HIGH POINT — Designer and author Christiane Lemieux doesn’t see the current increased demand for furniture slowing down any time soon.
In fact, the founder of Dwell Studio and The Inside sees it continuing for years as people not only adjust to working and spending more time at home, but also enjoy creating a more beautiful place to live.
“The pandemic has done some interesting things to our industry specifically because for the first time ever, the entire world has been at home and has stayed at home and really interacted in a meaningful way with their space,” said Lemieux, now head of Lemieux et Cie and author of “Frictionless.”
In the session “The Decade of Home” at the 2020 Furniture Today Leadership Conference, Lemieux said her research on what has happened in the past six months shows that people will not likely travel like they did pre-COVID-19 for the next several years.
All that disposable income, she noted, “is going to be used for home improvement, so our industry is really walking into the decade of the home,” she said.
She also noted that business will continue to be transacted at retail stores, but also online as more customers get comfortable with the idea of purchasing furniture in that digital space.
Lemieux said that there are some things consumers will buy online, such as sheets, towels, pillows throws, accessories and other decorative pieces.
“With larger pieces, there is still a dichotomy between people that will buy them online and those that won’t, but I think the best set up for every retailer in our industry is to think about their business from an omnichannel perspective: ‘What can I sell online and what do I need in the store?’” she said.
She also alluded to the importance of social media, including emerging channels such as TikTok where consumers are starting to have discussions about home and décor.
“I think that TikTok is by far the most important social media platform now,” she said, adding that participating in “this is about investing not only in this generation, but future generations.”
The evolution of reaching consumers, she noted, is one that has shifted from radio, to television, to magazines, and now to social media.
Ultimately, she said, the goal is to provide beautiful content and visuals that can be shared on as many platforms as possible to inspire people.
“We are taking beautiful photographs of our furniture and interiors all the time, so put them to work,” Lemieux said. “If you do, you will see the results.”