First Tuesday launches online platform

HIGH POINT – The First Tuesday committee has unveiled MyFirstTuesday.com, a new dedicated website to support event related communications among participating exhibitors and their customers.

Created by committee member FurnitureDealer.Net, the mobile friendly site focuses on promoting the dates for the ongoing First Tuesday events and acting as a guide to open showrooms for attending retailers and designers. The site kicked off with a portfolio of 109 manufacturer profiles for a digital showcase that will grow to include key differentiators unique to each brand, as well as product photography.

The next First Tuesday event is scheduled for Feb. 2-4. According to Emily Severson, vice president of supplier relations at FurnitureDealer.Net, attendees soon will be able to request and schedule appointments with participating manufacturers via links to each company on the site.

“Our goal for the First Tuesday site is to make it easy for attendees to plan their shopping trips prior to arriving in High Point, and to help maximize the use of their time while on the ground here via their smart phones,” Severson said. “The content is therefore centered around connecting people and helping attendees understand what each brand has to offer, a get-smart-quick guide if you will.

“We believe this is particularly important given the generational shift our industry is experiencing and the varied constituents expected to attend overlapping events such as Designer Wednesdays.”

She added that the way the industry does business will continue to evolve, especially as the pandemic forces reallocation of resources and an accelerated focus on digital business interaction.

“We all see the research on consumers spending more time and money online, but the same thing is happening on the B2B side as well,” Severson said. “Manufacturers are not traveling overseas to review product, while retailers are scheduling more private meetings with vendors, and video calls have quickly become the norm for everyone. We see our job as providing tools to help pave the way forward in this evolution, and this new site is simply one example of our commitment to the industry.”

The site will continue to change to meet First Tuesday participants’ needs and improve connectivity among buyers and sellers.

“We’ll be adding to this site and making improvements moving forward as we get feedback,” Severson said. “We think it’s a good opportunity to keep the event evolving.”

As the list of participating manufacturers continues to grow, new profiles are being added quickly. Severson noted the committee is actively reaching out to all First Tuesday participants, but exhibitors can hasten the profile-development and promotion process by proactively contacting FurnitureDealer.net’s editorial team for the site via e-mail at Kimberley@furnituredealer.net or by phone at (336) 627-0825.

“The First Tuesday event was created as an alternative buying platform for the Retail community as our industry responds to safety issues during this Pandemic,” said First Tuesday Committee Chair Kevin Castellani. “With the support from Furnituredealer.Net we are now able to increase the buying experience for First Tuesday with product information from open showrooms in High Point. The committee will continue to work on improvements to this event making sure safety and new product information are priority No. 1.”

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PFP promotes Hendon to SVP, operations

ENFIELD, Conn. — Planned Furniture Promotions Inc. has promoted Ed Hendon to senior vice president of operations.

In his new role, Hendon will continue to work directly with the company’s event coordinators and office teams, improving training programs, merchandising, marketing and logistics.

“As a 15-year senior event coordinator and a four-year director of operations for PFP, Ed has proven his ability to professionally oversee and maximize an event for our clients,” said PFP President Rob Rosenberg.

A third-generation retailer, Hendon began his furniture career in a family owned furniture store in Kentucky. As owner and operator of a 51-year-old business, Thurman’s Furniture, Hendon made the decision to close his business and chose PFP to liquidate his store. After the event, Hendon joined PFP as an assistant manager and quickly worked his way into a position as an event coordinator.

The executive team at PFP now includes Rosenberg and Roy Hester, Tom Liddell and Ed Hendon, all serving as senior vice presidents and managing directors. Hendon will report to Rosenberg.

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Shifman Mattress names industry veteran to lead push in Northwest

NEWARK, N.J. – High-end mattress manufacturer Shifman Mattresses has named bedding 20-year bedding industry veteran John Lowrance to manage the Northwest region as the company continues to expand its national footprint.

In the newly created position of Northwest territory manager, Lowrance will develop and grow retail partnerships to increase awareness of Shifman’s brand in the new region for the company. Lowrance reports to Lisa Frey, Shifman’s national sales director.

“John’s depth of experience and valued industry relationships in the Northwest will contribute tremendously to the success of our national strategy to bring our luxury brand to the upscale customer seeking the finest handmade mattresses,” said Bill Hammer, president of Shifman.

Lowrance has more than 20 years in the industry, most recently as senior territory manager in the Portland, Ore., area for Serta Simmons Bedding. Prior to that, he was an independent sales representative Ashley Furniture, Pure Talalay Bliss and Glideaway. Lowrance began his career at Sealy and Rev Sleep.

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RMT establishes stateside operating division

HO CHI MINH CITY – Major recliner mechanism manufacturer Remacro Machinery & Technology has launched a U.S. division to serve and speed product to furniture manufacturers in the United States.

Based in Tupelo, Miss., Remacro Machinery & Technology USA Holdings Inc. is supported with a more than 75,000-square-foot warehouse and office. The location has a full staff of engineers, managers and assemblers, as well as finance and warehouse personnel.

The facility will inventory hardware and accessories including seating mechanisms, motors, headrests, seat boxes, controls and sleeper mechanisms. This inventory will support a quick-ship replenishment commitment. RMT USA’s Tupelo location enables “speed-to-market” service to a critical mass of nearby upholstery manufacturers as well as the East Coast.

