Hollander Web site counsels on comfort

Cliff Annicelli, Michele SanFilippo, November 17, 2003

Hollander Home Fashions' sponsorship of a lifestyle advisory board and a consumer-directed Web site seems to share something in common with supply-side economics: the benefit is in the trickle-down effect.

"The Comfort Council," a board of seven design and lifestyle experts, suggests how people can live comfortably at home and in their daily lives at Livecomfortably.com. The panel includes experts in color, interior design, feng shui, fabrics, sleep, ergonomics and stress management, who also will respond to consumer questions e-mailed from the site.

Articles on the site cover a broad selection of topics — 10 ways to connect with neighbors, proper computer ergonomics for kids, and how to pick the perfect pillow. It also offers a glossary of terms, a bookstore for additional resources by the Comfort Council and recommended authors, and an online consumer survey question.

"We believe the program will benefit the entire industry, and hopefully us as well at Hollander," said Jeff Hollander, president and coo of Hollander Home Fashions. "It's going to take a lot of time to tell whether this project will pay off financially, but that's not really what it's about. It's about awareness."

Panel members were selected based on their expertise, commitment to helping the public, and knowledge from teaching and mentoring. In addition to Hollander, they include John Franke, residential design expert and Art Institute of Pittsburgh professor; Glenda Heffer, Hollander's senior design director; Loretta LaRoche, stress expert and stress-help author; Jami Lin, feng shui expert, author and interior designer; Gail McCauley, color expert and Rohm and Haas Paint Quality Institute writer; and chiropractor Dr. Joseph Nicola, owner of Integrated Healthcare of Nevada.

According to panel member Franke, consumers often base design on a magazine spread, neglecting to consider comfort in the process. Member LaRoche added, "The Comfort Council provides a great opportunity to educate consumers on some very critical issues related to leading a happy, healthy and comfortable life."

According to a survey of 1,034 consumers conducted for the Comfort Council by ORC Research, 46 percent of those polled chose their living room as the place they most often go to unwind and relax. The garden, yard and deck followed with 18 percent, and the bedroom trailed with 17 percent of respondents stating it was their number one place for relaxing. In addition, 29 percent of those polled would change the furniture in their homes to increase their comfort level.

Lighting, color and climate control were also highlighted as areas that respondents would change to increase comfort levels.

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