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Retail Update

Susan Dickenson

Susan Dickenson, Retail Editor, Home Accents Today, @susandickenson

  • Oh, Atlanta... and that #pkldinnerparty!

    Wow, Atlanta, what a great start to a new year! As I type, my mobile phone is buzzing with text messages and invites for next week in Las Vegas, but before it gets too far behind us, I have to take a few minutes and comment on the great energy I saw at Americasmart last week. The halls were packed, the escalators had some of the longest "wait" lines I've seen in ten years, and the seminars I attended, including - and especially - Home Accents Today's "Bricks to Clicks" panel discussion, were standing room only. Vendors were consistent in ... Read More
  • How home furnishings are furnishing hope

    The home furnishings industry is a very giving group. That was especially true in 2015, when the charity and good works started off strong, continued through the summer months, and picked up even more steam at year’s end. It makes me very proud to work in this industry. On Thursday, Jan. 14, Home Accents Today is collaborating with Americasmart and corporate sponsors Surya and Uttermost to present Furnishing Hope, a very special day of giving. A portion of sales made that day from participating Atlanta market vendors will be donated to the City of Hope National Medical Center to ... Read More
  • Design Campus takes programming to winter markets, expands CEU courses online

    Design Campus, an education and networking forum for design professionals and architects, is expanding its industry reach with several new events and online initiatives. Founded by celebrity interior designers Lori Dennis and Kelli Ellis — known for their work on HGTV, Bravo, Oxygen, TLC and the Food Network — Design Campus made its industry debut at the summer 2014 Las Vegas Market as a two-day boot camp with speakers and programming to help interior designers maximize and manage their business. Leading into their Las Vegas “super summit,” Dennis and Ellis had produced smaller gatherings in several U.S. cities. Dennis and Ellis ... Read More
  • Try a little reverse intelligence

    Every now and then I stumble upon an app or tech tool that is so cool I have to write about it. Especially when it looks like something that could be of use not only to retailers, but to designers, manufacturers, marketers and consumers as well. And even more so when I read that it has somehow gone unnoticed – one report says as many as 70% of internet users aren’t even aware of this little gem’s existence. I’m talking about reverse image search engines, the equivalent of doing a Google search for an image, using an image ... Read More
  • Profiting from unexpected product

    ON A RECENT GROCERY shopping trip to Aldi, I walked out with cheese, chips, canned goods, a pouf ottoman and an over-door coat rack. The first three purchases were planned; the last two were not. I was caught off guard. The pouf and rack were cute, ridiculously well-priced, and I could use them. Once home, my cats made it clear the pouf was perfect for naps (theirs), and that they each needed one. So I went back to Aldi to buy a second pouf and, while there, bought more groceries. Aldi’s plan worked. A lot of retailers in our ... Read More
  • U.S. retailer discusses the ins & outs of direct importing

    Thirteen years ago, Terrie Viets and Jane Clark opened Solari – Quintessentially Italian, a lifestyle store in the Cleveland suburb of Rocky River, Ohio. They had no retail experience and not a drop of Italian blood, but they shared a love of collecting - especially Italian ceramics - and an entrepreneurial vision.  Today, business is booming and Terrie, whom I met on the Italian Trade Agency’s Sicilian ceramics tour this summer, is not only a successful retailer, she’s an expert importer. After dinner one night in Caltagirone, a few questions about her business turned into a lot of questions about importing ... Read More
  • Parlore, new app and online marketplace for interior designers

    Parlore, a new software app and online marketplace for interior designers, made its live debut last month in Atlanta. Founder and CEO Stacey Osiecki brought Parlore staff members to Americasmart, where the team hosted five days of product demos, panel discussions and social events to showcase the offerings and functionality the app can provide to interior designers and product manufacturers. Half business tool and half wholesale market, Parlore runs on IOS devices, is available for free in Apple’s app store, and offers a companion iPhone app for on-the-go access. Osiecki’s motivation for developing Parlore is rooted in ... Read More
  • VIDEO: Sicily's City of Ceramics, a millennia of maiolica

    Two weeks ago I joined a group of U.S. retailers in Sicily for a tour of the ceramic artists and factories of Caltagirone, Italy's "City of Ceramics," where tin-glazed maiolica and terra cotta products have been produced for centuries. Sicily's unique cultural history (of Arab, Spanish, French, Roman and Greek influences) is evident throughout the city, reflected in Caltagirone's colorful ceramic tiles, art, housewares and architectural elements that incorporate both traditional styles and modern interpretations. The city's name is derived from Qal’at-al-ghiran, an Arabic word meaning "castle or fortress of the vases." The purpose ... Read More
  • Talkin 'bout my generation

    I was born in 1960 and am therefore a younger Baby Boomer — the group born from 1954 to 1965 that I’ve just learned is referred to as Generation Jones (see Alexa Boschini’s Generation Now report in the July, 2015 issue). Wikipedia says us Jonesers “were given huge expectations as children in the 1960s, and then confronted with a different reality as they came of age during a long period of mass unemployment and when de-industrialization arrived full force in the 1970s and 1980s, leaving them with a certain unrequited ‘Jonesing’ quality for the more prosperous days in the ... Read More
  • 140-yr-old Liberty of London appeals to 'the artistic shopper'

    Each May, Home Accents Today recognizes excellence in retailing by shining the spotlight on 50 brick-and-mortar retailers that sell home furnishings, as all or part of their merchandise offering - click here to see the 2015 Retail Stars list. It’s not about sales, but success – the strategies, creativity and personalities that attract customers and keep them coming back for more. I recently visited a store that, for close to a century and a half, has done retail so well it’s considered a national treasure in its home country of England: Liberty of London. Located on central London’s Regent ... Read More
  • Home Accents Today welcomes new Retail Advisory Board

    THIS MONTH, Home Accents Today welcomes its new Retail Advisory Board, a group of 11 multichannel and multidisciplined individuals spanning the brick-and-mortar, e-commerce, interior design, furniture store and franchise worlds of home décor and design. They, and the companies they represent, are respected, successful, award-winning names whose markets and reputations extend well beyond U.S. borders. We’re honored to present them here, in alphabetical order: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Wayfair’s senior director of category management, oversees the day-today management of the online retailer’s furniture and home décor business, responsible for overall strategy from a revenue, supplier management ... Read More
  • Nina Campbell debuts new home decor collections

    Nina Campbell was in High Point this week to give some “Oomph” to her new accents collection for the Connecticut-based company of the same name. The initial offering of high-gloss lacquered pieces features the names of her grandchildren: the Gerome console and table collection, the Enid desk and the Billy tray, along with a “What Not” etagere composed of two stacking side tables. It’s a beautiful blend of tradition, practicality, good taste and hipness, much like Nina herself. The not-to-be-missed collection (with more to come in the future) may be viewed in Historic Market Square, suite 200. Earlier in ... Read More