Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
“The biggest driver is the amount of new hardwood flooring going into homes in the last 10 years, as opposed to wall-to-wall carpet,” explained Bob Price, Vice President of Merchandising for Art Van Furniture. “Hardwood flooring has continued to increase and is probably the biggest single reason for the increased need for area rugs.”
Bob Batt, Vice President of Nebraska Furniture Mart, also attributes much of the category’s growth to improvements in design, coloring, manufacturing methods and even price points, all of which have conspired to transform a somewhat traditional and stodgy market. “Fifteen years ago, the business was still somewhat crude,” Batt noted. “In the last 10 years, the changes due to innovation have been total and huge.”
For these reasons, as well as the product’s pivotal role in room design, the rug category is key at Nebraska Furniture Mart. In fact, “it isn’t just one of the best accessory categories—it is the best,” Batt said.
“Area rugs are much more important components to decorating a room than a lot of people give them credit for,” Price noted. “Think about all the things rugs can do. They add design, they add color and in larger sizes, they can even become the focal point in a room.”
Because of this, the need for coordination with other home furnishings categories at the front end is of paramount importance. Unlike many other accessories that can be bought independently, area rugs must work well with the furniture that’s being shown from the standpoint of color, style, size and price point.
“As the merchandise manager, one of my roles is to make sure we’re buying related merchandise, so that when it gets on the floor, it looks like we have one point of view,” Price explained. “When we put in a new furniture item—a new sofa, a new bedroom or a new dining room—we actually plan a specific rug to that group so they work in style and color.”
To that end, Art Van’s rug buyer is included in buying meetings to view furniture drawings and fabric swatches, etc. “That way, it’s all coordinated before we buy rather than scrambling around trying to find something to put with the furniture when it comes in,” Price said. “Four critical components have to be right: color, pattern, style and size. When those components are in balance across the entire assortment, that’s when merchandise turns.”
IKEA takes a similar approach to buying and merchandising rugs, which is a key reason for the category’s success, according to IKEA Textiles Sales Leader Patti Crawford. “Our rugs are totally coordinated and developed to the furniture offer we have in our stores, so you can complete your room’s whole look in one stop,” she said, adding that the pricing structure is such that that it’s possible to get both a rug and a sofa “at IKEA for the same price as just a sofa at other retailers.”
Indeed, rug buyers emphasize that in addition to complementary design and color stories, it’s essential to hit the right price points. As the buyer for a major East Coast furniture discounter explained it, retailers have to find the right ratio between the price of the rug and the furniture. It’s been his experience that consumers aren’t of a mindset to pay more for the rug than the furniture in the room.
And that is a change from the previous generation of rug buyers, many of whom viewed rugs as major investments. “With exceptions, the days of the $8,000, $10,000 and $12,000 rug purchases are not around anymore,” observed Nebraska Furniture Mart’s Batt. “People today don’t buy rugs to hand down to their children. I’ve had rugs for 25 years, but that’s not what my daughter wants. Her generation wants contemporary fashion, but without spending much. We call it ‘urban disposable.’ These are very hot, very contemporary looks with a short shelf life. The hardest thing an older buyer has to learn is how to market to consumers younger than 30.”
So, what are the magic price points when marketing to these consumers? While prices vary according to size, of course, the volume price points are well below $1,000 in most middle-market stores.
At Art Van, the sales graph takes the shape of the typical bell curve. As the size and price of the rug gets bigger, the demand for the rug gets smaller. The vast majority of business is done in sizes 5 feet by 8 feet and 6 feet by 9 feet. The volume price points: $399 to $499 for rugs measuring 5 feet by 8 feet and 6 feet by 9 feet; and $699 to $899 for rugs measuring 8 feet by 11 feet and 9 feet by 12 feet.
