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22. featuresNOW 17.
Eco-Apathy: Why Green Just Doesn’t Matter Anymore
Navigating the Environmental Hype
Sustainability is More than Just a Buzz Word
Sustainability of People
Market to Someone Who Cares: The Millennials
Meet the Sustainable Furnishings Council
Greenwashing What is it?
What Makes Furniture Sustainable?
Google Unleashes the Power of Conversation
Creating Instagram Envy
Retailer2Retailer and Inspired Reading
Roving Reporter Las Vegas Market
Community Today Sustainability
Getting to Know the Next Gen
count onIT 04. From the Association President Sustainability! What’s in it for me?
From the Editor How I Save the Earth
Las Vegas Market Highlights
Fresh Perspectives Breaking through Barriers
Product Focus How to Sell Sustainable
High Point Market Preview
Networking News New Feature!
Government Relations Regulating Chemicals
Quick-Fire Marketing How to Use Instagram
The NOW list
SUSTAINABILITY and Our INDUSTRY Above: Copeland’s Furniture uses sustainably harvested hardwoods from the American Northern Forest. Read more about sustainabilty from Tim Copeland, CEO, Copelands Furniture, on page 26.
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What we are so passionate about. . .
To have the courage to pursue purposeful dialogues that challenge conventional thinking, to engage and entertain our readers by delivering content that creates a fervent following ready to change the landscape of our industry. RetailerNOW is the magazine for today’s home furnishings professional. Developed for a specialized community, RetailerNOW brings a unique editorial focus on progressive and relevant issues concerning the home furnishings industry in the retailer’s voice, with a focus on issues impacting retailers NOW.
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Subscription: $70/year RetailerNOW, ISSN# 2166-5249, is published monthly (except March and December) by the North American Home Furnishings Association, 500 Giuseppe Court, Ste 6, Roseville, CA 95678. Application to Mail at the Periodicals Postage Prices is Pending at Roseville, CA and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Please address changes to: RetailerNOW, The North American Home Furnishings Association, 500 Giuseppe Court, Ste 6, Roseville CA 95678. If you would like to stop receiving RetailerNOW, please send an email to unsubscribe@retailerNOWmag.com. If you would like to only receive an electronic version of RetailerNOW, please send an email to gogreen@retailerNOWmag.com. © 2012 North American Home Furnishings Association. Published by the North American Home Furnishings Association. Material herein may not be reproduced, copied or reprinted without prior written consent of the publisher. Acceptance of advertising or indication of sponsorship does not imply endorsement of publisher or the North American Home Furnishings Association. The views expressed in this publication may not reflect those of the publisher, editor or the North American Home Furnishings Association, and North American Retail Services Corp. Content herein is for general information only; readers are encouraged to consult their own attorney, accountant, tax expert and other professionals for specific advice before taking any action.
FEBRUARY/MAR CH | 2014
Published by the North American Home Furnishings Association 500 Giuseppe Court, Suite 6 Roseville, CA 95678 800.422.3778
Tim Timmons Associate Publisher tim@retailerNOWmag.com
Mailing – Editorial:
Magazine of the North American Home Furnishings Association
Carol Bell Contents Interiors Tucson, AZ Donny Hinton Colortyme Gaffney, SC Rick Howard Sklar Furnishings Boca Raton, FL Travis Garrish Forma Furniture Fort Collins, CO Mike Luna Pedigo’s Furniture Livingston TX
Executive Staff Sharron Bradley CEO NAHFA sbradley@NAHFA.org Mary Frye EVP NAHFA mfrye@NAHFA.org Membership Staff Kaprice Crawford Membership Team Leader kcrawford@NAHFA.org Jordon Boyst Membership Team jboyst@NAHFA.org Michael Hill Membership Team mhill@NAHFA.org Eric Malone Membership Team emalone@NAHFA.org Jana Sutherland Membership Team jsutherland@NAHFA.org Dianne Therry Membership Team dtherry@NAHFA.org Please call (800) 422-3778 for all membership inquires.
from the president
Sustainability! What’s in it for me? While attending a high-level meeting at Office Depot a number of years ago, the facilitator mentioned GE had sent out a mandate to all its divisions that as a company, they were targeting to save $17 billion dollars during the coming year through green initiatives. Clearly an attention-getting sum and one I thought unrealistic—but in his next breath he let us know they achieved it in less than a year, their first year trying. Obviously green and sustainable equaled large savings, much larger than I had ever imagined. We looked at our furniture business and came up with a plan to replace our aging air conditioners with new, far more efficient units. The result was an 18 percent savings in energy consumption. Emboldened by this success, we ventured into LED lighting with the promises of saving more. The change was instant and dramatic; products looked nicer and we saved another 62 percent on our power consumption, for a whopping overall savings of 80 percent. Our payback on those expenses took less than a year. I was hooked!
President Rick Howard Sklar Furnishings Executive Chair Howard Haimsohn Lawrance Contemporary President Elect Marty Cramer Cramer’s Home Furnishings Vice President Jeff Child RC Willey Secretary/Treasurer Steve Kidder Vermont Furniture Galleries SEHFA President Wogan S. Badcock III W.S. Badcock Corp.
In the beginning, we were passengers on this journey. But soon, we got involved and began to talk to our vendors about the products they were making for us. We pushed back on things like oil-based finishes in favor of water-based. We questioned how the wood for the products was produced. Was it sustainable? Was the teak farmed? Where were the oak, mahogany and walnut coming from and were they being harvested in a sustainable way? The answers affected our buying decisions. We want trees—and forests—forever, and we want to maintain and rebuild our non-renewable resources. Rick Howard, President North American HFA
The opposite is not a scenario that we want to see. Take the Grand Banks off the shores of Newfoundland, which were once thought to have an inexhaustible supply of cod. Overfishing depleted the cod stock past the tipping point and their numbers were decimated; it is questionable whether they will ever return to health. We can look to our Great Plains and the wholesale slaughter of the American buffalo to see what happens when sustainable numbers are breached and the species fights for its very existence on the planet. But it is not all gloom and doom. People are waking up and deciding that sustainability is vital to our survival. We are buying more organic produce as we see a link between natural farming and our health. Clean water is essential and we have turned our attention toward keeping our streams, rivers, lakes and springs as pure as we can. They are our drinking water supply today and in the future. A few years ago, the word “sustainability” did not evoke much thought from me. Yet during the last decade, I have become an advocate. The concept now affects my decision-making more often than not. Today I take into consideration diet, resource usage, recycling, pollution mitigation, renewable resources and energy consumption before acting. I believe that as a collective consciousness, we are just beginning to wake up to the vast amount we can do to help conservation and become better stewards of our planet. Sustainability is a profitable and smart way to think—and our thoughts and actions will propel us to a greener, healthier future.
FEBRUARY/MAR CH | 2014
PANTONE®VIEW home + interiors 2014
from the editor Classic Houndstooth
B & W Stripes
Grisaille PANTONE 18-3912
Iron PANTONE 18-1306
Etherea PANTONE 15-1506
Silver PANTONE 14-5002
Twilight Mauve PANTONE 18-1807
Earth Tones from Pantone
How I Save the Earth I’m a bit of a softie. I love and hold onto anything that comes from my family, regardless of how decrepit it is, because it tugs at my heartstrings. A lot of my books were my mom’s in college, our sofa came from our summer home in Indiana, my desk was my great grandmother’s, many of my trinkets came from my grandma. Even my vacuum cleaner is an old family relic. I reuse everything I can. Whether it’s saving something from the landfill or repurposing something else that’s falling apart into a spectacular new piece, I will use everything until it wears out and then replace it. The way I see it, I’m saving the world in my own way. I’m not contributing to the massive amounts of trash plaguing the Earth and I’m maintaining balance in my home by hanging onto things with sentimental value. Even when it’s time to get rid of something, it can usually be chopped up into firewood or mulched into our compost bin to help our garden in the spring. I keep a philosophy of not giving anything to the Earth that she can’t handle—and if possible, I try to help her create something beautiful that can be cherished for years to come by someone else. That’s my version of sustainability. But in truth, the word can mean so many different things— whether it’s sourcing your materials from green suppliers, choosing environmentally friendly fixtures for your store or even simply maintaining the best people you have on staff. We wanted to tackle this major topic and all of its aspects for you in this issue, so be sure to catch up on the topics I just mentioned, in addition to reading about how sometimes, sustainability may not REALLY be the right choice. We don’t just talk the talk, we also walk the walk. RetailerNOW is supporting the environment personally by offering online subscriptions to the magazine. All the past issues are housed on our website, and all our content also flows into our app. This eliminates the need for issue reprints and allows us to save some trees in the process. We’d love to know what you’re doing in your store to be a good steward of the environment. Tweet us with the hashtag #sustainable and we’ll print it in the next issue!
(224) 627-3288 jennifer@retailerNOWmag.com @retailerNOW
What I’m Loving The Gallo Bar from Teracea would be a beautiful addition to my house. I love how the wood creates a houndstooth pattern, and how the style seems vintage but modern all at the same time. I can picture it in my living room right now!
Follow other products I love on pinterest.com/retailerNOW 6
FEBRUARY/MAR CH | 2014
M O R E C A S U A L T H A N Y O U M AY T H I N K .
With our traditional craftsmanship and attention to detail, Kincaid Furniture is the #1 solid wood furniture brand in the country. But did you know we also have transitional styles, beautiful upholstered furniture, customized furniture options and new collections for 2014? Find out more at KincaidFurniture.com or by calling 800-438-8207.
NEW STYLES FOR 2014
LEADING SALES TOOLS
What technology are you using in your store? Let us know at jennifer@retailerNOWmag.com!
Good to Know
3D Printers Enhance the Retail Space
goalGetter Visualize all your financial desires with goalGetter’s virtual timeline graph. The graph is interactive so you can change the goal completion date, figure out savings needed and chart progress. You can even share your timeline and goal status via email so everyone is involved in the process. Apple; Free
Source: LeapFrog 3D Printers 2013 study—Desktop 3D Printing: Adding Value for Retailers Retailers have not widely adopted 3D printing yet. While the technology has gained much attention as a way to cut costs in manufacturing, retailers can strongly benefit from it in customer interaction as well. Since there has not been much 3D printing activity in this industry yet, there is a major advantage for the retailer that dares to move first. The main reason retailers do not use 3D printing is unfamiliarity with the technology and skills needed to produce a 3D design. Most retailers have heard about 3D printing, but wonder how it can really be utilized to add value.
Benefits in Retail
Adds efficiency to the design process When designing new products, 3D printing your design to make sure it works can save considerable amounts of money since no outsourcing is needed. In addition, the feedback loop within the design iteration process, during which you design a new product or part, have it prototyped, tested and then approved or altered, is considerably shortened. Resolves stock issues Production can take place at the exact same time and location as sales, so the need for transportation and stocking is greatly reduced. When using a 3D printer, products will never be out of stock. As long as there is material to print with and the digital file of the product is available, it can be printed infinitely. Assists with marketing and sales 3D printing allows retailers to produce a small batch of a product and test these products in different regions. The result is instant market data on consumer preferences. 3D printing is also a great way of visualizing ideas and designs and showing customers how something will work in real life, whether it is a home interior or a furniture design. The ability to show a design is a valuable communication tool for selling and engaging customers in a design. Improves customer interaction and the brand experience There is a customization trend going on as customers want to distinguish themselves. They want to put their own identity on products and the brand that allows them to do this will win their hearts. For example, a major Dutch retailer is considering allowing customers to design their own buttons for clothing. By offering these customization options, retailers are able to let their audience engage with their brand. When the customer can have small parts fully customized, the details of furniture are unique. In the end, these details will define the character of a product. Allows for extra services after sales Offering a spare part service will make your products last longer and will enhance customer satisfaction. It also increases the loyalty of your customers to your brand by increasing the points of contact a retailer has with their customer. Imagine you lost one of IKEA’s specialty parts to your bed when moving. Instead of throwing out the bed, IKEA could easily provide you with a 3D printed spare part. The use of 3D printing allows any spare part to be readily available.
FEBRUARY/MAR CH | 2014
Donna Forget Siri. Donna is your new personal assistant. She will help you with all aspects of your personal and professional life, including dialing into conference calls for you, notifying you when it’s time to leave for an appointment and giving you both weather updates and directions. Apple iOS 7 only; free.
RetailerNOW Don’t forget! RetailerNOW has its very own app. Join us on your smartphone for even more chances to explore content and continue conversations. And keep your eyes open for the new NAHFA app, coming soon to your mobile device. Apple and Android; free.
What apps do you use to help run your store? Let us know at jennifer@retailerNOWmag.com.
Top Tweets @Zen_Moments The moment that any of us begins to trade principle for approval we give up our power. ~ Dennis Kucinich @ShelleyCHolmes Love brands that just tweet their blog posts all day long. #fail @EricLofholm Sales greatness starts with the mindset that you can become great. #SalesTip @RetailerNOW Have you heard of tree-free paper? http://ow.ly/stqkX
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Working in a small business can seem isolating, and without exposure to a variety of points of view, we can miss new ideas and trends that can make an impact. No matter how experienced you are, there is always something to learn. The educational options at conference show you new ways to do business and help you discover how to be more productive.
You will laugh, cry, get excited and feel a renewed sense of motivation to be a better YOU. Bob delivers an unforgettable experience that will propel you to implement the changes necessary to bring you and your business to the next level, all with just Four Words. Courtesy of Serta Mattress
Jim—Mattress Mack—McIngvale, founder of Houston’s Gallery Furniture, is an acclaimed entrepreneur and top 100 retailer known for his innovative marketing techniques and unyielding philanthropy. Mack has grown Gallery Furniture from a road-side tent to one of the most successful businesses in our industry.
The North American Home Furnishings Association is committed to providing the tools and opportunities to help retailers Sell More, Make More and Keep More. The HFNC sessions are delivering top line and bottom line tools and takeaways that will make a difference in your operation.
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Q: Why is selling (or not selling) sustainable products important and how do you show the benefits to your customers?
Mike Luna, Pedigo Furniture That’s an interesting question for our store. As a whole, sustainability hasn’t been an issue we push. We live in a Title 1 school district and are classified as a poverty area because the per-capita income average is so low. Since our local, hometown people don’t have a lot of extra money to spend, sustainable products, and the usually slight increase in price associated with them, are not of great importance to our core customers—as far as spending goes. We do get a lot of people from surrounding cities with vacation homes here that have expressed interest in sustainable products. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been enough for us to make a push for it in our store. We’ve had reasonable success with our Energy-Starrated appliances, however that’s pretty much the extent of our role in the sustainable importance for our area. Customers can see the
bottom line in how much those appliances affect their monthly utility bill and get immediate gratification. What they can’t see is how buying a green bedroom group or a living room group made by all sustainable products affects them directly (other than out of pocket expense), much less the environment.
Richard Sexton, Carolina Rustica It’s important to me personally, and I'm sure it’s the same way with our customers on a personal level, but it is NOT a major factor in their purchasing decision. What IS a major factor for some, one that does play into the purchasing decision, is if the product is made in the USA. I wish we had more manufacturers producing domestically!
