Occasional sources score with color, scale options
Heath E. Combs -- Furniture Today, October 29, 2012
HIGH POINT - Occasional and accent sources reported good markets, even if smaller stores appeared to be absent this time.
In style - whether it was a side or cocktail with abstract modern design influences, subtle bling or reptiling, industrial influenced cocktail tables or painted burnished gold trim on a chocolaty brown tone - the two categories continued converging a little more this market, regardless of price point.
Primary and tertiary colors were hot. Some occasional sources also reported success by getting small with slim sofa tables, while chair-side tables also gained steam.
Nitin Soni, vice president of international operations at Jaipur Home, said popular items at market included pieces with dull-luster aluminum sheeting, sophisticated metal and leather trunk looks, and olive gray and whitewash finishes.
"It's a hot line and a good value. And we deliver the goods on time. We're a family business and that goes a long way. This is one of the best markets we've had," Soni said.
Color was a big story. At Sarreid, customers liked built up finishes with primary and secondary paint applications for a worn look on the Italian made Rhapsody collection, said Francel Goude, a design and marketing official. The group has 13 base colors that can be applied to 100 forms, many of them European in origin.
In occasional, Joff Roy, president of Jofran, said popular looks today are taking design cues from accent pieces with touches like wire-brushing to roasted oak colors, or chunky planking in solid acacia.
"We're a whole home lifestyle resource," he said. "Why should we limit ourselves when today's consumers seem to be more interested in a more eclectic way of decorating?"
Jofran's accent chair program - with high density foam, Pirelli webbing, Dacron wrapping, fully reversible cushion, hardwood legs and features like pillowed button tufting and nail head trim - was also lauded for fashion forward colors and looks, Roy said.
At Klaussner, officials said they're seeing fewer "off-the shelf" looks in the occasional marketplace. Pieces the company showed at market had hammered copper, rustic styling and accents-like bolts. But it also offered three packs with detailed antique tops and metal iron looks.
Browns still dominate in wood finishes, but subtle gray tones under those browns are increasingly important.
"The new finish is that hint of gray. You've got to make that understandable to the masses," said Geoff Beaston, senior vice president of case goods at Klaussner.
Theodore Alexander had good response to accent pieces with high-sheen lacquered looks, like the No. 6105-464 cabinet with golden autumnal leaf lacquer, stainless steel and gilt leaf accents, and a sycamore interior with LED lighting.
The company also emphasized modern, as with its London SW3 collection, named after a British postal code. Pieces have a mid-century modern influence, etched brass panels, figured anigre and mahogany veneers.
"We have always been a design driven company and certainly we're designing for the current trends that exist while remaining true to our classical form," said Russell Towner, president.
Theodore Alexander's contemporary Keno Brothers line received good reaction to accents with anthropomorphic shapes inspired by abstract painting, among others.
Four Hands continued to emphasize reclaimed wood as consumers still go for eco friendly looks, said Anna Ogden, senior buyer.
Also well received were its Shadowbox occasional pieces with an industrial feel and glass box on top of a base.
At Coast to Coast Imports, CEO Andy Stein reported a good reaction to 40 new SKUs from India and 100 new ones from China. Dealers were seeking multifunctional looks with storage. They also liked new prints, industrial looks and hand-stamped brass sheeting on pieces like the two-door No. 46812 cabinet.
Halo Styles reported good reaction to a marble-wrapped kitchen island on a reclaimed wood base. Other winners were accent pieces or chairs in spitfire steel or with the steel attached to some part of the piece.
"We're getting a nice blend really for the designer, who can mix periods from modern to classic, provincial and Art Deco, with color and leather into the mix as well," said Raoul Morren, style director for Halo.
One of Sunny Designs' best occasional tables was an addition to its more than two-decades-old Sedona collection, said Annabelle Go-Eisler, marketing director. The Sedona 42-by-42-inch square is a half-lift top, half two-drawer storage cocktail with casters, stone inserts, hefty oak styling and light Mission influence.
Go-Eisler said the rustic look of the finish is still hard for others to match.
Small occasional tables, designed to be slid up to chairs to create a work surface, appeared to be growing in popularity as a solution for consumers using media tablets devices.
BDI officials said retailers liked its Bink media tables, made from powder-coated aluminum and available in five colors that the company plans to rotate with fashion trends.
Lacquer Craft USA had good response to sliding stands with clean contemporary lines in its Metropolitan Home collection, in zebrano veneers and quarter sawn white oak, said Darren York, vice president of merchandising.
"I think it's really multifunctional with more of an eclectic feel. The consumer is looking for something fresh that fits their budget," York said.
Steve Silver introduced about 40 occasional groups here with several three-packs of tables. Gil Sturtzel, director of merchandising and product development, said that the company did well with cedar-lined trunks, reclaimed looks, mixed media pieces and pieces with storage and function.