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Stick to the Knitting . . . It’s socks down, hats up for Claro Design

claro 5There’s no magic formula at play at Claro Design, the Kiwi wholesaler who turns a hand to socks, hats and accessories, puts its smooth operations down to passion for products and people.

“We have to be aware of trends but it is not about following trends, it is about looking at our products, gauging what’s working, and providing consistency for our customers,” says Craig Dalton, director of Claro Design. “Having been in the business of headwear and fashion accessories for decades we have a good grasp on what works, why it works claro 3and what doesn’t. For example, different hat styles suit different face shapes, material qualities and their application, which price points lead to the highest stock turn and understanding the styles and size range that suits New Zealanders.”

claro 4Ensuring retailers make good margins on the product ranges we offer is essential, but the products have to be good and the service has to match, says Craig.

“Our most successful retailers manage their stock and work on four+ stock turns in a season, which gives them an amazing return on investment, and you need that if you have allocated space to a product stand.”

What began as an agency business representing Australian wholesalers has seen Claro claro 1Design successfully launch into the accessories and apparel industries – serving Rebel Sport, Briscoes and independent retailers nationwide. Throughout its successes – and some “not so great times” says Craig – Claro has remained true to its vision and ethos.

“We are always looking at our products and thinking ‘what can we do better?’” he explains. “We want our reps to always be showing our clients something new – adding value to their product lines and assessing what’s working for them and what needs to change.”

claro 2A long period of doing business within the Australian retail sector, hit home the importance of consistency rather than huge growth.

“Australia is a big market where growth can be exceptional but our market is completely different,” explains Craig. “In New Zealand, we realise that we do have a ceiling and business success is weighted more on the people you work with, the quality and service you offer and, most importantly, the people you are supplying to – the big and the small.”

To view Claro Design’s great range of products on Gift Directory click here

Feb 13 2018

Food Trends Ahead . . . What does 2018 hold? Robots, fasting and mixed reality!

m 4With the New Year well underway and much hype surrounding back-to-school, work and daily commitments and routine, it’s exciting to look ahead to foodie trends that are influencing our everyday choices and wants. Here culinary innovists, Bompas and Parrs share a snapshot of food speak that is destined to impact on our living in 2018.

An A1 Dinner Party . . .

Fancy hosting Shakespeare of Nelson Mandela at your next dinner party? Well, in accordance with merging technologies, this is the year robotics and A1 are picked to enter the hospitality area with meaning (already treading the streets of London is Starship technologies food delivery droids for Just Eats). More exciting however, is Bompas and Parrs current research into AI dinner parties, where guests can ‘invite’ a famous personality to dinner, and have an actor play out the role whilst being feed lines via a discreet ear bud from a bot. The actor can then interact accordingly in character throughout the evening!

m 5Food Fasting . . .

With ‘clean eating’ last year’s go-to fad forced to share the spot light with the likes veganism – which is steadily on the rise in the Western world – we see yet another trend vying for the spotlight – food fasting. The guardian describes this new fasting movement as ‘bio hacking’, with popularity soaring globally for this restrictive means (average fasting lasting between two to eight days). Claims of weight loss, mood stability and productivity are all being touted and trials on mice have proven increased longevity.

m 2African Food on the Rise . . .

With Asian cuisine well and truly on the map, Bompas and Parrs are predicting a surgence in African-inspired eats for the year ahead. It is arguably one of the world’s largest culinary influences – yet it has gone remarkedly unnoticed or explored due to localisation of knowledge.

Given African cuisines harbours European and Asian, and Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences, this fusion of flavours is a melting pot just waiting to be dipped into.

m 3Dining for Sleep . . .

Going beyond a warm glass of milk before bed, is deeper scientific research into dishes that aid the sleep process and provide health benefits whilst slumbering.

Foods that are identified as releasing serotonin and melatonin neurotransmitters, are being put under the microscope in the hope of conducive sleep. Don’t make your bed just yet!

m 1Mixed Reality Dining . . .

Move over virtual reality and welcome mixed reality. Dining that aims to employ an array of technological streams: microelectronics in crockery and glassware, responsive sound environments, and digital content that is focused on enhancing taste and aroma using multi-sensory scientific understanding for a complete immersive eating and drinking experience.


Jan 30 2018

Rubbing it the Right Way . . . Raka’s spice blends hit a high note

r 4A love for the outdoors and a passion for open flame cooking, inspired duo Mike and Daniela of Raka Trading to turn up the heat on the hotplate. Three-years spent experimenting with herbs and flavours – roasting, grinding, chopping and choosing – resulted in range of spice rubs perfect for jazzing up dishes.

