Krystal Cocktail Table
Margot Side Table
Winter/Spring 2021 - Vol. One Issue Two
greetings from the chair We appreciate the feedback that was shared from our inaugural issue of Made For You™ and have implemented wishes from our readers. We were delighted to receive beautiful submissions from talented designers for consideration. It is our honor to announce that Don Easterling and Nina Nash Long, a talented design team from Atlanta, were selected to feature this month. They are true Hickory Chair loyalists and we trust that you will be inspired by their story and the beauty of the home they have shared with us. We invite you to submit your project for a future issue. 2021 marks our 110th anniversary. All of us at ‘The Chair’ would like to say thank you for entrusting our craftsmen to make special pieces for you. We appreciate your endorsement to your clients, friends and neighbors. Because of the support from people like you, our factory is running full schedules and we are continuing to hire as we adjust to rising demand. One of our core values is safety. While we hold the record for the safest workplace of any manufacturing facility in the state of North Carolina, what is most important to us is that we have an environment that is not only physically safe but also is respectful, encouraging and inspiring. We believe that this culture breeds quality, longevity and creativity. The new threat of COVID-19 has required us to look at workplace safety differently than we did before, but with the same commitment to ensuring that our associates are protected as best as possible when they are here on our campus. Throughout our 11 decades, the leadership team at our company has had a consistent mission. Each team knew that we must evolve to remain relevant in a world and in an industry that is continuously changing. Our Hickory Chair family is made up of talented artisans, craftsmen, designers, and administrators from many parts of the world that have come to our area to practice their vocation. We are an equal opportunity employer, maintain a discrimination-free workplace, and embrace and develop talent. Our company practices innovative Lean thinking both in our office and factory. Which, simply stated, is the focus on eliminating wasteful uses of time, materials, and processes. This concept is engrained in each member of our team, and it must be, so that we can continue to deliver our customers with the best value possible. We hope you enjoy our second issue. It is written with love and appreciation of our artisans and craftsmen and for you. It is our honor to make a one-of-a-kind home furnishings for you. All my best,
MADE FOR YOU™
The Made For You magazine is published by Hickory Chair, manufacturer of fine personalized wood and upholstered furniture. From classic to modern, each piece is made by hand and to order. Over 90% of Hickory Chair’s products are made to order in America. Kevin Bowman, President Laura Holland, Editor-In-Chief The staff of Made For You, based in Hickory, North Carolina, welcomes your feedback. Comments and queries can be referred to: Send traditional mail to: Made For You Attn: Laura Holland PO Box 2147 Hickory, NC 28602 Electronic mail should be directed to: email@example.com Please note that submissions for publication, including photographs and articles, should be clearly identified with contact information and full project details. Produced in USA © 2021
Click here for a free copy
issue two contributors DON EASTERLING and NINA NASH LONG are an Atlanta, GA based design team. Their
passion for design and unique chemistry allow them to create remarkable interiors in Atlanta and beyond. Each project they create highlights each other’s styles and strengths-Don has a classic, traditional nature with an extensive knowledge of architecture while Nina brings a fresh, young perspective with her love of art, textiles, travel and her keen eye for color. Together, they strike the perfect balance creating interiors that are not only beautiful but meaningful and comfortable to live in. Their projects have been featured in Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles, Atlanta Magazine Home, House Beautiful, Luxe, Modern Luxury Interiors, Southern Home Magazine and more. In addition to their design work with Mathews Design Group they also serve as buyers for the high end retail home shop Mathews Furniture + Design scouting the globe for the newest and best of the best.
DAVID PHOENIX is an influential Palm Beach designer known for thoughtful, modern luxury and liv-
ability. With a quintessential American point of view, David Phoenix finds inspiration from a myriad of styles, looking back through history as he creates spaces for today. His work personifies his own approachable, self-assured manner—gracious and considerate. In juxtaposing modern and traditional elements, his aesthetic conveys an easy welcoming sensibility, rich with classic haberdashery details and nuance. He believes in living each day to the fullest, delivering personal, sophisticated and thoughtful environments.
