Versatile home office lines venture into other rooms
Thomas Russell -- Furniture Today, May 6, 2013
HIGH POINT - Home office vendors showcased the versatility of the category at market in hopes of recapturing sales lost to other categories.
The strategy continued to engage retailers with solutions not just for dedicated home offices, but also other areas of the home including the den, kitchen and bedroom.
Hooker Furniture had success with its Workwell concept, which offers 11 writing desks and companion file cabinets. Dealers like the styling of the desks, which range from 42 to 64 inches. Retail is $1,100 for a 54-inch version and $1,500 for the 64-inch model.
They also liked the versatility of the line, which can work as easily in a living room as a dedicated office space.
"You have to address the way people are living today and to their work styles," said Kim Shaver, vice president of marketing communications. "Retailers are responding to that."
West Bros. did well with Workspace Designs by Blake Tovin, a line of solid wood desks and bookcases. The pieces, which are extensions of the company's Serra, Phase and Arris collections, performed well at market due to their versatility.
"It is really a nice add on business," said Tom Halvorsen, vice president of sales and marketing. "This is furniture that complements the home, but that also has an office application."
Other home office resources doing well this market included BDI, Whalen Furniture and Martin Furniture.
BDI said it received strong dealer response on additions to its modular Semblance collection, including new file units and bookcases.
"Overall, the reaction has been positive," said Dave Adams, marketing representative. "It opens up so many different possibilities and people are excited about it."
He also said dealers had strong response to new items in its Format collection, which was shown in a new two-tone walnut and white finish. Among the highlights were a writing desk with drawer storage and pull-out work surface, and a companion standalone bookshelf unit.
Martin saw renewed interest in its office line after the company ceased its bedroom program earlier this year to focus primarily on home office and entertainment, said company CEO Gil Martin.
It reported success in a range of footprints ranging from its casual transitional seven-piece Point Reyes office group to its Kensington executive office group, which features a 68-inch executive desk at $999 retail, as well as a credenza and deck, a two drawer lateral file unit, a 60- inch writing desk at $599 and an L-desk configuration.
Dealers liked the Art Deco and Biedermeier design influences of Kensington and the casual design of Point Reyes, which is made with acacia veneers and features a $599 three-quarter pedestal desk, a $449 standing desk and a three-drawer file cabinet, Martin said.
While the standing desk received softer response than some of the other pieces, officials noted that it has applications in many different room settings including the kitchen.
Whalen reported positive response to its new Canterbury collection, which features a 60-inch writing desk at $399, a mini hutch unit and a three-drawer file unit. It was shown with a credenza, which helps dealers envision how it looks in an L configuration. Dealers liked the versatility of the group as well as the contrasting black finish on the desk and the multiple shades of brown finishes on the drawer fronts.