ROMANCING THE BRAND By Tim Halloran
Recommended by Jennifer Billock, RetailerNOW Editor
A couple camps overnight outside an Apple store to be first to buy the new iPad. A fan tattoos a Harley Davidson logo on his ankle. A young woman claims her Diet Coke is like her boyfriend. Are they crazy? No. Research reveals that the connections we make with brands can be as deep and emotional as the relationships we have with other people. With some brands, we have wild, short-term flings. With others we “fall in love.” How can you get your customers to fall in love with your store and its products? In Romancing the Brand: How Brands Create Strong, Intimate Relationships with Consumers, branding expert Tim Halloran argues that the goal of any marketer should be to foster a deep, committed and emotionally-connected relationship with their consumer base.
FEBRUARY/MAR CH | 2014
While marketers are generally good at wooing customers to try their products in the short term, they often stumble when it comes to keeping the sparks alive in a long-term relationship. To reap the benefits of a romance, Halloran shows you secrets to identifying the right consumer, “meeting” that consumer in the right context, evolving and strengthening the relationship and, on occasion, deciding when to start over or move on. Romancing the Brand is the definitive guide to cultivating a lasting brand/consumer relationship.
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C. JOHNSON Co-owner of Johnson Hardware and Furniture Roving Reporter PHILIP Las Vegas Market 2014
Las Vegas Market has Weathered the Storm
fter some rough sledding in the furniture industry over the past several years, the look and feel of the recent Las Vegas Market at World Market Center left a decidedly different impression on this Vegas veteran. Buyers were buying, sellers were selling and there certainly appeared to be a more upbeat attitude pervading the entire campus.
For starters, Las Vegas is an easy city to access with inexpensive flights and hotel rates. I also look forward to the great restaurants and entertainment that Vegas offers. To make things even easier, I no longer stay on the strip, instead choosing to stay downtown on Fremont Street where the hotels are less expensive and closer to the WMC.
There has been plenty of change since the grand opening of Building A at WMC—changes in the furniture industry and changes in Las Vegas Market. Originally the plans for WMC called for eight buildings on 57 acres with 12 million square feet of showroom space. The unveiling of Building C in the summer of 2008 coincided with the national recession and, like the rest of America, things came to a screeching halt. Manufacturing plants closed, big names in the furniture and mattress industry went bankrupt and rumors flew that World Market Center and Las Vegas Market wouldn’t survive the downturn. While the ambitious plans for WMC stalled with the 2008 recession, the market in Las Vegas did survive. After years of speculation and empty showrooms, WMC is under new ownership and has weathered the storm. Reorganization of the three-building campus has occurred with the bottom four floors of all three buildings featuring gift and accessory showrooms that are open year-round.
The dates of Las Vegas Market also work well with my buying cycle. I especially like the mid-summer market when I am able to purchase new products and have them in my showroom in time for the important fall buying season in Montana when the crops are harvested and our farmers enjoy the fruits of their labors.
Building A is largely furniture and bedding from the 5th to the 10th floor. Building B is also furniture and bedding with Ashley covering most of the 14th floor and the entire 15th floor. The second floor of Building B is the temporary showroom for small companies and start-ups that can’t afford a larger, high-priced showroom. Building C has become almost entirely home décor, gifts and accessory showrooms with the exception of levels 14, 15 and 16, which still feature furniture, mattresses and bedding accessory companies. An additional change this year was the opening day of market being a Sunday, with market running through Thursday, instead of the usual Monday through Friday schedule. Through it all, Las Vegas Market has emerged as the go-to location for furniture, mattress and home décor retailers across the western United States. I have attended every Las Vegas Market since its inception in 2005 and have gradually focused my business on manufacturers that offer showrooms at WMC. The reasons are plenty and all affect my bottom line.
The compact nature of the WMC campus also plays a significant role in its success. There is no more traveling across a city from showroom to showroom, catching multiple cab rides and shuttles and generally wasting a great deal of time moving from place to place. Plus, the NAHFA Retailer Resource Center is in a new, easily accessible location and offers amazing education for retailers. I love the layout of WMC and plan my market schedule weeks in advance in order to ensure that I can see my most important suppliers when I want to. I always start at the top of each building and work my way down floor by floor. Occasionally I have to slide over to another building but with the crossover walkways, even this is easy and fairly quick. I try to limit my cross-building adventures by only doing it when I have an appointment scheduled with a furniture sales rep working for multiple suppliers. Over the years I have worked out a plan of attack that features an entire day in one building, complete with a free lunch. Why people pay for food at WMC is beyond me. I always schedule my mid-day appointments at showrooms that offer great food and over the years have discovered some really great free lunch spots. It’s hard to imagine that we’re closing in on the 10-year anniversary of Las Vegas Market at World Market Center. Just a few years ago there was concern that the market wouldn’t even survive but through all the ups and downs, Las Vegas has become a major destination for furniture retailers and should continue to be for years to come.
Mark your calendars for the summer show—July 27-31.
Are you visiting a show or new market event? Let us know at jennifer@retailerNOWmag.com!
FEBRUARY/MAR CH | 2014
HIGH POINT MARKET APRIL 5 -10, 2014
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Hearst Castle Hero Collection
VISIT SALON EXHIBITORS on the Ground and Mezzanine floors of Suites at Market Square. S U I T E S AT M A R K E T S Q UA R E G R O U N D A N D M E Z Z A N I N E F L O O R S
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ECO-APATHY: WHY GREEN JUST DOESN’T MATTER ANYMORE
by Dava Stewart
ometimes it seems like everywhere you turn, you encounter instances of products and services “going green.” The trend is so prevalent that there is even a term for using sustainability as a marketing ploy: greenwashing. When any trend becomes ubiquitous, it begins to feel bland and unimportant.
Customers are not so much apathetic when it comes to home furniture and sustainability as they are unaware. They don’t know to ask how the wood used is sourced, where products are built or how furniture may affect indoor air quality.
Susan Inglis, executive director of the Sustainable Furnishings Council, said, “We find from our research that consumers care Most marketing advice for retailers includes some reference to about the whole range of sustainability issues, from the climate sustainable, green practices. In reality, few customers ask questions crisis to poor indoor air quality, to toxic waste pollution, to about how the furniture on the showroom floor was produced, or depletion of natural resources, etc. BUT they often do not think whether the materials it is made of were recycled. Since the ques- about how their choices in home furnishings can impact these tions aren’t coming, it may seem as if customers don’t care, and if areas. When their salesperson points out that a product is U.S. customers don’t care, should retailers? made, or of a recycled material, or toxin-free, they respond with enthusiasm, but they do not usually walk into the store asking for these eco-attributes. It is up to the salesperson to point them Do your customers really care? The first thing retailers must determine is whether customers are out—and there are plenty of options to point out!" interested in sustainability at all. The Sustainable Furnishings Council conducts an annual survey to help assess customers’ levels How can retailers fill the gaps? of concern regarding sustainability. The survey questions are struc- Clearly, there is a gap between consumer concern and consumer tured to determine consumers’ concerns about the environment knowledge. Customers want to make choices that are environand sustainability in general, the changes (if any) they are making mentally friendly but aren’t aware of their options. Retailers, on in their day-to-day lives to reduce their families’ ecological impact the other side of the equation, want to provide enough informaand how sustainability issues affect their furniture purchases. tion to help consumers make good choices, but don’t want to bore or alienate them. Increasingly, the survey finds that consumers do care about sustainability. They particularly care about indoor air quality and climate One point many retailers may find surprising is that consumers change, which are two areas that the furniture industry can directly are often confused by the terms used to discuss sustainability impact. However, consumers don’t usually make the connection within the industry. For example, most consumers do not unbetween furniture and big environmental issues. derstand the term “certified wood.” However, “environmentally friendly” and “sustainable” are well known and widely understood terms. What ARE customers thinking about? As most furniture retailers know, customers have three main concerns when it comes to making purchases for the home: style, The number one way that consumers are personally taking action value and budget. Virtually all shoppers come to the showroom to improve the environment is recycling in the home. Although floor with a budget in mind, whether it is a luxury-level budget or they may not understand “certified wood,” customers do unan economy-minded budget. Most of them also have an idea of derstand when a salesperson says that the materials making up a the style they are looking for—it would be unusual for a person piece of furniture are sourced, in part, through recycling. who prefers a modern, contemporary look to decide to purchase something in the Victorian style, for example. Finally, everyone What are the logical next steps? loves to make a purchase that feels like a great value. Education is the key. Professionals on showroom floors need to understand consumer concerns and how to begin conversations about sustainability. Consumers need to know that eco-friendly, But how do style, value and budget sustainable furnishing options exist. intersect with sustainability? Customers do care about sustainability and the environment, but those concerns are not exactly top-of-mind when they enter a The fact that an item was produced sustainably is not enough home furnishings store. Some of the questions on the Sustainable alone to make a sale. However, when a customer is making Furnishings Council’s survey are designed to find out why consum- a choice between two similar items, knowledge that one was ers are not asking ecology-related questions when they are shopping sustainably produced may be a deciding factor. It is essential for for furniture. As it turns out, the biggest reason is that they don’t salespeople to have the knowledge and ability to communicate know environmentally friendly options are available. about sustainability issues.
Dava Stewart is a freelance writer based in Chattanooga, Tenn. She covers a wide range of topics and can be found online at www.smilingtreewriting.com.
FEBRUARY/MAR CH | 2014
by Sheryl DeVore
hich is better for the environment—hardwood floors or bamboo floors? If you’ve read all the hype lately, you’ll probably answer bamboo. After all, it grows quickly, it’s sustainable and it can be used to make flooring, baskets, skateboards, even headphones and computer keyboards.
Palm oil, too, seems to be a great environmental choice. It requires a lot less land to obtain oil from palm trees than it does from soybeans. A product that gets higher yields using less land sounds like a green choice. Dig a little further, however, and you’ll discover that products touted as being sustainable aren’t necessarily the best environmental or humane choice—there’s habitat destruction, transportation and work conditions to be considered.
Meanwhile, orangutan populations have decreased by approximately 50 percent in the wild because of the destruction of their habitat to create palm oil plantations, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. In Indonesia, labor unions have protested to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil that employees are receiving low wages and working in unsafe conditions. In some cases, child labor is used to harvest the oil.
Sustainability refers to the fact that materials taken from the environment can replenish themselves. Those that grow more quickly are said to be more sustainable.
➨ Was transportation cost and pollution considered? ➨ Did the sustainable forest destroy the habitat of native plants or animals? ➨ Were toxic products used to produce the product?
➨ What are the working conditions for the employees? As one of the fastest-growing plants, bamboo can be harvested in three years, while oak trees can take dozens of years or more before they can be cut. Plus Once the raw material is harvested, bamboo—grown in Southeast Asia including China and India— workers need to create products people regenerates every few years without needing to be replanted. will buy, leading to another set of environmental problems. Bamboo products But because of the high demand for bamboo, growers are begin- are often made by using toxic products ning to use fertilizers for quicker harvesting and they are clearing such as formaldehyde, which outgasses native forests to create more bamboo plantations, said Jeffrey Howe, in people’s homes as well as harms the president of Dovetail Partners, Inc. The 10-year-old watchdog health of workers. group researches products to discover the impacts and trade-offs on the environment. Another part of the environmental life cycle of foreign products that needs to These forests provide homes to native plants and animals, includ- be considered is transportation. For exing the giant panda, an endangered species, and the red panda, a ample, the bamboo harvested in China species whose numbers are declining. While China seems to be is put on a truck, taken to a port, then getting the idea that clearing too much forest harms the giant loaded on a ship, then loaded on a truck panda, India continues to clear forests that threaten the existence to the Midwest, said Jim Bowyer, direcof native animals, Howe said. Red panda populations are declining tor of responsible materials program for across much of their range because their forested homes are being Dovetail Inc. Considering all the gas cleared, according to the World Wildlife Foundation. that’s used for transportation, “that’s a
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high environmental cost,” he said. Bowyer goes so far as to say that domestically produced oak could be, in the long run, more environmentally sound than some bamboo products. It might seem like you’d have to wade through a quagmire of facts and articles to decide which international products are truly environmentally friendly. It helps just knowing that international watchdog groups such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil and Dovetail, Inc., are out there to keep manufacturers and growers honest. In addition, manufacturers are starting to get called on the carpet, so to speak, about selling products that aren’t grown sustainably. Gibson guitars, for example, paid a $300,000 fine for violating the Lacey Act, which requires firms to obtain timber products legally. The ebony and rosewood imported from Madagascar and India to build some if its products were, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, illegally obtained by deforesting areas where rare animals such as lemurs live. The average retailer and buyer can do some of their own digging as well. You can look for certification systems on products, such as bamboo. One company, Smith & Fong, sells sustainable bamboo, Howe said. It’s been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. You can also go online to learn if a product has received an international environmental product declaration (EPD), which means it’s an environmentally sound product based on examining its life cycle from planting to harvesting to transporting to manufacturing. It’s a green yardstick for all kinds of products. Check www.environdec.com and you’ll find, for example, that Monini olive oil, sold in North America, has received the EPD stamp of approval. So too has Barilla pasta, and Cormo windows are created with nontoxic substances. Or check ecologo.org, which lists products for consumers and retailers that have been examined throughout their lifecycle to gain environmental certification. “Everybody has to make their own choices,” Howe said. But if you ask specific questions and do some homework, you’re likely to make a better choice. He’s optimistic that getting the dirt on truly sustainable products will get easier.
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IS MORE THAN JUST A BUZZWORD! by Philip M. Gutsell
According to popular definition, “sustainability is the capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the potential for long-term maintenance of well-being, which has ecological, political and cultural dimensions.” Webster’s also says “of, relating to or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged.”
I have been teaching the importance of selling value instead of price in my sales classes for more than 40 years. (I guess that makes me sustainable!) Many years ago, I observed that customers fundamentally make their buying decisions not on price or savings, but rather on value. In one of my seminars, “How to Sell Value Instead of Price,” I teach a mathematical formula for making a sale. It takes 6 to 15 B = V. If V is ≥ P = T. The translation is: It takes six to fifteen benefits to equal value. If the value is greater than or equal to the price, it will end with a transaction. Customers do not buy price nor do they buy features. They buy value. Value is established by the direct result of the number of benefits. If one of the customer’s key benefits is not met, then the customer will not buy. Take sustainability for instance. I once had a retail customer ask me where our lowest advertised price recliner was located. This gentleman had to be 6’5” tall and weighed about 275 pounds. I took him to our advertised leader. When he saw the chair he asked me about the warranty. That was a signal to me that he was concerned about this product’s sustainability. I knew this inexpensive chair would not be sustainable for someone his size. So I asked him “Would you like to see a recliner that will fit you better and you will not have to be concerned about the warranty (sustainability)?” He said yes and I took him to the top-of-the-line model that better met his needs, which he bought. Sustainability is more than a buzzword. It is a dramatic and life-improving benefit. More of our customers care about their environment and being eco-friendly than ever before. While only a small percentage today demand these types of products, the demand continues to grow every year. Look at the increase in hybrid vehicles and electric cars. In our own industry we now offer hybrid mattresses. Recently while shopping for a new washer and dryer, the salesperson kept pointing out that many models offered special eco-boost buttons to save on energy and water. My only question was, why the button? Why not just make the machine eco-friendly like some of the products we offer in the home furnishings industry? Look at all of our sustainable products—long-lasting leather covers, natural cotton fabrics, recyclable wood frames and steel springs.
