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Retail Update

Susan Dickenson

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

  • July is Independent Retailer Month

    Independent Retailer Month kicks off in July to celebrate independent retailers in local communities. Through in-store, online and community events and promotions, Independent Retailer Month encourages consumers to shop at independent brick and mortar retailers to increase foot traffic and to draw attention to the shops' positive social and economic impact. The event also encourages independent retailer associations, small business organizations and retail thought leaders to demonstrate the importance of independent retail to the local, national and global economy. Independent retailers are still welcome to join the campaign and access a range of free, downloadable marketing materials including posters, logo ... Read More
  • Pantone 448C is the world’s ugliest color?

    So say some. It's called Opaque Couché, and it's a brownish-greenish mix that's been described using words like sludge, filth, tar, and cow excrement. Pantone 448C first won its ugly title back in 2012, when a study by Australian research agency GfK Bluemoon was commissioned to help the country's government develop unappealing cigarette packaging to deter purchasers. The agency asked 1,000 adult smokers to look at a variety of colors, and 448C was selected as the most unappealing from a group that included such hues as lime green, beige, mustard and grey. According to one ... Read More
  • Creating a licensed collection: Prototype to payment

    Last month’s Retail Update column looked at some of the early steps in the licensing process – the “concept to contract” phase – and shared highlights from an interesting branding and licensing seminar that took place at the spring High Point Market with Glen Peloso, Jamie Alexander, Larry Laslo, Julia Buckingham and Steven Avitable. This month’s column focuses on what comes after – prototypes, production and, hopefully, payments – and picks up with Peloso’s question on the subject: Okay, so the drawings are done, the contract is signed. Who pays for the prototypes and how many "corrections" are usually required? Avitable ... Read More
  • Time to talk overtime - What do you think?

    As we all know, the Department of Labor this week finalized a rule to update employee overtime protections. The final rule takes effect Dec. 1, 2016 and doubles the salary threshold — from $23,660 to $47,476 per year — under which most salaried workers are guaranteed overtime. The salary threshold will be automatically updated every three years. The rule is one of the steps in the President’s “effort to grow and strengthen the middle class by raising Americans’ wages," according to a White House statement which goes on to say, "This extra income will not only mean a better ... Read More
  • Creating a licensed collection: Concept to contract

    You've got an idea, you've made some sketches, now you want to license it. Where do you start and what’s involved? At last month’s High Point Market, designers Glen Peloso and Jamie Alexander and a panel of industry creatives discussed the topic during a seminar titled “Designer Branding: Making Your Brand a Collection.” Joined by branding consultant Steven Avitable and designers Larry Laslo and Julia Buckingham, the group shared tips, tales and tactics as they discussed the dos and don’ts of design and how to go from an idea to a furniture and accessories collection ... Read More
  • A glimpse at retail's colorful past

    Benjamin Moore is the lead sponsor for “Color in a New Light,” an exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., that explores the theme of color in the rare books and old trade catalogs of the Smithsonian Libraries. The exhibit, which runs through March 2017, also includes a virtual presentation online that begins in the 1600's with Isaac Newton’s studies on the color spectrum before delving into dyes, color psychology, camouflage, color blindness, and color in American cars, home décor and architecture. There’s a lot of fun content in here, with ... Read More
  • Turquoise Mountain showcases Afghan rugs, ceramics, woodworking

    This weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting "Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan," a new exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum that showcases a project to revive Afghanistan’s cultural legacy following years of conflict and neglect. The multimedia exhibition includes “workshops” where artisans demonstrate their skills in jewelry making, woodworking, calligraphy, ceramics, carpet weaving and other crafts. The centerpiece of the exhibit is a beautiful and massive “Afghan History Rug” designed by Erbil Tezcan, who helped organize the exhibit’s carpet workshop. Tezcan, the founder and owner of Cedar Grove, N.J.-based Wool and Silk Rugs, discusses the project ... Read More
  • Earliest modern: A visit to Bauhaus, Weimar, Germany

    In 2019, the Bauhaus, the most influential school of 20th-century modern design, will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its founding by Walter Gropius in Weimar, Germany. It’s an institution with a colorful, controversial past — one that includes receiving both accolades and censure for its groundbreaking designs, creative culture and unconventionality. A year ago, while attending Ambiente in Frankfurt, I had the opportunity to visit the Bauhaus Museum in Weimar and I wrote a short piece about it, with a few photographs, for Design Today. This past weekend, my Facebook account shared that “Memory from 1 year ago today,” reminding ... Read More
  • 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