RETAIL AND WHOLESALE

Retailers buy furniture directly from furniture companies at wholesale prices and sell furniture at retail prices in order to achieve a desired profit margin. Manufacturers generally do not provide floor items for display, nor do they provide furniture on loan or on consignment to retailers. Thus, retailers rely on the display and availability of in-house merchandise and special orders to generate and maintain sales (Figure 9.10).

Shopping by catalog has become popular. Rob Forbes’s Design Within Reach (DWR) is a financially successful catalog and an online venue bringing design within reach to a growing market. Smith Hawkin, Levenger, Sharper Image, and Frontgate are further examples of well-organized sourcing and distribution companies for hard-to – find, easy-to-order products.

The North Carolina Highpoint Furniture Market occurs twice a year in October and April for one week. The principal focus is on wholesal­ers and retailers, sales representatives, and the press, with the primary emphasis placed on generating sales and getting products to the mar­ket. On the last day of the Furniture Market, interior designers, archi­tects, faculty, and students are allowed admission.

Similar to Highpoint, but more inclusive of designers, architects, and students world­wide, are the enormous international furniture fairs. The Salone del Mobile in Milan, Italy, organized by COSMIT; the Japanese furniture exhibition TAGU; the Cologne Furniture Mart in Germany; and NEOCON in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart are examples of well-organized and well-attended furniture events where new products are unveiled and sold to wholesalers and industry professionals. The International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York City and the International Furniture Fair in Copenhagen introduce contemporary furniture designs to the public (Figures 9.11,9.12, and 9.13). A new annual venue for exhibiting and marketing furniture design is the Las Vegas Furniture Fair. These furniture exhibitions pro­vide opportunities for designers and companies to exhibit and introduce new work.

Getting products to market is critically important. Furniture fairs help match sellers with buyers. Sales generated at an international furniture fair can lead to a significant annual percentage of gross income for a company. In these venues, new furniture designs are pre­sented and aggressively marketed to the attendees and the press.

RETAIL AND WHOLESALE

RETAIL AND WHOLESALE

Figure 9.12 ICFF—International Contemporary Furniture Fair, New York, 2005. Photography courtesy of Eli Meiners.

 

RETAIL AND WHOLESALE

Figure 9.11 ICFF—Wilsonart-sponsored furniture design class exhibit at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, New York, 2011. Photography by Jim Postell, 2011.

 

RETAIL AND WHOLESALE

Figure 9.13 A pair of Ox chairs (designed by Hans J. Wegner, produced by Erik Jorgensen) at the International Furniture Fair (ICFF), Copenhagen, Denmark 2006. Photography by Jim Postell, 2006.

 

RETAIL AND WHOLESALE

Figure 9.14 IKEA distribution outlet, Sweden. Photography by Jim Postell, 2006.

 

Figure 9.15 IKEA at home and assembled. Photography copyright © William A. Yokel, 2005.