June kicked off with Spring High Point Market, and for all practical purposes, markets appear to be back … almost in full swing.
There were still some restrictions and events were limited, but hugging old friends, connecting with new faces and seeing new home furnishings collections felt so familiar.
While we continue to mourn those lost and the businesses that may not have been able to weather the storm, seeing people back in market mode brings with it hope for a brighter future as we begin to close this difficult chapter.
Even as exhibitors have rolled out stunning new product met with enthusiasm, supply chain challenges continue to slow deliveries. This too shall pass. Material price increases and delays are still hovering as well, but that didn’t stop designers and retailers from embracing the new along with the best sellers and those products waiting in warehouses.
From the conversations we had, supply chain delays, which continue to roll through various locations and ports, will hopefully start easing up some. There was confidence that by the end of 2021, deliveries will be closer to normal. Business is seemingly looking up, and the energy and camaraderie of exhibitors, retailers and designers was palpable.
In this issue, we share a recap of our May Home Design Business Think Tank. One of the takeaways Bob Phibbs, The Retail Doctor, shared was the importance of staying connected to your customer after the sale. That insight matters more than ever right now. Retailers and designers, make sure you are keeping your customers in the loop on longer lead times. Even if they know they may currently be waiting 12 or more weeks, touch base every two weeks to let them know you are working on it. That effort goes a long way to maintaining their confidence.
The same applies for exhibitors after market. We are all aware that there are delays right now. Where possible, however, stay in touch with your customers, if for no other reason than to help them deliver the correct information to their customers. Proactive communication keeps everyone happy.
Speaking of retailers doing things right, we’d like to congratulate our Showroom of the Year Winners, who were just announced at Lightovation! To all of our winners, finalists and entrants, you’ve overcome difficult odds this year to thrive in your businesses, and we applaud each and every one of you!
Our cover story this month is about holiday decor. Yes, we know it’s summer. As this year’s holiday season will hopefully be one of family, gatherings and celebration, though, this is an important topic. I imagine the festive decor opportunities will be abundant.