“Having worked in catering for over 20-years I struggled to find quality rubs – particularly for meat – that blended natural ingredients without an abundance of preservatives thrown into the mix,” says Daniela. “Given Mike and I enjoy entertaining and Kiwi summers especially are all about bringing out the BBQ, we thought ‘Why not!’ and turned our hand to getting creative with mixes.”

r 3Whilst the drive to create unique blends was evident from the get-go, the process producing high-quality, all-natural rubs, hasn’t been without its challenges.

“It’s a meticulous process from start to finish and we always ensure we work with the freshest, top-quality ingredients to ensure that our end results meet stringent standards – its no easy feat but well worth the extra time and energy,” explains Daniela.

“We grind and roast everything onsite at our Waiheke factory which operates at the utmost end of international health and safety standards – no foreign contaminants or impurities – which is peace-of-mind for us and our customers.”

r 2Feedback from customers and friends is also top of the list and inspired Daniela and Mike to keep on rubbing.

“Cooking over an open flame and sharing a a meal with friends and family is a favourite pastime for many – it’s hard to beat,” enthuses Daniela. “However, a real wood fire isn’t always on hand so it was aptly important to us when crafting Raka rubs that we created spice blends that would enhance flavours when cooking with gas – and in a conventional oven.”

So, from the flames up rose: Divine Design – perfect for chicken and roast vegetable dishes, Luscious Lamb – also ideal for potatoes and wedges, Kiwi Barbeque – a versatile seasoning across the board and Butchers Bro – an all-rounder for your favourite cut of meat.

r 1Daniela’s favourite rub? “I think Kiwi Barbeque has got to be my number one pick first off the bat because it was barbequing that originally inspired us and sitting outside and simply taking in the surrounds whilst enjoying a simple meal – meat and salad – is synonymous with our way of life.”

The creativity switch is still on in the Raka kitchen assures Daniela, “Experimentation and development is always an ongoing process – we love it – keep watching this space!”

To learn more about Raka’s spice rubs click through to Gift Directory

Jan 25 2018

Christmas Wishes To All . . . Happy holidays, festive sales and spend!

Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas

Tis the season for great fun.
May you enjoy your place in the sun,
May your stock fly out the door
We look forward to you coming back for more. ”

It has been another wonderful year sharing stories, imparting knowledge, trend reports and introducing you to our ever-increasing family of wholesalers. Our people, products and our shared passion for the gift industry is rewarding and fulfilling on so many levels – thank you for your support.

Wishing you all a safe, merry and relaxing festive season ahead – bring on 2018! We will be back end of January!

All our best, Andrea, Penny and Dee


Dec 6 2017

Trends Ahead . . . Tradition meets innovation in 2018

vibrant-blue-green-cozy-study-wall-colorWith 2017 nearing a close, what can we expect on the homeware, gift and interior front in 2018? What’s new? What stays the same? European trends experts bora.herke.palmisano share with us a few key insights into New Year influences, and for those heading to overseas fairs, such as Ambiente in Germany, here’s little bit of what you can expect to see on the floor.

Fusion, link and connection . . . .

blossoms-stems-bouquets-flower-vase-06“It’s increasingly about a quest for well-being, meaning and alternative options. The focus will be on everyday things, handmade items, sustainability and being future-proof,” says Annetta Palmisano of bora.herke.palmisano Trend Bureau. This is specifically reflected in four stylistic directions for 2018: Modest Regenerations, Colourful Intentions, Technological Emotions and Opulent Narrations. Designs are impacted by numerous influences, ranging from rustic simplicity to hints of Baroque opulence.

Bonbonniere-Candle-Poster-Bowl-Cup-02_CModest Regenerations – plain and simple

A trend which is both contemporary and timeless while also being plain and relaxed. It stands for a clear, contemporary concept of living space, combining well established ideas with new ones. The preferred materials will be wood, stone, concrete, ceramics, bamboo and cast iron – either glazed or enameled – as well as linen and wool, in natural colours.

wall-color-dark-blue-depth-coziness-sensualColourful intentions – ethical claim combined with strong colours

This style stands for strong, bright colours, powerful patterns, dynamism and vitality. The mixture of materials, recycling and upcycling, are backed up by an ethical claim, ensuring that products are not just impressive, but also sustainable. Recycled plastic, metal, wood and textiles are presented in chequered patterns, stripes and decorative borders.

