These are unusual times we’re living through. I don’t think I have to go into the specifics. Right now, the world can feel a little bit uncertain. In that uncertainty, however, there is always opportunity. We just need to be prepared for it. Really prepared, like with a plan. And a plan B. And maybe even a plan C?
What is it that they say? Life happens to you when you’re making other plans? The best-laid plans... That list goes on.
For much of my life, I’ve been more of an opportunity “in the moment” type. By the way, that’s not an effective business strategy. That’s changed. Planning is pretty critical to my editorial role, and I could still probably be better at it.
If you think about it, planning is simply a tool so you can be flexible when that design client, shipping delay or pandemic throws a curveball in the direction of your original plan. We need to be prepared for all contingencies.
This year has certainly been one of changing plans — in design, at retail, in the home furnishings industry. Never before has there been as much of a need for that plan B or plan C or even plan D. There has been obstacle after obstacle that has pushed us to change course and take our businesses in new directions. For example, no markets, limited markets, revised markets. Side note: It was really nice to attend High Point premarket last month. It felt like old times (which was only a year ago), but with masks.
While crises this year have been unprecedented, those who had alternate plans at the ready or were able to retool their plans quickly to be flexible for their customers have actually had a good year from a business perspective. Seriously, how many of us now know the value of Zoom? I’m sure that wasn’t in this year’s original plan A’s.
Shifts we are seeing in the business landscape across the home furnishings industry will continue. They’ve always been
there — maybe not as “in your face” as current situations — and they will always be there. We need to be ready with multiple plans, now more than ever.
This month is our Made in the U.S. issue and our High Point Preview issue. For some retailers and designers, Made in the U.S. has become more critical to their businesses this year as global supply chains have been disrupted by the pandemic. And for U.S. manufacturers, while shutdowns and increased demand sent their “plans” into a tailspin early on, those plan B’s have had a positive impact on their production and their businesses.
As for High Point Market this month, it will be different, no doubt. But it will also feel familiar. There are lots of new collections and inspiration to find. If you can’t get to market, you can be inspired by some of the “new” in the pages of this issue. And, your suppliers have done an amazing job of showcasing debuts through virtual tools. I believe those methods will become part of the over-arching strategy going forward as we plan for what comes next.