SKIP RUMLEY is a Greensboro, NC based designer in his 8th year with Hickory Chair as the VP Creative
Director. In this role, Skip is responsible for leading product innovation, merchandising the product assortment and creating collaborative collections with company design partners. Skip has forged a 20-year career engaged with some of the most prestigious luxury brands in the furniture industry where he has designed interiors for showrooms as well as designing lighting, accessories and furniture. In October 2020, the company introduced a new collection EVERETT™ by Skip Rumley.
BRITTANY CHEVELIER MCINTYRE is the Executive Editor at Luxe Interiors + Design magazine,
where she helps to oversee the Radar, Market and The Look sections of the publication. Brittany joined the LUXE team in May 2016 as the Design and Market Editor, and most recently held the Homes Editor position for the Miami and Palm Beach editions. Formerly the Managing Editor of Domino magazine prior to starting at LUXE, Brittany has years of experience working within the industry and with design professionals.
LESLIE HARRINGTON PHD is an expert in the area of color strategy and marketing including serving as
the Color & Design Director for Benjamin Moore Paints. She is the Co-founder of HUEgroup, a color intelligence company, and the Executive Director of The Color Association of the United States, a color trend agency founded in 1915 specializing in fashion and interiors. She is a member of ASID, is the VP of International Colour Association and served on the Board of Directors of ISCC and CMG. Leslie has an undergraduate degree in Interior Design, an MBA from NYU and a Ph.D. in Color Strategy.
SUSAN HABLE is an artist, author of two books, a product and textile designer and is the co-owner
of Hable Construction with her sister Katharine Hable. Her works are available through Garnet Hill, Soicher Marin, Maitland-Smith, Hickory Chair and in 2021, Westpoint Home. She resides in Athens, GA with her husband and two children.
EMILY FOLLOWILL is an award winning, Atlanta, GA based photographer. From her art education, Emily cultivated a style that remains concise, crisp, and classic. Her balanced and carefully curated photos tell a story, and she is recognized for her natural quality of light. Her expertise ranges from residential interiors, to gardens, to lifestyle and to products, Emily demonstrates an ability to capture simple beauty in complex settings.
LAURA HOLLAND has proudly been a part of the Hickory Chair family for the past 35 years. ON THE COVER: The Kate Sofa, Margot Side Table, Krystal Cocktail Table and Large Grace Bowl from the EVERETT™ by Skip Rumley Collection.
Throughout her storied career working in various areas of the company, she has become known for her passion and determination. As VP Marketing, she is responsible for all marketing intiiatives of the company. She and her husband reside in Newton, NC.
whats inside 4 It Takes Two 7 Southern Hospitality 8 Paying it Forward 10 110 Years Young 11 What’s Modern Now 12 Q & A with Skip Rumley 15 Behind The Curtain 16 Proudly American 20 Looking Forward
By Don Easterling and Nina Nash Long Photography by Emily Followill
it takes two Over a decade ago, Don Easterling and Nina Nash
Long came together as designer partners delighting clients in the Southeast and beyond. While each brings their own unique perspectives to the partnership, it is their love for all things design, extensive knowledge of the industry and unique chemistry that sets them apart. With their combined experience in interiors and architecture this team is always juggling numerous design projects as well as flying from coast to coast between installs and furniture shows. Don and Nina love the hunt of the perfectly unique pieces and fabrics for each of their projects and also for the Mathews Furniture + Design shop with just the right mix of high/low and old/new. People ask often how they do it all and their answer is simple, “it’s easy when you just love what you do”.
Louis XV Bergere Chair
Don Easterling and Nina Nash Long with Mathews Design Group 4
Haydon Sofa East Paces Side Table
“As preserving original elements in each room of the house was important to our client, we made recommendations that would complement these historic features,” shares Easterling.
