Holidays – Creating Traditions

 Ah, the holidays….always a special place in my heart! 

There truly is a genuine “feeling” that the season brings….friendlier faces, the incredible excitement of the children (and kids at heart) around us,  and the blessings of time well spent with cherished friends and family.  And while I love the parties, bumping into old friends, and finding that perfect gift for my sweetheart…. the spirit of the season is captured best for me around the dining table of my mother’s home.  It’s where I grew up…. where the décor is traditional…. some might even say, simple.  But the table is always festive, warm, and inviting to all!  To say I look forward to being there each year is a major understatement! And the sight of that dining table, featuring a fun, decorative flair, and the best aroma I’ll encounter all year – well, it reminds me of how hard “mom” has always worked to insure that the holidays were special for us.  It reminds me how much she genuinely loves us…. and how some of the greatest gifts of my life began right here at this table listening, learning, interacting, celebrating…..

Maybe…hopefully, you have a similar and special place like this in your heart for the holidays. 

But if you don’t already have a tradition of sitting down at the dining table – start a new one!  During this holiday season, it’s okay to put the diet down for a short period.  Go on and “gussie up” that dining table with some fun seasonal décor – our creative team has made tablescaping for a traditional holiday a cinch with this latest post!  Have fun with this and treat yourself and your loved ones to the greatest joy of the season – time spent enjoying one another!

—  Josh McKay,  VP of Sales & Marketing


More Tablescaping Ideas!

As was shared in an earlier post, Tablescaping has truly become an art form. But perhaps the truest sense of tablescaping beauty is that we each have the ability to define it, create it, enjoy it, and LIVE it!   

Like many of you I suspect, I one day fancy myself living a simple, slower lifestyle – enjoying sweet time with family and friends on the beach! I don’t know that such a day will ever become reality…but you have to dream it first, right? And in this week’s segment of holiday tablescaping, we went about creating art on our table - with a coastal flair! Who says you have to live at the coast to enjoy it? 

Take a cue from this incredibly light and airy creation, and share the inspiration of the coast with those most important to you!  It’s easy to do, and so adaptable.  Whether setting the scene indoors or out, this is the table you’ll not only enjoy this holiday season…. but the table you’ll come back to all year long! Pay special attention to the components and note how our savvy design team purposefully chose items (outside of Santa) that tell the waterfront story in a way that can be enjoyed well beyond the holiday season. Share this with your customers.  Show them how you are stretching their dollar, while beautifying their home and enhancing the experience of their guests. Your customers are sure to love this!

—  Josh McKay,  VP of Sales & Marketing

Click photos to view enlargement.

Tablescaping: An Artisan Christmas

It's Time To Tablescape!

Tablescaping has truly become an art.   We see it celebrated in grand style with every passing season – almost in a competitive fashion between designers and bloggers.  And many of their creations leave me speechless – as well questioning where we’re going to put the turkey! 

But it need not be a topic that builds anxiety!  Think about it – it’s simply a fun way to further the invitation and feeling of warmth to our cherished guests.  And there are countless ways to tackle this – from casual to classically traditional.  And that’s not just true of our homes – it’s equally as true for our shops!  If you’ve not yet incorporated a dining table (a small table is fine) or a faux mantle/fireplace in your store, give it some thought!  Most of your customers will be hosting family/friends for the upcoming holidays, and now is the perfect time to show them HOW to accent their homes in a fun, festive way.  Everybody wins when you make tablescaping a part of this season’s merchandising!

And to help….our talented design team has created a wonderful, whimsical look for your holiday table. The young and young at heart will delight in taking their special seat at Kalalou's fun, vintage, free-spirited Christmas tablescape. Your customers are sure to love this!

—  Josh McKay,  VP of Sales & Marketing

— Click photo to view enlargement —


Hello, everyone!

The leaves are just beginning to change colors and there is an unmistakable feeling in the air! It’s finally FALL — a wonderful time of the year filled with anticipation and promise! And for the Gifts and Accessories Industry, it’s the official kickoff to the holiday season!  Embrace all of the promise that the season has to offer by having an Open House! It’s not nearly as difficult as you’re probably thinking. In fact, we are confident that a Fall Open House event will become a crucial element to your 4th quarter business.  The idea is to create another period that mimics the increased traffic and sales volume of Black Friday.

