Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Architectural Digest Home Design Show “Sneak Peek”: Liebherr

Three consumer trends identified by Thorsten Platt, vice president of Liebherr refrigeration North America, for 2011 are simplification, value and health. With consumers leading increasingly busier lifestyles, Platt points out that people will profit from the innovative organizational design of Liebherr products. With budgets being tighter, consumers are doing more research to make purchases that ensure quality and performance over time. And, with more of the nation focused on fresher, locally grown food, Liebherr advanced refrigeration technology will be implemental in storing delicious produce. All around, Liebherr refrigeration products are becoming trendier, which is why we wanted to continue our “Sneak Peek” series with this inventive company.

Liebherr is a worldwide leader in premium refrigeration. This German manufacturing company brings European innovation and design to the U.S. market, providing built-in or freestanding refrigeration units as well as wine storage units.

At the 2011 Architectural Digest Home Design Show, March 17-20 in New York City, Liebherr plans to showcase two new refrigeration units- the CS 2060 and the HC 2060. The 2060 series offers substantial storage capacity and accommodating shelving in the top refrigeration section and double freezer drawers located directly underneath. Freestanding, fully-integrated or stainless integrated, the 2060 series will appeal to consumers as either refrigerator can fit into most any kitchen or home design. Both refrigerators are ENERGY STAR® rated and will be available at appliance retailers across the U.S. and Canada beginning April 2011. - Designers, retailers, media members, and others…Liebherr’s display at the show will be a must-see for all of us.

The CS 2060 Model

Keep checking back here for more of our “Sneak Peeks” as ADHDS attendees plan a schedule of booths and exhibitors to see. There certainly are more “Sneak Peeks” to come, so if one of these amazing companies hasn’t peaked your interest yet, we have more to spotlight in the coming weeks and months.

~ Sarah Kate

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Architectural Digest Home Design Show “Sneak Peek”: Clancy Designs

The inner connection we share with the environment is sacred, and what better way to capture that bond than the unique glass sculpture collection by David and Jennifer Clancy. Introducing their new Landscape Series at the 2011 New York Architectural Digest Home Design Show, this indoor/outdoor collection ranges from breathtaking exotic floral arrangements to harmonious Japanese gardens- exactly why we wanted to include them in our “Sneak Peek” series.

The Landscape series is a body of work that uses nature as its language. Each hand-blown glass piece aims to express the intimate relationship humans have with the environment. Whether the sculpture is showcased as an individual focal point inside a home or integrated into outdoor gardens, Clancy Designs express the fragile beauty of our eco-systems, as testifies the featured Wetland Series piece below.

Clancy Designs are carefully crafted in the United States. These pieces are ideal for retail stores and designers aspiring to promote aesthetic tranquility and a deeper connection to the environment, all by enhancing home or commercial space décor. Bases can be ordered in enamel-coated steel, stainless steel or bronze. All sculptures break down to easy-to-ship parts.

In addition, each Landscape Series sculpture can be custom-made or custom-sized to fit any location. Every piece is unique, providing a personalized touch to its final destination.

We’ll have more “Sneak Peeks” in a few days, so please stop back by our blog for exclusive looks at unique design companies ranging from furniture and lighting to kitchens and baths.

~ Dominique

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Architectural Digest Home Design Show “Sneak Peek”: Jamie Harris Studio

A world of design awaits at the Architectural Digest Home Design Show this year. For those not familiar with New York’s most anticipated design show, here’s a quick rundown of the show’s happenings. With more than 300 exhibitors housed at Piers 94 and 92 along the Hudson River, the show, ADHDS for short, brings together all parts of the design industry- from manufacturers to retailers to design firms. There will be a fantastic lineup of designer seminar series sponsored by The New York Times and other events / parties taking place over the weekend. The dates for the show run March 17 – 20, 2011, but we will be doing “Sneak Peeks” of exhibitors posted on our blog beginning now. This will lead to some of the featured products being included in select print articles our team (and some of our editor contacts) will be writing in 2011. Watch for other general show news and updates here, too. So, onto the first “Sneak Peek”…

Artist Jamie Harris knows glass. He designs sophisticated pieces like these sculpted Rock Pendants, new this year to add to the collections at Jamie Harris Studios. Harris uses design inspiration drawn from the intricate process of glassblowing to create a modern collection of glass-form light pendants. Each piece twists and hardens into a unique sculpture, but all are similar in style to Edison-style light bulbs. Harris’ artistic sense for fluidity and energy come together in these Rock Pendants. They are available as individual lights (pictured) or together as a custom chandelier.

All of the lighting created by Jamie Harris can be custom designed- the size, shape and colors easily adjusted to cater to any specific taste. The Rock Pendants pictured above (from left to right) are dazzling in brown, alabaster and steel gray. And, the metal fixtures are fully UL compliant as well as being available in a brushed nickel, black or white finish. To see more of Jamie Harris’ work in custom lighting or his other works, visit www.jamieharris.com.

