Who Reads Hearth & Home?
Elaine Smith, for one!
Occupation: “Pillow Obsessed President and Designer/Elaine Smith”
Special Interests/Hobbies: “Traveling is a passion that helps me to relax and unwind. I am fascinated by architecture, art and culture. I am (still) learning Spanish so the Duolingo app and I have recently become fast friends. I also rescue homeless kitties and help bring the best out in them. I do keep a few… (and find forever homes for others.)”
Problems/Issues Facing the Patio Furnishings Industry: “As Big Box stores and e-commerce continue to become more involved in the casual space, the price vs. value equation is more misunderstood by consumers. At the recent annual ICFA conference a focus group of consumers stated it is their perception that outdoor should cost less than indoor because their outdoor furniture and décor get less use than their indoor pieces.
“This was met with quick rebuttal from the manufacturers in the audience, who rightfully pointed out that outdoor furnishings and accessories are made to withstand the elements therefore they often cost more. It became apparent that as an industry we need to continue to educate the end consumer regarding quality, durability, and the true value of beauty and longevity outdoors.”
Key Trends in the Patio Industry Today: “The continued blurring of the line between outdoor and indoor. Performance fabrics are growing for indoor applications too, and this helps us all to grow our potential reach and market share.”
Best Ways to Combat Internet Sales: “Don’t let Amazon Prime win. Take the shipping time out of the equation, meaning, have stock and be able to deliver quickly. Let pillows be sold off the floor or have us drop-ship for you. The Internet wins when it’s more convenient.”
Years Reading Hearth & Home: “Fourteen.”
Reasons for Reading Hearth & Home: “When I started in this industry I was brand new to the ‘Casual Club.’ I related to the word Outdoor, but did not initially connect the meaning of Casual. Some of it was as foreign to me as football plays are still today! It was like a different language. Hearth & Home magazine was one of the trade magazines that became my industry ‘text book/dictionary’ for my Casual industry classes.
“Everyone can gain by reading Hearth & Home. It keeps us in touch with each other, and discusses trends and happenings. I use it to train new staff members on what this industry is all about. Hearth & Home has a finger on the pulse of this ‘world’ and helps us better understand our specific challenges. It helps us to succeed together in this space.”