MADE FOR YOU™
Photography by Emily Followill
With an archive of well appointed residential installations and notable commercial projects such as model rooms for the Ritz Carlton, Don and Nina have built a reputation for their ability to create not only beautiful interiors, but also spaces that are comfortable, personalized for the client and complement the architecture of the home. The manor was the home of Hugh M. Dorsey, the Georgia govenor at the time, and was designed in 1921 by the architect Neel Reid. Architect C. Brandon Ingram was brought in by the new homeowner. They were insistant that the home remain as historically accurate as possible but made functional and practical for their family. Upon realization that the home was a Neel Reid design, he immediately thought of Don Easterling and Nina Nash Long. A talented interior design team, Don’s passion for classic, traditional interiors and architecture, is perfectly complemented by Nina’s talent for selecting updated yet proper furnishings and finishes. Their collaboration with Ingram made the three an ideal team. With new plans drawn and assistance from local builder Liz Davies of ESD Homes, the team embarked upon a journey of discovery, updating and preservation. Once construction plans were finalized that included finishing the attic, creating a walk-in closet off the master bedroom, creating a butler’s pantry and scullery along with updating the kitchen, bathrooms and bedrooms, Don and Nina embarked upon the interiors. Understanding the client’s needs, Don and Nina carefully selected pieces that would provide the comfort and functionality they desired. As Don and Nina created their proposal, they gave great thought to respecting the history of the home and the needs of the client. As the wife is British, Don and Nina thoughtfully intertwined English touches throughout the home that accentuated the beautiful historic details in each room. “I love how this home has a deep historic significance, and the entire design team was so passionate about architecture, history, and preservation,” says Long. “These things were of the utmost importance to us during this entire process. Nothing was left to chance, and we always asked ourselves, ‘What would Neel Reid do?’”
By Don Easterling and Nina Nash Long Photography by Emily Followill
Southern Hospitality For many, the term ‘Southern Hospitality’ conjures up visions of friends and family gathered together in a lovely home for brunch or dinner. The gracious hostess would have prepared wonderful recipes that had been passed down through the family. One can envision an elegantly set table set with fine china, linens and flowers cut from the yard surrounded by happy guests. With graciousness and charm, these things define the American South and a way of living. A reader of the inaugral issue wished that we include a recipe from a member of our Hickory Chair family. We loved the suggestion and turned to the pages of the company’s cookbook, “In Good Taste” that was published in 2005. We chose a special recipe that was served during the 22-year period when the Furniture Market was held in the cities where the manufacturers were based. Dealers made Hickory Chair a destination for mid-day appointments due to the wonderful Southern cuisine served by a local chef named Lalah Lohr. Her recipe for this grits souffle is a true taste of Southern Hospitality.
Lalah’s Grits Souffle’ 1 ½ c. cooked grits 2 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese 4 eggs, seperated ¼ stick butter ½ t. salt 1 c. milk Mix cheese, butter and salt into prepared grits while they are hot. Whip in egg yolks and add milk. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold in lightly. Pour into greased baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serves 6 to 8 people.
London Side Chair
Paying It Forward THE CLEAR VISION AND PURPOSEFUL SPIRIT T H AT D R I V E S DAV I D P H O EN I X F O RWA R D
April 1, 2015 found David Phoenix at the President’s Dinner that officially kicked off
the annual Kips Bay Show House fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Kips Bay, New York. The high-powered event held at New York’s Cipriani 42nd Street plays host to over 700 members of the preeminent design community. A formal affair where interior designers, members of the press, vendors and passionate supporters come together each spring to support the design industry’s most successful fundraiser. The evening was glamorous and yet very touching. Listening to stories from successful men and women that had benefited by the dynamic programs during their youth uplifted everyone in the room. Then groups of boys and girls performed beautifully choreographed routines singing and dancing. It was riveting to see these amazing young people fulfilling their dreams. Then David thought back to his youth, and like them, he was that kid too – a young man, with big dreams and determination that would propel him to great success as an adult. At just 17 years old, David bravely set forth on his own after graduating from high school to follow his dream. With determination to become an interior designer, he fearlessly left New England and began a journey to California. During the early years David immersed himself in the design world. Twenty-five years ago, he