(What follows is my article for the Leaf Chronicle newspaper, which appeared on Sunday, July 17th. I hope you enjoy it!)
I am sitting at my cousin’s place, preparing to hop on the Atlanta transit system (MARTA) and head downtown to the AmericasMart. This is the market where thousands upon thousands of wholesalers and retailers converge.
There are several markets throughout the year, some specifically related to clothing, some to rugs, some to food and tourism. This is The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market® --note the registered trademark--this is big stuff! The campus occupies nearly three city blocks of downtown Atlanta--that’s just the foot print. The buildings are 23, 18 and 15 floors high. There is so much to see and do it can be overwhelming.
I’m shopping this one alone, but hoping to run into some friends. Andrea Herrera of Mildred & Mable’s--our newest boutique on Franklin Street--will be there; we’ve got a dinner date. I also have friends from Nashville and Kansas City I hope to run into. I enjoy looking and mulling things over, but it’s more fun when you have someone with whom to discuss your ideas.
So, what am I hoping to find? I have no idea.
I try to go with an open mind. I take a list--thoughtfully compiled by myself, Patty and Jennifer--based on items we’ve been looking for and items our customers have requested. I try to keep Hodgepodge constantly evolving. I want it to be an inspiring place for my customers, but also for me. I love to hear my clients walk in and say, “Oh, you’ve changed it again!” To that end, I’ve been making plans for a few changes throughout the shop.
If you haven’t been in recently, you need to stop by and see our new “Creative Corner” at Hodgepodge. This area has all you will need to be inspired to go home and create your own unique art work. Kimberly Santiago has put together kits to help you create works of art using mixed media. The finished works look like those an artist, such as Kimberly, has created, but now the artist will be you!
I’ve also partnered with Kathy Owen to offer Caromal Colours--a paint line I’ve discussed in this column in the past. Paints from Caromal Colours help simplify the task of transforming furniture, kitchen cabinets and even countertops into something you can love and live with for years to come. They are easy to apply and can be used alone or in layers to create a look that is as individual as you.
The items can be found on the mezzanine level of Hodgepodge--also known as the Strawberry Alley entrance--but I hope you’ll drift through the Franklin Street level to get there!
So, as I said, I hope to keep Hodgepodge evolving. I do it for my customers, but I also do it for me. I need inspiration as much as anyone. That is the main reason I come to the market. I read about products and trends 365 days a year. This is the place I come to see those products and trends “up close and personal.” The folks that work on displays in these showrooms are phenomenal and I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to soak it all in.
So, enough with the writing--I’m off!
Thanks for your indulgence~