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Harden Upgrades its Harden Home Studio™ Program In High Point

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U.S. manufacturer Harden Furniture announced that it is bringing a fresh look to its successful Harden Home Studio™ program, to debut at the upcoming High Point Market. The Harden branded in-store initiative, which has been placed at more than 50 retailers since its 2006 roll-out, helps consumers customize wood and upholstered furniture selections. GRID2, the New York-based strategic design firm which developed the project with Harden, based on consumer research conducted by Strategic Decisions, is responsible for the new direction of the high-performing consumer customization centers. “Harden Home Studio has been an incredible success both for us and for our retailers who’ve taken advantage of the program, who saw an average of 30% increase in sales last year,” said Harden President and CEO Greg Harden. “It’s a great time to invest in upgrades for our retailers. We’ve learned a lot from our experience over the past two years, and we’re looking at improvements to the concept that will enhance the experience for consumers.” GRID2 President Martin Roberts will make a detailed presentation to retailers at the spring High Point Furniture Market on Monday, April 7th at 3:00 pm in the manufacturer’s new showroom at 200 Steele building, where the new look for Harden Home Studio™ is to be unveiled. “It’s a complete package that effectively presents Harden’s luxury brand positioning,” said Roberts. “We’re using that to our advantage in this new stage of Harden Home Studio by really defining what it is that makes Harden different and important as a luxury brand. Through images and display, we’re focusing on customized cabinetry, personalized upholstery, sustained forestry, and the fact that Harden quality and craftsmanship means the products they make today will be tomorrow’s heirlooms and antiques.” Changes to Harden Home Studio™ include a focus on specific lifestyles through the use of vignettes, color inspiration, and aspirational images which speak to upscale customers. The 1,000 square-foot floorplan helps to focus consumer attention on Harden’s brand attributes and customization options such as 38 wood finishes. Roberts also said that displayed products were selected to illustrate the range of styles, from traditional to contemporary, which Harden offers its consumers. Color stories in cream, strawberry, chocolate, aqua and cinnabar will help develop themes for each room setting. As with fashion, he added, change is good for stimulating consumer attention. Harden expands eco-friendly fabric and foam options at the High Point Furniture Market. At the April tradeshow, Harden will add five new organic cotton patterns and one low-impact leather to a wide range of fabric options for its custom upholstery line. Harden first offered eco-friendly fabrics at last fall’s High Point Market, with two leather introductions and six fabrics made from natural fibers and recycled plastics. The company is also expanding its use of bio-based foam, made with soy rather than petroleum, which was also introduced in the fall. The “green” foam will become a standard option for most upholstery items in the Harden line. “Consumer demand for eco-friendly fabrics is growing at a steady pace, and we’re all for it,” said Harden President Greg Harden. “We’ve always advocated and used sustainable forestry practices in our own hardwood forests, so it makes sense to add fabrics to our line which allow us to sell completely ‘green’ product.” The new introductions include four coordinating patterns from domestic mill Circa 1801’s organic cotton collection, all in a soft natural palette, including a blue damask; a kiwi and cream hound’s-tooth check; a butter, kiwi and blue stripe and a skirt border in kiwi. Harden adds a unique velvet selection from Infinity Fabrics, made from bamboo, to its offering, which features a cut velvet leaf design on a linen ground. Each of the five new organic cotton fabrics are certified by the Global Organic Textiles Standards, including the chemicals used in the finishing processes of washing and stain repellency. The new leather is a beautiful metallic bronze with a very subtle sheen with a silk-like look. The hides are processed at a Dutch tannery with its own high-tech anaerobic biological water purification plant, regarded as a model of responsible citizenship for the industry. Traditionally, tannery wastewater holds one of the highest concentrations of pollutants, and treatments usually require large quantities of chemicals and lots of energy. “Green fabrics have gotten a lot of attention lately, with consumer demand rising as well,” said Beth Penley, vice president of design at Harden, whose responsibilities include fabric merchandising and selection. “Eco-friendly fabrics make sense for everyone – the manufacturing process is cleaner, consumers feel good about the products they’re buying, and the fabric doesn’t cost any more than traditional fabric does. I believe very strongly in green fabrics and will continue to seek them out.” The 165-year-old manufacturer has long been a steward of the environment and was recently named the first furniture company to attain Silver Exemplary status, a new designation established by the Sustainable Furniture Council (SFC).

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