On the Slant

Erin Berg

Hi, I'm Erin Berg, associate editor covering motion upholstery and outdoor. I came to F/T with a marketing background from various industries not related to furniture so I like to think I can bring a different perspective to the business. My blog spot will sometimes be about sharing my ideas and thoughts, and always about inviting yours. I hope to spark conversation because from what I’ve learned about this industry, it’s built on relationships. And relationships start with conversation.

  • Who’s the J.K. Rowling of furniture? Learn how to tell your story

    As a reporter, my job is to listen to stories and retell them. So it should come as no surprise that one of the most common statements I hear is: We have a great story, and we just need to tell it. Actually, it’s not quite that simple. A story is only as good as the storyteller. Most people are not blessed with the gift of great storytelling, and there’s a good reason why they call it an art. Since we’re all toiling away in the furniture business short of the wealth and fame of J.K ... Read More
  • No soul, no brand

    A brand is not a singular thing that you do in marketing; it encompasses a number of things — both tangible and intangible — that comprise the soul of your company. What that implies is that there is a soul upon which to build a brand. Earlier in my career, I worked at ad agencies collaborating with the marketing department of companies in a variety of industries from aerospace to film and television. I can’t tell you how many times we worked on brand development, and, in almost every case, it started with creating or redesigning a logo. It seems logical ... Read More
  • Strike while the iron is hot

    Three words I heard a lot during High Point Market: Motion is hot. And I would have to agree — not because I am partial to the category as the motion editor, but because based on what I’ve seen, the category is offering everything I want and need for my home and the way I live. As a female consumer, industry conventional wisdom says I don’t like motion furniture, but I’ve got to tell you, from a features and benefits standpoint, I’m really questioning why I don’t own motion furniture. I have a stationary leather sofa ... Read More
  • Augmented reality: Stick a pin in it

    The buzz about augmented reality (AR) in the furniture retail space seems to be growing. Developers and fans of the technology talk excitedly about the innovation and how it will capture today’s tech savvy consumer, and retailers who are early adopters of it — such as Ikea, Wayfair and Jerome’s — have said it has helped to drive sales. Has it really though? Do we know those purchases wouldn’t have been made anyway? Is AR a sales tactic or trigger? Time will tell the ROI story, but in the meantime my guess is that in the midst of persistently ... Read More
  • Superheroes among us: A tale of a buyer's journey

    In this case, it was also an actual journey. On a recent business trip, I experienced some travel disruptions due to a severe winter storm that moved through the Southeast, a region not equipped to handle ice and snow. After repeated delays of my flight over the course of three hours that ended with a cancellation and rebooking for the next day, I needed a room for the night and was turned away by several nearby hotels — all of which were over-run by stranded travelers. I called the Delta Airlines 800 number, uncertain of how they could help me but ... Read More
  • Not 16 candles but 650,000

    Maybe you've heard this interesting statistic: Each day 10,000 people turn 65. That's a lot of birthday candles. It's also potentially a lot of sales in the power lift recliner category. An aging population of Baby Boomer and Silent generations is certainly a legitimate reason the category has seen growth not only in sales but the number of suppliers and variety of products, but there are many reasons why someone might need help getting in and out of a chair. From meeting a short-term need such as recovery from injury or surgery to providing an aging ... Read More
  • Are you stuck in 2005?

    You're probably trying to remember what you were doing in 2005. It's less about what happened that year and more about what has changed since. Social media usage has grown ten times over the last decade. This is significant because if you are a sales professional and you haven't evolved with those changes, your personal brand may be suffering along with your income potential. And if you think you’re not in sales, you’re wrong because all of us are peddling a personal brand whether we know it or not. According to Pew Research Center that ... Read More
  • Are you good, or are you 'flawsome'?

    Most of us are so accustomed to hearing horror stories about bad customer service or disappointment in the quality of goods we buy that when we hear something good, we think it's too good to be true. I recently spoke with an extremely satisfied customer of High Point, N.C.-based Simplicity Sofas. His high praise for the product and the service he received was nothing short of incredible. In fact, that’s what the Google and Yelp algorithms “think” as well, according to Simplicity Sofas owner Jeff Frank, who said that both online review sites flag the positive ... Read More
  • Where can we turn vulnerability into strength?

    A pipeline leak in Alabama caused a fuel shortage, public panic and an overnight spike in prices at the pump that affected six Southeastern states. While this particular event was a regional issue that lasted about a week, it is not unprecedented or unfathomable that it could happen anywhere with larger repercussions. The G20 Summit held in Hangzhou, China, was a two-day event that halted production and transportation of goods in that entire area for at least a couple of weeks. The region is a major source for international factories and businesses, including furniture suppliers who, if they were smart ... Read More
  • Day 365 in furniture

    I’ve just hit my first anniversary with Furniture Today. As I stood over my kitchen sink shoveling my breakfast this morning (because those High Point Market stories are beckoning), my eyes fell on the 50-ml Jack Daniels bottle that is a piece of memorabilia from my first 365 days of covering the motion upholstery and outdoor furniture categories. While you’ll have to watch our next episode of Frontline Friday on Oct. 7 to understand why a miniature liquor bottle represents my year in the furniture industry, I’ll take this momentous occasion to share five things I learned ... Read More
  • Labor of Love: Making America Great (Again)

    The Presidential candidates have been arguing about the greatness of America, our standing as a world leader and what needs to be done to strengthen the nation on a number of fronts. I’ll tell you straight away that I’m not here to attack or defend, persuade or dissuade, or even state a position necessarily. I’m here to pose some questions and make observations about “Made in the USA” and how it seems to mean more to those outside our borders than within. A U.S. maker of jeans and a member of American Made Matters said that ... Read More
  • Mississippi or Bust

    Why would I want to go to north Mississippi? That's what I would have said if someone asked me if I wanted to visit the area before I started working in the furniture industry and covering upholstery. Sure, I’ve owned and loved upholstered furniture for as long as I can remember, but I never thought about where most of it comes from. But recently, I had the opportunity to see and feel what it is to make upholstered furniture and to gain an appreciation for U.S. manufacturing. Franklin Corp., Houston There is making furniture, and then there ... Read More