JasonJane…seats are back!

Surely you didn’t think I was in love with Jane Seymour.  I do like Jane Seymour…after all, she was a Bond girl…and did you see Wedding Crashers?!

I have been pounding the pavement at the High Point furniture market the past couple of days with the intention of getting right to the core of what’s going on in the world of home furnishings so that I could, in turn, inform you.  I have visited most of our top vendors who are responsible for designing and building the products that you will see at Furnitureland South.

I had one question for the top executives….”What does the future look like for your company?”   This caught many of them off guard, but for some, it was just the right question to get them to share their visions and what they’re doing to be unique in the ever-changing world of home fashion.  Here’s what I learned from the best…

1.  Everyone’s been playing it safe for the past 2 years.  Most companies have been offering 3 colors:  Light Brown, Medium Brown, and Dark Brown.  The “crazy” ones have been offering Gray too.  This market is different.  Confidence seems to be returning to Americans and our fashion partners are subtly bringing back color.  It’s not bright pastels yet.  It’s more eggplant and lavender or teal and steel.  It’s not a “break out” but it’s a move in the right direction.

2.  White is hot.  People are buying white leather sofas and white upholstered sofas.  They’re punching them up with colorful pillows…but white is selling like hot cakes.

3.  “Relaxed, soft, casual but upscale.”  Is that a style?  It is.  It’s just that no one has really come up with a name for it yet.

4.  Washed, bleached finishes are in.  Skirts are out.

5.  There’s a celebration of “American Locality.”  Many vendors are offering styles that celebrate what’s great about different regions of the US.  When you travel, do you want to eat at the same chain restaurant that you have in your home town or do you want to try out the local authentic fare?  The latter seems to be the direction of the furniture industry, and rightly so.  It’s BBQ in the Carolinas; cheese steak in Philly, and hand-tossed pizza in New York.  Why not celebrate the relevance of locality in furniture styling?  I like it.

6.  What are you wearing?  The good upholstery manufacturers know.  That’s how they get their inspiration for upholstery fashion.  They read women’s fashion magazines, attend international fabric fares and fashion shows.  The best companies study the emotional involvement a woman has when putting her outfit together.  They want to evoke that same emotion when she picks out her sofa.  If the styling is soft and casual and calls for denim, why not offer the same hot denim that women are paying $300 for when they’re buying their jeans?  It doesn’t have to be 1985 Levi’s blue.

7.  And there’s the Jane Seymour collection from AICO.  There are just some things I’ll never understand.  But yes…ummmmm…we like it, Mr. Amini.

8.  And seriously…the love seat is back.

I’m off again today to get more inspiration.  Our industry is amazing.

Jason Harris
Executive Vice President

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