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More comments from the Casual Market

To provide more flavor, here are a few more comments collected as retailers and vendors worked at the Casual Market in Chicago.
"In the last two years, the outdoor rug category has definitely moved much faster than we anticipated. We didn't know how big outdoor was until we got into it. Design in general has become much more colorful."
-- Aaron Shabtai, vice president, The Rug Market

"Is the economy coming back? Yes and no. The buying habits of the consumer have changed so drastically during the recession, I think it will take a few years for them to change. We'll just have to find creative ways to engage them."
-- Chad Yordy, director of marketing, Poly-Wood

"Tailgating is a strong market for us. There are lots of products in that segment, but not a lot of good, quality products."
-- Ted Scott, national sales manager, Napoleon Appliance Corporation

"The positive mood at this market has been encouraging. When other manufacturers are not doing well, it hurts both our vendors and our customers. It hits us from both sides."
-- Carrie Morales, marketing and sales director, Windward Design Group

"We've been seeing more use of our fabrics for outdoor draperies, as a means to define outdoor areas and create nooks."
-- Paige Mullis, decorative fabrics resource manager, Sunbrella

"There seems to be a lot of renewed interest in dining, particularly counter-height dining. With the aging of the Baby Boomer generation in the U.S., there's a big percentage of people who would rather not have to climb
into and out of deep seating."
-- Timothy Leroy, Peak Season Inc.

"People are coming in and kicking the tires before they make any kind of commitment. We've had quite a few ‘be backs,' but we've had a couple of significant ‘be backs.' I get the sense that this will be a good show for
us."
-- Alex Boyer, vice president of sales and marketing, Furniture Classics Limited

"For the first time at this market, we're seeing new people. People who haven't done outdoor furniture before, like traditional furniture stores. These people are hungry to learn and they're asking a lot of good questions."
-- Luis Ruesga, CEO, Zuo Modern

"Everyone is in better spirits this year. It's nice to have that positive feeling at the market. But that's the American way. We don't stay down for very long."
-- Barbara Simeon, Jewels of Java

"The focus seems to be on larger shade products. It's not a segment of the market that has really taken off in the U.S. yet, but it's coming. In Europe, everyone wants larger umbrellas that can cover multiple tables."
-- Ward Usmar, vice president of sales and marketing, TUUCI

"The quality of the customer at this market is excellent. Last year, it wasn't like that, but people have bounced back and business is picking up. The customer is also a lot more educated than they used to be."
-- Judith Calzadilla, Skyline Design

"Traffic is down, but the quality of the customer is the best it's ever been. People are sitting down and writing orders with us. Normally, you have to hunt them down. And we've gotten a lot of new ones."
-- Jim Erwin, Erwin & Sons Direct Imports, Inc.

"We're finding that more consumers are wanting to seat eight or more at an outdoor dining table. I think it's part of the whole trend of the living room going outside. People want to entertain at home more, and we're listening."
-- Susanna Powell, TC Castings LLC

"There's an openness of the buyers who are shopping in the temporary exhibits. They're looking to fill in with some edgy things. We're seeing a lot of new faces and we're running into a lot of long-time customers."
-- Yan Wijaya, vice president of sales, Koverton

"I think a lot of buyers are waiting to see how the election goes in November. There's still some apprehension there, and with good reason. There
are so many questions for small business right now that it's hard to make plans. I think that's why we've written more smaller orders throughout the year."
-- Reid Roney, vice president, sales and marketing, The HammockSource

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