We’ve helped a number of our customers hold successful Open House events — and we want to help you too! Seize this opportunity to capture some early holiday sales. Position your business as the exciting go-to store in town that is sure to bring consumers in before and throughout the holiday season.  You might just find that your Open House date represents your biggest sales dollars of the year.  So let’s get started!

—  Josh McKay,  VP of Sales & Marketing

Step 1 —  Set The Date

Picking out a winning date is key.  Check the calendar of events in your area and select a Saturday where the population in your area is likely to be at its highest. Consider the schedules of your state’s football teams and other national and local events that might impact your event (positively or negatively) and plan accordingly. If you are in a football town, take advantage of that increased traffic, but time the event carefully.

Step 2 — Plan Promotions / Giveaways

Generate excitement with well-considered promotions. Don't think of it as Giving Away The Store. Instead, view it as making a small investment to create an exciting environment that people will want to flock to.  Incentives create eager customers!

Be sure to work with your vendors who may have dollars budgeted to help with events. They may have deeply-discounted merchandise that you can purchase for the purpose of giveaways.

Promotion possibilities:
• Store-wide discounts
• Hourly drawings for gifts or gift cards
• Free gift with every purchase
• Enter email to win grand prize

Step 3 — Get the word out

Make it known that you've got a cool gig happening that no one will want to miss!  Create an email blast to invite all to your special event. If you don’t collect your customers' emails – START!

If you have a Facebook, Instagram or Twitter account – use it (with imagery from the store) to spread the word about your event. Or go traditional and "snail mail" an invitation to your customer address list.  

Don't forget advertising in the local newspaper.  In many towns, the local paper still commands an audience.  Your presence in the paper not only serves as an invitation to your open house, but says that you are invested in the community. You will find that the most successful and coolest store in town is always one that is engaged and visible in the community.  Combined, these efforts will drive customers to your storefront!

If any of these marketing tasks are unfamiliar to you, ask your rep for help getting started.  After all, not only do they have experience in this, they’re here to help you!  And they can provide valuable feedback when you are planning an event.

Marketing options:
• Email marketing
• Social media
• Print
• Mailers

Step 4 — Create the experience

An Open House is like a party, so make sure your store has the party atmosphere!  You need to create an experience that appeals to all of the senses.  Along with well-merchandised, eye-catching, idea-inspiring displays, reach the customer with an inviting aroma and cheerful music. First impressions are everything!

Candles are fine, but the mouth-watering smell of fresh baked cookies is hard to ignore!   Make sure to have a nice display of appetizing treats and refreshing drinks for your party guests (aka shoppers). And for music…. try a playlist of light jazz tunes, but nothing overpowering.
Think about those places where you love to shop. What is it about them? It's probably because their service and attention makes you feel special and you can count on having a pleasant experience. That is the feeling you want to create in the hearts and minds of your customers!  

Event checklist:
• Create a festive atmosphere
• Provide refreshing drinks and tasty treats
• Offer attentive, friendly service
• Be prepared with extra help

Enter our contest:

To reward you beyond the incredible sales that you’re sure to gain, Kalalou would like to receive images, videos and stories capturing your open house event! One lucky winner will be awarded a $1000 shopping spree!  Submit your entry to sales@kalalou.  Good luck and have fun!

This Way To Success

Kalalou is celebrating our 30th Anniversary — "The Road Was Long And Oh So Sweet!"  In our Kalalou Tutorial Series, we want to share some ideas and tips we have learned along the way.  We're here to help.  Give your rep a call today!  And cheers to a successful pre-holiday and holiday selling season!

[Shop items seen on this page] 
[Contact our sales team]

A Postcard From Honduras

It's so good to be back in Honduras. We recently enjoyed a week of living and working in the small village of Sabana Grande at friend Holland's beautiful workshop. Being surrounded by its gorgeous sunsets and luscious foliage, it's hard to imagine why it's been so long since our last visit to Central America. The Kalalou Spring/Summer 2016 catalog saw a newly revamped collection of Made In Honduras accessories and you can expect even more offerings for Fall/Winter 2016. We love the earthy look of our naturally crafted river stone products and are excited to introduce a plethora of new clay pots and plant stands to keep up with the ever-growing house plant movement! Scroll through a few photos from our latest trip to Honduras as well as a few of our favorite selections from the SS2016 line.