“As with furniture, I don’t think people are buying these products as investments to last 40 years,” Price concluded. “That’s one of the biggest differences we’ve seen as younger buyers come into the market.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
I have been working on Lexington Home Brands' Hancock Park group, and I want to give this collection a shameless plug. It is awesome...one of the most exciting new styles I have seen in awhile. It is very hard to do anything different in the furniture world...its almost all been done before, to a certain extent. What we see today is a rehash of what was sold yesterday, whether that yesterday was 10, 20, or 50 years ago.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
As far as Hinkley goes, there isn’t a room in your home that wouldn’t benefit from a Hinkley fixture, and we’d like to help you identify the perfect fixture for your specific needs. The right lighting helps you perform tasks more easily, makes you feel safer and more comfortable, and allows you to enjoy your home to its full potential. Lighting adds beauty and drama to any space. It can make small rooms look open and airy, and larger rooms feel cozy and inviting. Lighting can create a stimulating atmosphere for a night of entertaining, or a quiet feeling of relaxation after a long, tiring day. In so many ways, lighting can make a difference. If you are looking to make a change in appearance to a room or exterior of your home, start with lighting first!
Lighting should be planned to complement your lifestyle. First, you need to develop a plan to suit your individual needs and those of your family. When planning your lighting, consider the activities taking place in each room, the atmosphere you want to create and the decorative elements you wish to emphasize. Keep in mind that light can be absorbed and even wasted in dark-colored rooms, or reflected and intensified in light-colored rooms. Also, take note of areas serving more than a single purpose, such as a living room, as those areas will require more than one type of lighting.
Lighting and Your Home:
To select lighting for your home, you must first consider the room you're trying to illuminate. In a living or family room for example, you'll want to include general lighting for entertaining and watching television, task lighting for reading, and accent lighting to highlight artwork, plants, and other items of interest. In the kitchen, you'll require task lighting for cooking and other chores, and also general lighting for gathering with family and friends. In the bedroom, you'll want to create an overall atmosphere of quiet relaxation, while providing some task lighting for reading and other activities. Similarly, in the bathroom, you'll require task and general lighting.
Foyer or Hall Fixtures:
Hall and foyer fixtures can create a welcoming atmosphere, while providing you with the general lighting you need to greet guests and assure safe passage into other areas of your home. Use flush and semi-flush fixtures, large chandeliers or pendants and sconces in hallways, stairways, and foyers.Click Here for Hinkley Hall and Foyer Lighting
How To Size a Foyer or Hall Fixture:
To determine the overall height of a hall or foyer fixture, always keep in mind the bottom of the fixture should be at least 7 feet from the floor. This will determine whether you use a flush, semi-flush, or if you have a tall ceiling, a multi-tiered chandelier.
When sizing a chandelier or pendant for your foyer, add the length and width dimensions of the foyer area together and convert the total into inches. Example: The area is 18 feet by 14 feet. Added together this equals 32 feet. Then convert your sum to inches: the chandelier's diameter should be approximately 32 inches in width.
In a two-story foyer, if there is a window above the front door, center the chandelier so it can be seen from outside. If the foyer is extra-large, you may also want to install sconces in the foyer. Sconces should be installed 60 inches from the floor and 6 - 8 feet apart
Since a standard ceiling outlet box will only hold a maximum of 50lbs., some large chandeliers and foyer pendants require special mounting hardware. Hinkley fixtures weighing more than 50lbs. are marked in this catalog for your convenience and will come with additional heavy duty support hardware and complete installation instructions.Click Here for Hinkley Chandeliers:
Chandeliers add sparkle and style to your dining room or foyer and provide general lighting needed for dining and entertaining. While chandeliers are traditionally hung in a dining room or foyer, a new trend is to hang chandeliers in other rooms such as the bedroom, living room and larger bathrooms. Mini-chandeliers are particularly great for adding drama when used in unexpected places like a powder room, hallway, or walk-in closet.
