Waynette Goodson is both the editor in chief of Casual Living and its brand ambassador. Her goal is to become a thought leader in the world of outdoor furnishings and design. Thus, she focuses on sharing insightful information to help you increase your business. Waynette will keep her finger on the pulse of the industry and wrap it all up in one handy blog, casually speaking.
- The No. 1 thing that’s keeping most everyone awake in the casual world—whether you’re a manufacturer or a market official or a retailer—is the erosion of the specialty dealer base. At the same time, the No. 1 thing that most folks agree on is helping out these independent stores and bolstering their business during these days of intense competition from e-commerce, as well as all the new entrants to the outdoor category. Enter Gloster and its annual Advanced Reseller Training or A.R.T. The two-day event, Feb. 7-8, ushered in about 30 Gloster dealers (plus ... Read More
- One thing that has made the biggest impression upon me in my six months in this business—you all work very, very hard! This furniture industry is tough, particularly traveling and working all the markets. I’m proud to say that I’ve actually completed six markets in six months’ time, so I think I’ve arrived! Here’s my show schedule (below) since joining Casual Living on May 16 and my lasting impression of each one – why it’s special and why you should go. I’m also giving each show my own personal “Difficulty Level” from 1-10: International ... Read More
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- Two retailers sound off about their web challenges. Do you agree? At Casual Market Chicago, I had the pleasure of sitting down with two retailers in the Tropitone showroom for a delicious Mexican lunch. Soon the conversation turned to their challenges with the Internet. How do they compete with e-tailers? They feel as if their hands are tied. The couple cited many, many reasons, but the main ones are . . . The same outdoor furniture they sell gets drastically marked down by online competitors, as much as 25 percent off. (Plus, there are select pieces that manufacturers won’t allow to be ... Read More
- Today I will leave for Cologne, Germany, for what is one of the largest garden fairs in the world: spoga + gafa. About 2,000 exhibitors from around 60 countries will “present all of the news and trends of the open-air lifestyle.” (That’s perhaps six times the size of the Las Vegas Market.) Someone told me at lunch this week that it’s just “a big hardware show”—but I’m not buying it! Based on the press releases we’ve already received, I predict it’s going to be an eye-opening experience. Let’s face it: The top trends ... Read More
- “It’s not that much walking; it’s all on two floors.” Or, “This is just a drop in the bucket to the September show.” Really! To this first-time show-goer, the ICFA Preview Show in Chicago was massive. To put it in perspective, Debra Egli, buyer relations for The Mart, informed me that the building is actually the largest commercial building in North America, perhaps even bigger than the Pentagon. So I Googled and found that The Mart weighs in at 4.2 million square feet, and The Pentagon boasts 6.6 million square feet. My point is, regardless, the ... Read More
- I'm the type of gal that when life gives me lemons, I don't just make lemonade; I put it in a fancy glass with an umbrella. Then I go outside on my patio to enjoy it in my chaise longue – such is the Casual Living lifestyle. Turns out I'm not alone: In today's challenging economy, instead of spending their hard-earned coin on vacations, more and more Americans are turning to "staycations," i.e. vacationing at home. This month, the New York Times reported that nearly one-third of adults in the U.S., about 76 million people ... Read More