UFA changes name to Authentic Home Furnishings Assn.
Hopes to reposition itself, broaden membership
Thomas Russell -- Furniture Today, June 12, 2012
ORLANDO, Fla. — In an attempt to reposition itself in an ever-changing marketplace, the Unfinished Furniture Assn. has decided to rename itself the Authentic Home Furnishings Assn.
The change was announced to association members attending the annual Real Wood Furniture show, which started Monday at the Rosen Plaza Hotel here and runs through Wednesday.
Since its inception in 1990, the group has been known as the UFA. The name change marks a year-long effort by the board to reposition itself to benefit its manufacturing and retail membership.
The process was largely in response to a survey the association took among its members at the May 2011 show, which indicated they thought the UFA needed to come up with a new direction, officials said.
Later that year the group hired Larry McManis, CEO of consulting group ThinkWay Strategies, to come up with ways the association could reposition itself. He presented those findings to the board in February and to the membership on Monday evening.
During that presentation, he unveiled the new name, which was taken from words members used to best describe how they fit into the marketplace and what their products meant to consumers.
By changing the name, association officials believe they will cast a wider net in the home furnishings marketplace and thereby increase the categories of manufacturers they bring into the fold.
Tim Case, association president and a representative of CN Sales Inc., which represents Whitewood Inds. and Inwood Furniture, said manufacturing and retail members have already changed to enhance their offerings with more custom finishing and other custom options. He said it only made sense for the association to follow suit with a name change that broadens the net beyond just unfinished furniture.
"I think it is a significant step for us, where we can cast that wider net," Case said, adding that the change also invites other accessories and accent suppliers and related suppliers into its membership base. That, in turn, he said, will open the door for additional retail membership and a larger attendance at future shows.
He said that the association is now establishing a set of membership criteria that should be completed soon. It also expects to have a revamped website in the next six months.
The new criteria, he said, will not exclude any current membership, but will broaden the parameters beyond the percentage of unfinished furniture in a manufacturer's line, or that is carried on a retail floor.
"Unfinished furniture will be a segment of what we do, but it will not be the main focus," Case said, adding that the larger the association grows, the more opportunity it will have to show product at different markets beyond its core annual trade show.