The Life of A Kalalou Product


Have you ever been curious about the story behind a Kalalou product? If so, you're not alone. Our customers are always asking about our original designs and how we come up with them. With this blog series, we'll be shedding a little light on our creative process with step by step breakdowns of our product development.  It's a collaborative process where each member of the design team uses their specific talents to create some of our unique accessories. Join us as we take a peek inside the Kalalou think tank and catch a glimpse of how one of our original designs comes to life!


As with any creative process, inspiration is the first step. In this case, Ian, one of our full-time product developers decided to mock up a slight alteration to one of Kalalou's preexisting wall storage pieces, adding a metal shelf for mail.


Once the idea is there, then it's time for some visual brainstorming. Sometimes we'll go through several sketches and revisions of a design before we decide on the final look. In the sketches above, you can see a few different forms the design took on until Ian decided on the perfect form.


After the design is set, we scan in our drawing and color them in Photoshop so that our manufacturer can better visualize the product and its materials. It's at this point where dimensions and other specs are added. This is, of course, a key step. There's nothing worse than ending up with a 24 foot shelf when you ordered a 24 inch one!



Soon after that, there will be some communication with the manufacturer. Then, after a few tweaks to the design, they will send us a sample. This is the pass or fail moment for a product. Once we get to see the sample in person, our design team will discuss its merits and decide whether or not to include it in our next catalog.


Once the item is chosen to be in the line, our photography team takes over. We go through weeks of photography as we style and shoot each of our new introductions. It's at this moment that the product really takes on a life of its own!

Click here to shop the Metal and Recycled Wood Coat Rack with Organizer from the post!

MARKET TRENDS: Spring / Summer 2016

After a busy month of traveling to Kalalou showrooms in Atlanta, Dallas, and Las Vegas, our team likes to take some time to study market sales numbers. We're always striving to better cater to our customers, and looking at what was successful in the showrooms can reveal trends that help guide us when selecting the next big thing for Kalalou. Here are a few of our observations after looking over our top sellers from the three shows...

With our Oyster Shells, Military Canisters, and Bam Jam at the top of every "best-seller" list, it seems that natural and recycled products reign supreme for Spring/Summer 2016! Our new line of Oyster shell products was a huge hit. Customers love the unique look these nautical accessories provide, so definitely look forward to new variations on that line in the coming year. Our best-selling line of Recycled Military canisters are still ever-popular and the new smaller-sized bucket is quickly becoming a new Kalalou favorite. "Gifty" items always do well with our customer and this market season has shown that our Ceramic Gold Brick Bank and Bam Jam are still at the top of everyone's Kalalou gift list. Lastly, our cast iron wall hooks continue to be huge sellers, with our new Flying Bird and Cactus designs being the most successful (we just can't get enough cactus designs!).

Hopefully this list gives you a little insight into our process and serves as an indicator for where home accessory trends are moving in 2016. Contact your sales rep for a more extensive Market Top Sellers list.

Thanks to everyone who helped make our Atlanta, Dallas, and Vegas shows such a success. See you in High Point!

Spring/Summer 2016 Market Wrap Up

That's a wrap on our Spring/Summer 2016 market season! What a crazy three weeks it has been. After traveling to Atlanta then Dallas and finally Las Vegas, we are in awe of the customer response to our new collection. It was a blast kicking everything off in Atlanta with our 30th Birthday party and we'd like to say a special thanks to everyone who came by to celebrate with us. It was a heck of a party! As always, traveling to Dallas and Las Vegas is a special treat. We love the opportunity to meet our western and centrally located customers to get a better feel for how they use the Kalalou line. After a month of travel, it's so nice to be back home, but not for long! We're already gearing up for High Point Market (April 16-20). So if you haven't made it out to any of our showrooms this year, there's still one more chance to see the SS2016 line and meet the Kalalou crew! Thanks again for your continued support and here's to 30 more years!

Stay tuned to the Kalalou blog for our breakdown of best sellers from SS2016 market...

Celebrate 30 years of kalalou in atlanta!

