Women – and Man
A year ago, in our March HPBExpo issue, we chronicled the slow pace at which the chairmanship of the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) was turned over to a woman; it required 23 years before Sharla Wagy (2002-2003) was chosen.
Eight years after Wagy, Wendy Howells (2011-2012) took over, followed by Loretta Dolan (2014-2015), and Ingrid Schroeter (2017-2018). Now it’s Amie Ryan’s turn, beginning at the 2018 Expo.
Ryan is from the service sector of the industry; her company, founded by her Dad, is called Ryan Brothers Chimney Sweeping. She is honored to be the first service person to become chairman chairperson of the association, and her top priority will be to increase membership (see article “Meet Amie Ryan”).
From this point, it will be up to the board of directors of the association to ensure that women are not forgotten for another 23 years. After all, there are plenty of women running very successful retail businesses, and many who have key responsibilities with distributorships, service organizations and, of course, manufacturers of hearth, patio and barbecue products.
In this issue, we lead with an article called “The Future Belongs to Women,” by Lisa Readie Mayer. Facts don’t lie: “Women drive 70 to 80% of consumer purchases, either by directly buying items, or influencing, or vetoing purchases. Women are the ‘gatekeepers’ to their households’ everyday expenditures, but they’re also buying the big-ticket items too.”
That women drive 70 to 80% of consumer purchases should make you stop and reflect, and perhaps even gather your employees for a morning sit-down discussion regarding how your business is approaching, treating, and marketing to, yep, the stronger sex, the most affluent sex, and the most educated sex.
“Women control 51% of the personal wealth in the country, or $14 trillion. Their wealth and power is expected to increase; women are projected to control $22 trillion by 2020.” Before you sit down for that morning meeting, make sure you read the article mentioned above (see article “Marketing to Women”).
Here Comes a Man
Enough with the women! Here’s a story that should be of interest to everyone, in particular those in the patio industry.
Frankford Umbrellas is a 120-year-old company that you may not know. Why? For most of its existence, the company concentrated on the contract/commercial market. You know, hotels, restaurants, resorts, casinos, everything but specialty retail shops. Products going into such venues have to be of higher quality in order to tolerate the abuse of so many individuals.
A few years ago, owner, CEO and president of Frankford Umbrellas, Marc Kaufer, elected to seriously move into the specialty retail market. One of his selling points is that his products are constructed to contract standards but at retail pricing – or a bit above. He characterizes his products as being priced between Treasure Garden and TUUCI, with quality similar to TUUCIs, or just a bit under.
Kaufer wants to make it easy for specialty retailers to sell his products. “I want people (retailers) to make money,” he says. “You know what’s selling. You know what colors to order. How about every two weeks you call me and order umbrellas?” Here’s a man with a plan. My guess is that he also knows how to sell to women.