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My name is Heath E. Combs and I am a staff writer for Furniture/Today. I cover casual dining, occasional and green product categories here and often write about regulatory issues affecting our industry. In my blog “The Writer’s Bureau” I’ll discuss the general business climate may be, any interesting trends I find that could carry over into our industry and what I’m hearing from you in our conversations or in my travels. I’m interested in hearing from you here and feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com.
I'm not worried about any youth vacuum in our industry. It's folly - maybe even hubris - to underestimate any generation of people. Just look at the most powerful voting blocs in our nation. In fact, nationally I see less overall generational shift than generational melding. Regardless of whether it's gray hair or follicles dyed purple, heads - en masse - are bent over iPhones or Droids these days... Read MoreComments (3)
In a perfect world, chemical companies would be paying our California Proposition 65 attorney fees or other costs. They would, at the very least, be sharing our headache. As a byproduct of California's TB 117 flammability law - now under revision - about 60 furniture companies could find themselves in court for having flame retardants in foam. Since the 1970s environmentally toxic flame retardants... Read MoreComments (1)
Malaysia is a major producer of wood furniture. The United States imported close to $329 million in furniture from Malaysia in the first six months of 2012. That more even than from Indonesia. Malaysia is an especially important source of casual dining furniture. A major minimum wage law enacted last year took effect on January 1. The New York Times reported in May that the minimum wage was set a... Read MoreComments (0)
There was plenty to write about from a style standpoint at High Point's Premarket this month. Probably the biggest continuing development in wood is that we're out of the espresso era. There are still dark finishes, but it's more like dull blacks or lighter coffee-bean browns. Many producers are trying to find the right light wood finish, but it's tough. Some of the best looking are a buttersc... Read MoreComments (6)
Arrogance of federal power. That's what Gibson's CEO Henry Juszkiewicz recently called the second raid on the company's factories in Tennessee by federal law enforcement officials enforcing new Lacey Act wood provisions passed in 2008. Juszkiewicz has suggested Gibson is the target of a political witch hunt. The politics of the Lacey Act amendments should have played out before the amendments were... Read MoreComments (27)
There's been good national news coverage this year of the antidumping case on wooden bedroom furniture. I continue to think this typically not very sexy topic warrants attention because it has layers of interesting storylines. The initial order placing antidumping duties on Chinese wood bedroom imports began in 2004 after the U.S. government concluded that those products were unfairly priced too... Read MoreComments (4)
When a major retailer files for bankruptcy, their suppliers don't just take a hit because they won't be repaid all the money they're owed. They take a long-term hit on the future business they lose. Some companies can take those hits. Some cannot.In 2007, Wickes, then a 39-store retailer with $396 million in sales, filed for bankruptcy. You may remember that filing hit now-defunct suppliers Caye a... Read MoreComments (26)
Furniture maker and craftsman Thomas Day, nominated to the American Furniture Hall of Fame this year, certainly had a complex 19th century social structure to navigate. I've been reading about him in a book published this year called "Thomas Day: Master Craftsman and Free Man of Color."Day also will be the subject of a presentation by Jo Ramsey Leimenstoll and Patricia Phillips Marshall... Read MoreComments (3)
I've been waiting for more details on last November's raid by federal authorities on Gibson Guitar's Nashville, Tenn., facilities, which involved claims that wood the plant was using was illegally logged under the new Lacey Act amendments. This was the first major "bust" associated with the amendments, so there was a pretty big spotlight on it. But information on what was happening was s... Read MoreComments (13)
We ran a story this week mostly dealing with raw material price increases as a factor that is pushing up the cost of home furnishings product this year. The verdict: Price hikes are coming if they aren't here already.An item that we didn't mention is that manufacturers in Asia, the source of much of our furniture, are seeing more pressure in labor costs. Several major news outlets have reported Ch... Read MoreComments (8)
Auto maker Henry Ford - who named each of his models with a letter - took a few years before he made a lady out of Liz. He spent the late 1890s tinkering with experimental models. In 1903 he released the first Model A and it was not until 1908 that he hit it big with the first mass produced auto, the T-Model. Today, the internet is in its first great age of development and much like the Model T,... Read MoreComments (0)
If you walk enough markets two, three or four times a year, you pick up a few things. Especially in regards to introductions. This isn’t a definitive list, it’s just a few observations from last month’s High Point premarket: + Good news: There’s not an overabundance of merlot or espresso finishes on introductions. Browns are out there but they seem to be warmer, with an almost orange or a slight... Read MoreComments (6)