The Atlanta Gift & Home Furnishings Market starts tomorrow! Join us in Americasmart Building 2 showroom #1022 as we celebrate 30 years of adventure with Kalalou. In addition to our usual market specials and giveaways, we'll be hosting a 30th Kalalou birthday party on Friday night. With free cupcakes and champagne for everyone, you won't want to miss it! And that's not all, we'll also be unavailing a new line of nearly 500 brand new products for the Spring / Summer 2016 season. See y'all there!

Where to Eat in the atl

One of the greatest perks of working for Kalalou is the travel. With each city we visit we always try to branch out and try new restaurants, hoping to find our next favorite. Atlanta market starts next week, so we decided to share a few of Kalalou's top eating spots in the ATL. We hope you get the chance to explore some of the city while attending market and if you have any can't miss eateries in Atlanta, leave us a comment!

Raku Ramen
810 Marietta Street

Located near the Georgia Tech campus, Raku is a quick taxi or Uber ride from downtown. If you like authentic Japanese style ramen, this quaint little hole-in-the-wall style noodle shop can’t be missed. Their prices are good and the Spicy Tonkatsu Ramen is some of the best I’ve had.


Park Bar
150 Walton Street NW

Park Bar is an easy walk from downtown hotels, located on the edge of Olympic Centennial Park, steps away from the ferris wheel. If there’s a game you can’t miss while you’re on the road or you just want a good burger, a cold beer and friendly service, check out this casual, reasonably priced spot.

Ladybird Grove and Mess Hall
684 John Wesley Dobbs Avenue NE

Located in the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood, Ladybird is a convenient drive from downtown or midtown Atlanta. With a large front patio and a respectable craft cocktail program, the self described mess hall is the perfect place to enjoy a meal or drink with a view of Atlanta’s new beltline - a well manicured green way for pedestrians and bicycles. While the food at Ladybird is on the pricier side, they offer dishes in an array of portion sizes and all of the ingredients are top quality.  The hanger stake in particular was quite delicious. And if you’re an interior design geek like we are, the minimal rustic chic of this space is about as cool as it gets. Ladybird doesn’t take reservations, so if it’s a weekend evening or a great weather day, go early or plan for a wait.

Side Note: Just around the corner from Ladybird is the Krog Street Market. The market features a collection of eateries and bars from many of Atlanta’s best known chefs as well as cuisines from Tex-Mex to Japanese.

N, 299 North Highland Avenue Northeast

BeetleCat is Ford Fry’s latest restaurant located in Inman Park and we are dying to try it out. Be looking for a variety of oyster offerings and shareable small plates with a nod to the sea. Casual environment and moderately priced.

Bar Taco
969 Marietta St

Bar Taco is another favorite of ours. This West Midtown establishment has a fresh and airy, latin vibe serving an array of creative tacos and small plates. And if you think Kalalou serves a great margarita, wait til you try the one from Bartaco.

White Oak

Conveniently located on Peachtree st in the heart of downtown, White Oak features an excellent selection of craft cocktails and a menu specially designed for enjoying multiple courses. Try the Lamb Meatballs or their unique take on Brussell Sprouts made with black pepper pork belly, before indulging in the Lobster Mac n’ Cheese or the Pork Chop. The White Oak features a beautifully designed interior, with an upscale, yet casual atmosphere. While you’re there make sure to check out the dessert menu, or ask one of their highly skilled bartenders to recommend a delightful digestif.


Bon Appetit!

Looking Back: The Citadelle

We were flying over mountains and valleys in a tiny airplane to get to Cape Haitian, a seaside village located on the north shore of Haiti. Something kept trying to come to the forefront of my memory… a nagging feeling… something I should remember. Then, it hit me… I asked our Haitian guide, “Somewhere between here and there, isn’t it possible that we will fly near the Citadelle?” “Right over it,” he replied. The Citadelle, an ancient French fort built at the beginning of the 19th century was a subject of a painting that I knew well. It had been painted by a young artist… a girl of 14… from a tiny picture out of an old national geographic. The young artist tried her hand at rendering the small photograph in oils. It developed into a very large and magnificent work of art that, years later, hung in the young woman’s house where she raised a family. As we flew over it that day, I was consumed by chills as I peered out of the tiny plane. It was exactly as the young girl had painted it 46 years ago… it was exactly as I remembered it… remembering the painting that hung in our house as I grew up. In the house where the young girl raised a family… the young girl who is my mom.

