Main Menu
Home
In the News
Special Contributors
Special Report - Bedding
Sponsors
Events Calendar
Classifieds
Advertising
Contact HGO
Home
follow-on-twitter
Merchandiser Summer 2014
Merchandiser Spring 2014
2014 Product Guide
Research Store

Canada Counts
CanadaCounts-Badge-Sept2012.fw
A survey of Canadian buying intentions.
Purchase Report

 

Syndicate

Please, update your HGO profile

BRIGHTON, Ontario – To improve the efficiency of our newsletter delivery service and to bring ourselves in alignment with current Canadian legislation, we need our loyal readers to update their profiles.

If you’re in big ticket home goods, you can’t be without Home Goods Online – the only business-to-business news and information service for those working in Canada’s furniture, mattress, major appliance and consumer electronics industries.

Update Your Profile Now
Leading Ladies PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ashley Newport   

FROM THE HGO MERCHANDISER

BRIGHTON, Ontario (31 January 2012) - When a commercial for a big box or boutique furniture store hits the air, the first person the first person the viewer will usually see standing before a bedroom suite or an elegant armoire, is a woman. She'll praise the item, saying it's just perfect for her bedroom. She, the woman of the house, is assumed to be every furniture brand's biggest customer. So why, then, are there are so few female head honchos in a business whose business is, well, women?

Image
Christina Marzille
Image
Dawn Rowe

Perhaps it's because women fill few top spots in Canada in general. According to a 2010 study conducted by business women's lobbying group Catalyst Inc., women account for less than 20 per cent of corporate officers in the country. The gains of women in the corporate world have remained almost stagnant for almost a decade, a trend that seems odd considering how much the roles of women - especially professional roles - have changed over the last 30 years alone.

From its home base in the High Point, North Carolina, WithIt (otherwise known as Professional Women in the Home and Furnishings Industries) has been hosting seminars and events for female industry insiders since 1997. This past September, the organization established an international arm that includes Canada.

This new international chapter, which is being led by a Canadian - Donna Bartlett, president of the Burlington, Ontario-based ViewIt Technologies - has slightly more than a dozen members at present and its participants hope to raise the profile of women throughout the Canadian furniture industry at all levels from manufacturing and distribution through retail. But what factors or conditions, if any, are holding back potential female executives right now?

Image
Monia Lacasse
Image
Valerie Stranix

Some executives interviewed by Home Goods Online - including Christina Marzilli, the executive vice-president and chief operating officer of upholstery specialist Décor Rest Furniture; and Jill Sadler, the director of operations of Lounsbury, a four-unit retailer based in Moncton, New Brunswick - suspect the strain of raising a family and juggling a high-ranking position might be a factor.

But all the women we spoke to said that the inherent difficulties of breaking into a male-dominated industry that were prevalent 20 years ago don't really exist today. The furniture industry, like most others in this country, has evolved to welcome women into its ranks, and though some more conservative clients may prefer male execs, the women say overt shows of discrimination - towards them and other women they work with - are ever fewer and further between.

There's no question the industry was once an old boy's club whose members were jarred when women suddenly started making sales calls and running retail operations. There's also no question that, gains aside, male execs still outnumber female ones.

Dawn Rowe, founding partner and vice president of value-added supplier Phoenix AMD International, says there are certainly enough female candidates, but few who make it to the top ranks. But whether it's family or old-fashioned values that hold women back, all the women we spoke to believe that the challenges they faced in the 80s and 90s - the difficulty scheduling appointments with buyers, the doubts of both male and female clients and the need to work much harder - have dissipated with time.

They're seeing more young women in the industry than ever before, and are encountering buyers who don't seem to notice or acknowledge their gender at all. For most, there's no need to work harder to compensate for being the fairer sex. There's simply the need to work hard, to grow, to stay passionate, and to show customers that they're savvy experts to be reckoned with.

Click here to download the Winter 2011 edition of the HGO Merchandiser and find out more about our industry's Leading Ladies.

<Previous   Next>
Banner
Banner

 

 .

Picture of the Day
Superstyle-Studio-Line(1)

Trend-Line, part of the Superstyle group, will unveil its StudioLine collection at this year’s Toronto Summer Furniture Market, which gets underway for its usual four-day run on August 9.  Seen here is model 4735 studio sofa, which thanks to its smaller footprint and open back makes it ideal for a condo setting. Its companion chair is covered in teal linen with a dramatic leaf outline co-ordinate. Both feature tall cone legs.


 

 

Banner
 
Banner
Banner
Donald Cooper
My Turn!
HGO Merchandiser
Upcoming Events
There are no upcoming events within the search range currently scheduled.
View Full Calendar