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Further proof is the proliferation of offering consigned furniture, which was formerly known as used furniture. Consigning furniture recycles pre-owned pieces in a sustainable way, allowing customers to buy new and even more sustainable products. Sustainability may be best benefit we can offer our customers beyond the fundamental six most common benefits, which are comfort, color, style, size (scale and proportion), durability and wearability. I want to add sustainability to the basic six and change the formula to: 7 to 15 B=V. Recently a young friend emailed asking my advice on a leathermatch sectional with a chaise lounge. He said it was exactly the style he liked, but his wife thought it was too low to the ground. He also asked if it was a sustainable product and if it would last for 10 to 15 years. The price was less than $1,000 and I’d never heard of the brand. Since I was going to market, I told him I would do some investigating. Not only could I not find the brand
at market, none of my industry colleagues knew of it either; it could have been a private label. When I returned from market I informed him he should pay closer attention to his bride’s concern and I half-jokingly said that while I personally liked the design, he was no longer a bachelor and that his condo was no longer his man-cave. I then suggested several retailers I thought could meet his needs. He found a new sectional for around $3,200; his wife loved that it was higher off the ground, fuller cut and all leather. With tax, it was about $500 dollars over his budget. I told him to go ahead and get it. The cost is only $50 more per year for the 10 years he wanted to keep the sofa. Living in downtown Chicago, he walks to work every day and usually has a vanilla latte that costs around $5 with tip. Would he give up one vanilla latte a month to get the sectional he wanted, that would last for 10 years and make his bride happy? Naturally he had to answer yes if he wanted to sustain his marriage. Sustainability is more than a buzzword—it is the ultimate benefit!
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FEBRUARY/MAR CH | 2014
by Brad Huisken
inding great people has never been as big an issue as it The number one thing people want out of their job or career is is today. The days of operating a furniture store with the ability to be and/or feel successful. Therefore, it is up to the clerks are long gone. It is now the day of the furniture owner and manager of the store to create an environment of sales professional. Putting people in the right positions personal growth and development. I have always believed that has always been a difficult part of owning and manag- if you surround yourself with great people, those who want to ing a furniture store. Keeping great people is even more difficult. get better as professionals and human beings, then you can’t It seems as though the great people are always on their way to help but be successful. When hiring people, I would take them bigger and better things and/or just passing through. While this through a pre-determined set of interview questions, test them may be true in many cases, I still believe that there are plenty of for their sales, math and reading skills, administer a personality great people available. The furniture store owner of today has to profile selection tool and only hire people that fell within certain hire the right people, train them and then create an environment parameters. Once you have the right people in the right positions, where they will want to stay and build a career. Some companies you can work to sustain and grow them into superstars that will even have a list of people wanting to come to work for them. It be loyal, productive and successful—and want to stay with you. can happen, but it isn’t easy.
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Great companies are those that create a winning culture where people want to stay. In order to create that culture the company must have: A vision statement everyone in the company believes in and works to achieve everyday. A commitment from everyone at the company to constant learning through training, seminars, book reports, trade journals and internet research. Learning must be a primary focal point of all concerned. Elimination of the “brotherhood of the miserable.” Get rid of the people that will not live up to expectations and will become a cancer within an organization. These people will completely destroy a company. People that fit the company. People that share the same values and are performing are the people you want to stay. If not, they have to go. Communication. In a winning culture, there is constant communication. Morning huddles with the staff, weekly one-on-ones with each staff member and weekly staff meetings are all great ways to communicate. You should constantly talk about vision, goals, productivity, strengths, weaknesses and standards. Engagement of both customers and employees. With customers, ask for their feedback. What is their perception of your store and your people? Is it a place they will want to come back to again and again? Engage your employees through your weekly one-on-ones. Do they have all the tools necessary to do their job and make productivity quotas? Are they getting the positive reinforcement that they want and deserve? Be sure you listen in on live customer conversations a minimum of three times per week. This will give you the opportunity to pick and chose your battles. Positive comments must be a minimum of 5 to 1 over any negative comments.
Continuity. Everybody needs to be on the same page, working for the same company, with the same values, to accomplish the same things. The bulls-eye of continuity is productivity and happy customers. Through happy customers you will have productivity, which leads to profits, which leads to added commissions, which leads to a happy sales staff. Continuous improvement. Everyone should work together to get better every day. Share what was learned each day and how it will help achieve productivity numbers, added commissions and more happy customers. Celebrations. Celebrate every win a team member has and everything the total team has accomplished. Bring in lunch, take them out to dinner, give high fives or pats on the back— just let people know how much they are appreciated. In addition to creating a winning culture, a company must consistently apply good, solid, basic business principles. Those are: Giving people all the training they need to be successful. There are four areas where sales people need training: sales and communications techniques, product knowledge, customer service and company operations. Holding everyone accountable for their performance. Statistics are the only true measure of performance. If you want to improve something, you have to track it. People will improve what you inspect, not necessarily what you expect. Providing goals and objectives to achieve. Goals have to be attainable, based on factual information, written, posted and continually discussed. Implementing non-negotiable sales, customer service and operations standards. Sales standards are things that will have a direct effect on sales and profits. Customer service standards are things that will have a direct effect on first and last impressions. Operational standards are things that will have a direct effect on how the business is operated. People want and need to have fun at their jobs. The culture you establish within the store will determine their level of success and thus sustain them as part of the workforce. If you have done all the right things to enable your salesperson to be and feel successful and they are being financially and emotionally rewarded, then they will want to stay and grow within the organization you have created.
Author, trainer, consultant and speaker Brad Huisken is President of IAS Training. For a free subscription to his newsletter or more information contact IAS Training at (800) 248-7703, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.iastraining.com or fax (303) 936-9581.
FEBRUARY/MAR CH | 2014
Grant Laidlaw VP of Sales Eric Clarke President
Locations: Puyallup, WA Mira Loma, CA • Morganton, NC Fax: 828-764-4461 • Phone: 855-208-6377 Email: sales@NWFXpress.com Please contact Grant Laidlaw VP Sales at 778-549-3188 or email@example.com to review your transportation needs.
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MARKET TO SOMEONE WHO CARES: THE MILLENNIALS
Top 4 ways to market sustainable products to Millennials by Christine Carter
y now most retailers understand the power of my generation, also known as Generation Y or Millennials. According to a 2011 report from The Boston Consulting Group, Service Management Group and Barkley, Millennials represent 25 percent of the U.S. population and have an annual direct spending power estimated at $200 billion. The 80 million members of the Millennial generation are expected to remain the most affluent generation. And in case you didn’t know, we influence consumer spending across other generations as well (Baby Boomers, Generation X). In plain English: If you’re not targeting some of your creative and web communications (postcards, emails, in-store signage, etc.) to Millennials, you’re missing out on sales revenue. Period.
Just weeks ago, results from the latest KPMG Ethical Consumption survey sparked a deeper discussion regarding Millennial spending on sustainable products. According to the survey, nearly 70 percent of Millennial consumers consider social issues such as sustainability, human rights and fair trade before making a purchase. Compare that to fewer than 50 percent of consumers across all generations who feel the same way, and you might think social issues primarily influence our buying habits. They do not. They are one of several factors, including convenience, peer reviews and price. Some Millennials may believe in the importance of sustainability, but not all of us are totally buying it. Case in point: I made 2013 the year my family and I worried less about the price of goods at grocery stores and more about the sustainability and fair trade of those goods. For a year I gave up the convenience of a quick trip to my local supermarket and made the trek to Whole Foods in the hopes that we all would eat real, healthy and humane foods. By December my skin cleared, my husband lost weight and my daughter sprouted like a tree… but the experience was not easy. It was not economical for a thrifty person like me and I’m questioning how scalable living “environmentally YOLO-minded” will be for our family moving forward. But if you’re a retailer who truly believes in fair trade, conflict-free and environmentally friendly practices, how do you convince Millennial consumers like me to understand the impact of sustainable products AND turn that understanding into continued sales revenue for your store?
Market discounts on sustainable items to all Millennials. It’s no secret that Millennials are spending less due to the economy (a reported 50 percent), and as a result more and more are either using coupons or shopping at discount stores. Since going green unfortunately costs more green, the best way to market sustainable items to Millennials is to discount them whenever possible. Package together sustainable goods with a similar theme (household cleaning, home décor) and sell them at a reduced cost. Market everyday items, not large purchases, as sustainable. While fewer Millennials are purchasing personal vehicles, the KPMG Ethical Consumption survey did reveal Millennials focus more on social issues when considering large purchases like jewelry, computers, consumer electronics, large appliances, furniture and cars. If you’re a local retailer who only carries conflict-free jewelry or a craftsman who builds all the home furnishings in your store, 41 percent of Millennials will frequently consider social issues when buying your goods. Use this to your advantage and make it one of your customer value propositions.
Market kid-friendly items to Millennial moms. Just like moms across all generations, Millennial moms are concerned about the products their children interact with and eat. Retailers with products for children should clearly communicate the benefits of their products on children. For example, stores that carry bamboo bedding should mention that bamboo fiber is mildew and mold resistant, making it perfect for infants and toddlers with sensitive skin.
Market the long-term value of sustainable goods. Millennials are vain. A reported 73 percent of us exercise to enhance our physical appearance due to our desire to impress others. If you’re the storeowner of an organic market, advertise on in-store signage the long-term effects of industrially raised food (low nutritional value, infertility, system damage and even cancer) vs. your produce. I guarantee the Millennial consumer’s emotional response will convert into a sale. You’ll be targeting the ludicrous part of our psyche that actually believes we’ll be able to preserve our 27-year-old body for the rest of our lives. Christine Carter is the owner of Epps Consulting. Carter is an established thought leader for marketing to Millennial consumers. Epps Consulting provides customized and affordable marketing, web and public relations support to small business retailers and store owners. Learn more at eppsconsulting.com and www.facebook.com/eppsconsulting.
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Unpictured: Tom Halvorsen and Mark Comolli
BUSINESS THOUGHTS FROM THE SUSTAINABLE FURNISHINGS COUNCIL
Rob Luce, President & CEO, Lazar Industries
Tim Copeland, CEO, Copeland Furniture
Kevin Aylward, President, Prairie Rugs
by Stephanie Lowder of Rare Bird Creative for SFC
Gerry Cooklin, SFC Founding President Andrew Palecek, Palecek Imports Patty Grossman, CEO & Co-founder O Ecotextiles
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Gerry Cooklin, SFC Founding President I founded South Cone in 1987 selling handmade mirrors. By 1997 we were Peru’s largest furniture manufacturer, responsible for 75 percent of the country’s production. In 2001, we began to learn about the threat of global warming and the relationship with mahogany harvesting in the rainforest. We invested a lot of resources, hiring forestry engineers, developing new wood sources, researching alternative woods. We became the first large high-end furniture manufacturer to earn Forest Stewardship Council certification, and people began to call us a world leader in sustainable furniture. We also committed ourselves to social responsibility. Our labor force was provided daily meals at work and fully supported with comprehensive health and pension benefits. We reached out to the people of the Amazon and founded a non-profit to ensure indigenous people would benefit directly from sustainable forest management practices. We haven’t fully implemented chemical-free finishing. We’ve identified everything necessary to make that step, but it will take bringing material costs down to a reasonable level. In Peru every single component must be imported, which increases costs 200 percent. We’ll continue to work with SFC to gauge how much sustainability can be supported by business, and we are going to be the first in our country with completely sustainable wood finishing. We are hardcore believers. We began the sustainable journey thinking that it had to happen no matter what the monetary cost. We’re learning that environmental, organizational and economic sustainability support each other. I challenged the industry to stop destroying the environment and to join in developing cooperative, sustainable business practices to meet increasing consumer demand for corporate responsibility. I wrote letters to key leaders. I threw a few good parties and began to attempt to raise consciousness. This guy is nuts—I heard it many times. I think I am nuts about the environment. Of course we can just stick with the status quo, we can say let’s just keep buying wood from anybody without asking where it comes from, let’s just keep doing what we do, let’s not get excited about it. But I can’t, because of the facts. I’m a scientist first and foremost—a chemical engineer, which is why I understand how complex our environmental situation is, how we’re really getting in trouble as a species and why I feel such an urgency. There is not one informed scientist who will not tell you that the rate of our climate change is drastic and dire. This is a do or die thing. The rope is about to break. If talking with passion and doing something about it right now is nuts, I think everybody should be nuts. What keeps me going, clearly, has to do with my spiritual search, my need to come closer to meaning. Basically, at some point it became a knowing in my core being that sustainability is of critical importance for the very survival of the human race. There is no end to the path of sustainability. I took a lot of steps. And it really isn’t that hard to take a little action. Just get started. Put on your boots and start hiking. The sooner the better. One business rule never to break: Tell the truth. Just tell the truth. Be transparent. 28
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Rob Luce, President & CEO, Lazar Industries, LLC Advertising, sales and marketing—I think that background enables me to bring a new, fresh perspective to furniture. When you’re selling fabric—and in the upholstery business, we’re selling fabric—you have a much better chance to advance when you come from sales and marketing rather than from the production side. We’re not waiting for shoppers to ask. We’re training retail sales associates to ask them: Do you recycle at home? Do you try to buy more environmentally friendly products for your family? Would you like to see similar upholstery choices, more sustainable, at no extra cost? There are two different ways to brand a company in our industry: Branding directly to the consumer, or becoming the retailer’s best resource. We want to be the numberone most profitable special-order seating company, the number-one best resource, for our retailers. That’s my ultimate goal. One thing that is definitely positive in the current business economy is that we’re seeing financing coming back into hospitality, especially in the renovation side—which is great for American manufacturers like us. Hotel architects and designers have certain needs, like needing product that can be delivered in stages, which is very difficult for overseas manufacturers to do. We’re only about a five percent difference in price for comparable China-made products now, and there is opportunity. There’s a market for the special order service and the quality control available in American products like ours. Many mills are starting to bring their production back to the U.S., too. That’s a big deal. We ship our major retailers in about two weeks (special order), and our general accounts in about four weeks. If I can make a change in product or deliver a rush order in 20 days—that’s a big deal. This is where an American company can dominate. I love the whole concept of bringing product to market. And I’ve always loved leading, because there’s so much learning involved in it. If I weren’t in the furniture business, I’d probably be working with a non-profit, raising money. I love what’s going on with the renewable energy side of the work, the movement and development in solar energy—I think that’s an area where I could be helpful.
Tim Copeland, CEO, Copeland Furniture The most fun part of my work? Anticipating the future. I cannot help but be optimistic. For those of us U.S.-based manufacturers who have carved out an upper-end brand niche and managed to hold our own in the last decade, I think the worst is behind us. The sustainable story is an important component of our brand. I think it’s fairly clear to our customer that we make a better product and a more sustainable product.
Andrew Palecek, Palecek Imports, Inc.
It’s not that we’re morally superior to anyone. It’s because we use and have always used materials from within our state. We don’t consume a great deal of energy shipping materials halfway around the world.
