Tuesday, May 27, 2014

ICFA Retail Benchmarking Survey Results Unveiled

Results of a new benchmarking survey conducted earlier this year among U.S.-based retailers of outdoor home furnishings and accessories are now available from the International Casual Furnishing Association.

The survey was designed to confidentially measure retail operating ratios and other performance measures. All participating ICFA members received both the full, industry-wide report and an individual, confidential "Company Performance Report" benchmarking their company with others of similar size, revenue and other relevant data breaks.

"The survey was developed by a retailer committee and approved by the ICFA Retail Council to ensure its relevance to the industry," notes Bruce Erickson of Williams All Seasons, Highland Park, Ill. Erickson is a member and past chairman of the ICFA Retail Council and also served on the committee that developed the benchmarking survey.

"The industry-wide report is a useful tool to help retailers evaluate their operational strengths and possibly identify where improvements can be made," Erickson says.

The ICFA benchmarking survey was conducted by Industry Insights, a consulting firm that has been serving the research needs of trade associations in the home furnishings industry since 1980.

AHFA Organises a Meeting

Industry leaders from across the country took part in a legislative and regulatory forum here this week, meeting with key officials from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), as well as lawmakers, to discuss issues with a significant impact on the residential furniture industry.

At the top of the agenda for members of the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) Board of Directors were the EPA's proposed rules for implementing the federal formaldehyde emission standard and the NLRB's reissuance of the so-called "ambush election rule."

Jim Jones, assistant administrator for the EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, told the group on Tuesday that his tour of a North Carolina furniture factory in March, along with comments submitted by AHFA, helped the agency shift its thinking on how laminated products will be handled in the formaldehyde rules.

"AHFA staff and key member executives have been engaged on this issue since the proposed rules were released by the EPA last May," states AHFA CEO Andy Counts. "We have mobilized teams to meet with lawmakers in Washington, submitted technical comments and participated in public hearings on behalf of the industry. We were gratified to hear from Mr. Jones that our message is being heard."

During the two-day meeting on Capitol Hill, executives also met with eight different lawmakers, including Senators Ron Johnson (R-WI), Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Richard Burr (R-NC), as well as Representatives Gregg Harper (R-MS), Bob Latta (R-OH), Lee Terry (R-NE), Richard Hudson (R-NC) and Virginia Foxx (R-NC).

Attendees, in addition to AHFA staff, included executives from American Leather, A.R.T., Ashley, Century, Craftmaster, DMI, Gat Creek, Flexsteel, Home Meridian International, Hooker, Johnston Casuals, Klaussner, Magnussen, Riverside, Sauder Woodworking, Universal, Vanguard, Vaughan-Bassett and Veneman.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Satya Tiwari Receives EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2014 Award Finalist

Satya Tiwari, president of Surya, a progressive manufacturer of area rugs and home accessories, has been named a finalist for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2014 Award in the Southeast region. This prestigious award recognizes entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. Under Satya’s leadership, Surya has grown from $2.7M in sales in 2004 to more than $80M last year and has been recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of America’s fastest growing privately held companies for three consecutive years.  

With the goal of creating a one-stop shop for coordinating, fashion-forward home accessories, Satya continues to push the envelope to drive innovation both at Surya and within the home furnishings industry. Reflecting his entrepreneurial spirit, he has incrementally added new categories to Surya’s initial rug line – doubling marketing spend and expanding product offerings at a time when many companies have cut marketing and operating budgets. Similarly, rather than outsource the product development function, Satya has invested in a robust in-house team to accelerate the product development cycle and quickly bring to market fresh, leading edge designs.

“At its core, Surya is focused on helping our customers optimally meet their customers’ needs by offering highly relevant, on-trend home accessories for all lifestyles and budgets,” said Satya Tiwari, president, Surya. “Our exceptional growth would not be possible without our team of dedicated employees, both in the U.S. and India, who share in this commitment and work tirelessly each day to make sure our customers’ expectations are not only met but exceeded. I am honored to be a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and to be in the company of some of the Southeast region’s most forward-thinking leaders.”  

