Retail Federation’s Susan Reda, who discussed the highs and lows of retail over the past 12 months, and made some predictions about how things are likely to take shape in the year ahead.

Breakout Workshops: More than 10 breakout sessions were offered throughout the duration of the conference. Topics included: online marketplaces – what they are, why you should utilize them, and how to manage them; philanthropic and cause-related marketing; sales growth; financial health and fitness of your company; leadership; branding/marketing for sales; technology resources for businesses; supply chain management; and the changing B2B buyer.

Entertainment: Individuals were also treated to evening networking and entertainment events. A welcome reception was held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center’s [indoor] rooftop space, POSE Lounge, giving attendees an exceptional panoramic view of National Harbor and the Potomac. The main celebration on Monday evening featured a cocktail reception, strolling dinner, and silent and live auctions.

A 2018 GHTA Conference announcement will be made soon. 

About the Gift and Home Trade Association: GHTA is the gift and home industry’s professional trade association formed to help vendors, sales agencies, retailers and industry affiliates who are involved in an industry that is fast changing, with the expectation of making it better together. GHTA's mission is to create a national forum connecting industry leaders in their pursuit of ideas, innovations, and best practices to advance business progress. GHTA can be reached by email at info@giftandhome.org. For more information on the Gift and Home Trade Association visit www.giftandhome.org.


Top Social Media Tips for Retailers

Content provided by: Dallas Market Center

Gone are the days of sticking an ad in a newspaper or buying a billboard and calling it even. Promotional efforts and marketing continue to change as technology develops and ways of communication evolve.

One major and vital element of communication and promotion is social media. It sounds so simple and easy yet encompasses a vast amount of strategy and detail to be successful and impactful to the bottom line of your business.

But that begs the questions, why increase social media presence? Why is this important? A social media presence not only increases brand awareness to customers, when it comes to reaching potential customers, social media is also one of the easiest means to effectively communicate and connect with buyers to promote your brand.

Bottom line: when done right, social media can turn followers into customers. There are some basic things you can do to utilize social media to bring in likes, engagement, and of course business.

Media heavy content: It has been proven that posts with media attached, whether that be images, videos, or graphics, do better than basic text posts. Large social media networks such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter have algorithms that favor posts with images, videos, etc. Not to mention, these kinds of posts are simply more pleasing to the eye and standout in a newsfeed more so than posts that are just text. Be sure to include high quality media relevant to your content to increase viewership, reach, and engagement whether that’s images, YouTube videos, website links, or anything of the sort.

Hashtags: Stay current on and interact with relevant hashtags on a regular basis. Identify the company’s keywords, search those hashtags, and engage with them i.e. like, comment, love, share, etc. This gains visibility and followers ensuring more and more people are seeing the piece of content.

Money: Sometimes spending money makes money, so don’t be afraid to spend it on social media. With the way social media platforms are set up now, pay to play is becoming a reality. But, it doesn’t have to be too costly. Your money can go a long way with paid social media advertising so use money wisely on boosted and promoted posts and advertisements. Target the already identified target audience to ensure quality account and followers are being served the ads.

Interaction: Interact with pages and profiles that tag you in their posts. Show your follower and customer base that you are engaged and interested in what they have to say. This relates to the hashtag tip. You’ve followed all the guidelines and created the best possible content, posted at the best possible times, with the best possible images, and now you’re done right? Not quite. Now you need to engage your followers. Respond to questions, thank followers for sharing, and liking posts. Staying responsive means that followers know they’re being paid attention to.  

Plan, Plan, and Plan: Believe it or not, social media can take a lot of time to execute effectively. Plan your content or at least a general idea of content at least a month in advance as a helpful timeline to keep organized. There will always be foresight as to what’s coming up and no time will be wasted pondering what to post on social media that day. Not only does this help save time, but it ensures there will always be high quality, relevant content going out on social media.

Content-driven posts: The illusive “content” people often talk about is not as confusing or high level as it’s made out to be. Reuse content that is elsewhere on the internet. Share Pinterest boards on Facebook. Tweet any and all blog posts that go out on the company blog. Share links to relevant articles. Utilizing content that already exists saves time when creating a content plan, and again ensures that high quality, relevant content is out on social at all times.  

