Design, finish, function tell case goods story
Thomas Russell -- Furniture Today, November 5, 2013
HIGH POINT - For case goods vendors looking to regain market share, it's as important as ever to provide a story for the retail floor.
Those resources that offered elements of design, finish and function won commitments and orders at the High Point Market from retailers seeking to improve the performance of case goods at their stores.
For many, clarity of finish remains one of the most important selling points in the category as it's the first thing a consumer notices.
High-end Italian-made case goods resource Selva received high marks for its piano-gloss finish on a number of new collections featuring cherry veneers, including Vendome and Victoria. Retailers were drawn to the way this dark finish highlights wood grain patterns, particularly on tables and buffets.
Kincaid also received positive response from retailers for its execution of finish on its wood collections including the transitional Elise in solid Appalachian maple.
Finishes were also important at Chaddock, which showcased new collections designed by Larry Laslo. Dark, high-gloss finishes highlight grain patterns in dining tables, buffets and dressers made with alder veneers. Laslo also incorporates colors into various pieces ranging from upholstered headboards and armchairs to case pieces covered in raffia.
Dealers also responded well to Chaddock's David Easton Collection, which offers softer, neutral tones in upholstery and lighter, mid-tone fruitwood finishes on case goods such as dining and occasional tables made with alder solids and veneers.
The company also received positive response to the competitive price points it is offering on a line that is now mostly domestic. Efficiencies in its domestic manufacturing have cut prices as much as 40%, said Tom Powell, president and CEO.
"So much of the product that was once made offshore is now made domestically," he said, noting that 80% of the mix in High Point was new product. "It has been a pretty amazing process, what we have been able to accomplish in the past 120 days."
Lighter finishes were also prominent at market. Among these was the driftwood finish on Hekman's 26-piece coastal inspired Sutton's Bay.
"Lighter finishes will replace what merlot has been in the last 10 years," said Neil McKenzie, director of product development. Sutton's Bay, an opening priced collection, features a trestle dining table and four chairs at $1,599. "People don't have to be in a coastal area to want this look in their homes."
Legends Furniture did well with its Brookside bedroom, which features a distressed antique white finish on a four piece bedroom that retails at $1,399.
Innovations such as the new electric fireplace unit in Legends' patent-pending Co-ZDresser in its Plateau bedroom also struck a chord. Dealers were drawn to other features too, such as the adjustable LED lights on nightstand panels.
"People are excited about it because it's so different," said Tim Donk, marketing director. "It will add pizzazz to anyone's program."
Licensed initiatives received both commitments and orders at sources including Harden Furniture, which showed about 15 pieces of mostly dining and occasional furniture in its new domestically made Mount Vernon collection.
"What people are seeing are classic forms with a little different flavor than what they expected," said Greg Harden, president and CEO. "The reception has been great. It's a fresh look that has some historical connection. And it has a great story dealing with America's first president and a company that still makes furniture in America."
Klaussner Home Furnishings said it had one of its most successful markets in years thanks to the new Carolina Preserves, a collection done in partnership with North Carolina artist William Mangum. The color palette of finishes and fabrics in the collection complements many of the hues in paintings that Mangum has done in celebration of his home state of North Carolina over the years.
Dealers like the relaxed styling of the collection as well as the coordinating finishes, an antique white that gives it a coastal look and a darker wood tone finish that gives it a lodge look.
"The response from our retail partners has been overwhelming," said Len Burke, vice president of marketing. "It has a good story to it and people understand that story."
Italian and other European influenced looks did well at Henredon, which showcased its new Villarosa collection of bedroom and dining room, and Hooker, whose Grand Palais and Solana collections have highly carved traditional looks with updated wood treatments and finish applications.
Stanley's Villa Fiora bedroom also did well with retailers who liked its casual, northern Italian style influences and the way the toasted pecan finish was applied to forms ranging from serpentine cases made with pecan and walnut veneers to hand-carved elements on drawer fronts.
This dining set is part of the David Easton Collection for Chaddock. It is made with solid alder and is seen here in a fruitwood finish.
This dining chair was designed by Peggy Norris for Selva. It features a semicircular backrest in a half-open curve that the company said is a feminine design element that serves as a counterpart to the cuboid-linear form of many tables
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