opened his own design firm. Starting with small projects he quickly gained a reputation for his taste and ability to create interiors that were warm and livable. His work personifies his own approachable, selfassured manner. Known for juxtaposing modern and traditional elements, his aesthetic conveys an easy, welcoming sensibility, rich with haberdashery details and nuance. After installing a handsome bedroom at the 2015 Kips Bay show house,, David returned to California. He shares, “I have always known that going the extra mile is what makes you successful. I would take a red-eye flight on Thursday night from Los Angeles to New York so that I could meet and interact with visitors touring the show house. I met amazing people over each weekend and would return to LA ready for work on Monday with my clients.” In 2017, Kips Bay announced that they were expanding to have a second location for their annual fundraiser. They announced that Palm Beach, Florida would also host the prestigious event. “I felt a call to participate and support their important work. I wanted 8
“The Kips Bay Decorator Show House in New York has served as a cornerstone of the deign community for more than four decades, and we are thrilled to open our doors in Palm Beach for a second year,” said James Druckman, President and CEO of the New York Design Center, and President of the Board of the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club. “We are so grateful for this incredible group of designers who have come from all over the country to showcase their designs while also raising critical programming funds for the 18,000 children served by both organizations.” – courtesy of NYDC.com
Niagara Nesting Tables
David enjoys an international clientele of celebrities, royalty, business magnates and discerning homeowners, including Maria Shriver, former Los Angeles Mayor, Richard Riordan and actor Rob Lowe, whose home was featured on the cover of Architectural Digest. David’s interiors have graced the pages of leading shelter publications such as Architectural Digest, Traditional Home, California Homes, Veranda and LUXE Magazine.
to help raise funds to support the programs that make such a huge difference in the lives of the children that are served by the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Clubs. I signed up immediately for the 2019 show house.” While shopping in Palm Beach for accessories for the show house, David attended a trunk show at a friend’s shop on Worth Avenue. During the trunk show, David interacted with the customers in the shop and explained Kips Bay to them. As he was leaving, a policewoman stopped him. She had overheard him speaking to the women in the shop about Kips Bay. She shared that she and her sisters had gone to the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club every day growing up in the Bronx. Today she is a sergeant on the Palm Beach police force and was named Policeman of the Year; her sister, a 911 Dispatcher for Palm Beach county. She expressed her gratitude to David for his commitment and support of the Kips Bay program. Moved by her story and her passion for the programs they participated in, David invited the sergeant and her sister to attend the grand opening as his guest. When the sisters reunited with Dan Quintero, Executive Director of the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Clubs, their reunion surely was the highlight of the evening. Spending their youth at the club participating in the enriching programs that Don and his staff provided had duly prepared them for the success they now enjoy as adults. Again reaffirmed, David knew that Kips Bay was not just another show house opportunity, but rather what truly matters is the important work this organization has upon the lives of the youth they serve. Deeply touched by this chance encounter with the sergeant crystalized David’s commitment to not only Kips Bay, but also the importance in investing in young people. “I realized that unexpected things can happen in life that can either completely derail you or that become the inspiration that makes you successful. I feel it is my duty to support Kips Bay and their programs that have made such a difference in so many lives now for over 100 years. I want to encourage and support our youth so that they too can see their dreams fulfilled.” As the Palm Beach Kips Bay Show House is open for a month, David took a different approach than he had taken while participating in the New York event in 2015. He remained in Florida for the duration of the project. During the week he would continue to work on projects for his clients and then was able to engage with visitors each day. With the culmination of the Palm Beach Kips Bay Show House, David returned to Los Angeles and was immediately busy with new East Coast clients. Once more, he fearlessly made a life changing decision to follow his dream and move to Florida – during a pandemic. The drive across the country provided time for David to put this major life change into perspective. His life in California had been incredibly rewarding from the launch of his successful design practice, designing a furniture collection for Hickory Chair and a fabric collection with Kravet in 2018. This, and most incredibly, surviving cancer - stage 4 Lymphoma. Arriving in Florida, David has begun a new chapter. With a flourishing design practice on both the West and East coast and a new furniture collection for Hickory Chair in development for the fall of 2021, David has mastered the art of living well and the reward of making good choices. The determination and passion that drove David to success continues to push him forward with a clear vision and a purposeful spirit. 10