How To Size a Chandelier:
To size a chandelier for your dining room or bedroom, you'll need to measure the length and width of the room and add those figures together. The sum, converted to inches, will equal the diameter of the correct size chandelier. In the dining room, if this measurement seems inappropriate due to the size of your table, size your chandelier three quarters the width of the table. The bottom of the chandelier should be approximately 30-32 inches above the table top.
Hinkley provides many different types of pendant fixtures. Large inverted bowl pendants can be used in the foyer or dining room for general decorative lighting. Mini- or mid-pendants can provide task lighting when clustered over a kitchen island or a pool table. Think about using a pendant over end or night tables. They free up space usually occupied by table lamps. Outdoor pendants on a covered porch create a welcoming glow and provide security and safety outside your home.
Hinkley Ceiling Lighting:
Ceiling Fixtures (Flush Mounts and Semi-Flush Mounts) can provide decorative general lighting. They are practical in busy areas such as hallways, bedrooms, kitchens, baths, laundry rooms, playrooms, dens, or areas where the ceiling is too low to accommodate a chain-hung fixture.
Hinkley Decorative Sconces:
Wall-mounted fixtures, such as sconces and vanity lights,can easily provide general, task, or accent lighting. Many sconces are designed to match and complement chandelier or foyer families. Sconces can be used in all areas of the home and are often used as accent lighting above the mantle and fireplace, above the buffet in the dining room, or lining the stairway or hallway.
Hinkley Lighting Bath Fixtures:
Bath fixtures supply task lighting in addition to supplementing the general lighting provided by ceiling fixtures. In the bathroom, you need plenty of even, shadow-free lighting for shaving, grooming, and applying makeup. In small powder rooms, single-light sconces will illuminate the entire room, but in larger bathrooms, an additional pendant, mini-chandelier, or flush-mounted fixture is needed for general lighting. Hinkley offers a wide variety of bathroom fixtures in several families to complement any and all decorating styles.
Hinkley Outdoor Lanterns:
Outdoor lighting enhances the beauty of your property, makes your home safer, more secure, and increases the number of pleasurable hours you spend outdoors. A well-lit front entrance enables you to greet guests and identify visitors. Wall lanterns on each side of the door will give your home a warm, welcoming look, while assuring the safety of those who enter. Under a porch or overhang, use a pendant or outdoor flush-mount fixture.
A separate rear or side entrance can be lit with a single wall lantern installed on the keyhole side of the door. For the safety and security of family members using the garage at night, you can install a wall fixture on the face of the garage. We have installed the same Pueblo Large Wall Lantern on the outside of our garage which matches our lamp post lanterns, and the effect is quite dramatic.
When it comes to choosing your outdoor fixtures, less is more. For a dramatic effect, use lower-wattage lamps. If additional light is required to light the surrounding area, consider using low-voltage landscape lighting.
Steps, paths, and driveways should be illuminated to make sure family members and guests are able to move about easily and safely after dark. You can install path lights, post lanterns, or attach lights to the side of the house. Low-level path lights which spread circular patterns of light will illuminate your walkway while highlighting nearby flower beds, shrubs, and ground cover.
Decks, porches, and patios can be converted into evening retreats by concealing low-voltage lights
How To Size an Outdoor Lantern:
One of the biggest challenges of outdoor lighting is selecting the right-sized Outdoor Lantern. The height of a lantern should be based on the height of the door. If a lantern is only used on one side, it should be approximately one-third the height of the door. When two lanterns are used on either side of the door, they should each be approximately one-fourth the height of the door. In either case, if you choose a fixture with a long tail or top scroll, be cautious of the overall bulk of the fixture as the height should approximate one-half the visual height of the door.
The lanterns should be mounted so the filament of the bulb is approximately 66 Inches above the threshold of the door. Depending on the outlet box location, different mounting arms (on the top or bottom) can be selected to place the filament correctly.