Keep checking back for Sneak Peeks in the days and weeks to follow.

~ Sarah Kate

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Surveying the Casual Furniture Industry

The statistics are in, and consumers have spoken high hopes despite the weighty words of “economic recession” that have become an American culture catch phrase. Casual Living magazine teamed up with HGTV to produce the 2010 Outdoor Furniture Survey, sponsored by our friends at Pride Family Brands. This exclusive survey is based on the responses of more than 9,000 U.S. consumers via an online questionnaire from April 2010. It examines main casual furniture topics like conversation groups, product selection and service, imported furniture, and the industry as a whole. We are happy to report there is a good deal of positivity in the data and interpretations from the study. We’ve seen people in the industry making some pretty tough adjustments at times but also becoming more creative and purposeful when it comes to marketing and selling products for patios, decks, porches, pool areas, sunrooms, etc. We’ve posted what we think are some of the survey’s high points.

Conversation Groups:
  • 29% of surveyed consumers planned to buy conversation groups this year while 37% plan to do so in 2011.
  • The most popular places that consumers listed to shop for these groups included home improvement centers, discount department stores and casual furniture specialty stores…mostly noting these places for their convenience and low prices.
  • $1,000 - $1,999 is the most popular price bracket that consumers chose when asked how much they expected to pay for conversation group seating.
Photo courtesy of Pride Family Brands

Product Selection and Service:
  • 59% of the survey’s respondents would prefer to buy less expensive outdoor furniture so they later can change it and be more flexible.
  • The remaining 41% prefer to spend more because the purchase is viewed as an investment.
  • Colors in which consumers are most interested: Browns, Black, Metallics for furniture frames. Greens, Browns, Blues for cushions. Browns, Greens, Neutrals for slings.

Imported Furniture:
  • Top 5 countries for the source of U.S. imported outdoor furniture and principal products (in 2009): China, Canada, Indonesia, Mexico, and Taiwan
To read all the reports online, simply click this link http://bit.ly/hie5Ds. Comments, thoughts and questions are welcome! In closing, let all of us in the industry make creative strides to proactively market our products and services in new and fresh ways. We stand the chance to continue increasing the positive numbers in the industry during 2011, but this won’t happen without new types of marketing strategy…mixed with a small measure of risk. What are you trying that is new for 2011?

~ Sarah Kate

Friday, December 10, 2010

Product of the Month – December: A Look Ahead to Terracotta

Here at ECPR we are introducing a new series of ongoing posts called Product of the Month. We’ll feature different products that relate to the home, garden, design, or agribusiness industries. Client and a few non-client products will be featured. Readers, if you would like to contribute to this series or submit a product to be considered for inclusion, please contact us at info@eberlycollardpr.com or post your comments below. Enjoy the inaugural post!

While people are gearing up for the holidays and New Year, magazine folks are gearing up for the spring season. Planning, writing and interviewing for stories that will be published months from now. Our first Product of the Month captures that same “early bird gets the worm” spirit. We want to share with everyone a peek at a new Terracotta container for plantings that Englishman’s Fine Furnishings will be selling to trade and consumers during 2011.

This particular decorative container is a showstopper from the Terracotta Collection. 27” across in diameter and 21” tall, it is a perfect choice for medium-sized shrubs or plants.

Englishman’s Fine Furnishings weather- and frost-proof Terracotta Collection includes stately plaques, planters, urns, and fountains to add a touch of classic English style to any yard, verandah or deck. These modern adaptations of favorite designs stemming from the epoch of the Greek and Roman civilizations reflect the beauty and grandeur of those times. Practical for exterior use and meticulous in detail, the Terracotta Collection can be viewed online at www.englishmansfurniture.com/catalogview.asp. And, look for Englishman’s new Terracotta pieces like the one pictured above on our social media channels in the upcoming weeks and months.

If you are attending the Atlanta International Home Furnishings, Gifts & Rug Market in January, you can find a comprehensive collection on site in Englishman’s expanded showroom. Let us know if you will be attending. We hope to see you there.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Winter Interest Plants

Important to consider when planning the design of a garden or landscape is the interest the space will yield not only during spring and summer but also all year round. It might be easier to choose some plants during their blooming or primary growth seasons to see their fine form and foliage and a bit tougher to choose the right plant combinations based on their dormant characteristics. Still, many plants show their best characteristics during colder seasons and winter. It’s what people in the green industry call choosing plants with winter interest. Sometimes it is plants which transition to a new leaf color or triumphantly flower through the snow and ice. Other winter interest plants can be those that simply look radiant among winter elements- the green leaves and red berries of holly bushes against white snow or fountain grasses icy with winter frost. There are several of these kinds of plants available through Terra Nova Nurseries; pictured below are a few examples including a Bergenia, Helleborus and Heuchera. If anyone would like additional high-res. photos of these plants or others, please feel free to contact us.