It’s a family business first of all, figuratively and literally. We consider each person a vital family member. It’s the Palecek family, and not just the ones who have the last name. And it always will be.
There’s a predilection of rural New England landowners to take care of their holdings, their woodlots, because it’s their birthright. The people who supply our lumber have made their living off working the forest for generations, and they intend to continue doing so. Vermont has the highest environmental standards in the U.S.
We’re one of Richmond, California’s largest employers. Of course we support many community projects and organizations, including the Richmond Fire Department, and others in several counties.
We do own some woodland, 60 acres of land that’s all forest— spruce, pine, hemlock, maple. We don’t use that in our factory. That’s just a dot. If we harvested lumber there, it might meet our production for one day.
We offer sustainable fabrics like bamboo and hemp. But 60 to 70 percent of our upholstery is leather. We do a very nice job in leather.
Made in America is another very important brand component for us. For us it’s not some phrase manufactured in the marketing department—it’s a reality. Made in America goes hand-in-glove with sustainability. I think our customers understand the importance of American-harvested hardwoods, which are harvested and used more responsibly. It kind of feels like we’re the only ones left standing. Of course there are other regional players, but they seem to be focused on tighter niches, and they don’t have national brand presence in the way that we do. The older you get, the more realistic you get. I came of age at a time that, not withstanding the turmoil of the ‘60s, was ripe for entrepreneurs. You could take a good idea and build a company without too many obstacles. I think it’s a lot more complicated now to put together an enterprise. So there’s a smaller community of startups and entrepreneurs. I guess the goal will always be out there, ahead of us, to be better than we are; which for me is to be bigger than we are. We have about 100 employees; I want to double that level and gain a little bit bigger piece of the pie. How do we plan to do that? By putting one foot in front of the other. By continuing to recruit and retain good sales people, growing our distribution in North America and bringing new product to market.
There is always an opportunity in outdoor. We try to launch a new outdoor collection every October. We have four or five total now. There is always an opportunity. And we always need to have a point of difference. Teamwork or flying solo? Teams, always! There’s too much to do when you’re on your own. To be able to bounce ideas off coworkers, vendors, customers, reps—that’s the only way to get the best possible products to market. Only a very few people can work in a vacuum and still bring the best possible ideas to market. I wasn’t always sure I wanted to come into this industry at all. I went to Wyoming for a short time to pursue a career in skiing, then to Italy for eight months or so. Then in 2004 I went to the Philippines to investigate the Palecek business. I worked in quality control and expediting, and I fell in love with it. What I love most is the challenge, taking bold risks in design and fashion and aesthetics and hoping what you love will sell. It’s quite a challenge to find products, to design things, that you believe will sell. And then watch them sell—or not sell. I’d like to improve the sustainability process, to dig a little deeper, establish percentage goals and move toward them. We’re always looking at finishing processes and chain of custody, always making green choices wherever possible. With more and more purchasing and logistics requirements, it’s only going to get better.
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Patty Grossman, CEO and Co-founder, O Ecotextiles There’s nothing simple about fabric or furniture or any industry that uses fabrics. I never knew this business was going to be so complicated. It’s taken me years to learn what I needed to learn to be a good salesperson in fabrics. I was really good at electronics.
Organic fabric—completely organic fiber and processing—has been way too expensive for anyone other than couture furnishings. We’ve been working to bring the prices down—our newest fabric comes in at less than $10 a yard. For volume orders we can price it lower. We’re nearing the second production run. How did we achieve this? We made a couple of risky moves that turned out to be successful. We had to start with the farmers; we contracted with farmers three years ago. We agreed to pay them a nice price, but an even price ongoing. Then we had to invest in a manufacturing company with the capability to process affordable organic fabrics. We found companies in Romania and in China with a history of hemp/linen production, and we added technology that allows the processing to cost less. They’re located near farmers who were using the flax oil and then just burning the fiber for fuel. So we were able to bring the price down drastically for bast fiber.
Tom Halvorsen, VP Sales and Marketing, West Brothers Furniture We’re primarily a solid wood manufacturer at mid to upper price points. We offer exceptional quality, style, scale and customer service. We don’t say it. We do it. Integrity. That one word defines West Brothers. We do not sell online. We won’t compromise the quality of our product to lower the price. Efficiency, that’s something we’re always improving. What makes a good salesperson? The need to achieve and make money with credibility and hard work. We see opportunity in sustainability. We’re constantly looking for ways to reduce waste and conserve resources, in new and older products, and in packaging. We believe everyone has the right to a healthy environment. We’re a very low-waste facility. We order upper grades of pre-selected wood, but even then 30 to 40 percent is unusable in our furniture. But ALL of the wood that comes into our factory is used somehow. If not in furniture, then to heat the factory, or it is ground and sold at a modest price for bedding filler. West Brothers makes a donation to the Arbor Day Foundation for every product sold at retail. You harvest a tree, you plant a tree. The most fun part of my work is people—the good, the bad and the ugly. All are opportunities for growth and knowledge. 30
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There will always be synthetics in the fabric industry, there has to be. But right now the green state of affairs in synthetics is so poor, the synthetics industry needs to make some major changes and progress before we can possibly go there. Bamboo. There are basically two ways you can turn bamboo into fiber. Either the viscose process, which is exactly like what is used to create rayon, with all of its green problems. Or you can directly spin the bamboo—bamboo is a grass/leaf product, not a bast fiber, but we treat it like a bast fabric and we spin it directly. We’ve got to get the story directly to the consumer—particularly to the parents of children. A lot of parents are aware that phthalates have now been banned in toys. In California they’re incredibly careful to keep these toxic toys out of their homes. They probably don’t know that 90 percent of home textiles are full of the stuff. There is a lot of unintentional greenwashing and a lot of intentional greenwashing going on. We’re not perfect. But there’s too much acceptance of meaningless green steps. I encourage SFC to adopt the very reasonable work of their textile and standards committee regarding fabrics. We need to make progress on that point, or we’re going to trivialize the work, and that would be a disaster. Knowledgeable people can disagree. But something we all really need to be doing as consumers is demanding real change. Change will come if consumers demand it. Go out of your way to use GOTS certified organic fabrics—organic fiber and processing. Gobal Organic Textile Standard is the most stringent standard. If you can’t find certified GOTS, then just tell them—suppliers, designers, or at retail—that you’re interested in buying GOTS, or third-party certified green fabrics. Let them know.
Kevin Aylward, President, Prairie Rugs Inc.
Mark Comolli, Director of Markets, Forestry Division, The Rainforest Alliance
It’s as old an idea as there is. It’s a rag rug. Cotton. Woven in India from scraps of high-grade cotton originally woven for bedding. Colored with organic dyes, triple washed, sun dried, woven on manual looms. No machinery. No automation. And the wash water is used to irrigate plantings around the factory. It’s inherently green, inherently sustainable.
We’re focused on making significant differences in sustainable rainforests by educating and engaging furniture, green building, and paper and packaging markets worldwide. My specialty is in all phases of manufacturing, sales and management of these forest products.
It’s impossible to ascertain origin of the cotton. We purchase the scraps by bidding on bales in the market. Huge bales. Then we sort the scraps into grades, and we use the highest grades of cotton to make our rugs. They’re the thickest, most durable, highest quality cotton rag rug available anywhere.
My early career was in the domestic woods market in the Pacific Northwest. Basically if you lived in Oregon at that time, you worked in wood products. Some of the foresters told us, this is the way you do it, clear-cut. For 15 years the forest industry had its head in the sand. I thought I could help forestry in general by going to work with a non-profit.
We try to make continual improvement in manufacturing and processes. Ten years ago we used to clean the scrap cotton with bleach, now we use biodegradable detergent, for instance.
Our program is about corporate engagement. Our goal is to help U.S. and international corporations establish responsible purchasing policies that gradually but steadily move toward more sustainable practices and FSC-certified sourcing. We are working to get corporations to establish buying policies that require the use of certified wood products. I like working with big corporations because their steps are bigger and more impactful. I really like going in at the top levels of companies and educating about the opportunity and the impact these individuals can have, the people who can actively make the decision to do something different. Lipton has made a large commitment in tea farming. Mars has made a big commitment in cocoa. Staples has made a huge difference; all of the paper sold and used in their stores now is certified. Marks & Spencer is probably the leading retailer in the world on sustainability. They stepped out and said there is no Plan B, we’re just going to do it. It has really helped their brand. Knoll sets a very good example on the office furniture side; 95 percent of their wood products are FSC-certified. We’re working with some very large outdoor furniture and decking manufacturers in South America, making big changes. On the residential furniture side, some retailers have carried FSC-certified products, but the largest retailers and manufacturers have yet to come forth. So much residential production is in China where it’s really hard to know where your wood is coming from. We need the first movers.
Absolutely no child labor involved. My wife’s from India, she’s a Hindi-speaker, that’s one way we verify how things are going. The female weavers in India will not speak to a man, but they’ll speak to a woman. So when she visits with me, my wife will find opportunity to speak with the women and verify how they are doing. They reuse and repair everything in India. Everything is used and recycled until there is nothing left. It’s wonderful. YogasanaRugs.com is another project I’m very excited about; it holds real promise and is taking a lot of my focus. It’s a 2x6 cotton yoga mat. The world’s most durable, ecological, sustainable yoga mat. I’m getting inquiries from all over the world, even New Zealand. Think about it, what do you do during yoga practice? Sweat. As opposed to the sticky mats, cotton absorbs and as it gets damp, there’s more grip. Cotton is so good for that application. And the other thing—our rugs are made in a region where yoga had its origin, and originally people were doing yoga on cotton or wool rugs. From original Sanskrit, “yoga” means “union,” and “asana” is one of the postures in the practice of yoga. We want to create a connection between the one who makes the rug and the one who uses the rug. Each mat is signed by the weaver. We’re dedicating part of the proceeds to the community—we’ll buy blankets for winter, school books for the kids, fund an eye clinic. It’s the law of karma—what you give, you get back. Best sales advice? The most important person is the person in front of you. Because that’s really all there is anyway.
MDF or particleboard imported from overseas is a challenge in the furniture industry right now. It’s harder to track and control because it’s a byproduct of sawmills. Don’t underestimate the impact you can have as an individual. If you are buying something, you can ask for FSC-certified items. If you are working within a company, you can have an impact on what your company is doing in sustainability. You can have an impact.
FEBRUARY/MAR CH | 2014
What is it? It’s whitewashing, but with a green brush. Everyone’s heard the expression “whitewashing”—it’s defined as “a coordinated attempt to hide unpleasant facts, especially in a political context.” “Greenwashing” is the same premise, but in an environmental context. It’s greenwashing when a company or organization spends more time and money claiming to be green through advertising and marketing than actually implementing business practices that minimize environmental impact. It’s whitewashing, but with a green brush. A classic example is an energy company that runs an advertising campaign touting a green technology they’re working on—but that green technology represents only a sliver of the company’s otherwise not-so-green business, or may be marketed on the heels of an oil spill or plant explosion. Or a hotel chain that calls itself green because it allows guests to choose to sleep on the same sheets and reuse towels, but actually does very little to save water and energy where it counts—on its grounds, with its appliances and lighting, in its kitchens and with its vehicle fleet.
How Do I Spot It?
There are plenty of good companies telling their environmental stories to the world, and even some who aren’t but should be. Some do it well; others don’t know where to begin. So what is considered good green marketing?
Here are a few tips on what to look for so you don’t get greenwashed, or so you’re not greenwashing yourselves: 1. The Truth: If you see a green ad, take a look at the company as a whole. Can you easily find more information about its sustainable business practices on its website? Does it have a comprehensive environmental story? Is there believable information to substantiate the green claims you saw in the ad? If not, buyer beware. 2. The Whole Truth: Next, try this. Google the company name plus the word “environment” and see what pops up. This is far from scientific, but if consumers or environmental advocates have a beef with the company’s track record, something’s bound to show. 3. And Nothing But the Truth: “I know it when I see it.” Those are the words of Supreme Court Justice Warren Potter in a ruling on hard-core pornography in 1964. As weird as it may seem, those are words to live by for the consumer and green marketing claims. If you spot a green ad, how does it strike your gut? Does it ring true and authentic, or is it obviously hype? Smart shoppers abound globally, and your own scrutiny of green marketing claims is one more item to throw into your shopping cart.
Why is Greenwashing a Problem? Seems like anything and everything has “gone green” these days. Airlines, car companies, retailers, restaurants—heck, even networks and stadiums. Thankfully, more often than not, that’s a good thing. It’s only bad if it’s greenwashing—that’s bad for the environment, consumers and, ultimately, for the very businesses doing the greenwashing—whether they mean to or not. Environment: At its very worst, greenwashing is bad for the environment because it can encourage consumers en masse to do the opposite of what’s good for the environment. At its most benign, greenwashing makes claims that are neither good nor bad for the environment—it’s just making green claims to sell more stuff. Consumers: We’ve all heard of lemon laws and baitand-switch. Nobody likes to be taken advantage of, especially when it comes to money. So, the next time you see an environmental claim, ask yourself about “The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth” before you buy. The last thing you want to do is spend money on a product or service you believe is doing right by the environment, but in reality is not— or not as much as the ad might lead you to believe. Businesses: Smart businesses are finding out that doing right by the environment actually does increase profitability in many cases. With so many easy ways for businesses to reduce their environmental impact or improve their products and processes, it’s just sad when they don’t. It’s even worse when they don’t make changes and claim to be a green company just to push their agenda. When properly trained, consumers see right through this “green screen.” Then greenwashing backfires, hurting the company’s reputation and, ultimately, their sales.
Content provided by the Greenwashing Index (www.greenwashingindex.com), an online service that helps keep advertising honest about green practices. The Greenwashing Index is promoted by EnviroMedia Social Marketing with the help of the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. If you’ve seen an ad promoting the environmental qualities of a product or company, post it on the site, rate it, then go back to see what other users say. While you’re there, you can view and rate other ads too. 32
FEBRUARY/MAR CH | 2014
What Makes it Sustainable Furniture Anyway?
What to look for when you are looking for a less toxic piece of furniture by Susan Inglis
he Sustainable Furnishings Council is committed to sustaining a healthy environment both inside and outside the home. Though individual member companies’ commitments are unique and individualized, we all share an interest in reducing the quantity of toxic and hazardous chemicals that are required to produce our products. You probably do, too. Here is some guidance on what you can look for.
One of the questions we are asked most frequently is, “What is sustainable furniture, anyway?” Though the term “sustainable” is unregulated, there is a definition we gravitate towards, developed by the Bruntland Commission of the United Nations in 1983: “Sustainability involves meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” In our industry, that means reducing energy consumption, reducing pollution in our waste streams, conserving natural resources and watching out for our workforces and our communities. It is top-of-mind for many of us that the chemical inputs in our environment hamper our effectiveness. Some of the toxic inputs we use in making furnishings are required by law in certain states. Some of them make our production processes more efficient, some of them enhance the performance and durability of our furnishings. But we would all prefer to achieve these end results without poisoning our environments, inside and outside. Knowing that convenience is the main driver for most of us as we shop, we offer a few tips to help you know what to look for, and to help you understand what difference it makes.
