this fast-track world of what’s new and what’s hot in floor coverings, I’d like
to suggest that you check out an old and trusted flooring friend -- ceramic
tile -- at the upcoming Coverings show in Chicago (April 21-24).
Can you identify the
hot decorator colors for ’09? Do you know how to assemble a ‘complementary
color scheme?’ Do you even own a color wheel? One of the most important, and
neglected, selling tools in flooring is the ever expanding palette of colors
available. Learning how to use it is a lot easier than you might think!
isn’t the time for anyone in the floor covering industry to be spending money
frivolously. Now that I’ve stated the obvious, bear with me and I’ll let you
know where I’m going with this. By now you may have cut back on your
advertising. You are most likely watching your inventory very closely. And more
than ever, you are being very prudent about sample and overhead costs. Why then
would you consider an investment to update your showroom right now? Good
question. Let me share with you the perspective of some very savvy business
pros who maintain you should do just that.
It’s often said that a
‘recession’ is when your neighbor loses his job and a ‘depression’ is when you
lose yours. I hope that makes you smile just a bit because this column is
devoted to the brighter side of the drab economy we’ve been muddling through.
As the media bombards us with every negative spin imaginable, it’s time someone
offered a glimmer of hope-or at least puts things in perspective. For the many of you who are floor covering
veterans, these cyclical downturns are nothing new. You have seen long lines
and soaring prices at the gas pump. You likely know the sick feeling of seeing
a neighbor’s home go into foreclosure. I am not trying to depress you. Just the opposite-I want to remind you that
we have been here before. As with any dip in the road, you will navigate this
one. And the best of the best will come out of it even better positioned than
You may remember in my
pre-Surfaces pep talk I urged you to optimize your time at the show. Even more
important, I encouraged you to follow-up on everything (product or company)
that caught your eye. So I thought now would be a good time to check in on your
follow-up work. The consensus is that, while attendance may have been a bit
down, the show was a huge hit with retailers and exhibitors. So how did you do?
Did you come away with colorful visions of new products dancing in your head?
For my part, even a couple of months later I am still on a visual “high” from
my Las Vegas Surfaces experience.
By now, if you are a regular
reader of Designs in Style, I hope you have come to rely on
me for unique insights on the direction of color as well as forecasts for
trends in residential and commercial design. Hopefully I have nudged you
forward and made you a bit more comfortable in dealing with color. But what I
have not done, until now, is give you an insider’s view of the language of
color. “Now why should that interest me in the least?” you may well ask. And I would answer: Because a basic
understanding of the meanings of color will empower you to better guide your
may think it’s a stretch to see Surfaces as our industry’s institution of
higher learning, but that is exactly what it is. It’s not merely a trade show,
it’s a learning center: a hands-on introduction to the most innovative and
eye-catching products around-all hatched by the top R & D minds in our
business. You can expect these new offerings to be off the charts aesthetically.
You can also expect that most will have performance and/or sustainability
stories worth knowing. And it’s not just products. Those of you who invest the
time to participate in seminars, demonstrations and other presentations will
likely to walk away with a wealth of information-even before you set foot in
the exhibit hall.
Welcome to 2008. It’s a New Year and that means a new start
and a new horizon for your business.
This is a good time to let go of “tried (or is it tired?) and true”
methods of doing business and embrace some fresh, creative concepts. In this business, that can be a big
challenge. If floor covering retailer was included as an entry in a thesaurus,
suggested synonyms might include “creature of habit.” That’s not an
insult-honest. It’s simply our human nature at work, coupled with the
keep-things-as-they-are mindset that is a fixture of our industry.
Who says sequels are the exclusive
domain of Hollywood? Last year National Floor Trends published my original
“What If…” article, and since “what ifs” are plentiful in our world of floor
coverings, I decided to pen a sequel to this saga. To do so, I tapped into the
Color Marketing Group International’s research to look at the various
generations who make up your potential customer base. It’s helpful to know something
about each generation’s characteristics. Why?
Because each generation holds a different perspective so you can begin
to tailor your product selections, color choices, and sales approach to suit
their unique buying styles.
You’ve heard the term bandied
about. Everyone seems to be buzzing about it. You’ve read the articles
insisting that it is not a passing trend.
You know a little about the subject but not nearly enough. You find yourself wondering what “Green” really means
and why it should be a part of your store’s marketing plan. You’re a little
anxious about the whole thing.
Relax-you’re not alone. “Green” (or sustainable) building and design is
a huge “movement” that has grown far beyond trend status, but it is also a work
in progress. What you do need to know is this: Environmental concern is fast
becoming a way of life-for consumers and businesses. No one expects you to become an expert overnight but this is
something you need to address. So let’s
begin with some of the “language” and basics.