Surya currently services more than 6,000 retail, design and e-commerce customers and offers over 30,000 products across a range of categories – including rugs, pillows, throws, wall decor, accent furniture, lighting, decorative accents and a recently launched bedding line. The company’s flexible distribution model has resulted in one of the fastest fulfillment rates in the industry, with 90 percent of products shipping within 24 hours.

Award recipients will be announced at a special gala on Thursday, June 26 at the InterContinental Buckhead Hotel in Atlanta. Regional winners go on to compete at the national level. Award winners in several national categories, as well as the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year National Overall Award winner, will be announced at the annual awards gala in Palm Springs, Calif., on November 15, 2014. 

Axor/Hansgrohe Ready to Take on NYC Design Week

Axor and Hansgrohe are once again set to make their mark on Manhattan during New York Design Week this spring. Axor's WaterDream with Nendo concept will make its North American début at WantedDesign, one of the city’s hottest international design events. In addition, Axor Product Manager Manuel Züfle will be flying in from Germany to participate in a WantedDesign Conversation, where he will weigh in on the creative process.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Resource Furniture and ConcreteWall Join Forces to 'Wow' at ICFF

Resource Furniture, named “the biggest retailer in the multifunctional space in the U.S.” by The Wall Street Journal, is excited to team up with ConcreteWall to exhibit at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) from May 17-20, 2014 at booth 803. ConcreteWall is a unique collection of photographic wall coverings and bed linens, designed and manufactured in Norway.

ConcreteWall is the brainchild of photographer Tom Haga, who is traveling from Norway to join Resource Furniture at ICFF. He uses his skills and ingenuity to capture genuine concrete and brick walls in locations across Norway. The collection features high resolution images of authentic concrete, brick, wood, cinder block and even graffiti.

Each order is made using the precise measurements of the installation, creating zero waste. This way, the wall essentially becomes one large photograph without any repeats and produces a trompe l'oeil.

The high quality, non-woven vinyl wall coverings are long lasting, providing both excellent UV and scratch resistance. Installation of ConcreteWall is simple and can be removed with little effort without damaging walls, ideal for renters or tenants that may need to remove the coverings at a later date.

The designs are ideal for private homes, retail stores, offices or restaurants aiming to achieve a particular mood. Not only do authentic wall coverings make for an excellent conversation piece, but the feeling of exposed walls is one element that adds immediate character to any space.

ICFF is hosted at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. The ConcreteWall collection is now available exclusively through Resource Furniture.

YLiving Announces First Bedroom Event

YLiving has announced its first Bedroom Event, running from May 12 to May 27. Premiere designs from leading European and American brands such as Modernica, Modloft, Eastvold, Cattelan Italia, and Steuart Padwick are up to 20% off, exclusively at YLiving.

In addition to top-of-the-line beds, the event includes nightstands, dressers, storage, and mirrors to round out the room. Ranging from midcentury modern to sleek Italian styles, the assortment of bestsellers and newly released items features finishes like luxe leather, rich woods, and more.

Some notable designs in the event:
—Chelsea: Modloft’s best-selling bed is distinguished by a leather headboard and frame resting atop a streamlined chrome steel base.
—Case Study Daybed: This George Nelson icon from Modernica features thick wooden arms and exposed steel supports, enabling it to function as a fully supportive sofa by day.
Cattelan Italia William Bed With Storage: This luxurious bed comes with an oversized, cushioned headboard and a fully upholstered timber body that lifts open to a storage component.

The sale features free shipping and YLiving’s usual team of product experts available by phone.
“We’re thrilled to hold our first bedroom event,” says YLiving general manager Jennifer Baceda. “It’s a consistently popular category with our customers and we are able to bring them the best products for a great value.”

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

BSC Spokesperson and ISPA President to Speak at Furniture Bedding Conference

Lissa Coffey, spokesperson for the Better Sleep Council, will talk about the importance of connecting with today’s consumers on better sleep issues. She will provide some practical ideas on how retailers can communicate the better sleep message to their customers.

In a separate session, ISPA president, Ryan Trainer and Michael Kattman, executive director of Spring Back Recycling, will be panelists discussing recent developments on the recycling front. The panel will be moderated by Shelly Sullivan, the Mattress Recycling Council’s public relations representative. Both sessions will take place on Thursday morning, May 15th, at Furniture Today’s 2014 Bedding Conference being held May 14-16 in Orlando, FL.

