Just returned from North Carolina from a whirlwind, fast-paced furniture market! I must say, we hit the ground running and accomplished a lot while on the scene.
People often ask me why I go to market. There are several reasons, to be honest. Some for business and some for personal reasons. I find it invigorating to look at all the new market-entrants and see the various styles come to life throughout the showrooms.
Since Dad started this business in 1966, he has made many friends and contacts throughout the industry. We use this time to network and spend time together as peers. It really is a remarkable story to watch unfold as you see two friends and colleagues sit back and recant old war stories of the industry.
This market was exceptionally fun for me because my best friend joined in on the market trip! Having never been to North Carolina, or a furniture market for that matter, Jake was excited to go on a quick getaway.
I did have some reservations because I wondered if I’d built up market into something that it wasn’t, and I was worried he was going to grab the first flight home after we worked our showrooms on day one. When we didn’t sit down to eat dinner until 9:00 pm, I just knew he was going to split ASAP! Thankfully, he stayed for its entirety and really provided a great perspective and viewpoint on everything he saw. With his permission, I wanted to document some of his key findings from NC and listen to his opinion.
Jake’s Top Three Takeaways:
1. There’s a lot of square footage. A lot of options and customization.
2. Color! Saw a lot of red, everyone had a red sofa right when you walked into the showroom.
3. Networking is the key.
Jake’s Favorite Piece from Market:
• Button-Tuft Leather Occasional Chair with accompanying ottoman
• Grey Chesterfield Sectional
Furniture Industry Thoughts
Overall, the hospitality was what Jake kept talking about. He was amazed by all the wonderful food offered at each showroom and how each person knew our unique story. He also spoke of the age gap that is present in this industry. A distinction between the age of the salesforce (50+) and very few young people was also another realization.
In my perspective, I too noticed this aging trend from market-to-market and, in my eight years of attending HPMKT, I have been looking for my generation to enter this furniture world to no avail. Perhaps “sales” has a stigma connected with it, or perhaps it’s a dying art? Personally, I think there is a lot of upward mobility in this industry for my generation and a huge area to capitalize on being of “that age group”.
2019 Furniture Styles & Trends
The color at this market was outstanding! Green and turquoise hues were superb and the handle on the leathers shown was exquisite. I loved the usage of performance fabrics throughout the vendors; it’s definitely a longevity story that is cross-generational.
When at market, we also take the time to explore various rug lines. I am truly torn between materials, as I love both the 100% wool rugs and the recycled polyester yarn construction. These are two very different rugs but their individual stories and application from room-to-room are remarkable.
These vastly different rugs really depict the product depth at our store, in not only furniture but rugs as well. At Brumbaugh’s, you can walk in and buy a 9×12 polypropylene rug for $1,200 or a 12×15 hand-knotted 100% New Zealand wool rug for $10,000… we really have it all! The same applies to furniture – we have so much to offer!
Spring market was a huge success and a great learning experience as a retailer. When you leave, you are utterly exhausted but so excited about all the new products, that the anxiety of their arrival is worth the long days and sleepless nights. It’s fun to look back on pictures when my parents would bring me to market as a toddler and to really think how far I have come.
Looking forward to the fall market run and hoping Jake might tag along again!