Equalise-harmonious-feminine-interior-DecorativeTechnological Emotions – innovative materials in an emotionally appealing design

A stylistic direction with an impact that is visionary, sophisticated and sensitive at the same time. Experimentation with new technologies has created an impression not of cool pragmatism, but of a design that appeals to the emotions. It includes some uncommon combinations of materials and products, e.g. paper and linen. Other elements that speak to the senses are super-thin films, soft textile structures and innovative visual accents.

ambiente-fair-sage-interior-design-collageOpulent Narrations – the courage to be opulent

A courageous trend world with a penchant for eccentricity and historical quotations. This picturesque look is marked by precious oriental materials and a love for opulent details. It involves the use of artistically decorated porcelain, precious stones, ornate leather work, brocades, embroidery and relief carvings.

Dec 5 2017

Mmm . . . that’s nice! Christmas Giveaway

parrs 4Christmas Giveaway! . . .
Parrs Products are gifting some festive cheer! We have products from their newest range Mmm . . . that’s nice! Cherry & Vanilla and Sweet Orange & Clove, to share with our people.
To be in the draw to win these delicious products – lotions, candles, diffusers, and perfumes – simply email your name and number to: [email protected], by December 8th!
To view Parrs great range of products on Gift Directory click here

Dec 4 2017

An Aromatic Journey . . . Introducing Mmm . . . that’s nice!

parrs 2Bird-song, classic Kiwiana and a sensory experience of yesteryear and aromatic fragrances is the motivation behind Mmm . . . that’s Nice! Parrs Products’ newest bath, body and homestyle product range.

Inspired by a nostalgic vision to encapsulate the beauty of New Zealand’s fruits, flora and fauna, the retro-inspired range goes beyond the tried and true to deliver a complete experience.

“The range doesn’t fit into your typical souvenir or gift-giving niches – we wanted to cater to everyone, make it approachable, have all ages and people really enjoy and savour the scents,” explains Andrew Rainham of Parrs.

parrs 3Like the articulate artistry behind the packaging and presentation, the products themselves resonate a point-of-difference across the board. From Sweet Orange & Clove, Cherry & Vanilla, Feijoa & Ginger, the soaps, body washes, hand creams, body lotions, perfumes and diffusers, cover all bases.

“Creating a truly layered experience was key with Mmm . . . that’s nice! because there are not that many body ranges that combine a lasting physical and sensory experience. When you do find a product that you really love and enjoy, you want the scent to stay with you, so by creating these layers of depth, our customers can journey from day to night.”

parrs 5Just as the label suggests, the fragrances are destined to marry with initial thoughts and feelings.

“We want people to smell Mmm . . . that’s nice! and instantly think ‘that is nice’,” says Andrew. “And our immediate feedback has been just that. Our intention was to develop this really engaging range of products from the get-go and the brand’s word play speaks directly to that.”

The brand’s clever wording also extends to Parr’s own inhouse banter and long-standing comradery.

parrs 4“Parr’s has been creating skincare products for over 30-years – with hundreds of fragrances and scents tested and experimented with over that duration. Across the last three decades the phrases, ‘Mmm . . . that’s nice’ and ‘Mmm . . . that’s not’ have been repeated more than a few times. So, this range does carry with it much nostalgia and poignancy for us as a company and our journey.”

Although launched perfectly in time for this Christmas, Mmm . . . that’s nice! isn’t just bound to one season or occasion, it’s a range that’s here to stay, says Andrew.

“We want these products to traverse the seasons – to be given at Christmas, as a birthday or Valentine’s gift, or simply as a gift to oneself,” he says. “Because we’ve put so much emphasis, time and craftsmanship into developing these timeless scents, we want them to be a permanent fixture – for customers to return to them time and time again, assured of the depth of scent and quality of the ingredients.”

parrs 1Alongside the divine scents themselves, the packaging also heralds a vision of intertwined nature and heavenly aromas.

“Recently we had one client tell us that she just couldn’t bear to part with our packaging because it was just too beautiful to discard,” says Andrew. “This was really music to our ears because creating those feelings and really connecting our products and people together on so many levels is what we strive to achieve. Knowing that our customers are in tune with our vision is key.”

To view Parr’s fabulous products and ranges on Gift Directory click here

Nov 28 2017

Bookshop Day a National Success

booksBook stores country wide opened their pages to the masses on Saturday 28th of October – New Zealand’s annual Bookshop Day.

For its third-year running, thanks to collaboration of booksellers, authors, communities and media, the national event once again celebrated overwhelming success.