`` Buy as local as possible. Domestic manufacture is significant not only
because it ensures a smaller transportation footprint and so reduced CO2 emissions, but also because we have pretty good laws for controlling air and water pollution, we have workers’ rights laws in the U.S. and we have pretty good compliance. In addition, of course, you are also supporting your local economy.
`` Choose natural fibers. Natural fabrics often require fewer chemical inputs
in production than synthetic fabrics, and many natural fiber fabrics are inherently fire resistant. Fabrics that are made of organically grown fibers are a good choice because organic cultivation saves the use of large quantities of toxic inputs from fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. Low-impact dyes reduce the environmental impact of leather and fabric production. OekoTex and GOTS certifications are effective assurance that a fabric has been produced without toxic waste pollution.
`` Avoid polyurethane foam. Non-foam cushioning avoids the toxic chemical
flame retardants required by California’s TB 117. Latex foam is inherently much less toxic than polyurethane foam. Latex (or other) foam wrapped in wool is flame retardant.
`` Look for no-VOC finishes. Water-based finishes do not necessitate highly
toxic solvents like benzene. Greenguard certification is effective assurance that the product does not offgas problematic levels of formaldehyde or other volatile organic compounds, which cause health problems and aggravate a wide range of respiratory and autoimmune conditions.
`` Be especially careful of leather. Leather production requires inputs of
highly polluting heavy metals like chromium salts, but leathers processed under EU law ensure that all the heavy metal inputs are kept in a closedloop system and do not escape to pollute waterways. Bi-cast or bonded leather has the additional challenge of toxic glues used as a binder.
`` Learn where the wood comes from. Forest Stewardship Council
certification is assurance that the wood comes from well-managed forests and that the people involved in managing the forest, harvesting the wood and milling the lumber are treated fairly. It is also assurance that the wood was grown and harvested without harmful chemical inputs. Caring for our forests is especially important because we all depend on them to absorb carbon dioxide emissions and filter water, as well as for the range of useful forest products.
Susan Inglis is the executive director of the Sustainable Furnishings Council. Learn more at www.sustainablefurnishings.org. www.retailerNOWmag.com
FEBRUARY/MAR CH | 2014
Market Las VegasWrap-Up Market
A SPECTACULAR MARKET “Las Vegas Market is growing both resources and attendance at an exponential rate, and this winter marked the largest Market in our history,” said Bob Maricich, Chief Executive Officer, International Market Centers.
LAS VEGAS MARKET WRAP-UP
First Look Exhibit Building B 34
FEBRUARY/MAR CH | 2014
Coming Home with Donny Debbie Osmond If you didn’t get a chance to see Donny Osmond and his wife, Debbie, in Las Vegas, you’re in luck. RetailerNOW had a chance to interview him about his new line just for you! Here are the basics.
: What is your line like? Donny: It is contemporary, casual and organic. It’s four years in the making, so we’re really excited about it. Our target audience is everyone from newlyweds to the older generations. Debbie has been considering a children’s line. One of the things we love about each other is that we have the same taste—so having a line we agree on is easy! : How are your sales so far? Donny: It’s too early to tell, but Atlanta was very successful. The buzz about it is good. : Why did you get involved in the home furnishings industry? Donny: Being on the road so much in show business, I really enjoyed just coming home and relaxing. It’s nice to come home to a place of refuge. Debbie has been able to create such a wonderful home atmosphere for me. She’s really the inspiration. We want to make home and family our number one—and that is our brand message. The Osmonds have been married for 36 years and live in Utah. Donny’s Vegas show has been ongoing for six years after an initial six-week run. Because it’s so important, the couple is protective of their family and refuses to let cameras into their home.
RetailerNOW speaks candidly with the Osmonds.
FEBRUARY/MAR CH | 2014
Curving lines and plush seating dominated January’s winter market in Las Vegas. RetailerNOW sourced some of the best products from showrooms throughout the market buildings.
Ekornes Inc. | Ekornes.com A new mid-century modern line called Stressless® Metro features a tufted back and is designed to move with every adjustment of the body to create the ultimate comfort experience.
Four Hands | fourhands.com The Louvre sideboard is made of reclaimed wood and iron.
Omnia | omnialeather.com The Messina: This clean, contemporary look lends itself to all style settings. The functional adjustable arm allows personalized comfort while utilizing the storage capability at the end of the chaise.
FEBRUARY/MAR CH | 2014
Market Wrap-up SUNPAN MODERN HOME | sunpan.com Equinox Barstool: Inspired by a director's chair, this exquisite stool features contemporary track arms, a button tufted back and an ultra sleek stainless steel x-base. Stocked in grey nobility bonded leather with CA foam.
Carolina Mattress Guild | CarolinaMattressGuild.com Le Duvet is a showstopper bed by Scott & DuVal, the luxury brand offshoot of Carolina Mattress Guild.
Artisan House | artisanhouse.com This dramatic, contemporary wall sculpture is comprised of cured segments of copper, formed to emulate the motion of waves. Andromeda’s finishing process incorporates brilliant red and flame-treated elements, which makes this vibrant and unique piece of artwork a spectacular statement piece.
Barry Dixon for Arteriors | Arteriorshome.com With a blend of the unexpected and traditional, Barry Dixon brings us his rustic yet refined Stirrup Cocktail Table.
Stein World | Steinworld.com Orbit: Bridging old and new, the stylish Orbit five-drawer chest combines the upcycled look of reclaimed wood with a bold hand-painted finish and timeless elements of mid-century modern design.
FEBRUARY/MAR CH | 2014
Thoughts on the Lunch with Leaders success
HUGE SUCCESS AT LAS VEGAS MARKET On Monday, January 27, at the Las Vegas Market, the North American Home Furnishings Association (NAHFA) hosted a lunch event for Next Generation NOW members and industry leaders and influencers.
The featured leaders in the program were Jeff Child, president at RC Willey Home Furnishings; Lori Kelley, vice president of sales and service at Palliser Furniture; Toby Konetzny, vice president of marketing for Coaster Fine Furniture; Kerry Lebensburger, president of sales and marketing with Ashley Furniture Industries; Robert Maricich, CEO of International Market Centers; and Chuck Reilly, senior vice president of sales and marketing for AICO/Amini Innovation Corp.
Next Gen NOW members were able to sit down and have oneon-one meetings with seasoned professionals in select showrooms where they learned best practices, expanded their knowledge and made connections to further their career goals in the home furnishings industry. Participants shared quality face time with these Chuck Reilly, senior vice president of sales and marketing for AICO/Amini executives, who offered invaluable advice and feedback.
Innovation Corp., shares lunch with Kellen Harkness, Harkness Furniture.
Leader Kerry Lebensburger, president of sales and marketing with Ashley Furniture Industries, shares his knowledge with a very focused group.
FROM THE PARTICIPANTS
Lunch With Leaders was completely worthwhile. The tone was respectful, honest and uplifting. I was able to voice my concerns for the next generation in addition to being challenged by my Leader and peers. I now have a few programs to look into and recommended books to read. Toby also had good advice for the next generation—we need to learn to accept mistakes. As the incoming generation, we owe it to the industry to put our best foot forward and handle all of the challenges we’re presented with.
There were plenty of showrooms I could have visited instead of attending the Lunch with Leaders; however, nothing as profitable as the knowledge I gained from the event. —Jordan Barrick, Quality Furniture & Appliance
FEBRUARY/MAR CH | 2014
Lorrie Kelley is passionate about mentoring the next generation.
Next Generation Now is a hosted community of the North American Home Furnishings Association FROM THE PARTICIPANTS continued
Hands-down the best learning experience to date in the furniture industry! Jeff Child (president of RC Willey) was open and honest. You could really tell he wanted to help us learn, but he also wanted to inspire us. The top thing I learned from him was that “it’s easy to get caught up with the small things; focus on your company culture.” — Alex Macias, Muebleria Del Sol Furniture I had lunch with Bob Maricich from the World Market Center. It was a great time. Bob took time to learn about each of us and what drives us. Through dialog, he was able to seek out areas of interest where he could help us individually. He was able to give professional perspectives on things like group work flows and global views of the manufacturing situation in the U.S. and abroad. I personally appreciated having the opportunity to have one hour of unobstructed time to get to know one of the most in-the-know people in the industry. I hope to be able to maintain the relationships formed during the NGN Lunch with Leaders program. — Lael Thompson, Broyhill Home Collections
Alex Macias and Leader Jeff Child of RC Willey enjoy sharing over lunch.
I served for a few years as the Vice President of Mentoring for WithIt. I am passionate about two things. First, getting the next generation into our business and helping them find their path to success. Second, mentoring for everyone to help them along the way. I had two amazing men in my life that served as my mentors and I would not be where I am without their guidance. When I spoke to my group, I reinforced that it is critically important they find that person—and if they can’t, I would be happy to serve in that role for them. The group I met with had excellent questions and was very engaging. They were there due to their own passion to be better by listening to someone who has traveled that path. I asked them to all share one experience from their career that they were the most proud of. Each of them had an example. That reaffirms that we all want to be a part of something bigger than ourselves and to be able to impact something successfully. It was a great conversation. —Lorri Kelley, Palliser, Lunch Leader I had lunch with Lori Kelley from Palliser. What an amazing event. I am so glad I got to stay and meet with her. She was great! Very insightful about her years in the furniture industry. I chose to meet with her so I could hear how she has coped with being a woman leader in the furniture industry. I believe her best advice was to HAVE FUN! If you don’t love it—get out and get out now. She was really passionate about her work—but even more passionate about life, which was refreshing for me. —Mandy Jeffries, Colfax Furniture & Mattress
Leader Bob Maricich, CEO of World Market Center, with members of Next Gen.
Leader Lori Kelley of Palliser imparts wisdom to the Next Generation of Retailers.
FEBRUARY/MAR CH | 2014
How one Millennial conquered trials to by Addison Criswell
or me, 2011 was not a good year—I lost my house in a tornado in Tuscaloosa, ended a long-term relationship and was overwhelmed managing 300 student condos with my job as a real estate agent. To add insult to injury, my dad (a 30+ year-veteran of both the home furnishings industry and politics) lost an election. Nevertheless, adversity builds character. After successfully writing a small business plan for the launch of my online business concept in January 2012, my father’s new-found free time proved to a blessing in disguise. The timing was right for my dream to become reality.
Shopping on Demand We developed a website to help customers choose furniture based on what’s important to them, be it price, style or something else. Then turned this into a custom package with images, interior design services and the ability to shop and order a piece or two at any time until the home or room are complete. 40
FEBRUARY/MAR CH | 2014
Already Furnished focuses on the popular online niche of pre-selected furniture packages for the home. As simple as it sounds, our concept is taking off and we are proud to announce another successful year in business. Here’s how we did it. At the beginning of 2013, after a full year of brand awareness efforts on social media and other outlets, my father and I opened a physical store in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. We spent the rest of the year building a customer base and developing the web store. Our brick-and-mortar store produced fantastic results during its first year, and the web store was officially turned on in November 2013. We’ve developed an easy-to-navigate system that helps customers choose a furniture package based on what’s important to them, be it price, style or something else. Our interior designers customize packages to meet the needs of clients, and then offer those packages for purchase online. Customers can purchase the whole package, just the items they need or they can work with our designers to create their own one-of-akind collection. The package service is great for customers who are concurrently in the market for a home (we offer a one-stop shop for home and furniture) and for those who have a home and are looking for an easier way to shop for furniture. Already Furnished also works with rental investors who register with the company by providing fresh photography, interior design services and free lead generation. Our service works so well because, as we get further into the new age of technology, our property partnerships allow consumers to build trust in our products with a “what you see is what you get, guaranteed,” style of sales and marketing. We allow consumers to do more important things than searching the internet for deals on items they want, and we ensure our items will be delivered hassle-free. We also build trust by offering 100 percent online financing for our web store customers, no matter where they are in the country. They can choose from no-credit-check, rent-to-own or 90-days-same-as-cash options, completing every form from the comfort of their own home. They fill out the application online and once submitted, the required documents to qualify for that financing route are displayed for review. The customer can email or fax those required documents, and after being reviewed by the finance company, a contract is sent to their email address, which allows for an e-signature. This is a fantastic option for customers who have been affected by a credit score obstacle that do not want to pay so much in additional fees, interest or rent.
become a new type of entrepreneur Thanks to hard work, the company is rolling right along with its first year of e-commerce capabilities, keeping the focus on what our web store can do to help make the user experience easier and to build even more customer trust. We attribute our success to a great idea for home buyers—and our name says it all: Already Furnished. Anyone in the market for a home and/or furniture can relate to and understand our name and what product and services we offer. It’s a winning concept.
Austin Dining Collection
For more information, contact Addison at Addison@aftuscaloosa.com.
Customize Your Package
Choose & Customize This Package
Here are some sample packages from Already Furnished’s website. You
Dresser $282.62 In Stock Add to Cart
- 1 +
Mirror $66.00 In Stock Add to Cart
- 1 +
can shop room by room in pre-designed
Choose & Customize This Package
layouts and then
Create a contemporary flair in your bedroom with the Andreas Collection. The bed features a unique charcoal vinyl headboard with grey upholstery. Pair the bed with a comfortable and affordable mattress, a nightstand, dresser and mirror in a dark cappuccino finish. This sleek modern style is perfect for young college students.
pick and choose the pieces you need, or get the whole package.
Night Stand $101.54 In Stock Add to Cart
- 1 +
Queen Bed $218.31 In Stock Add to Cart
- 1 +
FEBRUARY/MAR CH | 2014
HIGH POINT MARKET
A A Importing Co
Designer Wicker & Rattan
Adagio Water Features
New Pacific Direct
Dimplex North America Ltd
Orian Rugs Inc
East Enterprises Inc
Original Book Works
America Arts, Inc
Eleanor Rigby Leather Company,The
Palm Springs Rattan & Garden Classics
Just steps from the Transportation
Terminal, the hub of Market,
Elements International Group,LLC
Pelican Reef Wicker
Showplace offers a broad selection
F. Courriveau International
of product at every price point
Forever Green Art
Art & Frame Mart
and in every category, including
Art as Antiques
furniture, rugs, lighting, wall
Red Horse Signs
B.S. Trading Rug, LLC
décor, outdoor/casual, decorative
Furniture Consultants, Inc
accessories, and more.