Monday, May 05, 2014

ISPA Releases First Quarter 2014 Bedding Barometer

ISPA’s March 2014 Bedding Barometer reports that unit sales increased by 3.6% in March 2014 over the same month in 2013, while the wholesale dollar value of those units grew by 12.7%, compared to March 2013. The average unit selling price increased 8.8% in March 2014 compared to March of last year. Year-to-date unit sales and the wholesale dollar levels of those units increased by 0.4% and 3.8%, respectively, compared to 2013 levels. The year-to-date AUP also increased 3.4% over the same period of 2013.

The Bedding Barometer reports U.S. sales activity (including Puerto Rico) for 14 U.S. mattress producers. The participating companies accounted for 70% of the mattress units shipped and 78.5% of the wholesale market revenue for mattresses sold in 2012. The experience of these participants as a group does not necessarily reflect those of the entire mattress manufacturing industry. Furthermore, comparisons of Bedding Barometer results for different time periods can be affected by a number of factors, including differences in the number of workdays and holiday promotions in a given month, weather conditions, non-reporting manufacturers entering or exiting the market and other variables.


Saturday, May 03, 2014

Kincaid Furniture to Hold Upholstery Program

Kincaid Furniture’s build-your-own custom upholstery program, available at authorized retail locations across the country, offers more than 13,000 ways to build a custom sofa.

“When someone comes into a retail store looking for a sofa, they usually have an ‘I’ll know it when I see it’ attitude,” said Max Dyer, vice president of marketing for Kincaid. “Our build-your-own program allows you to choose the features you want and need in a sofa and play with different fabric choices and finishing details until you have designed your dream sofa.”

Customers use interactive furniture design software to design and build the perfect sofa. A myriad of frame options, from the shape of the arm to the finish on the leg, allows customers to create a look that is all theirs. Additional options include the choice of seat depth; available in 36, 40 and 44 inches, Kincaid custom sofas can be designed to scale for many living spaces from apartments to great rooms. Available designs range from the small loveseat for a sitting room or master bedroom to large sectionals, perfect for family rooms and hosting the big game.

“Besides being incredibly easy to use, the best part of this program is the ability to visualize the piece of custom furniture before you order it,” said Dyer. “Once you’ve decided on the shape and size, you can drape the sofa with a variety of fabrics until you find the one that’s just right for you. The program will walk you through the process step by step until you have a rendering of your finished piece.”

Another important part of Kincaid’s build-your-own custom upholstery program is its extensive line of fabrics. The full line of fabrics has 600 designs, including 50 Sunbrella® fabrics for interiors. Stylish and functional, Sunbrella® fabrics are durable, fade-resistant and easy to clean, which makes them the perfect choice for adults who love to entertain or families with kids or pets.

“The growing popularity of sites like Pinterest and Houzz is a reflection of people’s desire to take a hands-on approach to decorating their homes,” said Dyer. “At Kincaid, we build quality, bench-made upholstery one piece at a time in our factory in western North Carolina, but it all starts with our customers and their inspiration.”

Bernhardt Showcases Classic English Style

Classic English style that mixes tradition with a bit of unexpected Carnaby panache enters the American vernacular today in Bernhardt Interiors—a permanent, eclectic collection totaling some 300 pieces of high design furniture.

Among 75 new case goods and occasional pieces, wood and metal forms and surfaces are dressed out in a razzle dazzle mashup of golds—shiny 70s brasses, scumbled gold-leafed woods, satiny jewel box cabinetry. The reflective golden metals appear both serious and playful — and will offer more visual interest to the rest of a homeowner’s decor.

Some 25 new upholstery pieces are shown in classic English types of covers. There are velvets, flaxes and linens, layered patterned cut cloths, and fabrics with a soft metal glow to them. A new color palette is composed of pomegranate, teal, spruce, greige, and... gold, basic black’s shiny cousin.

“London has always been recognized as a hotbed of really great style,” says Ron Fiore, Bernhardt creative director. “From the punk culture of the 70s to the 80s and even today, London is where we like to think eclecticism originated. We’re bringing that energetic, classic English suavity into our whole-world approach at Bernhardt.”