Jenna Todd, manager of Time Out bookstore in Auckland’s Mount Eden, says their running-day event was especially family focused and fitted in well with both staff and customers alike.

books 2“We didn’t want to have a strict schedule, rather have people coming and going as they pleased,” she said. “And because Mount Eden Village celebrates Halloween and it’s like a big party, we tied it in with ghostly tales, treats and also a bring your dog along too. It was so much fun and sales were really successful too.”

Napier locals and book lovers were treated to a special visit at Wardini’s Books from renowned illustrator, performer and author Donovan Bixley and author Charity Norman.

don“This year Donovan contacted us as he has visited before and knows we have fans keen to see him, and we contacted Charity Norman as she is local and we have had great success with her books,” explains Louise Ward of Wardini’s.

Seeing an author up close is quite a deeply engaging experience for many people, says Louise. “Donovan went all out with visitors, he set up outside the shop and spent hours drawing whatever people asked him to. He’s a larger than life, hugely engaging character and there were many silly photos taken!”

books 3Founded in 2014 and inspired by Record Store Day in America and Love Your Bookshop in Australia, Jenna believes it’s the success of the movement is due in part to the backing of some big names too.

“In America, the likes of Barrack Obama will always go out and buy a pile of books on bookshop day – and the media have been brilliant at showcasing this,” she says. “So, we see it as not so much an opportunity to make lots of sales but really highlight the importance of connecting with new authors, new literature, taking time out to imagine, relax and delve into new worlds and characters.”

books 4Wardini’s Louise echoes similar sentiments. “There will always be people who choose to read online or from a screen but there are many books that don’t translate to devices. For example, children’s picture books, coffee table books and, to some extent, cook books need to be experienced in hard copy to get the full benefit,” she explains. “There are also many people who have to hold a physical book and connect with it as an antidote to our virtual world.”

However, developing an appreciation for an age-old tradition goes much deeper than a few pages on Bookshop Day, with many customers reaching out to show support and appreciation in more ways than one.

“Booksellers NZ ran a ‘Love Letter to Your Bookshop’ competition and the love letters we received ranged from heart-warming to completely moving!” says Louise. “It was a lovely experience to receive such glowing feedback.”

Nov 14 2017

Into the Wood . . . Furniturehall’s Christmas Magic

furinture 4When Palmerston North hospital requires a little toy pick-me-up for the children in its wards, they call upon Furniturehall – the charitable provider of a unique toy car and precious gift for those who need extra special care and attention.

“We ensure that the hospital has enough wooden cars year-round. As soon as they start to get a little low, one of the nurses will give me a bell and we’ll take a box up,” explains Eddie Hall, director of Furniturehall. “They are not fancy, but solid little 50mm long cars and the young ones just light up.”

furinture 2With Christmas around the corner, Eddie and his small team are concocting up a storm in their workshop – and it’s not just for the retailers – there’s magic afoot!

“Every year just before Christmas we hand make 700 toys for local charities – the Salvation Army, Hospice to name just two – in and around Palmerston North,” he explains. “We don’t like to broadcast too much about what we do, we simply want to do our little bit and give back to the community.”

A craftsman carpenter and wood worker of “many, many years”, Eddie has never wanted to lay down his furniture hall 1hammer completely, instead, his Furniturehall business provides enough stimulus for himself and a small team of woodworking enthusiasts who attend Eddie’s weekly classes and workshops.

“Wood work is a passion as it is as much a job. I enjoy what I do and have never had huge plans to retire – it’s important to keep the mind and the body active,” he says. “Whilst we change our products around a little bit and test and try a few new ideas and concepts – wood really does hold its own appeal.”

Furniture Hall has just launched a new range of Rimu Heart pepper grinders – perfect for the Christmas furinture 6table – and whilst Eddie is enthused about his latest product, he’s realistic with his expectations.

“We love our products and we hope that retailers and their customers will see something in them too – it’s the quality of the materials and workmanship that we want people to appreciate first and foremost.”

In the grand scheme of things, there isn’t much to not enjoy about life, explains Eddie, maybe except freight and import charges.

furiniture 3“My biggest hang-up at the moment it the cost of freighting goods to New Zealand from the US – it’s horrendous,” he explains. “Recently, I paid for goods in US dollars and by the time they landed in New Zealand, the costs were four-fold. I wasn’t impressed.”
However, we are super impressed by Furniturehall’s beautiful range of products on Gift Directory, click here to view!

Nov 1 2017
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