The Gifts of East Meets West


It was back-to-back gifts for me as I left the California Gift Show, January 15–21, for the NY NOW Gift Show, February 2–6, 2014. The trends I saw in the market proves that east meets west.

Metallic Collections
By far the hottest and latest material spotted on both coasts is metal. When it comes to design, recycled tin is natural, raw and beautiful. Wendell August has been making classic aluminum gifts for decades.  Linguistic Designs is creating chandeliers and other collectibles made by talented indigenous artisans who work recycled Mexican scrap metal into whimsical designs.

Linen over Lace
Demand for quality linen is rapidly growing on the East Coast. The Japanese have known for years what the U.S. is just discovering: the best linen is made in Lithuania. LinenMe, a third-generation Lithuanian family-run linen business, is dispelling misconceptions of linen and making stonewash linen sheets and bath, hand and kitchen towels all the rage for summer.

Touch through Towel
Who knew that towels would have such universal appeal as a touching, thoughtful gift. Why not? It’s personal, it’s a necessity, it’s something you can use every day and there is a wide variety of choices that appeal to almost anyone. I personally love the selection of Uchino, a Japanese company that has been bringing innovations in towels for so many years. They literally wrote The Book of Towels.

Lessons in Living through Laundry
Laundry is one of those things that (almost) everyone needs to do. Why not make this household errand a little more enjoyable, especially for your host. The New Clothesline Company, an innovative design company, wants you to use energy for life, not laundry.  An extension of the “slow living” movement, this company makes timeless, modern designer drying racks.

Health Eating
Gourmet foods have always made great gifts. The healthier, the better. Lately, we’re seeing tableware add to the healthy eating trend. I love how Livliga makes tableware with visual cues to make your food look better and fuller so you can design your own portions for a healthier diet.

Shopping in the Bike Lane
The East Coast is catching up with Western Europe when it comes to getting around on bikes. I was thrilled to see Bookman bike lights at the NY NOW show. I hope to see more sporting goods as gifts. These are great!

Natural Diversity
When it comes to beauty, natural is better. And when it comes to natural, the purer the better. Look for vegan, gluten-free beauty recipes with ingredients like nuts and oils. Soapology is a really good example of a company that does it right.

I hope I am on the receiving end of any of these gifts this year. WF

Nancy Trent is a writer and speaker, a lifelong health advocate, a globe-trotting trend watcher and the founder and president of Trent & Company, a New York-based marketing communications firm.  Trent & Company grew out of Nancy’s personal commitment to helping people live longer and healthier lives.  A former journalist for New York magazine, Nancy has written seven books on healthy lifestyles, serves on the editorial boards of several magazines and travels around the world speaking at conferences and trade shows on trends in the marketplace. She is a recognized expert in PR with more than 30 years of experience creating and managing highly successful campaigns. Nancy can be reached at (212) 966-0024 or through e-mail at  You may also visit


Posted February 23, 2014


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    South Africa’s this classic collection offers a choice of lovely gifts, unique corporate gift, promotional gifts, innovative corporate gifts


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