H. Hal Kramer Company
Baffour African Art
Hallmart Collectibles, Inc
Hinkle Chair Company
Rowe Fine Furniture, Inc
Home Trends & Design
Rug Factory Plus
Inada Massage Chairs
India’s Heritage, Inc
Jaipur Rugs Inc
Steve Silver Company
Jozefina Art Glass, Inc
Lauren Galleries, Inc
Telescope Casual Furniture
Lifestyles USA, Inc
Treasure Garden, Inc
van Thiel & Co
Maxwood Furniture / Maxtrix
Westmoreland Woodworks, Inc
Mercana Art Decor
April 5 -10, 2014
Baroque Masters, Inc Beanbag Station LLC
Complimentary Buyers Breakfast: 9:00-10:00 Afternoon Social: 4:30-6:00
Berg Furniture USA Bolton Furniture Bramble Co, The C.R. Plastic Products
Sunset on 3 (on the balcony): 5:30-7:00 Food Court located on the Atrium level
Camaflexi Carolina Chair and Table CDI International Inc Chandra Rugs Clayton Marcus Coast Lamp Manufacturing Continental Home
NEW! JOIN THE CONVERSATION:
/ShowplaceHP @ShowplaceHP #HPMKT
Copeland Furniture Creative Accents Area Rugs
W W W. I M C H I G H P O I N T M A R K E T. C O M
Panama Jack Outdoor
By Lisa Casinger
re your customers starting to ask more questions about sus- Reclaimed Wood tainable furniture? Or, do you already carry a small selection Browse through any consumer or trade magazine or stroll through of eco-friendly product and you’re looking to expand your furniture market and you’ll see vendors promoting product made offering? Confused by the lingo and what to look for? Arming from reclaimed wood. It’s a growing market; the vendors are usuyourself and/or your sales associates with the sustainable furniture ally smaller and their inventory often one-of-a-kind. Reclaimed product knowledge just might add to your bottom line. wood was salvaged from something else, such as furniture, barns, old buildings, or even factory scraps and reused or repurposed to Start by asking your vendors about the sustainable options they may create new furniture. The Rainforest Alliance’s Rediscovered Wood offer; they’re a great resource. If you’re looking for new sources, visit Certification label provides a stamp of eco-approval that says the the Sustainable Furnishings Council, www.sustainablefurnishings. wood was reclaimed “using procedures that preserve the integrity org, an industry non-profit coalition that promotes sustainable of the environment as well as the health and welfare of workers practices among manufacturers, retailers and consumers. and the community.”
PRODUCT KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
Recycled, Up-cycled, Recyclable
When product is made from recycled materials it means taking something that was headed for a landfill—such as milling scraps, The first thing to look for in wood furnishings is FSC-certification. metal, glass, plastic—and turning it into something else. Up-cycled The Forest Stewardship Council is a non-profit organization that is similar to recycled, but this term typically refers to high-quality works with third-party certifiers that verify product has been hargoods that are made from lower-quality goods. Recyclable furniture, vested and manufactured within FSC guidelines. This means the or Cradle-to-Cradle, refers to furniture that lends itself to easy wood is sustainable and the forests from which it’s been harvested recycling. If the furniture can be easily dissembled at the end of are being maintained. its life, it’s easier to recycle. While there is debate among eco-warriors and experts about which wood is best, common varieties used to manufacture sustainable furniture include bamboo (often referred to as a renewable resource because it grows so quickly), mango, maple and cane. There is some concern about just how sustainable bamboo is, considering the transportation footprint it leaves. Another eco-friendly option is to choose product that has been made with locally-sourced wood as this cuts down on the carbon footprint left by transporting materials. Consider not only how local the manufacturer is to you, but also how local its resources are to its manufacturing facilities.
Textiles Textiles also have certification standards. Look for fabrics with the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) label (which means at least 70 percent of the fibers have to come from organic sources and they don’t contain chemical dyes or other additives) or Oeko Tex certification. GOTS is recognized as the leading process standard for textiles made from organic fibers and Oeko Tex certification is performed by the Oeko Tex Association, a union of institutes for textile research and testing. Choosing product made from organically grown natural fibers cuts down on the chemicals in the fabric and the certifications ensure the fibers have been processed in eco-friendly ways. What about leather? The problem with leather is the production process itself is often toxic and its transportation footprint can cross the globe. The upside to leather is that it is very durable—which is a component of being sustainable.
Finishes Untreated or naturally-finished wood is more eco-friendly, but another option is to choose pieces that have been finished with water-based paints or finishes. Varnishes and lacquers contain higher volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are harmful pollutants released during the manufacturing process.
Quick Tips `` Look for certification labels. `` Find out where the product was made—the further the factory is from you and the further the materials are from the factory—the bigger the carbon footprint. `` Durability counts—good quality, well-made furniture lasts longer, reducing waste; also it can be resold or passed down to future generations. `` Help your customers—provide information on where they can donate their old furniture, such as furniture banks, the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, etc.
FEBRUARY/MAR CH | 2014
epending on who you ask, what defines sustainability will vary considerably. For some, sustainability means how a product was produced. Was it made using eco-friendly materials, for example? For others, the process is just as important as the materials used. And still for others, itâ€™s a triple-bottom-line approach: people, planet and profits all come into play.
Susan Inglis is executive director of the Sustainable Furnishings Council (SFC). SFC, a non-profit coalition of companies involved in all segments of the home furnishings industry, is focused on healthy environments, inside and outside the home. All member companies have made a verifiable commitment to sustainability, transparency and continuous improvement. SFC provides support and guidance to members and to the industry at large.
We asked two experts in the furniture industry what sustainability means to them, how it translates into the furniture making process, how they communicate sustainability to their respective customers and how sustainability is helping improve the bottom line while helping our planet.
: What does sustainability mean to you? Greg: To me, a sustainable product is one that is usefully sustained
without creating a negative impact. I think it is the responsible way to view a product life cycle. We view sustainability as a commitment to responsible manufacturing of our products with the aim of having as little negative impact on the environment as possible. For example, at FLOR, that means taking what would be waste (such as old carpet, discarded fishing nets and plastic bottles) and turning that into new recycled yarns for our products. It also means offering our customers the opportunity to reduce their waste by sending their old FLOR squares back to us to be recycled into new through our Return and Recycle program.
Susan: Sustainability is about making use of our resources in such
a way that future generations also have access to the resources they need. That involves being responsible in protecting ecosystems and the communities they support, and the economies that they depend upon. True sustainability requires a â€œtriple-bottom-lineâ€? approach.
Greg Colando is president of FLOR Inc. FLOR is a carpet design squares company that manufactures and markets an innovative system of carpet squares that can be assembled to create custom area rugs, runners or wall-to-wall designs of any shape and size. The company believes customers are increasingly seeking more earth-aware alternatives that allow them to transform their space by designing their own unique and striking rug compositions.
: What are some recent developments in sustainability as it relates to the home furnishings industry that are particularly exciting to see? Greg: I think the advancements in recycled materials have been particularly significant for us. The availability of material from a variety of sources, as well as the wide range of color and texture options has changed how we develop product.
Susan: With 75 percent of consumers concerned about sustainability issues and acting out of their concern, including buying
FEBRUARY/MAR CH | 2014
By Megy Karydes
environmentally-safe products, more and more business leaders are focused on the fact that leadership in a low-carbon economy will save them money, increase their profit margins and increase their sales.
them to look for is products that are not only made from recycled materials, but are also recyclable when their useful life is over. Making it easy (and free!) to recycle our product will help ensure that it never ends up in a landfill.
: How do you and your team members keep abreast of recent developments within the sustainability space?
Susan: We promote robust certifications, such as Forest
Greg: The best way for our team to keep abreast of developments
Stewardship Council for wood, GOTS and Oeko-Tex for textiles and GREENGUARD for indoor air quality because these certifications help a consumer know more about the product they are choosing. It helps with sales, as does the SFC member seal itself. Consumers respond to a credible symbol of assurance.
Susan: We have an info-packed website with a great resources
: What is something most people overlook when they think about sustainability? Most consumers look at the components of an item when they think sustainability and don’t always consider the process in which the item was made (for example: labor conditions). What do you want customers to know when it comes to considering sustainability in the buying process?
in sustainability is to stay connected to our parent company, Interface. The Interface organization has a wealth of resources for us to access. From an “Eco Dream Team” of outside experts to an in-house team of researchers, Interface is one of the most knowledgeable resources in the country.
section with lots of links on design, certifications, etc. We also offer a free monthly webinar on the third Thursday of each month at noon Eastern. [For example, December’s] webinar featured Randall Whitehead, lighting designer, discussing lighting trends including a legislative update. We also have a monthly electronic newsletter, GREENflash, and we send select messages by eblasts.
: In this era of greenwashing, how do you recommend your team members communicate the message of sustainability to your customer base? Greg: We do not overtly use our environmental beliefs or business
initiatives as marketing tools. We believe in sharing the things we do that are responsible, honest and authentic. That is how I direct our team to communicate—honest and authentic.
Susan: Transparency is of utmost importance. Consumers want to know the truth—what the product is made of, where it was made, what are the values of the company that made it, etc. SFC members’ Best Practices Agreement, giving an overview of current operations, is posted on our website and visited by consumers and industry buyers alike.
: Are there any specific labels you encourage customers to look for to ensure the items they are considering for their home are indeed using sustainable practices? Greg: We offer our customers the opportunity to send back old
FLOR squares (on us) to be recycled into new products through our Return and Recycle program. One of the things we remind
Greg: What I would like our customers to know about our quest
to be a sustainable company is that it isn’t simple or easy. Looking only at one aspect of the work required is not nearly the whole picture. Energy usage, material content, transportation efficiencies, manufacturing processes, recycling and more need to be considered for a truly holistic approach. Many may not understand the complexity of the issue. And it’s not a quick fix, but a long-term commitment to doing better business that respects our resources.
Susan: You are absolutely right—sustainability is complex. A
healthy environment is healthy inside and out; that is, created with the lowest possible carbon emissions, with the fewest possible toxic inputs and with the least possible exploitation of people anywhere. It is we, people, after all, who are responsible for protecting the ecosystem—and not only for [ourselves].
Think of the reach of a single piece of furniture: the materials may include wood from one continent, leather from another, metal recycled from scraps gathered all around the world, cushioning made from petroleum and plant inputs from several continents, textiles made from natural and synthetic fibers produced and processed in different places. We have a huge environmental footprint, and wherever our materials are extracted and processed there are people as well as plants and animals depending on a clean environment. Concern with where and how furniture is made usually goes beyond where the final product was manufactured and what is offgassing when it arrives at the consumer’s home.
Megy Karydes is president of Karydes Consulting, a boutique marketing and communications firm. Her work has appeared in national and local consumer and trade magazines including USA Today, Natural Awakenings and Chicago Health magazines. Find her at KarydesConsulting.com and follow her on Twitter @megy.
FEBRUARY/MAR CH | 2014
Next Gen NOW Member Spotlight
he furniture industry gets younger every year. In order to embrace the new generation of retailers and welcome them into the business, RetailerNOW features a different member of the Next Generation NOW social network in every issue. Next Generation NOW is the premiere social scene for the new era of furniture professionals. Join the conversation at social.ngnow.org!
For this month’s spotlight, we introduce 21-year-old Stephanie Smith of Chariho Furniture in Richmond, Rhode Island.
: Tell me about your industry history. Stephanie: My dad opened the furniture store before I was born
with their wedding money, so I was always around furniture. I wasn’t encouraged or discouraged to get involved; however, in the past two years I’ve taken an interest to interior design, so my dad took me down to the High Point Market. I’ve gotten more and more involved in the past couple years.
: Are you aiming to be an interior designer? Stephanie: : I’m graduating in May with my psychology degree
and I am going to try and put that towards here. I’d also like to go for an interior design degree. However, my grandmother will be retiring in May so I will be taking her spot. So as time permits, I would like to get my certification. I guess we’ll see!
: Does your store sell sustainable products? Stephanie: Yes. We actually carry quite a few upholstery lines
Next Generation NOW (NGN or Next Gen NOW) is a community of young, passionate and engaged home furnishings professionals. Next Gen NOW seeks to give a voice to the unique needs of future generations entering the workforce to educate the industry on how to attract and keep young talent. Connect with members online at ngnow.org or on twitter @ngnow.
that are very eco-friendly, and we carry 20 Amish brands. Simply Amish is one of them. That one company has more than 6,000 items so we’ve got quite a variety. We’ve got everything from reproductions to contemporary American leather, but it’s all American-made.
: Why do you think it’s important to stock both American-made and sustainable products? Stephanie: My dad has always been a firm believer in American-
“Knowing that there are other people out there going through the same things and being able to connect to them and ask questions if you need guidance with anything is great.” —Stephanie
FEBRUARY/MAR CH | 2014
made, and I’ve just been brought up that way, supporting our jobs and supporting ourselves, creating more jobs for people in America. It’s hard if you actually think about trying to find stuff that is American made, like clothes and everything, and ecofriendly, too. Green is just the right thing to do.
: How do you convey the value of those products to your customers? Stephanie : We do have customers who have been to other furniture stores and the frame of the sofa will break or it’ll have rips in it, something like that. We have a lifetime warranty on all
Next Gen NOW Member Spotlight
of our frames. We flip over chairs. We do what we have to do to show the customer that what we carry is good. We carry Harden Furniture, and we’ve had people come back after 30 years and say they still have their sofa from Harden. I think it’s more a lesson learned, and when they do come in here, it’s a little bit of sticker shock. But you get what you pay for and I think people realize that after experiencing it.
: How have you seen the industry change throughout your life? Stephanie: It definitely has improved in the past couple years.
I listen a lot to Jerry Epperson. I didn’t think quality was always such a big thing, and I think now, if you can afford to buy quality, people are realizing that’s a better way to go. I think the economy definitely seems like it’s getting better.
: What challenges have you personally had to face as a female part of the next generation?
the furniture business, but seeing a sofa on the computer screen and actually sitting in it… Buying is an emotional thing, so when you get to sit in something and feel something, it’s totally different from looking at it on a computer screen.
: Do you think the industry is moving more towards online business? Stephanie: I hope not! But I think it depends on the age group, also. You usually don’t see 50- and 60-year-old people wanting to buy something online. I have had a customer in her early 30s who bought something online and they delivered it and she absolutely hated it. I hope it’s not going towards more purchases online, but it is still good to see what’s out there and what you can get.
: What advice do you have for new retailers? Stephanie: It’s overwhelming at first. The hardest challenge for
me was that this table can come in 20 different finishes, six different leg styles, and each company is different. There are a lot Stephanie: It’s definitely tough going to Market and meeting with of different things you need to know. At first, I thought I would reps and stuff. They have a lot of respect for my dad and they want never remember it, there’s too much to study—but it comes to his opinions. They talk to him. I feel like I’ve kind of been intro- you after a while and you get more and more enthusiastic about duced but, not that I’m not taken seriously because I’m a young your product if you’re proud of what you’re selling. You start female new to the industry, I’m still trying to figure out how to get knowing the facts after you’ve been exposed to it for a little while. that attention and to make people notice that I am serious about this and I do have a lot of passion for what I’m doing. :What advice do you have for retailers that
: What are the biggest challenges store owners
Stephanie: I think it’s tough to find a good and honest team to
work for the company. We definitely have a good, trustworthy team here. I don’t know how other family businesses are run, but it’s also a challenge living with someone and working with someone. Trying to balance whether you bring this home or you don’t bring this home is interesting.
: What advice do you have for other family
Stephanie: Have patience. My dad has an eye for all sorts of
things and since I’ve been working here we’ve brought on many more contemporary lines. I’m learning from him and he’s learning from me. I definitely think patience is necessary.
: What do you think the industry needs to do to adapt to changing technology? Stephanie: I see more and more online purchases, and I think that’s kind of tough. We show all of our brands online but it’s kind of hard to show all of the pieces. I don’t think it’s hurting
have been in the business for awhile?
