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Cinde W. Ingram

Catch the buzz to capitalize on new designs

What's new? That's the question retail buyers ask at any trade show. Many of you attended recent premarkets in Chicago or Ontario, Calif., so you've had a glimpse of what will be introduced at next month's Casual Furniture and Accessories Market. Others may have traveled to summer trade shows in Atlanta or Las Vegas. You may be buzzing with anticipation for what the latest designs, colors and fabrics will bring for your company — whether you're a retailer, manufacturer, sales rep, industry supplier or designer.

We're taking a close look this month at the design side of the casual industry, both through an exclusive showing of this year's record number of Design Excellence entries and through our profiles of designers to watch. When I write "we," I'm including associate editor Courtney Mueller Paschal and our designer Ronda Whitaker Harris, whose recent marriages have brought last name adjustments you may notice. Also, you may have met our new publisher Norman Hamilton, who joined us early last month and attended premarkets to learn more about you in the casual industry. If you haven't met Norman yet, you can expect to because he brings a high energy level as we prepare for the September show.

Like some of you, Casual Living is updating its Web site this month to push further into providing online solutions and critical business information. I hope you will take the time to visit our Web site and will feel free to join in with our blogs. We're in the right place to have something to say about evolving lifestyle trends.

Country Sampler's Country Business magazine talked to me about home entertaining for an article in its July/August issue. Research I received today from The NPD Group confirms what I told that writer and what other market researchers have been finding: Consumers are entertaining outdoors more than ever before and they're doing it with style. According The NPD Group's new research, eight in 10 consumers surveyed prefer outdoor entertaining over indoor, weather permitting.

As people migrate their entertaining outdoors, they want to dress up their outdoor living space and make it as comfortable as indoors.

If you weren't feeling the buzz before seeing those numbers, you're in for a treat.

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