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Can't Wait To See These Products At Market

August 15, 2009

With market just over a month away, I am starting to get excited about the new things I am going to see. The new issue of Casual Living and the 2010/2011 Glen Raven Mills swatch book, both of which I received this week, confirmed that there are going to be some great introductions in September. So, with your indulgence, I thought I would tell you what I am looking forward to seeing.

I can’t wait to see what manufacturers do with the great new fabrics from Glenn Raven Mills. When Sunbrellaâ first came out, everyone in the industry thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. That was when the whole swatch book was one card limited to solid colored canvas weave and awning stripped fabrics. Compare that swatch book to the 2010/2011 furniture grade swatch book many of us received this week. If you didn’t tell me this was high performance outdoor fabric, I would have sworn I had gotten an indoor fabric swatch book my mistake. The book skews towards some great greens and golds. I particularly like Junction Lagoon, 45510-0005  (a made-to-order item which many Sunbrellaâ distributors are going to carry) and Caroline Seabreeze 5644-0000. Both swatches can be seen on their web site:

 http://www.sunbrella.com

This month’s issue of Casual Living pictured products entered into the 2009 Design Excellence Awards. Anyone who thinks design has died in our industry need only look at these products to design is alive and well and coming from some of the most unexpected manufacturers. Remembering that I didn’t go to Pre-Market so I haven’t seen these designs in real life, you may want to take some of my enthusiasm with a grain of salt.

Agio entered a lot of designs but the one that caught my attention and praise from my sales staff is the Marco Isle Woven Pedestal Base Dining Table with Glass. I don’t know if this is part of the Disney Resort package they were so proud of last year, but if it isn’t, it should be. This is a totally innovative design that screams hi-end from a company that is usually priced in the mid-range or lower.

Ebel, Inc. entered their Cannes Adjustable Chaise Lounge, a contemporary outdoor wicker group that I can’t wait to see in real life. If it is as comfortable as it is attractive, I want to have it on my floor.

Janus et Cie, always known for great design, entered their Summer Cloud chaise. This chaise has a mid-century retro look with a built-in shade. While Janus et Cie may not be at a price point for everyone, their designs keep our industry moving ahead.

Pride keeps the good designs coming with their Vienna Formal Cushion Dining Chair. I can’t image the amount of labor it takes to create the aluminum “wicker” back with its elegant curve. The flow is so pleasing it cries out to be touched and, hopefully, purchased.

Without much fanfare and in a very short time frame, Telescope has gone from the Original Director Chair and folding sand chairs to some of the most innovative designs in the industry. I don’t know how their Key Biscayne Armchair with Hidden Ottoman works; but, I can’t wait to see it. I overlooked their Windward Deep Seated Resin group last year. Now that I understand the product, I am going to give it a second look this year. And, finally, who would have thought Telescope would have gotten so good at cast aluminum. But they have and their Turnstyle Cast Armchair they entered into the competition shows it.

The Breath Club Chair from Terra is appropriately named. It just takes my breath away.

Cast Classics’ Plantation Arm chair incorporates a shutter back and turned leg that is so proportionally pleasing, I would put it inside my home.

From designs that were “iffy” to designs that are now “best of show,” Shady Lady and their Phatty Side Table Lamp or Yin Yang Small Ground Lamp now light up our industry. (Pun intended) I also like the Veneman collections Wave Outdoor Light.

TUUCI has taken umbrellas from humble shade providers to glorious outdoor sculpture with their M1-Stingray Shade Sculpture. You look at their umbrellas and wonder, “How do they do that?” The Stingray is no exception. Dugan and his design staff have revolutionized the outdoor shade category.

It might not be new, and I don’t think it was entered into the Design Excellence competition, but Homecrest’s Haverhill Dual Motion Loveseat is one of those designs that make you say, “Why didn’t I think of that.” It’s a loveseat with two independent seats that spring. This shouldn’t be a novel idea; but, I don’t know anyone else in the industry that does something like it.

Suncoast enters the competitiong with its retro Hydra Chair. Charles or Ray Eames could have designed this. It is clean, simple, and elegant. I wonder how they create the seat and back that looks like laminated plywood.

After seeing the Tropitone Reflection Sling High Back Dining Chair everyone in my store had to pick their jaws up off the floor. I think the description is incorrect; it looks like a barstool rather than a dining chair; but, who cares; it’s a showstopper. The lines flow in such a pleasing way, you don’t want to take your eyes off of it.

I look forward to seeing the new designs in outdoor rugs. If you aren’t in that category yet, you should be. They are an inexpensive impulse buy that can change a cold hard surfaced floor into a warm and inviting space. In just a few short years, this category has matured to the point where there are almost as many designs as there are for indoor.

You have to be an optimist when you go to market. After all, why would you go if you didn’t expect to find great things. Cynic that I have become, I go with the hopes of finding just ONE great thing. This year, I have hopes of finding lots.

Yours in confused retailing, Bruce