“Supporting the need for an effective supply chain provider, RMT is making this major investment in capacity and support,” said Jerry Wang, USA sales director for RMT, in a release. “Our commitment is to be the leading global provider of smart home accessories with innovative designs and high-quality service.”

Established in 2011 with a single factory in China, RMT has grown to become a major global manufacturer of reclining mechanisms. Today, RMT makes more than 1 million sets of reclining mechanisms and more than 500,000 motors per month.

RMT expanded in 2018 with the opening of two factories in Vietnam. Located in Bau Bang Binh Doung and Xinpeng Town, Binh Dong, these plants are strategically located for export and domestic Vietnam manufacturing. The expanded Vietnam factories have more than 400,000 square feet of manufacturing and employs more than 800 workers.

RMT has committed a major investment in new equipment, training, embracing lean manufacturing and, creating manufacturing efficiencies. The Vietnam factories today make motors, mechanisms, smart home devices, storage bases, sleeper mechanisms and adjustable beds.

The company also has incorporated testing rooms and product laboratories in each of its factories. All testing meets and exceeds country standards in North America, Europe, and Asia.

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Restonic Mattress names Tokarz president

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­BUFFALO, N.Y. – Restonic Mattress Corp. has tapped Laurie Tokarz as its new president, succeeding Ron Passaglia.

Tokarz brings 25 years of experience in the home furnishings and bedding industry to her new position. Most recently, she was the chief sales officer for Visionary Sleep, Restonic’s largest licensee.

Tokarz began her bedding career at Sibley’s department store as a buyer and was later named divisional merchandise manager for the home furnishings division. From there, she joined Bauhaus Upholstery, and in 1996 joined Serta as a sales representative.

In 2000, Tokarz joined Alliance Sleep Products, a Restonic licensee, and worked alongside the late Tom Comer, eventually serving as president. In 2017, Bob Sherman acquired Alliance Sleep, and Tokarz was named chief sales officer for the newly formed Visionary Sleep. Tokarz also currently serves on the International Sleep Products Assn. board of trustees.

Tokarz succeeds Passaglia, former president and CEO, who retired and transitioned into a consulting position Jan. 1.

“Laurie has a unique understanding of the dynamic changes happening within our industry from the consumer, retailer and the licensee viewpoints,” Passaglia said. “Her experience and successful history of applying these assets for today’s dynamic marketplace will be well-received by our retailers and all of our domestic and international licenses. Her loyal brand stewardship to Restonic has positioned her as the ideal candidate for this position.”

In her role as president, Tokarz will work with domestic and international licensees as well as retailers. She’ll oversee brand strategy and alignment for Restonic’s family of brands, which includes Biltmore and Scott Living. Tokarz will work with Julia Rosien, Restonic’s vice president of brand and digital marketing, to support an adoption of digital transformation in marketing and communication.

“I am delighted to take on this role, which allows me to continue my 20-plus year goal of driving the Restonic brand,” Tokarz said. “With the retail environment evolving at warp speed, Restonic is poised to help retailers garner consumers’ attention with turnkey digital marketing programs and the strength of our licensed brands, Scott Living and Biltmore.”

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Badcock breaks major new ad campaign

MULBERRY, Fla. – Badcock Home Furniture & More is rolling out a major brand campaign this week built on the new tagline, “Just Right.” The tagline and campaign are the culmination of a year-long strategic effort to understand the company’s position in the marketplace, how its long-time customers perceive the brand and what role a new generation of consumers see Badcock playing in their lives going forward.

Barb Scherer

Barb Scherer

“We went out to the marketplace and spoke to consumers and what that gave us were these critical insights that helped build this brand position and campaign,” Barb Scherer, vice president of marketing, told Furniture Today. “We not only did focus groups but broad surveys, then came back and tested multiple TV story board concepts to arrive at the winning direction.”

Scherer explained that what emerged repeatedly in the company’s engagement with consumers was the role the Badcock brand played at various stages throughout their lives, whether that was recalling Badcock furniture in their parents’ homes or setting up their first home and going to the store for their own first purchases.

“Between being available at the right time and with the right furniture and finance options we were just the right fit for their lives when they needed us,” Scherer said. “We also heard that they shopped other furniture stores and in the process of their purchase journey they would shop smaller and they would shop larger but they would come back to us because the combination of factors made us just right for them.”

If that sounds a little like Goldilocks, it’s no accident. Internally, the company referred to its learning and the campaign as “The Goldilocks Effect,” and that theme plays out in its campaign, albeit subtly. Scherer explained that what the company discovered and what is reflected in the campaign is that consumer’s connection is not just about furniture but about, “the moments in their lives and what they need at that moment,” whether that is during a life-stage change or at a time where a particular type of financing can provide access to what they need for their homes.

The “Just Right” campaign will make its debut this week with 30-second ad spots (see examples below) through streaming venues such as Hulu and will be rolled out in all 38 of the company’s markets. That will be followed the week of Feb.1 with a flight of 30-second ads using the same creative on broadcast television across the same 38 markets. It will also be utilized across the company’s social and digital media channels, its print campaigns and its website.

Scherer noted that the initial ads incorporate user-generated content to demonstrate those key moments in life and noted that in the near future the company will be inviting users to contribute their own content for use in similarly-themed efforts.

rob burnette 2017

Rob Burnette

While the company declined to offer details on its expenditures, CEO Rob Burnette told Furniture Today, “This will be a signature campaign and create a lasting impact for us. It will dominate our advertising for years to come.”

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