~ Jeff

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

ECPR’s Thanksgiving Roundup

The changing of seasons is truly magical. There is something sacred about the first winter snow, the first blossoms of spring, and the first long summer day when the sun sets late into the evening. Every fall, I marvel at the changing leaves, and while it is a ritual that is predictable and seemingly nonchalant, I along with many others am happy to be reminded of how incredibly beautiful nature can be. So, fall leaves have become my inspiration for this week’s blog post…a special post for a special fall holiday, Thanksgiving. It’s a Thanksgiving round-up from us here at ECPR, featuring everything one could want or need for a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner. So, we hope everyone enjoys our leaf-land, fantasy Thanksgiving dinner!

This refectory table, crafted by Englishman’s Fine Furnishings, is a perfect table for friends and/or family to gather round, and we adore the carved fleur-de-lis details. Fleur de lis translates from French to mean “flower of the lily”, but we like how the symbol resembles three delicate leaves…a perfect base to start with.

Next on our list is the food. Because what is Thanksgiving without incredible side dishes and the showstoppers: the turkey and pumpkin pie. How pretty is this Pumpkin Pie (recipe courtesy of Country Living)?! And, we all agreed that a no-fuss turkey recipe was in order so that the juicy flavors would standout even more so. We found this recipe for a Roast Turkey with Oranges, Bay Leaves, Red Onions and Pan Gravy thanks to Epicurious.com

Hopefully, you all are catching our leaf theme so far :) Next, we moved on to decorating and setting the table…

Imagine our Englishman’s table decked out with beautiful leaves, collected straight from the outdoors. We like the idea of mixing autumn-colored maple leaves with plant leaves, like Heuchera leaves from Terra Nova Nurseries. Scattered along the middle of the table and surrounding dishes of food, these bright, bold leaves would add such festivity to the tablescape. Plus, collecting the leaves is such a fun idea for the kids to do during Thanksgiving Day down time!

We also found some other leafy touches for the table like these Leafy Napkin Rings from Crate and Barrel and this pretty set of Leaf Flatware available through Neiman Marcus. It's extra decorations like these that guests will see and be impressed by even the little touches.

Finally, we are in love with this Martha Stewart craft project to create a table runner from colorful fabrics resembling leaves on a branch...so pretty.

These are just a few of our ideas for a unique and seasonal tablescape, easy enough for anyone to create yet special enough to use for a holiday like Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at ECPR!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Blogging and Social Media - Content is King (Part 2)

If you read Part 1 of “Blogging and Social Media - Content is King” on our blog the Week of November 5, you know our take on blogging surrounds the fact marketplaces are breeding grounds for interactions, and marketing is foundational upon participation. In short, B2B and / or B2C marketing involves engaging with customers, rather than merely marketing to them.

Continuing in the process of building and maintaining truly beneficial blogs, business professionals stand a good chance of developing new and stronger relationships with customers and others who can reflect well upon business objectives. A solid business blog accomplishes a few important goals. To start, a blog that is oriented for B2B or B2C purposes provides a voice for a company, one that allows for ongoing, open conversations between the persons behind the blog and those who turn to the blog for information and engagement. With that in mind, blogs that provide valuation encourage customers to use or follow the content as it yields new conversation threads. In due course, well-planned and managed blogs offer a nontraditional, nonthreatening platform for free-form dialog. This ability to connect with people whom might otherwise be unreachable leads to guiding positive brand perceptions and addressing customers’ predispositions and assumptions.

However, there are still many businesses not taking advantage of blog relations simply by implementing their blogs as if they are the usual form of marketing communications. Yes, that old familiar norm of marketing is to push-out the message to the customer audience. You know the type: newsletters with one-way offers of specials and discounts; direct mail cards with two-sides of written information but sent with one-way intentions; print brochures featuring written copy infused with hoped-for calls to action. Now, before thinking we do not endorse the aforesaid means of marketing, let it be said all of these marketing forms have value, to be certain. Though, today’s marketing calls for a more communicative and forthcoming information exchange.

In terms of modern marketing, it is no longer sufficient for all assemblages of promotion to be based upon outgoing messaging. With social media and its easy, fast access to everything under the sun, customers now expect to be enabled to interact with their favorite brands, retailers, product manufacturers, growers, designers, etc. They have questions and needs, and they demand answers and solutions – quickly. And, what is wrong with that? - Sounds good to us. How about you?

Whether your company has a blog or is considering one, we recommend consistent development and maintenance with a predetermined B2B and / or B2C approach. Conversely, stray from the usual mentality that every blog post must come with a specific sales offer. Blog content that helps companies connect with their customers – on emotional and supportive levels – leads to augmented exchanges between the two. Liken this to a verbal conversation with a group of customers or industry peers at a meeting or trade show forum. At times like this, you converse peer to peer and share practical experiences that bring about a sense of unification. In the same manner but with a different format, business bloggers can open the door to building trust in their brands, products and companies. By writing and posting blog content that avoids sermonizing or the mere administering of information, companies can simply supply helpful intuitiveness to customers. Facts, figures, trends, ideas, and suggestions are all needed and coveted acumen from which customers can benefit. And, you can contribute all of this as well as participate in the resulting online discourse. During the process link back and forth via other helpful and relative social media channels, connecting the dots of inviting and accessible communication for your company and customers.

