Home Alone 3

Warren Shoulberg, editorial director for HTT, always seems to have something to say about things.
  • The Business You’ve Chosen

    This home textiles business we find ourselves in has some pretty peculiar characteristics, not the least of which is the overwhelming market share held by less than a dozen big box national retailers. The industry pretty much lives and dies based on how these guys perform. More recently, that top-heavy distribution model has come under a big-time assault from online, which has thrown everybody into a digital tizzy. That’s rightfully so, but lost in all of this is the fact that there are several other very legitimate threats to the status quo of the soft home business and if ... Read More
  • We ain’t dead yet

    Looks like us Baby Boomers are not going to go silently into the night. While every marketing company on earth is obsessed with those dreaded Millennials – and I’m not saying they shouldn’t be paying attention to this demographic, now the largest bulge in the American population – all of us ever-aging Boomers remain a formidable constituency in the pursuit of conspicuous consumption. As proof, I point you in the direction of the desert near Palm Springs, Calif., and the recently concluded Desert Trip music festival. On the site of the legendary Coachella event – where Boomer kids and grandkids go ... Read More
  • What I Learned at Textiles Market

    Now that all of the towels have been folded, the beds remade and all those gazillions of pillows, quilts and rugs put back in their proper places, it seems only appropriate for a New York Home Fashions Market week download: • Business Ain’t Easy. While the whining was generally kept to a minimum, when you asked, you got pretty much the same answer about business being soft. And why not: you’ve got at least half of the biggest retailers in the category — Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Macy’s, Kohl’s, Sears and Kmart — basically reporting flat sales. • Vendors Are ... Read More
  • Fibers, Fables and the Frug

    Stop me if you’ve heard this one. Three buyers walk into a home textiles market. One is a seasoned veteran who has seen everything. One is a newbie who doesn’t really know percale from a percolator. The third thought she was at the fashion accessories show but got lost and ended up at 295. And all of them have suddenly discovered that maybe they should be asking more questions about exactly what it is they are going to be buying this week. In the wonderful world of sheets and towels, the particulars on those sheets and towels have ... Read More
  • Reverse Textilology

    A funny thing happened on the way to the home textiles industry circa Market Week fall 2016: it went backwards. Think about it. While virtually every other industrial sector of American business was getting more concentrated, more consolidated, balling up into ever larger, more sophisticated pieces, the U.S. home textiles business was doing the exact opposite. Where there once only a handful of powerful suppliers of the core products of the business — in the end, just three — now there are many…perhaps hundreds. There was a time, and it wasn’t all that long ago, when power in the ... Read More
  • Truth in Textiles

    The global home textiles industry is rapidly – and very suddenly – coming to grips with the idea that it needs to look before it leaps. With reports of a big retailer – Target – cancelling its business with a large global supplier – and pulling the products from its shelves – because what was inside the package didn’t match the labeling, there is now real debate about making sure customers are getting what they are being told they are getting. For those in the global home textiles industry, this does not come as a shock, even if the particulars of who got caught – Welspun ... Read More
  • New Business…New Business Models

    Remember the old days when if you were a factory in Asia all you had to do was to be able to manufacture textiles product inexpensively and find a way to efficiently get them from your loading dock to retailers and importers around the world. Ah, those were indeed the good old days. As the textiles world gathers in China next week for Intertextile Shanghai Home Textiles the road to global success is very different. Just being a low-cost producer with a good logistics department isn’t enough anymore. Many things have changed, but as it has with just about ... Read More
  • Sriracha Retailing

    OK, here’s your quiz for the day: What do all of the faster growing players in the home textiles retail business have in common? A. The best prices B. The best products. C. The best customer service. D. The best locations Time’s up. Did you get the right answer? It’s obviously E, none of the above. In today’s retail environment, it’s not really about having the lowest price in town. Or the best products. Or terrific customer service and locations. It’s all about being different. About offering the customer a shopping experience they can ... Read More
  • Donald Trump’s Home Furnishings Connection

    Abraham Lincoln may have a room with his name on it in the White House, but it’s a pretty safe bet that Donald Trump is the only person in presidential politics to ever have a credenza named after him. Regardless of your politics, it’s a rather fascinating little aside that Donald Trump, through his brand licensing, has been involved in the home furnishings business over the years with products in several key categories bearing his name. The most prominent Trump products were in furniture, where Lexington Brands had a program for several years that was featured at Macy ... Read More
  • Who Moved My Recovery?

    A lot of people are getting pretty sick and tired of this business rebound that continues to be out there … somewhere … on the horizon … somewhere. Yes, the economy is better and none of us should lose sight of the fact that the economic picture is better in the United States than virtually anyplace else on the planet. The housing market is strong, employment is starting to enter historically high levels, and with lower gas prices and higher wages, people just have more spending money in their pockets. But every first quarter for the past several years we’ve been sold ... Read More
  • The Limited

    No, not the fashion apparel store, but the increasing trend of retailers offering limited editions products and collections to create a sense of urgency on the part of shoppers. The latest example is Ikea, which has been otherwise well known for very long runs on benchmark products, some of which it has been selling for decades. Last week it announced it would be bringing a short-run, limited edition line of bedding, rugs and decorative accessories created by Belgian designer Walter Van Beirendonck into its U.S. stores this month. It’s a pretty radical idea for this particular retailer but ... Read More
  • Follow the money

    We’ve all heard the line from Willie Sutton, the infamous bank robber who, when asked, why he robbed banks, answered, “Cause that’s where the money is.” It’s time for the home textiles industry to start thinking the same way. It’s no secret that business over the first half of the year has been spotty at best. There’s no denying that it has not lived up to earlier forecasts that 2016 was finally going to be the breakout year for the American economy. Low gas prices, bustling housing market, fuller employment: all signs pointed to better ... Read More