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Hearth & Home July 2018

Who Reads Hearth & Home?
Elaine Smith, for one!

West Palm Beach, Florida

Occupation: “Pillow Obsessed President and Designer/Elaine Smith”

Special Interests/Hobbies: “Traveling is a passion that helps me to relax and unwind. I am fascinated by architecture, art and culture. I am (still) learning Spanish so the Duolingo app and I have recently become fast friends. I also rescue homeless kitties and help bring the best out in them. I do keep a few… (and find forever homes for others.)”

Problems/Issues Facing the Patio Furnishings Industry: “As Big Box stores and e-commerce continue to become more involved in the casual space, the price vs. value equation is more misunderstood by consumers. At the recent annual ICFA conference a focus group of consumers stated it is their perception that outdoor should cost less than indoor because their outdoor furniture and décor get less use than their indoor pieces.

“This was met with quick rebuttal from the manufacturers in the audience, who rightfully pointed out that outdoor furnishings and accessories are made to withstand the elements therefore they often cost more. It became apparent that as an industry we need to continue to educate the end consumer regarding quality, durability, and the true value of beauty and longevity outdoors.”

Key Trends in the Patio Industry Today: “The continued blurring of the line between outdoor and indoor. Performance fabrics are growing for indoor applications too, and this helps us all to grow our potential reach and market share.”

Best Ways to Combat Internet Sales: “Don’t let Amazon Prime win. Take the shipping time out of the equation, meaning, have stock and be able to deliver quickly. Let pillows be sold off the floor or have us drop-ship for you. The Internet wins when it’s more convenient.”

Years Reading Hearth & Home: “Fourteen.”

Reasons for Reading Hearth & Home: “When I started in this industry I was brand new to the ‘Casual Club.’ I related to the word Outdoor,
 but did not initially connect the meaning of Casual. Some of it was as 
foreign to me as football plays are still today! It was like a different language. Hearth & Home magazine was one of the trade magazines that became
 my industry ‘text book/dictionary’ for my Casual industry classes.

“Everyone can gain by reading Hearth & Home. It keeps us in touch with each other, and discusses trends and happenings. I use it to train new staff members on what this industry is all about. Hearth & Home has a finger on
 the pulse of this ‘world’ and helps us better understand our specific challenges. It helps us to succeed together in this space.”

More Stories in this Issue

Doing It Their Way

By Tom Lassiter

In Sonoma, Theresa Deere and Michael Robertori have created a store with different products, an ambiance with a different vibe and, for themselves, a different lifestyle.

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A Retail Perspective

By Mark Brock

Blue is one of the strongest trends at specialty retail, and texture is becoming increasingly important to consumers.

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Meet Mark Stephens

By Tom Lassiter

With 11 years in the furniture industry, he comes prepared to propel an already high-performing Pride Family Brands into even more growth.

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2018 May Business Climate

In early June, Hearth & Home faxed a survey to 2,500 specialty retailers of hearth, patio, and barbecue products, asking them to compare May 2018 sales to May 2017. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 219 useable returns.

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