This month’s word is RESILIENCE: the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.
If ever there has been a year where resilience has been required, it’s been this one. With COVID shutdowns and restrictions, supply chain disruptions, staffing issues and more, this past year has required patience, fortitude and a level of creative solutions that we haven’t seen in many years, if ever.
Suffice it to say that retailers, in particular, have risen to these challenges in notable ways.
As we’ve gotten this May issue ready, we’ve had the privilege of speaking with our Showroom of the Year finalists, 15 lighting retailers who have risen to pandemic challenges and have not only managed to survive, but to thrive.
These finalists have been candid about the brick walls they came up against and subsequently scaled — from suddenly needing a serious e-commerce and social media presence to coming up with ways to better communicate with customers when face to face was not an option.
While some had prescient projects underway, such as total revamps of their showrooms, others were humming along quite nicely when COVID shutdowns hit, having to restructure customer interactions on the fly.
All of our finalists credited the can-do attitude of their staffs for being able to pull off changes that seemed so daunting at first. It says so much when you have such dedicated people on your side. From appointment-only visits to curbside pickup to virtual seminars for customers, these retailers took the initiative to create better, safer and more convenient environments. They worked closely with their vendors, their employees and even their customers to deliver on a scale they might not have realized was possible or necessary. Many of those changes will stick going forward, too, because they have created a better customer experience.
The conversations we had over this past month were more than inspiring. Learning how these independent showrooms have risen to what have felt like insurmountable challenges revealed a tenacity to survive, one that we hope transcends our Showroom of the Year finalists to all walks of retail, design and the entire home furnishings industry.
Our interviews also highlighted just how determined and thoughtful so many in the home furnishings industry can be. While I hope we won’t be talking about COVID well into 2021, I do hope the innovation that so many have shown continues. We’ve made many positive steps forward in an ever-changing environment.
Congratulations to all of our showroom entrants and finalists. Your resilience — and success — is nothing short of remarkable. You are all winners! We look forward to connecting with you all at this summer’s Lightovation!