Of course, even the best laid blog plans can go awry given busy schedules and business deadlines, so keep your blog on course with a schedule of activities, assigned content to colleagues, and, most of all, collaboration with management and staff members. If you take the necessary time to plan based on your customers’ needs, applicable blog content will become more easily evident. Following through, concentrate upon open-ended subject matter that produces discussion and dissection of multifarious topics of interest. Ultimately, when dedicating your blogosphere responsiveness toward the manifestation of listening, observing and sharing, you play the coveted role of emcee or moderator. And, your customers will slowly but surely desire to partake in the conversation.

~ Don

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Decorative Accents and Style-setting Accessories

For all designer-types and members of the media who follow our blog, did you know Englishman’s Fine Furnishings offers decorative accents and style-setting options in addition to high-end European-style furniture? If you are attending The Atlanta Fall Immediate Delivery Show today through Thursday, stop by the showroom to learn more about these options for design jobs, your clients or customers, and your own home or personal use. Special items are being featured during the show this week such as furry pillows to add a sense of plush comfort to any bed, cozy throws to adorn dens and bedrooms, and small occasional tables of many sizes and types. These and many of Englishman’s items are available for immediate delivery.

Anita Vreeland, Englishman’s president of marketing & design, and her staff have brought an unexpected surprise to the company’s AmericasMart showroom. Visitors to the showroom will be able to see a collection of leather purses with subtle yet stunning detail.
With leather purses making a splash in current style trends for fall and winter, these showroom introductions are timely. According to experts like the stylists for Trend Hunter Luxury and celebrity designer Rachel Zoe, leather purses are a must-have style bag for the season, so be sure to stop in this week for immediate delivery.

While there, take a tour of Englishman’s Kitchens & Fine Custom Cabinetry new display area. The new kitchen design / build line was launched this summer based upon the company’s long-standing business of building custom furniture. In addition, if you missed the July market or have not been to Englishman’s Fine Furnishings’ showroom since mid-summer, you will be treated to an overall showroom expansion to include a total 9,300 square feet of display space. Showroom location: AmericasMart Atlanta (Building 1, 11-D 2).

IDS Dates and Hours: Permanent Showrooms – Tuesday, November 9 through Thursday, November 11, 2010, 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. EST.

Temporary Exhibits – Tuesday, November 9 through Wednesday, November 10, 2010, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. EST and Thursday, November 11, 2010, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

~ ECPR Team

NOTE: For a larger view of any of the attached photos, simply click on the desired image.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Blogging and Social Media - Content is King

Have you ever wished you could gather all of your customers or clients into one room, and speak with them about all of the incredible information your company has to offer? Or, in line with another approach, would you round up your customers in one place if you could, with a goal of relaxed conversation about their needs and exactly how you can provide solutions for them? While speaking to a group of industry professionals made up of manufacturers, designers and retailers not too long ago, one of the audience members expressed these quintessential ambitions.

The topic of the session was two-way communication with customers, clients and constituency groups, and she said, “My marketing and sales teams believe we have a ton of valuable information to tell our customers – not just about our new product introductions and promotions, but also solid insights we know could provide benefit.” When I asked her how she was communicating with her customers other than the expected advertising and press campaigns, it was revealed her company hosts or sponsors trade events when budgets permit. In exchange, she explained, they hope for a few minutes of “speaking” time at the onset of the events. The problem therein; her company has many brands, varied product lines, and regional-based customer diversity. And, a few minutes of speaking “to” a group of customers with a price tag of $20,000 is just that, a few minutes of one-way talking for a lot of money.

Okay, I am not saying that event sponsorship is inapplicable, far from it in fact. Our own ECPR has sponsored many industry events and believes in the practice wholeheartedly. However, there are other supplements to traditional advertising, marketing and sponsorship that strategically evoke connections with customers in large numbers. Take blogging for instance. While possibly one of the earliest forms of social media, blogging is likely the most misunderstood by businesses. Even with over 110 million active blogs to date, many business leaders still view corporate blogs as toys rather than the valuable business tools they can be to interface with customers. If it is true that our customers can benefit from what I call the three “i’s”: our insights, input, and involvement, then, why shouldn’t we consider the value of blogs? When done correctly, corporate blogs can provide cost-effective, ongoing and solution-oriented content that supplies our customers with advantageous valuation, not to mention calls for action every time we add new posts. Still, blogs should not be for the purpose of selling. Better yet, they have the true ability to yield meaningful dialogue that induces relationships with customers and potential customers.

Ok, we’re just getting started here…Check back the week of Nov. 15 for the second part of this post, where we’ll offer some tips and ideas our team has learned about leveraging B2B and B2C communications through blogging.

~ Don

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dan Heims Heads to Kentucky…Will You Be There As Well?

