I'm back from the spring furniture market. All of our vendors worked hard to create a new collection of comfy, functional furniture that embrace great style. Our rug and lighting companies also had some great new things! Most of what I ordered is for our fall 2017 collection, which starts arriving in August, but I got some great accessories and wall art for the summer. These will start arriving the end of May.
I am happy to say that, Google Maps directions aside, my drive went very smoothly. This is a picture of last markets drive down. I was stuck for about 45 minutes until they cleared this burning truck. Luckily, no one was hurt.
After the long drive down, I checked into my hotel in Greensboro. After unpacking and freshening up, I walked over to Bonefish Grill for dinner at the bar. I struck up a conversation with a nice woman sitting next to me. She happened to know Blue Raccoon. She is a NJ sales rep. for the rug line Jaunty. We ate dinner and talked about business.
This is one of the things about these trade shows...Sure, I get to see what's new and it allows me to plan the new season. I have to attend these shows if I want to create a vital, exciting retail experience. But, talking to the attendees about business, whether it's a sales rep. or another retailer, has a value that can't be measured in dollars and cents. And here's the thing...every day I was there I spoke to retailers and reps. from across the country and we were all on the same page about the state of the US economy. 2017 is filled with consumer uncertainty. I don't want to get too political, but the new administration is not creating an environment that bolsters consumer spending. We all seemed determined to get through this and make our stores and businesses more dynamic.
Our first stop at market is Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. (Here I am with Mitchell and their beautiful dog Zola.) Their showroom is always an inspiration. What we see here and what we decide to bring into the store from their new collection dictates what Blue Raccoon will look like the next season. I choose pillows, rugs, lighting and other accessories based on our new MB+BW assortment.
At Universal I was blown away by Alexander Julian's new collection of case goods. Here I am with Alex (as they all called him...teehee!). Note the wall decor. I am always looking at the visual merchandising when I am at these shows. The showroom's creative merchandiser made an argyle pattern on the walls using nails and yarn. Whaaaat?!
The Alexander Julian collection at Universal was a huge hit. Notice the faux tortoise shell inlays on the apron and drawer knobs on this sideboard. Stunning!
Loloi had some wonderful new rug designs!
So, my dinner mate from Thursday evening introduced me to Jaunty, a great line of hand-made rugs. I love textiles and was delighted to be able to bring in this line of area rugs. All three patterns (two above and one below) will be in the store this fall.
I also enjoy seeing all of the creativity that goes into the displays. This guy was weaving wooden popsicle sticks into an elaborate hanging sculpture. Hmm...I might have to try that!
The bonsai trees at Curry and Company are drool-worthy...
All this focus on next fall! Well, back to spring! We hope to see you in the store over the next few months. Until next time...ciao!