Upholstery Showrooms Busy at High Point Market
Cinde Ingram -- Casual Living, April 24, 2013
Younger Furniture collaborated with several exhibiting suppliers to supplement upholstery introductions with case goods, lighting and retro-inspired accessories.HIGH POINT - It's all about relationships in the upholstery category - relationships between dealers and suppliers, between case goods, upholstery, rug and accessories manufacturers and between sales reps and their clients. (See product slideshow.)
Upholstered furniture is doing well at market, and several suppliers are reporting at least a 10% increase in showroom traffic over fall. Consumers are finally ready to buy again, and sales reps are helping dealers find products to excite shoppers, officials say.
Also noteworthy here are the collaborations behind the scenes to get the showrooms ready for buyers - which could be a Surya rug finishing a living room vignette for Klaussner, or Huntington House offering an upholstery complement in Alden Parkes' case goods showroom. Such partnerships are making a big difference in market activity, companies report.
"Our attendance is up approximately 15% and a part of that percentage is new dealers, which will relate to increased market share," said Len Burke, vice president of marketing at Klaussner Home Furnishings. "We have also seen a positive response across all product lines from dealers."
For the dealer's endless pursuit of "her," the decision-making female consumer, manufacturers are making it easier to purchase with built-in styling power. Burke says the addition of Surya rugs to the showroom helps.
"The rugs help dealers see how everything works together on the floor," he said. "It's all about providing solutions for our dealers."
Schnadig President Jeff Young said that traffic is up 17% last October but down 8% from April 2012. The Caracole custom upholstery collaboration with Vanguard is creating excitement at market, and Young added that the mood of dealers was noticeably more positive.
"For whatever reason, much of the economic ‘angst' experienced in the last four High Point markets has dissipated, and that, frankly, has been a long time coming," he said. "Order writing versus commitments this particular market has accelerated demonstrably."
Craftmaster President Roy Calcagne said that written market business is up 18% over last April, and traffic was up 5% as of Tuesday. He said Craftmaster had a good first quarter and that the company's collaboration with celebrity chef Paula Deen has been strong.
Thayer Coggin is showcasing a 60-year-old collaboration between designer Milo Baughman and company founder Thayer Coggin with the reintroduction of mid-century designs.
"The commitments for the New Traditions collection have been the best on record for a new introduction at Craftmaster," he said. "We have added much more color throughout the showroom, especially in the Urban Elements modern collection, and the dealers have responded. And the Paula Deen collection has had a great market with the new introductions and brighter colorations. This collection continues to grow."
The Michael Thomas, Miles Talbott and Joe Ruggerio lines are bringing an influx of new dealers to the 1690 English Road showrooms. Michael Thomas and Miles Talbott recently consolidated operations, and the spring market showrooms included a mix of both product lines. Company Chairman Thomas Jordan said not all orders had been tabulated, but he is pleased.
"Without final numbers," he said, "I can only say that this is the best buying market since 2006 or 2007 - about time!"
Taylor King is introducing 25 SKUs and 150 fabrics here, partnering with Texas designer Chase Kerlin on several pieces. President Del Starnes said the company's traffic was up more than 10% so far.
"We had already had a nice increase coming into market," he said. "Our line has grown because we are more diverse, and we're trying to capture all of the style categories."
Thayer Coggin's Phil Miller said his company's big collaboration for spring was actually one that happened between designer Milo Baughman and company founder Thayer Coggin six decades ago.
"Dealer reaction to the new intros has been great," Miller said. "Skip Culler's new sofa - Kix - has been well received and his new Mantis chair has been a huge success. The showstoppers have been the reintroduction of the Milo Baughman originals featured in the front window."
He said the company has placed the Archie chair and ottoman with a number of dealers and expects "very large additional placements" after market. Miller said the company is attracting new dealers and placing new product with existing ones.
At Younger Furniture, Meredith Younger Spell collaborated with several companies to showcase new introductions in settings that can transition to both retail floors and residential rooms.
"We partnered with several companies for case products to create vignettes in our showroom including: Urbia, Blu Dot and Currey & Co.," she said. "Partnering with great companies for case goods, art, lighting and accessories is what allows us to create complete presentations that convey the vibe and message of our collection. A finished vignette is what allows the retailer to envision the product on their floor and eventually what allows the consumer to envision the product in their home."