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Special Contributors - Newest Articles
O.B. Solie: icon and iconoclast
Joe Carroll
Written by Joe Carroll   
ImageO.B. Solie was both an icon and an iconoclast.  I met this well-known and respected furniture designer in the early 1980's when he was designing for Ello, a high-end contemporary manufacturer, based in Rockford, Illinois. O.B. and Bill Peterson, the founding editor of Furniture/Today, had both grown up in Rockford. Bill introduced us in the Ello showroom.
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Technology is changing everything, are you keeping up or falling behind?
Donald Cooper
Written by Donald Cooper   
ImageTechnology is changing some aspect of every business on earth. Are you leading the way? Or are you falling behind? There are basically three kinds of technology innovation: those changing how we doing things; those replacing us; and, those leading to new products and services. Independent retailers need to understand each one before figuring out how these changes apply to them.
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Furniture has a story to tell
Joe Carroll
Written by Joe Carroll   
ImageLast time, I wrote about the unique opportunity we have to increase sales by portraying interesting pieces of furniture into conversation pieces. All it takes is a good retail sales person who has taken the time to learn something about the history of the piece he or she is selling. Many manufacturers provide hang tags, brochures or other material to tell the story behind the design or construction of the piece on display. This sales technique is called "romancing" the furniture. I fear it is becoming a lost art.
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The simple truth about vision and mission
Donald Cooper
Written by Donald Cooper   

ImageThere's a great deal of confusion in business today about ‘vision' and ‘mission' and very little understanding of the difference between them. Businesses spend years and tens of thousands of dollars on consultants and "strategic retreats" only to come up with a Vision Statement that isn't worth the paper it's written on but is still proudly hung on the lobby wall. It usually looks something like this and is almost always signed, ‘The Management':

 

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We need more romance
Joe Carroll
Written by Joe Carroll   
ImageOne of the recurring complaints I have heard in the 40-plus years I have been in the furniture industry is "how do we sell furniture by emphasizing its benefits instead of by price?" We are constantly reprimanding ourselves for treating furniture as a commodity. We know we should be selling features such as style, comfort and its ability to enhance one's home. After decades of selling by price we have conditioned the consumer to expect to buy furniture only when it is on sale or at a discount.
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The simple truth about value
Donald Cooper
Written by Donald Cooper   

ImageUltimately, customer ownership is all about creating, delivering and communicating compelling value. Customers demand value and every business promises it. But there's a huge lack of clarity about what value really is.

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Donald Cooper
My Turn!
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