1911 – 2021
110 YEARS YOUNG In 1911, a 30-year-old, entrepreneur named George Bailey brought an opportunity to the town fathers of Hickory. He realized that his 10-year old chair factory located in Elkin, NC was in the wrong town. Elkin was known for its shoe and textile factories. Hickory was the emerging hub for furniture making in the South. George learned that there were companies in Hickory that made school and office desks, bedroom and dining room furniture but no one was making dining chairs or upholstery. This chair maker promised that as the Hickory Chair Mfg. Co., they could make anything they put their minds to do. The investors believed in George and his vision. The purchase included furniture designs, machinery, materials and most importantly George who was the man with the passion, determination and knowledge to manage the operation. George spent his entire working career with this company. He retired in 1951 at 70 years old. We at Hickory Chair could be celebrating 120 years but we do not. We celebrate 110 years in Hickory. We raise a toast to George Bailey and to the town fathers who had the courage to bring this visionary to Hickory. The transformation is remarkable - from a company that made one single style of dining chair in 1911 to today, a company that makes one-of-a-kind custom wood and upholstered furniture to order. We trust that George is smiling as so many employees that have followed him have shared his passion, determination and vision.
what’s modern now the magic and science behind forecasting color
Have you ever wondered who decides what the new color trends are each season? Since 1914, the Color Association of the United States (CAUS) has been a trusted membership-based forecasting organization focused on consumer and color trends in fashion and interiors. Fifty talented artists, color scientists, interior designers and experts from many industries come together to collaborate with a mission to forecast color trends. It takes a little magic and a lot of science to formulate the yearly palettes. From the racks of our favorite department stores to the new colors we see in paint, fabrics and home products, the colors that are selected and published by CAUS have been integral to our world for over 100 years.
“To get it right, our committee must anticipate the colors that people will want a few years before they are wanted. Companies that rely on our forecasts need years to react so that they can develop products using these anticipated colors.” – Leslie Harrington, Ph.D.
CAUS is led by Leslie Harrington Ph.D., whom has held senior management positions in the area of color strategy and color marketing for over 25 years within the industry, and serving for 16 years as the Color and Design Director for Benjamin Moore Paints. In that role, Leslie designed and developed the company’s Color Preview color system, launched at the beginning of the 21st century. Susan Hable is one of the talented CAUS color stategists. She is a furniture and textile designer for Hickory Chair, coowner of Hable Construction - an American company known for home design, and an artist. She has been a member of the Environment Group within CAUS for 8 years. Nature is a constant inspiration for Susan and the other CAUS members. While preparing her color strategy for the 20212022 color card, the transparent wings of a dragonfly and the elegant cerulean blue of of the lens behind it became an anchor of her presentation. Interested in learning more or in a membership? Just want to learn more? Visit www.colorassociation.com.
“I bring an artist eye and a love of nature. This drives my feedback to the associations and inspires not only my artwork but also to the furniture, textiles and to the home industry where we create linens, rugs and accessories.” - Susan Hable
Brittany Chevelier McIntyre, Executive Editor of
Luxe Interiors + Design
magazine, shares the vision and passion behind the new EVERETT™ by Skip Rumley collection for Hickory Chair. BC Skip, you are the Vice President and Creative
Director of Hickory Chair. Is this your first collection for the company?
SR While I have designed pieces for the company in the past and have collaborated with each of our design partners, this is my first complete collection for Hickory Chair. BC When you went into your design process, what were your initial thoughts and what type of environment did you want to create for the clients and people that would want to buy it?
SR In designing my collection, I used my own experience of moving from a modern house to a traditional 1940’s Cape Cod. It helped me realize just how much I love a classic, traditional interior with a modern sensibility. BC I love how you remarked that interiors should be
Marney M2M® Bench
both masculine and feminine and how it creates a type of tension by mixing different kinds of forms.
