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Outdoor insights - Summer Classics

Bew White, President

Summer Classics Bew White • President

Q What's working now?
The introduction of new and exciting products in a market and at a time when many manufacturers are limiting their introductions.

Q What product has been your best seller? Why?
Skye Deep Seating and Dining. It was a price point product with excellent quality and a very competitive price point against competitors with lower quality goods.

Q What new product or collection do you expect to become a best seller? Why?
We have two groups that we introduced for 2011.
1. Aqua - Our new resin group that has a hand-twisted, three-sided resin that simulates a water hyacinth leaf. The frame is extruded aluminum painted in our pecan finish.
2. Croquet - We offer this group in two materials: teak and wrought aluminum. The frame resembles "cottage type" furniture with wide backs and arms. If the customer does not want the maintenance required with teak, we offer the same frame in extruded aluminum and painted in a weathered gray finish.

Q How would you describe the health of the casual industry?
Guarded.

Q What strategy did you use that was successful despite (or due to) the challenging economy?
We introduced three price point dining groups and a deep seating group. This allowed the savvy retailer a quality product with competitive prices with larger box type retailers.

Q What have you learned that you wish you had known earlier?
Those specialty retailers did not listen to the manufacturers when we told them that decreased early buys would mean longer delivery times in season.

Q Where do you see opportunity for future growth?
Traditional indoor furniture retailers who are starting to floor outdoor furniture.

Q If you could send a message to retailers to help them strengthen their business, what would it be?
There is a new competitor, not the mass merchant's box stores but master retailers like Crate and Barrel, Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn. Look at their catalogs.

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