"When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain," wrote A.A. Milne, author of Winnie-the-Pooh, "and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.”
As a reader of Furniture World Magazine, when you think of home furnishings, perhaps one of the Thingish Things inside you is deep emotional connection with design and a desire to bring feelings of comfort and joy to your customers.
But when those ideas get out into the open and have other people looking at them, they may look more like price-item advertising, easy financing and sale, sale, sale!
Recently, I ran into retailer Lael Thompson, chief operations officer, Broyhill Home Collections (Denver) at an HFA NextGen event at the Bienenstock Furniture Library. Lael cornered me near the rare book room, and asked me the question, "Can you remember the furniture in your childhood room? The wood, the colors, how it made you feel then, and how it makes you feel now once your attention is brought back to it? And, the answer was, "Yes, of course I remember, now that you asked."
Chances are it's been a while since most people have thought about the emotional connection furnishings provide. Lael said he thinks that's a shame because the emotional Things that seem Thingish, are what consumers should be thinking about when buying furniture. It should also be what manufacturers, retailers and publications should be taking and writing about.
He said we talk about products, about price and lifestyle. But, the real power of our message is memory and feeling. It's a power fueled by what it feels like to live your life and the role that furniture plays in making memories.
So, if you find yourself feeling bearish, in need of inspiration, send me an email and I will send you back Lael's contact information.
Best wishes for a happy, healthy and emotionally rewarding holiday season!
Russell Bienenstock is Editor-in-Chief of Furniture World Magazine, founded 1870. Comments can be directed to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.