Co-owner of Terra Nova Nurseries and horticulturalist known ‘round the world, Dan Heims will be speaking in two different Kentucky cities this week. A renowned speaker, author and authority on horticulture for 34 years, Heims has traveled extensively seeking new plant varieties and developing new forms of plant breeding, resulting in national and international awards for more than 30 Terra Nova Nurseries plant introductions, with total introductions exceeding 600 new plants. If you will be in Kentucky in the coming days or have interest in interviewing Dan for articles or on air, the following offers his speaking schedule:

"Garden Gems"
Thursday, October 28 at 7:00 p.m.
The Arboretum - 500 Alumni Drive Lexington, KY 40503
A fun compilation of some of the newest, most exciting perennials, tropicals and woodies seen today from Dan’s lifelong adventures in gardens, shows and trips all around the world. Kentucky Landscape Architect Board will award one hour of continuing education credit for the lecture. Tickets: $12 for general public, $10 for Master Gardeners / Arboretum Friends, $5 for students (with valid student ID). For more information visit The Arboretum’s website or call 859-257-6955.

"Right Plant – Right Place: Plant Solutions for Problem Areas" Sunday, October 31 at 3:00 p.m.
Crescent Hill Woman’s Club - 2641 Grinstead Drive Louisville, KY 40206

Individual gardens involve a variety of environments from deserts to swamps to shady refuges. Come hear Dan’s engaging and informative presentation which will enlighten attendees on how to make good plant choices for problem spaces. Tickets: $15 for adults, $5 for students (with valid student ID), free admission for Botanica Members. Proceeds will benefit the Louisville Botanical Garden and Conservatory. For more information visit www.botanicakentucky.org or reach out by email, president@botanicakentucky.org.

Media members, contact us anytime you’d like to plan interviews with Dan.

~ Sarah Kate

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Happenings at High Point

As many of our blog followers know, the High Point Market Authority is hosting the popular fall 2010 furniture market this week. With 188 buildings and 12 million Square Feet of exhibit and showroom space, the 85,000 attendees are certainly feasting their eyes on the top furniture introductions and emerging trends for 2011. Based upon the helpful resources provided by the Authority and with some of our own clients’ input in mind, we wanted to point out a few ways for designers and retail buyers to create successful market experiences for their companies.

If you haven’t yet studied the Fall 2010 Planning Guide, it offers information about the local High Point area. The market’s website points out information to find thousands of new introduction pieces at market during the week; calendar insights regarding planned expert seminars; listings of some of the must-attend social gatherings / networking; and comprehensive information about making your way to as many inspiring showrooms and exhibits as possible.

Also, tap into the Authority’s Exhibitor Media Kit, which is a great way to synchronize your marketing efforts with theirs; engage your sales force about some of the changes at the market; connect with media members; develop relationships with buyers, drive traffic, and more. Then, too, take time to read the 2010 High Point Market Authority’s Business Outlook. Valuable interviews and research were conducted to uncover data surrounding personal consumption expenditures, furniture retail sales, employment rates, and consumer expectations indexing.

All in all, we agree with the findings, in that, economic growth of the months ahead is still somewhat uncertain; however, the tides are turning with the last several months showcasing slow but steady recovery. With that said, we believe 2011 business success for many of us in the industry may very well mean changing the ways in which we think about business and marketing. By evolving with today’s more modern marketing communications and social media strategies, we stand the chance to yield new growth. As tough as it may seem at times, change is a good thing. We encourage our readers to embrace innovative approaches to business management and brand marketing as we enter a positive new selling season. Keep tuning in to our blog and Facebook Fanpage for upcoming articles and posts about executing new marketing for a new era as well as case-studies regarding how some industry companies are doing just that.

For our media contacts, email or call us with your needs for furniture product photos and trends information as you plan your post-market coverage.

~ Don

Friday, October 15, 2010

Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles

As most of you readers out there might know, our firm is located in Atlanta, GA. Atlanta is commonly known for its traditional Southern roots, but when it comes to interior design, many Atlantans opt for personal style and tastes, ranging from traditional to retro glam and all the way to sleek and modern. Luckily, our city is packed with a similar range of retailers, design centers and interior designers all well-versed in said different styles. And, a magazine we hold in high regard for exploring beautiful homes is Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles. Flip through the magazine’s pages and you’ll see a mix of luxurious, drool-worthy designs - like a cozy Grant Park bungalow, a Colonial home in Buckhead, a chic Midtown high-rise loft, or a slew of second homes scattered across the Southeast at lakes, mountains and beaches alike. Stemming from the second half of its title, Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles also covers the finest food, wine, art and shopping that Atlanta has to offer. That is where one of our clients, Englishman’s Fine Furnishings, comes in. In a special section of AH&L’s October issue, the magazine’s staff rounded up a selection of local arts, antiques shops and reproduction sources. The photos below included the cover and the page featuring Englishman’s.

