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Mood mostly bright at Atlanta winter gift market

The Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market got under way last week, with temporaries opening on Friday, including the Children's World and Modern Baby & Contemporary Kid sections in Building 3 on the third floor.

 Caden Lane showed this ultra-feminine bedding set in Atlanta.Caden Lane showed this ultra-feminine bedding set in Atlanta.
 Low Country Linens introduced its first juvenile line.Low Country Linens introduced its first juvenile line.

Scattered throughout the other two market buildings were more products for babies and children, from big gift companies like CBK, which expanded its Monkeez Makes a Difference line, to small, specialty companies such as Low Country Linens, which added a line of baby items to its mix of hand-printed towels, pillows and napkins.

The Low Country Linens baby line includes rompers, bibs, hats and gowns with screen-prints of oversized dragonflies, bumblebees, fish, shells, lobsters and elephants in size 6 months to 4T. Owner and designer Millie Burke said the line was getting a lot of attention.

"It's done amazing," said Burke. "This was the first time I put it out."

Danish toy manufacturer Maileg moved to a permanent showroom for the first time this market, and North American head Lars Andersen said he was very happy to have the space to showcase the entire line.

"So far, it's been very, very good," said Andersen.

Regal Lager, along with more than 20 other juvenile products manufacturers, showcased its products in the Carolina Baby showroom on Building 3's 13th floor, which also features a high concentration of baby and kids.

Dave Milligan, sales development manager for Regal Lager, said the company had seen quite a lot of excitement for its new line of Diaper Dekor Colors, which the company ran a special on at the show.

"The colors have made people say, ‘Wow, now it's attractive,'" said Milligan.

The company showed innovative new interactive plush, including a Hug Me Hugo and This Little Piggy that each talk and move with impressive realism.

Over in the Children's World section, Caden Lane owner Katy Mimari said she'd barely sat down.

"It's been really busy," she said. "...And we've seen lots of good stores - and a lot of new stores."

But Thomas Rickstrew, owner of SweetSeat, a first-time exhibitor and manufacturer of fashion-forward booster seats, wasn't as impressed.

"I've seen a lot of traffic, but there are a lot more shoppers than buyers," he said.

KidKraft also said things were a bit slow.

"July was crazy - we didn't sit down," said sales representative Jessica Ringgenberg. "This is just not the show right before fourth quarter."

Susie Grant, president of Swankie Blankie, showed in the Modern Baby & Contemporary Kid section, which relocated in July across the atrium - a move Grant said was key. She said the mood among retailers was positive at the show.

"Everybody says they wound up having a good fourth quarter," said Grant.

Plush manufacturer Gund was having a good market, with new introductions across the board from Baby Gund to Uglydoll.

"It's been good - it's definitely been steady, and traffic is up," said Sally Drewes, director of marketing. "...We're having a good market and we're happy about it, and the retailers are very positive too."

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