Celebrating 30 Years of Kalalou with Spring/Summer 2016!

We invite you to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Kalalou with our new and expanded Spring/Summer catalog. Featuring 450 new products plus our original stories remembering 30 years of adventures, it's our most exciting release yet! Contact your sales rep today for more information.

It was a beautiful sun drenched day in the colorful market square of Ocho Rios, Jamaica when fate tapped us on the shoulder. That was 30 years ago... we were young, creative and energetic. But, mostly we were naive. We didn’t know about all the things that could go wrong in growing a business. And so we embarked on a journey that has brought us to where we are today. Had we known of the challenges and obstacles that were possible, we never would have taken that first step of importing baskets from Jamaica to Mississippi. But, we did take that step and the many steps afterwards for 30 years. Our cover shows a 30 year old photograph of Mr. Fire, our first basket weaver. Sadly he passed away in 2005, but will live forever in our hearts and history. It has been quite a ride, and we are reliving some of our great adventures of growing a business with some old stories in this catalog. We hope you enjoy. So here’s to naivety and here’s to 30 years! Thank you for being a customer.

Owners since 1986

Stay tuned for more stories and memories as we get ready for an exciting market season in 2016!

Last minute gift ideas

The mayhem of the Holiday shopping season is in full swing but it's never too late to deck out your store for those Christmas shoppers. Kalalou is here to help with a few last minute gift ideas! We've put together our list of top 10 picks for the season, featuring a few Holiday items as well as a several items from our 50% off Opportunity Sale. So whether you're looking to round out your counter display with a few stocking-stuffers or you simply need a few unique gift ideas, think of Kalalou as your very own Holiday helper!

Meet The Kalalou Family: Morgan Stringer

Tell us about out your family.
I am the daughter of Chuck and Tammie Stringer of Jackson, MS. I am the only girl in between two brothers (which definitely works out in my favor sometimes :). Last year, I gained a sister-in-law and this May we will have the first baby of the family. I say she is the first baby, however, I got my little baby (my puppy) for Christmas this year from my boyfriend, James. He's a beagle, his name is Walker, and he has quickly become my favorite thing in this world!

Personal Style:
I would say my personal style is shabby chic with a Southern feel.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to be outdoors. In the summer, I enjoy spending time on the lake on the ski boat, jet skiing, swimming, bass fishing, you name it! In the Winter, I like camping and tailgating. I graduated from Mississippi State University and I love spending the fall tailgating and traveling to games.

I also really enjoy a good concert. My friends and I never pass up a chance to see someone we like live! I can't count the number of weekend trips we take to New Orleans or Nashville or where ever to see our favorite bands play.

What was your previous work experience before joining the Kalalou team?
Actually, Kalalou is the first full time position I have taken. I am the youngest sales rep on the team and came straight to Kalalou after I graduated. I did, however, work at C Spire Wireless as an Intern for a year during school. I learned so much from working in the telecommunications business and am grateful for the experience I gained.

What special skills or traits do you feel you bring to the Kalalou Team?
I feel that I bring motivation to the team. I am always very driven to succeed and I think that it brings a sort of determination with it.

What do you find most fulfilling about your job at Kalalou?
The relationships built with customers. I feel most fulfilled at Kalalou when I can help a person find that perfect piece to complete a look or that one gift that they've been searching for.

Favorite Kalalou Product:
The tilted pitchers. I love them for parties, showers, cookouts, etc. but also used as a vase for fresh flowers.


Sincerely Jules & The Fashion Guitar

Happy 20 years, Dave!

Happy 20 years, Dave!

Today on the Kalalou blog, we celebrate Warehouse Supervisor, David Dixon! This coming September will mark his 20th year with our company and we couldn't be happier to have such a good-natured and hard-working guy as part of the Kalalou family. Dave gave us a little insight into his 20 years with the company as well as his thoughts on the future of Kalalou. We hope you enjoy getting to know this Kalalou All Star while also getting a closer look into what goes on behind-the-scenes here at Kalalou!