Multiple platforms

Do an audit on different social networks to determine which are most relevant. A recommended number of profiles across various social channels is three. Vary content by posting different kinds of content on each channel. Content can, and should overlap, but certain platforms are better for certain types of content. Post event and promotional posts on Facebook, more news related items or quick updates on Twitter, business-related items on LinkedIn, and high-quality images on Instagram. And don’t be afraid to explore new options. Social media is ever changing, so adapt to new platforms that emerge to remain forward-thinking and relevant.

It may sound like a lot of work and strategy, but the time and effort spent into developing a social strategy will increase any company’s ROI.

2017 ICON HONORS Honorees

Congratulations to all of AmericasMart Atlanta's ICON award recipients. A special shout out to the GHTA/Gift for Life Honor of Excellence honoree, Chris Rosse with Rosse and Associates. Learn more about the event and all the winners via Home Accents Today:  http://bit.ly/2tcz6wn

The ICON Honors 2017 honorees are:

Innovation Honors, Product Innovation: 
Spicher and Company

Branding Honors, Branding/Identity:
Wolf Gourmet
Her Majesty's English Tea Room

2017 AmericasMart Medal of Excellence Honor: 
Kurt S. Adler, Inc. Clifford, Howard and Karen Adler

The Gift and Home Trade Association/Gift for Life Honor of Excellence: 
Chris Rosse, Rosse and Associates

Find More In Dallas At Total Home & Gift Market - Winter 2017

Content provided by: Dallas Market Center

As the marketplace to more than 1.17 million retailers who call Mid-America home, Dallas Market Center prides itself on not just delivering more, but more of what matters, making it a valuable resource for buyers near and far. In fact, at the Total Home & Gift Market (January 18-24) buyers will benefit from an unrivaled buying experience complete with more variety, more inspiration and more unique products.

From the largest gift rep groups and manufacturer showrooms in the country to specialty items that can only be found in Dallas, buyers will find more than just another product to add to their shelves. In 2017, Dallas Market Center will offer buyers a more complete selection and range of products than ever before. And with its central location, easy accessibility via two convenient airports, there is a good reason why Dallas remains the destination for retailers.


Dallas Market Center continues to be the headquarters for Christmas and holiday and with January being a crucial month for placing holiday orders, buyers will discover an impressive selection of Christmas and holiday décor throughout the entire marketplace. The second floor of The Plaza is a must-visit destination for buyers this January. Exhibitors from the first floor of the Plaza have moved up to the second floor, making Plaza 2 a hub for all things holiday and floral along with home and gift.

In the Trade Mart, some of the most impressive rep group showrooms and manufacturers present a dazzling selection of resources. On the first floor, multi-line showrooms including Cliff Price & Co, Next Generation, Cathy & Co, Road Runners, Imagine That!, and Daniel *Richards are packed full of specialty gifts, inspiration, collegiate, stationery, jewelry, and personal care products while manufacturers such as Demdaco, Burton + Burton, and Transpac offer gifts for every taste and season.

On the second floor of the Trade Mart, make sure to check out the 2300 Luxe area for a unique assortment of quality handmade products from manufacturers such as Laura Zindel and Montes Doggett. Inside multi-line showrooms such as Goetz, Western Reps, 3 Gentrys, Patrick & Co, Ron Bauman, Blend Sales & Marketing, William Lamont, Ryan Associates, Whalen & Co, and J Brandes, buyers will find incredible new resources and classics including candles, personal care, books, fashion, travel accessories, serveware, pet gifts, tabletop, kitchen, and holiday. But we’re just getting started because manufacturers such as Two’s Company, Lady Primrose, Kalalou, Mainstreet Collection, Coton Colors, Juliska, and others offer new products that can easily becomethe best new products for your store.

