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Diva delight

Carole Sloan, Staff Staff -- Home Textiles Today, March 22, 2004

Well, the home textiles and home furnishings world has now become a member of the "talking heads" community.

With all of the recent activity, it could well surpass the fragrance and cosmetics arena where today's hot ticket is supposed to be tomorrow's sales winner.

Hardly a day goes by when we hear of yet another celebrity, a would-be celebrity or a persona on TV with a decorating shtick. These decorating divas are proliferating faster than popcorn in a popper at a circus.

With just a few days ahead of us before market, it's sure to bring even more of these divas out of the woodwork.

It almost seems like a last ditch stand the way retailers and suppliers are diving into this so-called marketing bonanza. Just this month — and the month is just slightly more than half over — we've heard of another half dozen of these divas.

Yes, everyone in the home furnishings business is aware of the impact of "Trading Spaces" on cable TV and the other shows of its genre. Yes, these shows have helped in bringing home furnishings more to the frontal lobes of consumers.

But "Trading Spaces" and its brethren are more than just a different generation beyond the likes of Ralph, Donna, Calvin and even Martha. The latter folks actually are involved in design, product development and marketing. And the bigger question is what is the impact on sales of home furnishings — and more specifically, home textiles.

And look at the numbers!

Has the influence of these shows and the other folks representing players in the business increased sales dramatically? That's the bottom line.

So far, there has been no identifiable tally between persona and sales. And that, most folks concede, is truly the bottom line.

Hype and glamour are one thing, biz is the other.

We're hearing such design maven tidbits like, "I love a good buy," or "I've played with fabrics since grandma and I made things," or "I've always loved working with color."

In this especially litigious country that we live in, I would hate to be one of the divas whose unresearched suggestion resulted in a consumer disaster.

More after market.

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