"To all my friends and family at Kalalou, current and past employees, I hope your journey has been as joyful and entertaining as mine. I look forward to the next stage in my Kalalou journey!"
-David Dixon
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Market Best Sellers

Three shows into the 2015 Summer market season and the Kalalou team is abuzz with excitement! We could not be happier with the response to this year’s Fall - Winter collection and are ready to pass that excitement on to you. With three new categories featuring the top 20 items from each show, you can now easily shop the hottest items of the Summer market season!

Thanks Vegas!

As the lights dim and the final curtain is drawn on the Kalalou showroom, we can't help but look back in awe of the five day spectacular that was Las Vegas Market.  After three years of displaying in Vegas, the show just keeps getting better! It's easy to be distracted by the bright lights and allure of sin city, but the real reason we keep coming back to Las Vegas is the customers. We're thrilled to be able to bring the Kalalou line out west and meet an entirely new variety of potential buyers!  It makes it all worth while. So, we'd like to say a special thanks to everyone who made the trek out to the dessert and helped make this year's #LVMKT our best one yet! Viva Las Vegas baby! because Kalalou is here to stay!

We've got a little break before our next show in October. So if you haven't made it out to any of the Kalalou showrooms thus far, there's still time to make your plans to visit us at Suites at Market Square in High Point, North Carolina. We hope to see you there!

DALLAS  JUNE 24 — 30
DMC TradeMart
Building 2, #1022
Building C, #604
Suites at Market Square

Hello from Hot'Lanta!

After the excitement of Dallas, we're back on the road! This time, we have our sight set for Atlanta! It's always nice to be back in AmericasMart ATL, one of our largest and most elaborate showrooms. We love that the customer gets to see the entire Kalalou line in person and, of course, there's the tradition of unveiling our new Botanica Creation! This time, we decided to go with a wintery forest scene which incorporates our classic Scrap Iron Deer sculpture as well as a wide selection of old and new Botanica flowers. We can't wait for you to see it all in person!

You know we have plenty of show specials and give-a-ways going on this week!

  • Half off shipping on orders over $1,200
  • $1,000 Give-A-Way on Thursday, Friday, & Saturday
  • Free Kalalou tote bags for everyone!
  • 600+ new and never before seen items!
  • Meet this season's Kalalou Botanimals!


DALLAS  JUNE 24 — 30
DMC TradeMart
Building 2, #1022
Building C, #604
Suites at Market Square

Let's get this show on the road!

It's that time again! We couldn't be more excited to be back in Dallas for the Summer edition of the 2015 Home & Gift Market. As usual, the Dallas Market Center is a buzz with excitement on the first day and the Kalalou showroom is certainly no exception. We always look forward to Dallas market as our first opportunity to unveil all our exciting new additions to you, the customer. This year, with over 600 new items, we can't wait to get some one-on-one interaction with our customers and share our enthusiasm for Kalalou's Fall - Winter collection! So if you're in Dallas, make sure you stop by showroom #2010 and say hey! Here's to another awesome market season!

Don't forget about our exclusive show specials and other happenings this week!

  • Half off shipping on orders over $1,000
  • $1,000 Give-A-Way on Thursday, Friday, & Saturday
  • Free Kalalou tote bags for everyone!
  • 600+ new and never before seen items!

Not in Dallas? No need to fret! There's still plenty of time to make plans to see us at any of our other three showrooms...

DALLAS  JUNE 24 — 30
DMC TradeMart
Building 2, #1022
Building C, #604
Suites at Market Square

Meet Saint, the new Kalalou Cover Star!

If there's one thing for certain about Kalalou owner Susan Williams, it's that she loves her beautiful horse, Saint! And how could you not? Saint belongs to the Appaloosa breed of American horses, which is known for its colorful spotted coat pattern. He's also a proud graduate of the Ohio Police Academy, and from September through March, he spends most weekends fox hunting in Mississippi!

A few months ago, while brainstorming for the new Kalalou catalog, Susan had the wild idea of using her beloved horse in the cover shot. After some coaxing with a few of Saint's favorite treats, we were able to get that amazing photo which now adorns the cover of Fall - Winter 2015. And we couldn't be happier with the result! Featuring a wide selection of new and classic Kalalou products, it's our most eclectic cover to date. We hope you have as much fun looking through the new catalog as we had making it. If you haven't received your copy yet, make sure you get in touch with your sales rep or call 1.800.249.4229. Don't miss out on Kalalou Fall - Winter 2015!