As she mentions, Hickory Chair Co. has some really wonderful looks and some of the best designers in the business. Here, from Alexa Hampton:
There was good news and bad news: the traffic was light, but the showrooms looked “terrific”. She has many interesting things to say about the state of the industry, the need to appeal to the interior designers, the “elephant in the closet” she calls them. This I found very interesting regarding manufacturing in the United States versus overseas: that while we will probably not see “mass” manufacturing return to this country (most of the equipment has been sold off, not to mention the labor costs), we can envision that:
“With virtually limitless customization now widely available, a quick turnaround and timely delivery of pieces that are specified and delivered as variations of original samples are essential. By concentrating on special effects and meticulous execution of changes, what’s left of American production is less of the assembly line as it is of the increasingly rare but more appreciated skill of quality craftsmanship.”
And, in the end (future), it is ” direct contact with the consumer – either because they deal with them every day, or, they have made the virtual connection” that will propel and sustain those who conceive, design, manufacture, promote and market this industry. She sees a rocky future for traditional brick-and-mortar stores, especially those retailers who hold-out for the same old, same old. They will not only fall further behind but will face extinction .
Ecommerce is the way of the future, indeed!