If you are seeking housewares, look no further than the growing neighborhood of resources on the second floor of the Trade Mart as well as select rooms on the first floor including Lockin Group and SourceOne. As the fastest growing housewares show in the country, Dallas Market Center offers retailers more than 300 housewares lines and is further expanding its housewares presence with the addition of the Gourmet Gold Housewares Awards at January Market. In partnership with Gourmet Insider, the awards will recognize exceptional manufacturers in the housewares industry that exhibit at Dallas Market Center. Awards will be presented in eight categories along with a Best in Class award on Thursday, January 19 in the Trade Mart.

Over in the World Trade Center, floor upon floor of gift is available with a special concentration on World Trade Center 2, 3, and 4. From national players such as OneCoast and Midwest-CBK, Park Hill, The Round Top Collection and RAZ, to rep groups like In-Detail, The Mix, and Keith Smith, buyers have a good reason to spend time walking through dozens of showrooms. But don’t forget resources on upper floors such as the newly expanded Portico showroom on 6 and an entire floor of children’s products on 8.

No matter how you approach market, leave time for the temps--which are temporary exhibitors placed in products neighborhoods in the Trade Mart, World Trade Center and Market Hall. Hundreds of companies will inspire and delight.

On the twelfth floor, The American Made Show will be front and center. As cross-over merchandising continues to expand, buyers are mixing their assortments with handcrafted items and the diversity of the American Made Show meets buyers’ needs with a variety of artisan products.

It’s all about the novelty of selection when it comes to apparel and fashion accessories available on the thirteenth floor of the World Trade Center. Open during the Total Home & Gift Market, numerous showrooms and apparel temps will have on-trend, sought-after items including jewelry, scarves, accessories and clothing that are great point-of-sale items.

The Dallas Total Home & Gift Market takes place four times a year so make plans now to attend the next inspiring show in Dallas. Visit dallasmarketcenter.com

"Do Your Sales Reps Have Access to Enough Information?"

The latest IndustryWise educational article is available for GHTA members! You will find it both in your inbox and in the Members Only section of the GHTA website. Don't miss out on this wonderful piece from Brandwise: "Do Your Sales Reps Have Access to Enough Information? It could mean the difference between just making quota and growing the business." Members Only login [click the educational resources button]: bit.ly/2b9wa7L. If you don't have the Members Only password, please email the GHTA office at info@giftandhome.org

IndustryWise educational article written by:

3 Simple Website Updates to Boost Holiday Sales

Content and webinar provided by: Whereoware

The holiday season is here. It’s time to develop your strategy to maximize sales during the busiest shopping months of the year.

Getting ahead of the holiday rush means thinking through brick and mortar fulfilment, merchandising, and promotions. Equally important, you must develop a thorough digital strategy to drive online sales. (We can help – we’re presenting a free webinar on 3 Simple Steps to B2B Holiday Readiness on October 26. Save your spot here.)

E-retail growth during the holidays in 2015 increased 13% year over year (YOY) to $69.08 billion, according to comScore.

Shopping trends this spring suggest consumer spending is on the upswing. E-commerce on desktops grew 19% YOY this April and 15.5% YOY in May. Similarly, total retail sales on discretionary products grew 5.3% (the highest level seen in years) in April and 4.4% in May (that’s higher than discretionary spending during the holiday months of November and December 2015).

You and the competition are both reaching for a piece of that holiday pie, but you’ll only convert customers if your website is a pleasant and simple shopping experience. To help you get started, we’ve outlined three quick tips to update your website to maximize holiday sales.


Updating your website for the holidays may seem daunting, but small changes make a world of difference. To give your site an immediate refresh without overhauling the design, update your homepage to place holiday promotions front and center. Start by swapping out the hero image and banner ads to highlight holiday sales and delivery information.

Even better? Compile products into focused landing pages relevant to your audience like Gifts for Movie Lovers or Gifts for Girls, to help busy visitors find everything on their list.

Notice how Crate and Barrel’s site structure doesn’t change between July 2015 and December 2015, but they replace summer sales imagery and promotions with holiday promotions. The December homepage adds a banner above the hero image to count down the days of guaranteed Christmas Delivery.

