Aug. 6–9Washington Convention Center

The Industry

crafts, collectibles, souvenirs, novelties, knickknacks, trinkets, tchotchkes, and kitsch

The Attendees

6,000 retailers in search of the perfect merch

The Issues

Gift Basket Boot Camp: Competitive times call for new profit-boosting strategies: Take risks with product style; stage events with celebs, swimsuit models, or gorilla-suited guys holding your baskets; and don’t forget organics, ’tweens, and Web gift showers.

Made in Gaithersburg! WildFrontier Inc.’s new products included “Dr. Fingy’s Fun & Sassy Resources for the Memory-Challenged”: a “Brain Cell Corral Cap” that creates a barrier against gray-matter leakage, white granny briefs from the “Unforgettable” panty line, and “Notes-to-Self” boxers, complete with fabric marker.

Memento Magic: A “towel origami” workshop revealed how to twist terry into tantalizing gift containers.

This I Believe: Session participants learned the Customer Bonding Oath: “On my honor, I will try, to bond with my customers, to listen to their needs, to provide them with a fun place to shop, to never again have a boring sale, to never again take my store for granted and to uphold the universal retail code—when my door is open, you are welcome!”—Rob Tierney