SR I have always liked architectural pieces with a strict, edited and restrained form. I think it creates an exciting dynamic when you mix soft organic upholstery silhouettes with the architectural wood forms. Mixing the two creates a type of tension and it is exciting to me. I like to think of an interior having both masculine and feminine contrasts.
“I have always loved the sensibility of Elsa Perretti and her jewelry. Women would wear her Tiffany® bone cuff bracelets with Haltson® dresses and jumpsuits in the 1970’s and that was the sexiest thing you could do. You can see the inspiration of a cuff bracelet in the form of my Ray Dining Table.” - Skip Rumley
BC Where do you find your inspiration? SR I have been in the industry for over 20 years and have been exposed to a lot of ideas and designs. I am inspired by fashion, art and of course, interior design. BC So Skip, you shared that Hickory Chair has a very
large interior designer following. What makes your new collection appealing to them?
SR In developing my collection, I wanted to
celebrate all of the great tools and resources we have at Hickory Chair by showcasing them in the design of the pieces in the collection. For example, you can change the size, change the hardware, veneer and finish. Our craftsmen are ready to customize our products for their clients.
BC You create the designs and then the designer
can customize it for their client. This is one of Hickory Chair’s greatest offerings and I know that is because the majority of the production is domestic. How important is this to you designing furniture and to the brand ethos?
SR It is wildly important to me. It is a real luxury when you are developing the product. The craftsmen at the factory will make a prototype of each piece for you to review. It is a luxury to be able to collaborate with them in Hickory to tweak it if necessary to perfect it before bringing the piece to market. This is why Hickory Chair upholstery is so comfortable. In addition, these same craftsmen that created the new piece are ready to accept special construction requests to personalize pieces for your clients.
Mariette Upholstered Back Side Chair
Costigan M2M® Dining Table
Mariette Cane Back Side
BC Hallelujiah! Having the product made domestically does not mean you have to wait as long on your order and worry about getting caught up in customs, right?
SR When the pieces are launched and are for sale, we can react quickly. We are not reliant or waiting for product to be made overseas, weeks for shipping and then time in customs. By making the pieces domestically, it gives us the ability to react quickly to keep pieces not only in stock but also the ability to make it custom to a designer’s specifications. BC Your collection is beautifully modern. Please share with us some of the elements that showcase your own unique view on modernity.
SR The collection is clean and straightforward. The forms are classic but with a modern sensiblity. You can make it more traditional with the finish, veneer or hardware that you choose or even more modern. I wanted to provide our clientele a great foundation for them to work with... strong, bold and flexible silhouettes. BC What is your favorite design motto?
Fred Lounge Chair Grace Bunching Cocktail Table
SR Keep it simple.
MADE FOR YOU™
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GUARANTEES AGAINST | ABRASION | PILLING | LOSS OF COLOR | LOSS OF STRENGTH Learn more at sunbrella.com/warranty 14
Behind the Curtain
A behind the scenes series of tips for purchasing and living with fine furniture.
You have purchased a new sofa for your family room. Now, how do you make
it last? We recommend a few easy tips that will help your sofa look better longer and help it to last.
Let’s be honest… we dust our wood furniture, but, do we dust our upholstery? Dust does not just settle on our wood furniture. Both need regular cleaning. - Using the upholstery tool that comes with your vacuum cleaner, we recommend that you vacuum all sides of the seat and back cushions along with the seat deck. You might find some change or lost items there too! - Next, unzip your cushions but do not take the casing off. Use the long crevice tool and vacuum the area between the cushion and casing on both sides. You would be amazed how much dust makes it way through the fabric. Zip the cushions closed. Does it not seem strange to that you fluff and arrange your bed pillow every night while your sofa cushions are lucky to be fluffed and rotated once per year? You should do this every week. All pillows and cushions will flatten with use but you can keep them plush. While bed pillows are easier to fluff than sofa cushions, performing this process will make them last. - Fluff your cushions by beating the sides with your arms. This will help force air into the cushion. - Most seat and back cushions are designed to rotate. Even if they are T-cushions, the right seat cushion can flip over and become the left seat cushion. By rotating the cushions, you will use each cushion equally and over time will prevent them from wearing out. On a clear, sunny, non-humid day, we recommend that you take your seat and back cushions outside. Spread them out on a table or another level surface on a blanket. Lay another blanket or sheet over the pillows to protect the fabric from fading or possibly stains from friends flying overhead. After 30 minutes, flip the cushions and cover them again. After another 30 minutes, bring them back inside. You will be amazed what the warmth and fresh air will do to plump your seat cushions. With a little love and care, quality seat and back cushions should last the lifetime of the sofa… and look great along the way.
