FurnitureDealer.Net has added three new members, including two industry professionals — Emily Severson and Kimberley Wray — to its team in an effort to expand its focus on home furnishings suppliers. Thomas W. Smith rounds out the new team.
“FurnitureDealer.Net has always focused on manufacturer relationships, so I don’t think it will come as a surprise to anyone that we are continuing to invest in this area,” relates Andy Bernstein, founder and chief executive. “It’s so important, especially now, that we’ve hired a team specifically dedicated to these relationships, and not just a team, but people with really deep industry experience, networks and skill sets that are incredibly important now. There has never been a more urgent need to improve connecting and communicating between suppliers and independent retailers to elevate the consumer experience.”
Indeed, the executive says, “Our focus has always been to support independent local furniture stores, and if COVID has taught our industry anything, it is the importance of digital. We know through our network of premium dealers that consumers are 500 more times more likely now to use the Internet for search, research and shopping. The growth has been explosive and exponential and it is imperative for our industry to up our game digitally, improve relationships and effectively communicate information between retailers, designers, manufacturers and consumers.
“I’m particularly excited that Emily Severson has rejoined our company following three years at A.R.T. Furniture, where she most recently served as director of research and data analysis and project management. Emily began her industry career at FurnitureDealer.Net as a content strategist, and over the course of seven years mastered a number of roles as a member of our Leadership Team, where she focused on developing our people and culture and manufacturer relationships, as well as operations and efficiencies. In her role at A.R.T., she gained further experience in sales operations and business operations, along with an intimate understanding of the needs of suppliers in today’s marketplace.
“While Emily is something of an operations phenom, I hired Kimberley because I think she is the best storyteller in our industry. A consummate communicator and marketer with nearly three decades of experience positioning publications, companies, people and the industry’s most important trade show, she also co-founded and even named WithIt. She has continually worked to change the game in long-lasting ways and her network is extraordinary. Both she and Emily have been recognized by WithIt for their leadership and devotion to lifting others and passion for moving our industry forward.”
Thomas W. Smith rounds out the new team. “With his most recent retail experience as a team leader and social media director at Nestle in the Nespresso division, Thomas has managed retail stores and restaurants across the country,” Bernstein says. “He has also worked as a successful actor in television and film, and as a stand-up comedian. With a background in journalism at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, he is a delight to work with and has a real talent for connecting with people.
“This is important, because we see great opportunity here to do a better job of communicating information from suppliers to our retailers to consumers. We really want to stand up for the local channel, and our mission is to develop deeper, more meaningful relationships that help everyone grow their businesses.