The summer edition of the International Lighting Market had what everyone was looking for: Hot New Products!
Historically, attendance at the June market is lower than the winter edition in January although there is no consensus among exhibitors and buyers as to why. “One of the goals of the marketing committee of the Lighting Board of Governors is to increase buyer traffic during markets — especially in June,” explains Rick Wiedemer, President of Hinkley Lighting, which operates a permanent showroom in the Dallas Market Center (DMC). “During a brainstorming session, it became obvious that some [buyers] believe there is a lack of new product introductions in June, therefore no need to come.”
An idea was suggested for consideration: Why not have a competition among exhibitors involving brand new product releases? “This would prove there are plenty of new products releases, gives a reason for retailers to be in Dallas, and we can have some fun along the way by utilizing social media as the platform for voting,” Wiedemer states. The committee was enthusiastically in support of the plan.
Since Wiedemer had put forth the idea, he was given the ball to run with in a fairly short timeframe. He placed a phone call to Ace Rosenstein, Publisher of enLIGHTenment Magazine, who immediately jumped in as a sponsor, as did the DMC. Quickly the program began to take shape, involving six key best-selling categories that lighting buyers like to refresh year-round. By March, there were 30+ exhibitors officially signed up to participate and 60+ products slated to debut at the June 2014 market as part of the competition.
“I thought there was a buzz of excitement for the first effort,” Wiedemer notes. “There will be some fine-tuning going forward, and I would guess there will be even more new products entered and more buyers in the halls next June.” For the inaugural competition, there were more than 700 votes tabulated from retailers who were on-site at market.
Rick Seidman, President of Quoizel, says he was honored that the company’s table lamp was chosen as Best Portable Lamp. “We started out in 1930 as a portable manufacturer of Early American hurricane lamps. It is truly an honor 84 years later to still be recognized as a leader in this important decorative lighting category,” he notes. “Portable lamps are updated by the consumer more frequently than decorative lighting fixtures so it is even more of a challenge to create designs that meet the criterion to beautify one’s changing living space as well as provide the best possible lumen output. We are thrilled that our retail partners feel that our new table lamps achieved this.”
Nathan Frampton, President of Fanimation, was similarly enthused that the Fancy fan won over buyers. “We knew that our Fancy fan was unique and special because it infuses a feminine quality in a product that is often more aesthetically masculine,” he explains. “The overwhelming support for this product and the validation in winning the Market Choice Award will certainly influence similar styling in future designs.”
The Market Choice Awards underscored the importance of having new designs debut at each market. “It is critically important to create new designs and introduce them at our bi-annual markets,” Seidman remarks. “At the end of the day, the reason for new designs is to evoke an emotional experience that betters one’s life. The Dallas Market Center is the American lighting industry’s platform and showplace to keep this energy going forward.”
“At Fanimation, we understand the value of introducing new products at market because it gives us the opportunity to get first-hand reactions and feedback from our customers,” Frampton affirms. “The Dallas Market is a big commitment for the industry and we want to do our part to make it fun, exciting, and worthwhile by unveiling our newest technology and product designs.”
“What was most rewarding about the award recognition of our new designs is that the voting was done by our showroom customers,” Wiedemer says. “It proves that our new items are right on point with what the market is asking for.”
“We are very proud and exited about winning the Market Choice Award for Indoor lighting fixtures,” notes Chris Titizian, President of Avenue Lighting.
“We think our winning Fountain Avenue collection attracted attention because it brings the drama and elegance that every space needs. The design was inspired by women’s love of jewelry — and just as jewelry is the essential final touch that a statement jewelry piece brings to any outfit, this design will do the same for a customer’s home,” he adds.
Laura Dumas, VP/Creative Services at the DMC, says she was pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming response from retailers during the inaugural event in June and is looking forward to helping coordinate next year’s edition, which is already estimated to boast even greater participation.
“The competition could not have been a success without the hundreds of votes from lighting showroom owners and buyers, who truly enjoyed the interactive process,” Ace Rosenstein comments. “The level of participation went far beyond our expectations and we cannot thank the participating manufacturers, retailers, and the DMC enough for their support.”
The second annual Market Choice Awards will be open for submissions in early 2015, with voting taking place at the June Market in Dallas. Upcoming editions of enLIGHTenment Magazine will release details as they become available.