Upholstery offers dramatic options
Cindy W. Hodnett -- Furniture Today, February 4, 2013
LAS VEGAS - The gamble paid off for many showrooms at the winter Las Vegas Market as dramatic presentations and Technicolor products attracted the attention of buyers, often in record numbers. Suppliers enticed both repeat and new buyers with creative showrooms and endless interpretations of upholstery eye candy.
In the Bassett showroom, a citron CU2 sectional illustrated the power of bright hues. Function married to fashion, the sectional captured the attention of showroom visitors, who then learned about the options of the CU2 program.
"This program includes a wall of fabrics or a stapled handle," said Renee Loper, vice president of independent retail business development and marketing. "With all of our collections, buyers have recognized that Bassett has fashionable looks. And our HGTV Home furniture collection will be in 100 retail locations by March."
Abbyson Living showed a pair of lipstick red accent chairs and a trio of chaises in various fabrics. In the showroom, sales reps told about the company's new cloud seating technology, transitioning the color story into one about comfort.
Although leather often translates into shades of brown and black, Omnia featured a rainbow of colors in the showroom. The Hartford sectional was shown in a rich eggplant shade, a nod to popular purple tones. The Brookfield sectional in an apple-sage incorporated the green color story, and the Pisa curved sofa in a butterscotch shade offered additional color possibilities.
Norwalk Furniture presented both a color and style story with striking green, blue and red solids, and vibrant prints.
"We brought diverse collections," said Reyna Moore, director of sales and marketing. "Sunset Boulevard has very clean lines. Indochine is vibrant with an Asian influence. And we're part of the made in America story.... We have enough product to speak to a variety of consumers."
At Comfort Design, mid-century modern was mixed with traditional and streamlined motion. The Repetition recliner shown in Durango Strawberry provided an intense color burst combined with a streamlined profile, and the Castleton group in Burnt Umber showcased a subdued orange hue in a traditional silhouette. Phil Cooper, executive director of Comfort Design, said the variety brought in an impressive number of new customers.
"Our Highlands Collection, which features quarter-sawn oak made by artisan Amish craftsmen, has been very well received, along with our mid-century inspired products," Cooper said. "I think mid-century will continue to be popular, especially in the 25-40 year-old group. It's like comfort food - the people in this age group remember mom and dad's furniture, and they are spending money."
Flexsteel added lighter, brighter colors to the Las Vegas showroom and products that were "more edgy for us," according to Lee Fautsch, vice president of sales for residential furniture. "And we have taken our sectional line and expanded it, adding pieces to make it uniform throughout. All pieces are available in all styles."
A showstoppers at Flexsteel was the area featuring its sofas and chairs with Halo case goods.
"Six months ago, we forged a partnership with Halo and now, we represent a select portion of their line," Fautsch said. "There are nine pieces and four different ‘flavors' in the Halo products - antique brown leather, high polish metal, waxed brown leather and canvas - and it speaks to a turn-of-the-century, industrial style."
Flexsteel also showed sofas in smaller-scale sizes including 70 and 80 inches. Swivel chairs also placed well with buyers, according to Fautsch, who called the show "the best attended winter market we've ever had in Las Vegas."
In the Lazar showroom, the Flamingo curved sofa in citron was a success, said company President Rob Luce. He said he "tends to be more transitional" in Las Vegas product selection and also uses Las Vegas "to experiment" with fabrics before High Point. As with many of the companies who tried something new in Las Vegas, the Lazar showroom was extremely busy and Luce said the citron sofa became the "best-placed Stanley Jay Friedman product" in the company's history.
"The optimism in the market translates into the fabrics people will buy," he said. "Buyers are willing to take more risks, and even though we're always risk takers, we'll go even further."
He projected that attendance was up 15% to 20% over July, partly because of seasonal fluctuation, but he said this market seemed stronger by other measures as well.
"It was different this time," Luce said. "The size of the commitment we're getting from buyers increased - they are buying bigger and broader programs. We're selling complete vignettes, and our rug introductions help sell the entire collection."