We were especially thrilled to see the coincidental relation between the cover words “bespoke pieces tailored to perfection” and our client, Englishman’s. Following in the great tradition of England’s legendary cabinet-makers such as Chippendale and Hepplewhite, Englishman’s uses only the very best artisan craftsmanship. No two pieces of furniture are created exactly the same in that Englishman’s hand-crafted reproductions model European antiques from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Pieces in their furniture collection can also be customized per specific designer needs and homeowner preferences.

You can also read about Englishman’s on AH&L’s website here. Thanks, Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles! We’re looking forward to the next issue already!


Friday, October 8, 2010

Land Planning and Living Soils

Landscape and Irrigation magazine is dedicated to shedding light on notable industry professionals, projects, products, innovations, and industry news. The magazine does a highly credible job of reaching and informing landscape design, construction and maintenance professionals as well as those who work in the fields of turf, irrigation and water management. What we like about Landscape and Irrigation: it truly aims to enhance the industry thanks to one of the top editors in the business. So, having worked with the editor to facilitate an educational article with the expertise of our client, Jeff Speck, vice president of sales & marketing for Big River Industries, we wanted to share the Q&A-style information. In short, for the September issue, Landscape and Irrigation turned to Speck for advice on stormwater run-off issues and different land planning and water management options. Since many of our fans are industry professionals and related media members, we thought you may enjoy reading the article.

The Q&A article examines the real problems that stormwater and run-off can cause to landscaped areas and, in turn, the environment. It also focuses on the benefits of creating efficient, engineered soils to manage these water challenges and how to do so.

One challenge Speck addresses is low-impact development- controlling stormwater run-off with as little burden to the development’s original environment. One example of a project that faced this challenge was Big River Industries’ work with Ecos Environmental Designs and ERTH Products on the surrounding landscape of a new building development on Georgia Institute of Technology’s campus.

It’s all about a healthy soil profile, according to Speck. The article looks at what percentage of soil should be water, air and solid particles. If soil is not properly balanced, it can cause poor water drainage and poor nutrient reception. Big River Industries – and its partner businesses like those already mentioned as well as Garick Corporation – produce products like FiltRocks and HydRocks (or other products using Big River’s expanded lightweight clay aggregate. This, combined with conceptive design / build or engineering methods, help not only control stormwater run-off, but also further ecological vegetation systems.

To read the full article online, you can find it on Landscape and Irrigation’s website or in the September digital magazine. Scans of the hardcopy magazine are seen above. By clicking through these images, you can read the Q&A here, too. Thanks to John, editor at L&I magazine, for your help and time, and to Jeff for your expertise.

~ ECPR Team

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Social Media Lesson from Kim Kardashian and How It Translates to Those in the Home, Garden or Design Industries…

I must admit that it was my inner reality TV addict that tempted me to check out a tweet from this morning promoting a Kim Kardashian case study based off of her tweets and Twitter profile. But, after reading the article, I do think the author makes an interesting point about the quantity of Twitter followers compared to the quality of Twitter followers that an individual has. The article, which can be read at length here: http://mashable.com/2010/10/01/twitter-kim-kardashian/, examines the relationship between Kim Kardashian and her loyal tweeps by how many hits her official website receives via her Twitter account. According to Mashable.com, her site is ranked 54th out of all websites that are clicked from Twitter users, and that takes into account sites like TwitPic, Flickr, and dozens of sports and news sites. And, while Kardashian is a popular celeb on Twitter with just under 5 million followers, she’s still not as favored as Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Ashton Kutcher, or even Justin Beiber. She just knows how to tweet a fine balance between her thoughts and comments and her business ventures to keep her followers interested.

The article provoked me to think about how truly loyal Twitter followers, Facebook fans, Flickr contacts, YouTube friends etc. can be. Leaders of online communities can become quite influential by paying attention to their sources and connections – whether they are customers of a local garden center or green industry professionals or adoring celebrity fans. Then, use that knowledge to supply followers with what they want and need and it seems (in Kardashian’s case) that that they will become even more loyal. A great small business example of this scenario that is more geared towards our work / industries is Sickles Market, an independent garden center retailer. I’ve never seen a Facebook page buzzing as much as theirs does- every post has multiple comments, every photo or video is liked and shared. It’s amazing the steady, cult-like mass of fans they have, which is more than 2,000 in the town of Little Silvers, NJ where there are only about 6,000 residents. Here’s their page: http://www.facebook.com/SicklesMarket for more inspiration on quality vs. quantity of social media followers.

In our realm of all things related to home, garden, and design products and people, social media is an important means for companies and brands to interact with customers, the media and other important groups. It provides an opportunity to participate in online communities and conversations in ways not otherwise possible. The lessons learned from celebs, such as Kim Kardashian, are certainly notable as they were the ones who fanned the social networking flame to make it what it has become today. And, leaders in our industry, like Sickles Market or even the bigger names of Kathy Ireland, Paula Deen, or Donald Trump, who know how to network themselves in ways to create devoted followers of their home furnishing lines or other design-based products for homeowners, are clearly setting examples for all of us who want to better our social sites.