Stephanie: Not that I want to seem stereotypical, but it would
be nice for the next generation coming in if you give us opportunities and take us seriously. It’s hard to come by opportunities that people are passionate about. When you have someone who’s been in the business for so long, someone fresh and new coming in might be a little scary. But I think everyone should have the chance to prove that they are worthy.
: What benefits do you see in belonging to a group like Next Generation NOW? Stephanie: I was down at the High Point Market in October
and I went to the Surya party and there was someone passing out buttons for Next Generation NOW. I didn’t really know anything about it so I went to the website. I thought it was interesting and nice to know that there are other people your age coming into the industry. I’ve been meeting some people on there, getting to know the ropes a little bit. I think it’s great to get to know people your age, and I do like the videos they do online. I’m still trying to learn how to use the website. Knowing that there are other people out there going through the same things and being able to connect to them and ask questions if you need guidance with anything is great.
FEBRUARY/MAR CH | 2014
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Phone: (800) 422-3778 or (916) 784-7677 Fax: (916) 784-7697 Website: www.nahfa.org Email: email@example.com Address: 500 Giuseppe Ct, Ste 6, Roseville, CA 95678 48
FEBRUARY/MAR CH | 2014
Stop obsessing over keywords and focus on great content Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or running a busy store or two!) you’ve heard the news. This fall, Google made two big announcements:
Enter the smartphone. Google knows that just under half of all searches are now done via mobile devices. As a result, a new type of search emerged in 2010. Sometimes called latent or abstract search, the best term to describe it is simply conversational search.
One: Hummingbird, the biggest change to its core online search algorithm since 2001, went live, affecting more than 90 percent of This is where Hummingbird shines, with the latest algorithm changes now making all shopper queries. Two: The search giant moved to 100 percent secure search, which now bars website owners from seeing organic search term data in their analytics. Keyword data for search engine marketing campaigns is unchanged. Google has become so good at providing relevant search results to users that the days of site owners obsessing over individual keywords are over. Today, retailers must focus on the intentions of shoppers (keyword themes), execute a content strategy around buyer personas and these themes, then measure results at the page level.
The Power of Conversational Search Google continues to dominate local search, with a massive 70 percent share of all activity. In recent years, users have rapidly migrated away from PCs and now spend as much time (or more) with a mobile device in their hands, often while watching TV simultaneously. On a PC, users are accustomed to entering one or more keywords into a search box. As more terms are added, these traditional queries quickly turn into a long list of words that sound more like a computer talking than a human speaking. Digital marketing vendors continue to focus a massive amount of time, energy and money into targeting specific keywords and long-tail queries in an effort to connect shoppers to retailers.
Google better able to turn natural language searches into relevant search results.
Today, shoppers are much more apt to speak directly into their phone to ask, “Where is a local Serta dealer?” than they are to open a browser and type “Serta dealer Chicago.” The key for Google (and its rival at Apple) is to win the race to develop the technology necessary to smoothly turn these questions into highly relevant answers in the form of both organic website links (your website content) as well as text (PC and mobile), display and video ads that generate revenue for both Google and retailers.
Think User Intent & Content Strategy The time has come to stop obsessing over keywords as your be-all, end-all strategy. You still need to be sure the right words appear on the right pages in the right places, but stuffing words and phrases may now garner you a lower quality score than in the past. Think less quantity of keywords and more quality and depth of content wrapped around themes. Ask yourself who your ideal shoppers are, create buyer personas that outline their wants and needs and then think about the products they’re interested in and how your store can serve their needs. You need to provide the very best, most useful content for each potential customer. Each page should have no fewer than 400 www.retailerNOWmag.com
by Regina Dinning
words, be professionally written and be deep enough to capture subtle variations on the core concept. Think about the natural, verbal questions shoppers will use to get to each page and write accordingly. If you’re stumped about who your best customers are and what they’re looking for, email your customer list, embed a survey on your site and arm your in-store sales team with a questionnaire. The more personas you build the better you can execute content that will engage and convert like shoppers.
Page Performance is Critical With Hummingbird here to stay, your next big pivot should be to focus on individual page performance. That is, log in to your website analytics tool to see how each content piece on your site is performing. Again, think less about keywords and more about the content (products and brands) that shoppers crave. Focus first on the pages that are most critical to your store. Are your specials or promotional pages getting high traffic volume, or is it your specific brand pages or product reviews? Look at the pages that generate the most value and generate maximum return on investment. Link traffic to overall conversions (phone calls, form fills for more information, etc.). Once you have data in hand, you can craft an updated strategy for your content and know exactly where to focus your attention and limited resources to turn conversational searches into qualified website traffic, and ultimately sell more. Regina Dinning is a business development director for home goods at Netsertive (netsertive.com). Dinning (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a seasoned professional with more than 15 years' experience in marketing and advertising, including several years specifically in home furnishings. FEBRUARY/MAR CH | 2014
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HIGH POINT PREVIEW
THE STYLE SPOTTERS’ GUIDE to Accessories at the High Point Market
ith millions of accessories on the market, it’s easy for a retailer or designer to get overwhelmed when shopping for those unique pieces that define a look or make a store a destination.
Recently, three of our industry’s top design bloggers and High Point Market Style Spotters shared their best tips for finding those musthave accessories at the High Point Market. With more than 2,000 exhibitors—including more than 800 that carry or specialize in home accents and decorative accessories—High Point Market is the ultimate one-stop-shopping destination. Knowing where to look—and how—is the key to finding what you need and going home happy.
Follow the Style Spotters; they spend months researching home furnishings trends and then post the best new ideas to Pinterest boards. “Preparing for Market should start long before arriving in High Point,” said Style Spotter Lisa Mende. “Buyers should read all the major shelter magazines. If a new line or fabric is coming out, a sample is usually sent to the editors first.”
On the ground, you’ll find that “High Point is a gem,” Mende said. “It’s well contained and easy to maneuver. The best way to get around is by using the High Point Market Authority bus system or the free GoAnywhere shuttles. “When I arrive at Market, my first stop is typically InterHall. That’s where I get a feel for what’s trending in colors, shapes and finishes. Market Square is also good for trending products because it’s mostly temporary spaces that attract new suppliers who want to test their products on buyers before investing in permanent showroom space. “But don’t overlook the larger showrooms. They often hire professional designers to create vignettes—which include accessories. For smaller retailers, those vignettes can offer design ideas for their stores back home. And, if a buyer sees an accessory they like in a larger showroom, just ask and they’ll tell you where they got it. Often, you can buy that accessory and pick it up when Market is over.”
HIGH POINT PREVIEW
Preparing for Market is essential to knowing where to look and going home happy.
Style Spotter Traci Zeller also offers her tips for making a buying trip more efficient. “Dig into the Market website,” she said. “It’s user-friendly and offers lots of time-saving resources. My favorite is called the ‘MyMarket’ planning tool and app, [available at the App Store and through Google Play]. Just plug in your interests and the app spits out a list of showrooms. It’s magic. “I also suggest following the Style Spotters,” Zeller said. “We spend months researching home furnishings trends and then post the best new ideas to our Pinterest boards. And once in High Point, always leave time to explore. Venues such as Market Square, Commerce & Design, 200 Steele and the Hamilton Wrenn design district are filled with smaller companies that offer special, one-of-a-kind items. You’ll be surprised with all you can find.” Style Spotter Gretchen Aubuchon has her own spin on managing the High Point Market. “High Point is the largest of all the home furnishings markets, which means it has more variety. No matter what a buyer wants, it’s going to be in High Point. “I focus on seeing the brands I like first,” she said. “But I always leave some time to explore for surprises, and I’m never disappointed. High Point is my favorite market; it’s in a beautiful part of the country, is well organized, has unique pieces that I don’t see in other markets and is simply a pleasure to attend. To anyone considering High Point, my best advice is, ‘Go; you just can’t find anywhere else what you can find in High Point.’” Content provided by the High Point Market Authority.
FEBRUARY/MAR CH | 2014
Networking News is a new feature of RetailerNOW geared toward keeping NAHFA members informed of local Association educational and networking opportunities.
Announcing NAHFA’s 2014 Regional Events
Dallas Region Lunch & Learn Thursday, March 27th 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Dallas World Trade Ctr Atrium
Colorado Rockies vs. Phillies Friday, April 18th 6:40 p.m. game time Coors Field, Denver
We are excited to introduce the 2014 North
New England Region Golf Tournament
American Home Furnishings Association’s Regional
Tournament in June details coming soon
Events. These meet-ups are designed to simplify the way you connect by delivering networking and educational opportunities in your local areas, a much less technical version of LAN (Local Area Network)!
FEBRUARY/MAR CH | 2014
Wednesday, August 20th 1:30 p.m. scramble Circling Raven Golf Club, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Northwest Regional Summer Education Day
To learn more about the NAHFA Regional Events, or if you’re interested in starting an event in your area, visit us online at www.NAHFA.org or call us at (800) 422-3778.
Inland Empire Furniture Dealers Golf Tournament
Thursday, August 21st 8:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Coeur d’Alene Casino, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Regulating Chemicals in Furniture
The North American Home Furnishings Manufacturers were able to use smolder Association (NAHFA) is strongly com- testing as of January 1, 2014, and will have mitted to government relations as they a year to transition to this form of testing affect home furnishings retailers. While before it is mandatory in California on many of the issues we are involved in are January 1, 2015. The new standards were important to running a business—such written based on a comprehensive review, as the Marketplace Fairness Act, hours of statewide workshops and public comment, service, labor and employment laws and of which both AHFA and NAHFA were healthcare and tax reform—we also monitor major contributors. For retailers, this means and lobby for regulations that are favorable you still must check to make sure your to the industry as a whole. Specifically we’re product has been properly labeled by the interested in the Environmental Protection manufacturer. All enforcement procedures Agency (EPA) and Consumer Product still apply. Safety Commission’s (CPSC) regulations on chemicals in furniture, along with the state “We consider this a victory for the industry,” of California’s regulations. Though techni- Bradley said. “It’s also further confirmation cally California regulations only apply to by working together, we can make a differproducts bought and sold within the state, ence for retailers and manufacturers.” it is important to track what’s going on in California because federal agencies often On a national level, the CPSC has been take the state’s lead when writing national working on a flammability standard since regulations. 2008. The Commission continues to solicit industry and stakeholder feedback and recently hosted a meeting with Underwriters Flame Retardant Chemicals Near the end of 2013, California’s Governor Laboratories to discuss their August 2013 Brown approved the state’s revisions to upholstered furniture test data. If CPSC Technical Bulletin 117, now known as were to set a national standard, all upholTB117-2013, which replaces the 1975 flam- stered furniture retailers would likely need mability standards for upholstered furniture. to include labels on their showroom prodThe new standard contains smolder (rather ucts indicating that the product meets the than open flame) tests for fabric, filling, requirements. decking (and barriers if used), similar to the current voluntary industry standard UFAC/ Formaldehyde NFPA 260. This means that manufacturers Last summer, the EPA released proposed can (but are not required to) discontinue use rules on formaldehyde emissions in comof flame retardant chemicals as of the begin- pressed wood products—this proposal was ning of last month. This reflects an ongoing based on an existing regulation in California. push that’s been made by the American While the California Air Resources Board Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) and (CARB) regulation was the baseline for the NAHFA. EPA’s work, there are some key differences that will place additional compliance and “AHFA has been working diligently in cost burdens on furniture retailers across California to facilitate these changes,” the country. EPA has proposed a more said Sharron Bradley, NAHFA’s CEO. onerous testing regime for those companies “We have worked with AHFA, previ- laminating and manufacturing these wood ously as the Western Home Furnishings products. Should those proposals remain in Association and more recently as NAHFA, a final rule, manufacturing costs would into make sure all segments of the industry crease which would then lead to an increase are well represented.” on the showroom floor. These are not costs
By Lisa Casinger
HOT Issues The NAHFA is monitoring these issues for its members:
• Marketplace Fairness Act (sales tax for online sales) • EPA regs regarding formaldehyde and CPSC regs regarding flammability in furniture • Swipe fees (debit card) • Tax and healthcare reform • Employee/labor regulations • Hours of Service regulations • Employee Free Choice Act (card check; allowing for the formation of unions) that allow any additional health benefit and consumers will not support such a price increase. Once again, AHFA and NAHFA are working with EPA on an alternative approach that would provide much needed relief on these testing provisions. California retailers should already be familiar with requirements related to formaldehyde as they’ve been complying with CARB regulations for years and the deadline to sell phase 1 finished products (per the Composite Wood Products Airborne Toxic Control Measure) was December 31, 2013.
Lisa Casinger is NAHFA’s government relations liaison. You can reach her at email@example.com or (800) 422-3778 x305. FEBRUARY/MAR CH | 2014
Creating Instagram ENVY for Your Followers
by Brooke Feldman
ast year for Thanksgiving, I was on a beach with my family in Brazil. Because of my obsession with taking photos and, even more, sharing photos, I posted images of sunsets, huge palm trees, delicious food and a view to die for. To my surprise, my Instagram feed blew up with “likes.” Why did photos of my trip gain popularity compared to my average posts? The New York Times’ Sunday Style section recently featured an article about this social media phenomenon. While we love staying connected with friends and interacting with others around the world we will probably never meet in person, users of Instagram might be tormenting each other. Yes, tormenting. “Members of the Facebook generation are no strangers to the sensation of feeling a little left out,” journalist Alexa Williams wrote. “Instagram…is almost entirely a photo site, with a built-in ability to idealize every moment.” Each of us might deny it, but it’s true. Compared to the clutter of Facebook engagement and birthday announcements and Twitter’s opinionated comments and news flashes, Instagram has drawn us into our phones, wishing relentlessly we could reach or step into what we don’t have.
Brooke Feldman, Contributing Editor
I follow friends on Instagram, but I also follow a good number of jewelry makers, designers and trendsetters just because I wish I could dress like they do or be as creative. I can’t help but think maybe torturing our followers is the best secret weapon to digital marketing. In the home furnishings industry, we create luxury, comfort and style, and what better way of gaining attraction than by posting a fabulous image of a product or room scene on Instagram? It’s time retailers look to the expert foodies, the proclaimed selfies and the breathtaking landscapes, and use these as inspiration to captivate the mind.
HERE ARE A FEW WAYS TO MAKE YO U R I N V E N TO RY P O P O N INSTAGRAM: Showcase the important features Every piece of furniture has a winning attribute—something that calls to the customer—whether it’s the design, color, texture or shape. Grab the customer’s attention with images that showcase the product in use, in an inviting room display or surrounded by knock-out accessories that help tell a story.
Get creative Why are foodies and fashionistas so popular on Instagram? A latte or necklace becomes a must-have item based on the way the photo is taken. It’s no easy task to tell a product’s story with just a photo—you really have to stage the piece as if it were a model on the cover of a fashion magazine. Consider the lighting, the angle, the background and your props. For example, rather than post a picture of an otherwise ordinary looking beige sofa, stage it with a colorful plush throw and a little serving tray with a cup of tea and a plate of cookies—make the viewers envision themselves cozying up there.