Undersize Your Lanterns: As a rule of thumb, lanterns will appear about half the size from 50 feet away. Visualize the front of your home as guests and neighbors would view it from the street, and when in doubt, always go larger.
Special Classifications of Hinkley Lighting
Energy Star (EST)
Hinkley's Energy Star certified lighting fixtures meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Department of Energy (DOE). Each fixture combines a compact fluorescent bulb and socket together with a photocell that prevents the fixture from staying illuminated during daylight hours, maximizing its energy saving potential. Click Here to Shop Hinkley Energy Star Lighting
Energy Saving (ES)
Hinkley's Energy Saving fixtures utilize a compact fluorescent bulb to conserve energy consumption. Hinkley's Energy Saving (ES) lighting fixtures support "Title-24", a government-backed program that helps businesses and individuals protect the environment through superior energy efficiency. Click Here to Shop Hinkley Energy Saving Lighting (same category as Energy Star)
Dark Sky (DS)
Hinkley's Dark Sky (DS) fixtures minimize light glare and the amount of light produced in an upward direction towards the night sky. Click Here to Shop Hinkley Dark Sky Lighting. Originally mandated in California, many more states and municipalities are mandating Dark Sky compliance as the awareness of light pollution grows, particularly in suburban areas with less density.
Energy Saving and Dark Sky (ESDS)
Hinkley's Energy Saving, Dark Sky (ESDS) fixtures combine the capability to address the Dark Sky ordinance and decreases energy consumption by using fluorescent technology. Click Here to Shop Hinkley Dark Sky Lighting (same category as Dark Sky)
General Lighting Tips: Types of Lighting
There are three basic types of lighting that work together to light your home: General, Task, and Accent. A good lighting plan incorporates all three types of light into an area according to function and style.
GENERAL LIGHTING: General Lighting provides an area with overall illumination. Also known as ambient lighting, general lighting radiates a comfortable level of brightness, enabling one to see and walk about safely. Hinkley can help you accomplish general lighting with a variety of chandeliers, ceiling (flush), or wall-mounted (sconce) fixtures, as well as lanterns for outside your home.
TASK LIGHTING: Task lighting helps you perform specific tasks such as reading, cooking, homework, hobbies, games, paperwork, etc. Task lighting should be free of distracting glare and shadows, and should be bright enough to prevent your eyes from straining. Try Hinkley mini or mid-pendants, or chandeliers with down lights to accomplish task lighting.
ACCENT LIGHTING: Accent lighting adds drama to a room by creating visual interest. The large number of decorative sconces offered by Hinkley gives you many different options for accenting the decor of any room you've created. Choosing to use sconces with cloth shades, blown glass globes, or hand-painted glass shades can greatly change the effect accent lighting can have. Another popular use of accent lighting is landscape lighting. You've made an investment in the landscaping of your home, and you should enjoy the investment as late into the evening as you choose. Not only does landscape lighting deliver an impact and further extend your living area into the yard, but it also adds a level of security to your home.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Back to the subject at hand here at The Daily Designer...
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Jan Zimmerman's second edition of this incredibly user-friendly "Dummies" book shows you how to make your site search engine friendly, create an online marketing plan, and use analytical tools to see how your website is performing. Owner Richard Sexton, and Carolina Rustica, are used as a case study in Part V, "Maximizing Your Web Success". Richard explains how Carolina Rustica uses all of the free tools provided by Google Analytics to make subtle changes in the website and enhance the user experience. The popular "Dummies" format makes it even easier to understand how to run your online business (Hint: there are no shortcuts!). We found it helpful ourselves...after all, its always good to return to the basics. So there is indeed something for everyone in this book. Click here to buy this helpful book on Amazon!
If you don't want to buy the book and just want to see where Carolina Rustica is in the book, you can click this link
I will be posting some of the other little mentions we have received over the last month. We try to keep our name out there as much as possible, whether it is for e-commerce commentary, small business advice, or happenings in the furniture world.