We asked, “How was business in 2017?” Here’s what they’re saying.
“2017 was a year of growth and introspection for Terracotta. We completed the expansion of our office, broke ground on some very rewarding construction projects, received national design awards that took us from New York to California, and completed some stellar interiors that we are still swooning over. It was also a year of LOTS of work and lessons learned along the way. As we settle now into our new offices and ever-growing project scope, we look forward to an even more exciting 2018!”
— Katelyn Rountree, Interior Designer at Terracotta Design Build, Atlanta, GA
“Innovation in the digital world has kept our design team on their toes. While we have always offered great service, we have been challenged to layer on additional strategies to compete with free design services, online design, free shipping and Amazon-like platforms. As a residential firm, we have continued to partner with to-the-trade-only vendors and specified custom-designed pieces to create a look specific to our client and keep them engaged throughout the process so they reach the project finish line successfully.”
— Kerrie Kelly, Interior Designer and Creative Director of Kerrie Kelly Companies, Sacramento, CA
“2017 has definitely been a year of growth for us. We opened our new design center for builder specifications and solidified plans to expand our current retail store. We also added several new interior designers as the growth in our area has increased requests for new home construction and remodeling projects. We have learned over the years to be nimble with our business and stay diversified with our services and offerings to adapt to the changes going on around us.”
— Shay Geyer, Owner and Designer, IBB Design Fine Furnishings, Frisco, TX
“We are fortunate to exist in a strong economy. Companies with good product will experience commensurate sales, and Kichler is no exception to that. We happily met our planned or projected goals. 2017 was a solid year. Lighting is an industry that is new to technology. Connecting white wires and black wires is far different from our current, semiconductor-based solid-state industry. Keeping up with these challenges, making the necessary investments and looking ahead farther into the future than we ever have in the past remains a more and more important goal than in the incandescent past. Combined with the correct aesthetics and it doubles the demand. Kichler is, however, optimistic about the future.”
— Jeff Dross, Corporate Director, Education and Industry Trends, Kichler, Cleveland, OH
“2017 was a very positive year for us. Being a fairly new business, the toughest objective is gaining recognition in our marketplace. This year, largely because of our online presence in social media and our website, we have increased our store traffic, online business and designer following. There are some formidable online competitors that are forcing us and many others to ‘up’ our game. We are putting much emphasis in improving our staff’s knowledge of both LED lighting and home automation. Having a well-trained team will be our biggest advantage going into the next few years.”
— Freddie Naimer, co-founder and President, Montreal Lighting & Hardware, Montreal, QC
Both IKEA and The Mine introduced augmented reality (AR) apps. These companies are pioneers, but the technology still has a way to go. At press time, IKEA Place had a 2.9 out of 5-star rating in the app store, and Envisioned by The Mine had a 4.2 out of 5-star rating.
Amazon also recently debuted an AR shopping feature called AR View, and its dug deeper into the furniture space, launching two in-house lines – Rivet and Stone & Beam — and a collection with Cloth & Co. + Apartment Therapy.
Weathering the Storm
Harvey, Irma, Maria: These hurricanes caused catastrophic damage to homes and businesses in southern Texas, Florida and the Caribbean. Unfortunately our industry was not spared, but the way people rallied to help reminds us what a tight-knit community we have.
In Texas, manufacturers, retailers and market centers rallied to donate funds, goods and space to those in need: Gallery Furniture, WAC Lighting, Wexel Art, Legrand and Dallas Market Center to name a few.
“We had several large vendors and hundreds of our employees contribute money to a 501-3c that we created at Coburn’s just for our employee needs in times of disasters like this,” says Richard Booth of Coburn Supply Company in Beaumont, TX, where Harvey wreaked havoc. “We created the Coburns Cares non-profit last year after the massive flooding in Baton Rouge, LA, and did not expect to have to use those funds so quickly to help employees again.”
In Puerto Rico, San Juan-based retailer Aaron Stewart Home launched the #ASHCARES social media campaign to bring awareness to the devastation from Maria and encourage donations to three local charities.
Rebuilding in all of these cities continues.
Capel Rugs celebrated 100 years.
AmericasMart Atlanta celebrated 60 years.
Dallas Market Center celebrated 60 years.
Matthews Fan Co. celebrated 25 years.
Pantone named Greenery its 2017 Color of the Year. Greenery is meant to be reminiscent of the natural wonder and beauty of nature, and it aims to capture the desire to infuse nature into our urban planning, architecture, lifestyle and design choices globally. Pantone described the color as “nature’s neutral” and said the color is meant to signal to consumers to “take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.”
Manufacturers embraced green this year and this “new natural” was all the rage.
Dallas Market Center opened its Interior Home + Design Center, an open-daily marketplace full of showrooms from leading home decor companies, spaces with individual exterior entrances, large exterior windows and hundreds of parking spaces.
The Sustainable Furnishings Council launched its “What’s it Made of” campaign to raise awareness about the use of harmful chemicals in furnishings products and promote supply chain transparency, further cementing the importance of sustainability.