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From the Editor

Susan Dickenson
Thoughts and observations on the business of home accents. Susan Dickenson, editor in chief, Home Accents Today. @susandickenson
  • A tale of transition

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. The best of times, because my fellow editors Alexa Boschini, Tracy Bulla, Thomas Lester and I were promoted to new editorial positions, effective Jan. 1, 2017. The worst of times, because after saying goodbye to our friend and leader of 10 years, Jenny Heinzen York, we stepped into these expanded roles at the beginning of our busiest month of the year. We hit the ground running and found ourselves doing some pretty creative scrambling to be everywhere we needed to be in order to get to everything we ... Read More
  • Where things stand with HB2

    The North Carolina General Assembly and Gov. Pat McCrory enacted the controversial legislation know as House Bill 2 back in the spring. It caused great uproar nationwide and in the home furnishings industry, and led to many threats of boycott of the April High Point Market. Among other things, HB2 requires North Carolinians to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender (per their birth certificate). It also eliminated the ability of North Carolinians to sue for workplace discrimination (on any grounds) in state courts. While it’s unclear if that law impacted the traffic at the show, market attendance ... Read More
  • What’s Next?

    And who’s next? Is the future what we think it’s going to be? Is the home furnishings industry too mature to embrace disruptive, entrepreneurial ideas? These are just a few of the questions that we will seek to answer at the NEXT Conference, set for Sept. 14-15 in Savannah, Ga. This event is the newest incarnation of the Future Leadership Conference, and with a fresh rebranding and completely unique content strategy, promises to be one of the most exciting events on the (admittedly crowded) industry calendar. I know it can feel impossible to set aside a few days ... Read More
  • Season of Hope

    A Facebook friend of mine – a lovely Moroccan woman whom I met on a trip there a few years ago – posted this recently: “Need hope – can anybody tell me where in the world I can find this rare commodity?” It was one of those (also rare) social media moments that actually stopped me in my tracks. Her comment came in the midst of increasing international tension, terrorist attacks and a real general malaise for the state of our world. It made me think of a longtime favorite quote from Alexandre Dumas (in The Count of Monte Cristo) "Live, then, and ... Read More
  • Is ‘Pure-Play’ Dead?

    What do I mean by pure-play? I mean web-only, brick-and-mortar-only, catalog-only retail. As the retail world continues its evolution, it turns out you really can’t have one without the other. In the March issue, Susan Dickenson wrote an in-depth article on the process and pitfalls that several brick-and-mortar stores experienced on their road to adding e-commerce. Sparked by the great reaction to that story, I hosted a seminar and panel discussion with three retailers during NY Now on the same subject. The overwhelming message from all three is that while e-commerce accounts for a small fraction of the stores ... Read More
  • Next Steps

    Are you a young and/or up-and-coming leader in your company? If so, I invite you to join me and the Progressive Business Media team at our second-annual Future Leadership Conference this September in New Orleans. Even if you’re a more seasoned veteran of the industry, this conference promises to have something for you – or those who you deem to be the future of your business. It’s been my role this year to plan the editorial content, and I’m finding the process fun, invigorating (and yes, rather a lot of work). But it’s helped me really ... Read More
  • Furniture industry getting more inclusive?

    Don’t look now, but it looks like the good-old-boy furniture network may be coming around a bit. Last week at the Las Vegas Market, changes to the American Furniture Hall of Fame were announced. “The organization is now the American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame Foundation Inc. and will be more open to industry segments in addition to furniture, including accessories, bedding, rugs, lighting and international. The change also aims to appeal to younger members of the industry,” according to the article by Tom Russell, my colleague over at Furniture Today. It may seem a little semantic, but even ... Read More
  • The New Classics

    Coming off of High Point, everyone wants to know what was the best thing we saw at market. I will leave the specific products and trends to our Style Director Tracy Bulla to share with you in this pair of slideshows (What's Hot and Top Trends), but I found that overall there was a very noticeable movement toward “new classics” – a fresh look on product that, while not traditional, is also not trendy. It’s a look that reads carefully curated and collected. Which got me thinking about the Baby Boomers – maybe because my own parents (older Boomers) are ... Read More
  • Summer rolls on

    We are three down, one to go for the major summer markets. With Dallas, Atlanta and now Las Vegas under our belts, here are some thoughts. As I had suspected heading into the summer season, there seem to be many retailers who are taking the buying season off, stuck as they are with inventory bought just in time for the first-quarter slowdown at retail. Attendance at the various shows was termed off, spotty, and most commonly "weird." But overall, the mood has been pretty positive, especially as we've gotten later in the summer and farther away from the winter ... Read More
  • Monica Pedersen on American Dream Builders, launch with Softline

    At the New York Home Fashions Market, I had the opportunity to sit down with Monica Pedersen, one of the judges on the new NBC program American Dream Builders, not to mention former HGTV star and licensor of home furnishings products. She was visiting the Softline showroom in New York’s 130 Fifth Avenue Building where her new line of home textiles was making its New York debut, following a launch earlier this winter at the Las Vegas Market. It was the day after the show’s first airing on Sunday, March 23, and she had a lot to say ... Read More
  • Hitting the High End

    Perhaps the biggest overall impact of the Great Recession and the snail’s-pace recovery that has followed it is the importance of the affluent consumer to the overall economy, and to home furnishings sales in particular. "I think the most important shift in the economy at large is the growing importance of the affluent in driving the recovery," said Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and author of Putting the Luxe Back in Luxury. "The middle-class and lower-income folks have greatly reduced spending power, due to tax changes, unemployment, etc. so the affluent heavy-lifters are behind all the news about ... Read More
  • How do we reinvent retail?

    Next week, on Thursday, Feb. 27, I will moderate a webinar, "Bricks and Clicks - Reinvented Retail in the Digital Era." This webinar is hosted by Pop-Up Artists, a marketing agency for turn-key, short-term selling space (aka pop-up shops, shops within shops and trade show booths). Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz was recently quoted in the Wall Street Journal, "The move toward online shopping represents a seismic shift in customer behavior."  And from John Donahoe, CEO of eBay in a 2013 Financial Times article, "There will be more changes in how consumers shop and pay in the next three to five years ... Read More