MADE FOR YOU™
From FACTORY to
A P R O U D LY A M E R I C A N S T O R Y O F T R A N S F O R M AT I O N
e Americans are a tenacious group of people. Not only did we come from every corner of the Earth to America to find a new life, we came because of an overwhelming desire for freedom. Whether this was recently or a few hundred years ago, it is still true for all people that have come to live in this country. Some may say we are too independent in America but it is our determination to have a voice, to work for what we want and to not settle is what makes this the greatest country in the world. It defines our culture and truly distinguishes us from all others. It fuels the way we think, live and even the way we shop for our homes. MADE FOR YOU™
F or the last twenty years, American companies
in the home furnishing sector have been forced to evolve or die. The shift from domestic manufacturing began with fabric mills moving production to China, Mexico and India in the 1990’s. By the early 2000’s many furniture companies had outsourced their wood products to facilities primarily in the Pacific Rim. Within a few years some upholstery companies outsourced sofas, chairs and recliners. Made without options, their advantage was a lower price and quick shipping. Some companies reputation suffered as the new inventory being made was not always the same quality as the products that had been made domestically. Fortunately some have learned to remain relevant as an American manufacturer. It requires offering product, service and options that are not only distinctive, but also have demand in the marketplace. Companies have learned that they really only have two models – it is either all about price with quick shipping or a personalized product. Once they determine their path, then must strive to be best competing in their segment in the industry. For those who chose to appeal to customers who want it fast and likely in a neutral fabric or finish, there are endless options whether in store or online. There is a plethora of products from around the world at a price sitting in warehouses ready for shipment.
things that they fall in love with for their home. Designers are often challenged by the spaces in their client’s homes. Finding furniture sources that have the right size, color, hardware and style is sometimes an overwhelming task. Fortunately, today some American furniture manufacturers have evolved into furniture workrooms – they can modify their standard offerings with customization to delight the vision and needs of the designer. Astute designers flock to those companies as they can make upholstery and wood pieces that fit the size of the room, apply a finish that coordinates with the color palette, change the hardware and even the function of a piece. The talented staff working in trade showrooms collaborate with manufacturers to make the customized pieces to order.
Hana M2M® Table
For companies that choose to make bespoke products featuring customization, the approach is completely different. You have to know your customer and what they need...and most importantly, want. The interior design industry is flourishing. With nearly endless sources for products for the home available in stores and online, it can be a daunting task to choose the right product. A skilled interior designer will listen to the client’s needs and the size of the rooms along with their hopes and desires. They will select items from their trusted sources that fall within the budget.
“I like collaborating with American sources like Hickory Chair that have the ability to customize products for my clients.” - Susan Lieppe
Around the country many designers rely upon tothe-trade showrooms. A nearly endless source of furniture, fabrics, accessories, lighting and building materials are showcased in beautifully appointed showrooms where interior designers can source products for their clients. While most are closed to the general public, interior designers can bring their client to see, touch and select
Often the solution to a client’s space is not an offthe-shelf style available from any manufacturer. Susan Lieppe, owner of The Finished Room, a tothe-trade showroom in Roswell, Georgia, shares that “I like collaborating with American furniture companies that have the ability to customize products. It helps me source pieces for designers that would otherwise have to either be made by
a local cabinetmaker or be a standard piece that was made to work even if it was not really right for the space.” She also shared that there are local cabinetmakers whose expertise is built-in cabinetry, but, they typically do not have access to the range of species of wood, carving and hardware options that a furniture company offers.