Add a touch of personality There’s no harm in getting a little personal with your photos on Instagram. You’re already part of social media! We each want the best publicity for our stores, but it doesn’t always have to be about products. Soft-selling posts make your customers feel they can relate to you. A group shot of employees or a celebration in a store are always warm and welcoming to the eye. The beauty of digital marketing platforms is the ability to experiment. Go ahead, create a little envy!
Brooke Feldman is the digital marketing coordinator for Noursion Industries. An Instragram fanatic, she also operates the blog ArtSeed (artseed.typepad. com and artseedspeaks.tumblr.com), focusing on technology and social media trends. 56
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How to Use Instagram in Your Marketing
Instagram is an online photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, apply digital filters and share them on a variety of social networks. But did you know that Instagram can be a great marketing tool for your business?
Here are four great ways to utilize Instagram in your marketing. Showcase Your Store
Connect with Other Social Networks
Here’s an easy concept. You love taking photos, the home furnishings industry is all about images… why not take photos from your furniture store? Take an Instagram of some new furniture that just arrived in your store. Tell a story with the photos. If you’re an interior design firm, post Instagram photos of a house or business that you designed.
Speaking of followers, are you connected on Instagram? You’ve worked on building a following on Facebook and Twitter, so connect that following to your Instagram account. You can cross-post photos from Instagram to Facebook and Twitter. It will help inform those people who do not know that you have Instagram.
Create a Posting Plan
Showcase the Personal Side of the Store Post photos that are relevant to your brand, photos that will help bring in potential customers. Don’t just clutter your Instagram account with business photos; show your personal/fun side. Have a good balance between work and play. Just like Twitter and Facebook, you don’t want to turn off your followers because all you posted were business-related photos. Customers want to see your personal side as well as your business side.
Just like Facebook and Twitter, it’s important to create a posting plan. There is no need to post every day on Instagram. You want to post enough to get noticed, but not so much as to annoy your followers. Instagram offers numerous ways to market your business. Don’t be afraid to take it a step further. Have fun with it as well as leverage it to help your business.
Quick-Fire Marketing is brought to you by R&A Marketing. Armed with more than 25 years of furniture retail marketing experience as a full-service traditional and digital marketing company, R&A is the industry’s premier agency for retailers in the home furnishings and appliances/electronics industries. Visit us on the web at www.ramarketing.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Chicago Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago (center, holding an Art Van Furniture Charity Bear) accepts Art Van Furniture’s donation of 100 mattresses to the Chicago Fire Department on December 23, 2013, at the Chicago Firehouse Engine 106, Truck 13 and Ambulance 48. Photo: Art Van Furniture
the scoop What’s going on with our retailers across the country
vvArt Van Furniture Donated 100 New Mattresses to Chicagoland Fire Stations Art Van Furniture put its stock to good use just before Christmas last year. The retailer donated 100 extra-long twin mattresses to fire stations throughout the Chicagoland area. Recipients included Chicago Firehouse Engine 106, Truck 13 and Ambulance 48. “Firefighters serve and protect without hesitation, putting their lives at risk ever y day,” said Art Van Elslander, founder and chairman of Ar t Van Furniture. “These mattresses will provide them with comfort and support to
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achieve the best sleep possible so that they Fire Commissioner. “We are incredibly are rested and ready to serve their com- thankful for Art Van’s support, their munities day or night.” generous gift and recognition of the hard work our firefighters provide the city of Chicago Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago Chicago.” and Chicago Ward 33 Alderman Deb Mell were present when the donations The donation doubled as an introducwere accepted. tion to the neighborhood as Art Van Fu r n i t u re re c e n t l y e x p a n d e d i n t o “The Chicago Fire Department is the Chicago with locations in Logan Square, largest fire department in the Midwest, Bedford Park, Orland Park, Batavia and with firefighters serving around the Merrillville, Indiana. clock, responding to more than 1,000 calls daily,” said Jose Santiago, Chicago
vvCity Furniture Provided Generous Donations to the Conine Clubhouse Renovation Thanks in part to generous contributions by City Furniture, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Fla., was able to celebrate the completion of its Conine Clubhouse interior spaces renovation. Furnishings were updated in all of the 23 private rooms in the clubhouse. The Conine Clubhouse is a free homeaway-from-home for families who have children at the hospital. Other contributions came from the Taft Foundation, the Levitetz Family Foundation and Calder Casino and Race Course. “We are extremely grateful for the philanthropic support from our donors like The Taft Foundation, Levitetz Foundation and City Furniture,” said Kevin Janser, senior vice president and chief development officer at Memorial Healthcare System. “Their contributions significantly enhance our overall mission of providing patient and family-centered care.” The Conine Clubhouse has been open since 1997. Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital provides high-quality medical care for children in the community regardless of their family’s ability to pay. More than 7,000 families from across the United States and more than 20 countries have used the Conine Clubhouse’s private rooms, playroom and family support area during times of medical crisis. The Conine Clubhouse is located on the hospital campus and provides all the amenities of a three-star hotel. It is a non-profit residence that is supported through donations from individuals or corporations and funds raised from special events.
vvICFA Announces 2014 Retail Council Leadership Three NAHFA member stores are part of the International Casual Furnishings Association (ICFA)’s Retail Council for 2014. David Jacobs, Jacobs Upholstery and Patio, Spokane Valley, Wash., and Brian Lawrence, Emigh’s Casual Living, Sacramento, Calif., are new to the council for 2014, and Mary Fruehauf, Fruehauf ’s Patio & Garden, Boulder, Colo., will be continuing prior service. Members of the ICFA cover all sectors of the casual furnishings industry and include not only retailers, but also manufacturers, suppliers, sales representatives, designers and media members. The Retail Council works on programming and services intended to meet today’s retail store needs. Other stores joining the ICFA’s Retail Council ranks for 2014 are Kristine Schultz-Hutchinson, Patios Plus, Rancho Mirage, Calif., as chairman; Mary Beth Singleton, Tropic Aire Patio Gallery, West Columbia, S.C., as vice chairman; new members Brad Schweig, Sunnyland Furniture, Dallas, Texas; Debs Pedigo, The Firehouse Casual Living Store, Charlotte, N.C.; Jessica Salisbury, Village Green, Rockford, Ill.; and Tom Vielbig, Backyard Living, Ridgewood, N.J.; and continuing members Bruce Aronson, Pool & Patio Center, Metairie, La.; Cathy Galbreath, ABSCO Fireplace & Patio, Birmingham, Ala.; Garrett Wallace, Yard Art Patio & Fireplace, Irving, Texas; Bruce Erickson, Williams All Seasons, Highland Park, Ill.; Gail Williams, Sunshine Furniture, Vero Beach, Fla.; and Paul DeMerlis, The Sign of the Skier, Toronto, Ontario.
vvMattress Mack Pays Out $7 Million, Gains Lifetime Customers Jim McIngvale, known as Mattress Mack, inadvertently cost his Houston store, Gallery Furniture, $600,000 in January. A simple commercial advertised a complete refund if customers spent more than $5,000 on merchandise—as long as they guessed the correct winners of the NFL conference championship games and Superbowl. Unfortunately (or fortunately!), more than 100 of his customers guessed correctly and he needed to fully refund 80 percent of the sales bought during the promotion. Once the Superbowl aired, Mack found out he had to refund an additional $7 million because the Seahawks won. After he got over the initial shock, though, he decided to make “sour lemons into lemonade” and was happy just to make so many customers happy. In the end, he is taking the whole fiasco as a win and considering it advertising money well spent. If you want to ask Mack about this remarkable PR move, come to the Home Furnishings Networking Conference and sit in his session!
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Our Association gratefully recognizes all of our supporters whose dedication and committment has strengthened our industry. ACA/Advertising Concepts of America AICO/Amini Innovation Corp. American Express American Leather Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc. Aspenhome Associated Volume Buyers Becker Designed, Inc. Bernards, Inc. Best Buy for Business Best Home Furnishings Braxton Culler, Inc. Cargo Consolidation Services Century Furniture Coaster Company of America Cory Home Delivery Service DĂŠcor-Rest Furniture Ltd. Diakon Logistics DSI Companies Ekornes Elements International Elite Leather Emerald Home Furnishings Fairmont Designs Flexsteel Furniture of America Furniture Wizard FurnitureDealer.net GE Capital Great American Furniture Services Guardian Products Guardsman/The Valspar Corp.
Harden Furniture Company High Point Market Authority Holland House Homelegance USA HFB Magazine Horich Hector Lebow Advertising Consulting Services, Inc. Innovative Delivery Systems Jofran Sales, Inc. Julius M. Feinblum Real Estate, Inc. Kincaid King Hickory Furniture Co Lane Home Furnishings Lazar Industries Lea Leggett & Platt Liberty Furniture Lifestyle Enterprises Linon Home DĂŠcor Products Magnussen Home Mail America Massood Logistics Med-Lift Mobility MicroD, Inc. Mohawk Finishing Products, Inc. Myriad Software Natuzzi Americas, Inc. NetSertive Nourison Industries Okinus Credit Solutions Pacific Furniture Dealers
Phoenix A.M.D. International, Inc. PROFITsystems Protect-A-Bed Restonic Mattress Corp. Sandberg Furniture SAP Retail Serta Mattress Companies Simmons Shock Watch Sleep-Ezz Source International, Inc./4 Sales Finance Sphinx by Oriental Weavers Standard Furniture Steve Silver Co. STORIS Surya The TV Shield The Uttermost Company Tidewater Finance Company Trendwood, Inc. Tropic Survival Advertising & Marketing TruckSkin, LLC Twin Star/Classic Flame United Furniture Industries Valassis, Inc. Vaughan Furniture Co. Versatile Systems Wahlquist Management Corporation World Market Center Zenith Global
To become an industry partner contact: North American Home Furnishings Association 800.422.3778 or email: email@example.com
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vvHeather Hanley Wins Annual ARTS Award NAHFA member Heather Hanley was honored recently as a winner in the Accessories Resource Team (ART)’s 25th annual awards. Hanley’s store, The Tin Roof, in Spokane, Wash., won in the home accents store category as best in the West. The awards are peer-nominated and recognize manufacturers, retailers, sales representatives, designers, suppliers, consultants and other industry officials for excellence in the industry. ART is a network of creative home furnishings professionals including manufacturers, importers, retailers, sales representatives, product designers, interior designers and industry support professionals. The group combines experience and background to create resources the home furnishings industry can use for education, promotion and support. Heather Hanely
vvRRC Hosts Retailer Recommendation Board The NAHFA debuted its Retailer Recommendation Board in its Retailer Resource Center at the winter Las Vegas Market. Retailers were asked to post their top LVM showroom picks on the board. The goal was to help retailers share their market experience and turn other retailers on to great new product. The RRC will continue to feature the board at future markets.
Just a few of the retailer recommendations:
IFD: Awesome new occasional!; From Michael Alan Distinctive Home Furnishings, Lake Havasu, AZ Prima Design: Great design. Great vases and colored glass.; From Sheely’s Furniture Indus Designs Barstools: Great look, price and quality.; From Moxie Home, Colorado Springs, CO, and the winner of a $50 Visa gift card for posting Home Trends & Design: Great all-wood looks!; From At Home, Modesto, CA
vvCyrus Boatwalla Wins iPad Mini
Thanks to everyone who took the RetailerNOW reader survey! As promised, one respondent is the lucky winner of a new iPad Mini. Please congratulate Cyrus Boatwalla on his win! Cyrus reads RetailerNOW to learn more about the furniture industry, technology and management. Image Left: Cyrus Boatwalla
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MARK YOUR CALENDAR FOR THESE INDUSTRY EVENTS
Tupelo Furniture Market
June 1-4, 2014
August 14-17, 2014
High Point, North Carolina www.showtime-market.com
Tupelo, Mississippi www.tupelofurnituremarket.com
High Point Market
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market
April 5-10, 2014
June 18-24, 2014
High Point, North Carolina www.highpointmarket.org
Dallas, Texas www.dallasmarketcenter.com
Northern Indiana Woodcrafters Association Expo March 3-5, 2014 Howe, Indiana indianawoodcrafters.com
KEM Furniture & Accessory Market
Atlanta Spring Gift, Home Furnishings & Holiday Market
May 21-22, 2014
July 8-15, 2014
Long Beach, California www.kemexpo.com
Atlanta, Georgia www.americasmart.com
August 16-20, 2014 New York, New York www.nynow.com
KEM Furniture & Accessory Mart September 7-8, 2014 Kissimmee, Florida www.kemexpo.com
Las Vegas Market July 27-21, 2014 June 1-3, 2014 Phoenix, Arizona www.thehfnc.com
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Las Vegas, Nevada www.lasvegasmarket.com The Lorena sofa, loveseat, and chair from Emerald Home Furnishings provides a very clean, contemporary style.
From the Las Vegas Market SUNPAN: Hoxton Dining Chairâ€”A unique mix of regal and chic design, this dining chair features a button tufted back with softly curved edges and an incredible stainless steel crown base. Stocked in vintage linen grey and grey nobility bonded leather with CA foam.
Home Furnishings Networking Conf.
High Point Market
North American HFA Sponsors
Northwest Furniture Xpress
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A quick dose of fun facts, random trivia and useful (or useless) bits of info
The Now List
Glass bottles take 4,000 years to decompose.
The National Retail Federation estimates U.S. consumers will spend $18.6 billion on Valentine’s Day. In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to determine their Valentine. They would wear the name pinned on their sleeves for one week for everyone to see. This was the origin of the expression “to wear your heart on your sleeve.”
Motor oil never wears out; it just gets dirty. It can be recycled.
The average American will throw away 600 times his or her adult weight in garbage throughout their life. Each adult will leave a legacy of 90,000 pounds of trash.
North America produces enough garbage each day to fill 70,000 garbage trucks. Lined up bumper to bumper over a year, they would stretch halfway to the moon.
A faucet leaking one drop per second adds up to about 165 gallons a month— that’s more than one person uses in two weeks. In the United States, more than 40 percent of municipal solid waste is paper.
Urban air pollution causes 800,000 premature deaths each year.
One recycled bottle saves enough energy to run a 100watt bulb for four hours. Aluminum cans are the top recycled item in the U.S. They make up less than one percent of the country’s waste.
If the Greenland ice sheet melts into the ocean, worldwide sea levels will rise by 24 feet.
Historically, the first three days of March are called blind days because they are unlucky. If it rains during these days, farmers will supposedly have poor harvests.
On average, one pool pump consumes 44 percent of the annual electricity consumption of a typical pool-free California household. There are more than seven million pools in America. Just 1/3 of the energy in burning coal reaches the consumer as electricity.
Gas economy drops significantly after 45mph. UNLUCKY
It takes 8.5 million acres of trees to produce one trillion pages of paper—an area larger than the country of Belgium.
Composting can reduce more than 25 percent of yard trimming and food residuals in our waste stream. St. Patrick’s actual color is blue. Green became associated with St. Patrick’s Day during the 19th century because in Irish legends, fairies, immortals and people encouraging their crops to grow wore green.
Office buildings use approximately 19 percent of all energy consumed in the United States.
Sources: University of North Dakota, Concordia University, Boston College, Point Park University, Sustainable Braintree, randomhistory.com 64
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