Crate and Barrel also helps visitors quickly purchase all the gifts on their list with prominent links to “Gifts for the Family” in the hero image and below it, gift breakdowns for different budgets. Their summertime website, on the other hand, doesn’t include a banner above the hero image, or “Gift Under…” links below.

This is important, even for vendors – think about how retailers can merchandise their store for the holidays. Creating a Gift Under $25 works great for those last minute purchases by the register.


1.  Use eye-catching imagery and high quality images

2.  Include your value proposition. Why should the visitor click on your banner?

3.  Don’t forget a call-to-action telling customers what to do. “Shop now,” “Learn More,” and “Explore New Products” are better than “Submit” or “Enter.”

4.  Switch up content more often. Visitors explore your site more frequently during the holidays, so update your hero image to highlight new sales, feature new products, or show off gift guides throughout the season to keep visitors excited.

5. Make it easy to shop categories of items, like Gifts under $25 or Gifts for Boys.


More than ever, customers go online to research products, read reviews, and comparison shop. By developing content pieces like lists, blog posts, articles, videos, trend guides, and look books, you show off your products’ value and drive purchases without coming across as salesy.

Even better? Content pieces like “5 Décor Gifts for Girl’s Rooms” will drive visitors to your site for months and sometimes years after (people will search “décor for girls” for all different reasons throughout the year).

Use large product imagery and compelling text to excite readers around your products and highlight their real-life use. Make sure you link to items directly, and include all spec information, so readers can easily purchase the products you’re describing.

For example, our client Mud Pie wrote a blog post on “10 Tips for Capturing Holiday Photos.” They offered a variety of great tips unrelated to their products, like scheduling the shoot for a time when the child is rested and happy. It isn’t until Tip #5: Choose Your Outfit Wisely that Mud Pie shows off a few of their favorite photo-ready outfits from their collection. The graphic links directly to a landing page of seasonal outfits for kids. This type of content is helpful to their audience and will resonate for years to come, while also showing off their apparel collection.


1.  Gifts under $xyz.

2.  Gifts for everyone on your holiday lists.

3.  Last minute gift ideas.

4.  Our holiday favorites (top selling gifts).

5.  Seasonal tips. (For example, if you sell dinnerware, your seasonal tips can be “Decorating your Holiday Table” with links to your products.)


Mobile sales during the holidays increased nearly 60% last year, according to comScore. We foresee this trend growing.

It’s so important to check your website from a variety of smartphones and tablets to ensure mobile shoppers are receiving the same exceptional shopping experience as desktop shoppers.

Whereoware’s client Sullivans’ website is built using responsive design, meaning the site delivers an optimized experience from any device. On mobile, the top navigation changes to a hamburger menu, the shopping cart is prominently displayed, and content stacks vertically, so it’s easy to read and interact with from a tiny screen. These changes help Sullivans’ retailers click and shop the site from any device. 


Can customers easily:

1.    Click navigation links and buttons?

2.    Click and view products?

3.    Close out of your site’s popover or fill out and submit webforms with one click?

4.    Locate contact information?

5.    Complete the checkout process without having to pinch and zoom, or take other frustrating actions?


You may have a holiday marketing to-do-list a mile long, but updating your website is a priority. All of your online promotions will flow through this digital hub, so make it easy for visitors to explore the site (from every device) and fulfill all their holiday gifting needs.

Looking for more practical tips to jumpstart your holiday marketing plan? Don’t miss our free webinar on Wednesday, October 26: 3 Simple Steps to B2B Holiday Readiness. We’ll cover email tactics to boost holiday sales, website updates to convert shoppers, and creative holiday campaign inspiration! Save your spot here

To learn more about Whereoware, please visit www.whereoware.com.


2016 GHTA Conference

Thank you to everyone that joined us for the 2016 GHTA Conference in sunny San Diego, California, September 28-29, 2016! Your presence at the conference made it stronger and we wouldn't have had it any other way. If you were not able to join us this year, we encourage you to visit the conference page of the website for information on what was included in the experience. We've also uploaded a photo gallery, which you can see below. Continue checking back in, because we will be announcing our 2017 Conference location and dates soon!