Let us know what you think about this issue by leaving a comment below.

~ Sarah Kate

Friday, September 24, 2010

Englishman’s Kitchens & Fine Custom Cabinetry

Click over to our Facebook Fanpage to check out our newest post regarding Englishman’s Kitchens & Fine Custom Cabinetry. You’ll be able to learn about a new venture on the part of Englishman’s Fine Furnishings. The company’s leadership team has again addressed the home trend of customized design for lasting value and comfort. With a background in fine cabinetry and furniture-making, Englishman’s introduces its custom kitchen line and design / build options housed in a newly expanded furniture and accessories showroom at AmericasMart in Atlanta. Read about this on our Fanpage and log onto www.englishmansfurniture.com for further details about the company and its beautiful home furnishing capabilities. Note: Designers and media members, tours with the company’s owner are available upon request.

Friday, September 17, 2010

International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market “Sneak Peek”: Sokul

The Sol Maya woven pattern is highly weather resistant and is currently available in six different colors: ivory, wash, honey (pictured), java, graphite, and onyx. Sol Maya’s cushions are made of quick-drying foam and are Hand-crafted.

Sokul’s entire collection is 100% recyclable and so is its production and packaging. Even Sokul’s website is powered off of energy produced from windmills. What an extraordinary effort they make to be environmentally and socially responsible and aware. We are proud of the “green” efforts being made in the casual furniture industry and proud to feature so many of these companies on our blog.

~ Jeff

Thursday, September 16, 2010

International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market “Sneak Peek”: The Rug Market

Our first “Sneak Peek” of a rug company features The Rug Market’s trend-setting designs. Company representatives will be displaying creative, durable and easy-to-care-for rugs at booth 8-3018 at Casual Market. For more than 20 years now, The Rug Market has been producing high quality rugs with the philosophy dedicated to design, creativity, service, and quality. This philosophy is evident to us in two of their rugs pictured below.

This rug, named Florin Blue, combines the best of modern and vintage Italy in its design and can be used indoors as well as outdoors.

With geometrical brown and cream mid-century squares, this Lloyd Brown rug would be a nice addition to an office or dining room. Or, it can be used outdoors to make a patio feel homier in a contemporary way.

We’re looking forward to Casual Market, beginning Tuesday, September 21! Are you? Keep up with our “Sneak Peek” series for some more great previews.

~ ECPR team

International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market “Sneak Peek”: Harbour Outdoor

Harbour Outdoor is an eco-friendly manufacturer of contemporary outdoor furniture based in Australia, and it’s the company’s Balmoral product that we are including in our “Sneak Peek” series. Balmoral is a convertible seating piece that can be assembled into more than 15 configurations. Pictured below is the Balmoral arranged as a sectional sofa and as a chaise.

Situated on a solid High Pressure Laminate surface and supported by aluminum legs, the Balmoral is sturdy in design. The interchangeable back and arm cushions have removable covers for easy maintenance and are covered in Sunbrella fabric that can be customized with an array of color choices. We like the sleek, modern look of Balmoral and the fact that it is suited to be used indoors as well as in any outdoor landscape or climate. Harbour Outdoor also makes the choice to use only recycled materials, even materials that will not emit toxic or biologically harmful substances when broken down or burned. We think Harbour Outdoors as a company and design leader would be a great feature in any trade or consumer magazine, and we look forward to more great furniture from them in the future!

For those attending Casual Market, Harbour Outdoor will be at booth 8-8038. And, visit Harbour Outdoor’s Facebook page to connect with them and find out more information.

~ Don

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market “Sneak Peek”: Lloyd / Flanders

The Atlantic and Pacific Oceans; the Gulf Shores; the Great Lakes; and the Mississippi River and bayou territory are but a tip of the great coastlines / waterfronts located right here in the United States. Coastal Living magazine has celebrated this fact in its issues for many years. Woven wicker furniture masters, Lloyd / Flanders has teamed with Coastal Living to create a Coastal Living Collection of casual furniture that embodies stylish, well-made pieces for coastal lifestyles across the country. These four new product lines will be introduced at Casual Market next week.

The Savannah collection is reminiscent of the Deep South. It is characterized by the woven patterns of decorative wicker combined with sturdy aluminum framing for light, yet comforting furniture…yielding functional use with easy comfort. And, given our own seat in the South, we like that the furniture is made using materials from the region like southern cypress wood for the occasional and dining tables. We definitely think designers and homeowners will be attracted to this collection for its quaint charm.

Stemming from South Carolina’s cultured heritage, the Low Country collection reminds us that fundamental craftsmanship is still beautiful. What an addition these pieces would be to any porch, deck or backyard! The seats and backs of the seating pieces are crafted with hand-woven vinyl wicker similar to woven grass baskets that were popular years ago and still can be found for sale along Charleston’s streets and alleys.

The Great Lakes collection is a line of simple, classic, placid furniture that reminds us of the isolated nature surrounding the five Great Lakes. Even the color palette for the line reflects the blues, greens and woodsy hues that people associate with a calm lakeshore.