“Being able to find a beautiful form for a designer and their client is what we specialize in. Once they choose the right piece for the aesthetic, we then work with the manufacturer to customize the piece to fit the space. For example, a designer came to us looking for something to use in a guest bath. They loved the look of exposed plumbing and a vessel sink. The space required a vanity that would be 21 x 52 inches. They wanted to use a vessel sink. As this is not a standard size of any piece, a custom-made table would be necessary. Hickory Chair immediately came to mind with their Made To Measure™ table program. The client chose the Hana M2M® Console from their Hable collection. They made it to the exact size needed and then finished it in their Slate finish. It was the perfect solution for the client. The hardest part was finding a long, narrow vessel sink to fit the space.” Mariette Himes Gomez took a very different approach. She envisioned the Continental Demi-Lune Console with its standard Absolute Black Granite top from her collection for use in a powder room. She ordered it with a catalyzed top coat. Upon receipt, she commissioned a local stone dealer to cut and then install a sink into the granite top. Then installer simply removed the back panel and installed the faucet and plumbing. Above it she hung her Paris Mirror.
Continental Demilune Cabinet
Susan continues, “I want to my showroom be a trusted resource for interior designers in my area. I have great resources that have the skilled artisans needed to make custom pieces for my clients. With their help, we are delighting designers and their clients every day.”
looking looking ahead ahead A
good friend of mine enjoyed using the phrase, “Every boxer has a plan until they get punched in the nose”. I suppose that is true; unless your plan expects you to take a shot on the nose every now and again. Adapting to the situation is what Hickory Chair has always been about; in fact, we are one of the few companies in the country that was here for and survived the first major pandemic in the U.S. back in 1918 and the World War that ravaged Europe at the same time. Countless conflicts, Great Depressions and recessions later, we still stand here making furniture in the same building in Hickory as we did in 1911. This marks the first recessionary economic event in memory in which the home furnishings industry seems to be exiting first. Most often, our industry lags behind the housing, automobile and other consumer durable categories as a “postponable” purchase in the eyes of many consumers. The unique situation of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many of our citizens in their homes for months at a time. With air travel continuing to be slow to return, most have skipped their traditional vacation plans and have turned their attention to their home. The demand levels for home furnishings are approaching historic levels, rising abruptly in just the last 90 days. Our industry, which has long shifted its primary reliance from domestic to Asian sources, has been left reeling as those foreign countries struggle, as we have here as well, to gain control over the virus, and return to full production capacity. Even those few like Hickory Chair, whom predominantly manufacture their products here in the U.S., are struggling with the capacity levels of our material suppliers and even trucking companies. Everything is simply taking longer right now. High demand levels are a “high-class problem”, as they say; we are all very thankful for that, although it brings along a different set of concerns. Oddly enough, American-owned companies, like ours, were denied the opportunity for government PPP support, where foreign-owned companies were embraced and supported. Those, like us, braced for what we thought this pandemic could become and adjusted our cost structure accordingly, and when things settled down and demand returned just a few months later, we all struggled to return to our pre-crisis capacity levels. There was an interesting article written by Bod Davis for the Wall Street Journal back in September that chronicled our parent company’s and our own journey over the first five months of the pandemic. Most found the story as, “A family-owned furniture company with deep roots in Catawba County, NC stands up to COVID-19 and gets back to work”. I received many supportive notes from customers, and WSJ readers about our efforts to keep our business operating under the leadership and support of our owner and CEO, Alex Shuford III. In the article’s title, Mr. Davis notes that, “You Can’t Really Have a Plan”. Well, I suppose that can be true with regard to the ever-changing landscape of this pandemic, unless you just plan to get punched in the nose sometimes. Sincerely,
Kevin Bowman - President / COO 20
Triad Cocktail/ Side Table
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Carolyn Sideboard Jennifer Dining Chair
The EVERETT ™ by Skip Rumley Collection
6062 Taylor Road • Naples, FL 34109 • 239.449.3283 • www.hickorychair.com/naples 1785 Northgate Blvd • Sarasota, FL 34234 • 22 941.552.2552 • www.hickorychair.com/sarasota