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A Decade of Change

Carole Sloan, Staff Staff -- Home Textiles Today, January 4, 2010

What a difference a decade makes! It was a mere decade ago that the pundits of retailing and manufacturing were hurrumphing this new fangled thing called the Internet.

Looking ahead to what this new year and new decade may produce, one of the obvious things is that both vendors and retailers must open their eyes to the rapidly emerging "other" ways of selling home textiles.

It already is happening in the fashion apparel world. A recent article in The New York Times detailed how bloggers are moving front and center in seating arrangements at the best of the best fashion shows in New York, Milan and Paris.

And their reportage is instantaneous — not daily, weekly or monthly, but as soon as they send it to the Internet. And the reactions from their viewers apparently are almost as instantaneous, resulting in a demand — or a total disdain — for the products shown.

Over the past year, there has been a noticeable courting of these players at key retailing functions. The launch of the JCPenney Manhattan store is one instance that comes to mind, but there have been quite a few more.

Very little by very little, the blogging world is discovering home textiles. And the bloggers are being wooed by some of the more fashion-aware companies — especially those that are part of giant fashion apparel and other fashion products.

Then there is the explosion of smart phones that enable consumers not only to see the blogs but also to find their way quickly to the places where the merchandise can be seen — and purchased.

One of the basic problems is that this industry has abandoned its fashion positioning for a price strategy.

Wouldn't it be refreshing to have bloggers actually finding fashion statements to blog about — and suppliers and retailers willing to welcome them?

Hopefully this year will produce some changes away from the lower-than-low mentality we have fallen into.

Hope 2010 brings a better year.

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