Last, but not least, is the Carmel collection. The pieces in this collection take us out west to the California coast. Full of artistic flair and whimsical character, the Carmel furniture is built on open weaves and flared legs, which is why we think it would look great in a sunroom or porch area, or even in a well-planned exterior space by the sea.

Stop by Lloyd / Flanders showroom, booth 1650, at Casual market to see these amazing collections and find out more about Lloyd / Flanders. Editors seeking regional design trends and themes for outdoor space articles, these lines might be of good interest to you.

~ Sarah Kate

International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market “Sneak Peek”: Highwood

With less than one week until Casual Market, we have this week to wrap up our “Sneak Peek” series with some more amazing companies. For all the posts regarding Casual Market “Sneak Peeks,” simply scroll down and read previous entries all the way back to our introductory post about Casual Market and the series on Sept. 2. But, moving on…This special “Sneak Peek” is about Highwood USA’s Adirondack Collection, that will displayed at booth 8-1063 at Casual Market.

Highwood is a manufacturing leader in synthetic wood structures and furniture, which can be more beneficial for homeowners due to its long-lasting attributes. Synthetic wood is less likely to loose its color and more resistant to water and stains all while being extremely easy to maintain. We think it’s fantastic that Highwood has taken its knowledge of synthetic wood and applied it to a classic style chair like the Adirondack. The Adirondack Collection features pieces handcrafted here in the United States available in a natural toffee color or crisp white finish. The product as a whole is fully recyclable and weather resistant. And, we like that all the items in the collection – the adult chair, ottoman, table and the child chair – completely fold for convenient storage when not in use.

For those attending Casual Market, Highwood’s booth is surely one to visit. And, feel free to leave any comments now or post-Casual Market regarding the Adirondack Collection.

~ Jeff

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market “Sneak Peek”: Pride Family Brands

Part of our “Sneak Peek” series is previewing new, exciting companies or pieces that will be featured at Casual Market. Another part of our Casual Market work is previewing the trends forecasted for 2011, with the goal of assisting our media contacts to acquire glimpses into the casual and outdoor furniture companies’ latest introductions and insights. Pride Family Brands, showing at booth 1747-48, will be exhibiting several collections that follow in the Pride Family Brands’ tradition of durable casual furniture. We want to highlight some of these products that clearly represent trends we’ve been gathering during our “Sneak Peek” series process.

One of Pride Family Brands’ new collections is the Veranda Collection with its old world detailing and deep cushion seating. Decorative arches with rivets support the baluster-style arm and legs of each seating piece. Given our research and the many articles on outdoor rooms we have written, our team expects the deep seating pieces like the ones in the Veranda Collection are going to be popular among attendees at this year’s Casual Market. As more and more people are embracing the backyard as an additional room of the house, outdoor furniture is reflecting extra comfort and durability for everyday use and special occasions entertaining guests. The trend of staying in homes longer and working to redecorate or enhance existing décors is paramount to this kind of livable setting, and to the growing success of the Casual Market for 2011.

Another trend we’ve been noticing is the increase in details and carvings for table pieces. Small intricacies like these encourage more elegance in casual furniture. As an evolving trend, elegance and detailing are being showcased unlike in the past few years. Pride Family Brands will be introducing its Pedestal Table and Romanesque Tabletop at Casual Market. The Pedestal Table base features urn-like, scrolled feet and has been finished by a hand-applied antiquing process for an old world look and feel. The Romanesque Tabletop is a stunning carved design available in multiple sizes including Pride Family’s extension-sized table. With a deep, hand-tooled motif, we love this tabletop’s balance of flourish and linear elements.

Editors and producers, keep these pieces and us in mind for features on which you are working about how to add touches of elegance with durability for outdoor rooms. Stay tuned to our blog until the market’s opening day for more Casual Market “Sneak Peeks,” and look for our updates and byline articles about new products and exciting trends post-market.

~ Don

International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market “Sneak Peek”: EbeI Inc.

Stylish, comfortable outdoor furniture from Ebel Inc. will be introduced at Casual Market next week, including its four new collections, two of which fall into the aluminum category, a new venture for Ebel. What you’ll expect to see is classic design throughout each collection that is sure to please any homeowner’s style taste.

The Veronne Collection features Ebel’s first swivel recliner as well as a variety of dining and modular pieces that can be used to create the ideal seating arrangement. We are working on an outdoor room design article for Dallas Homes, and you can imagine this type of lifestyle setting would be a good example for consumer readers.

The Porte Collection is available in both Walnut and Black weave colors and is comprised of seating pieces that are almost all stackable, making the collection as much resourceful as it is enjoyable and beautiful.

The Messina Collection is one of the two new aluminum categorized sets from Ebel. With a sleek, woven aluminum detail in the backrest, Messina pieces translate Ebel’s signature look into a new medium. This example of woven aluminum will set trends in 2011, and we hope to feature it in one of our Good Housekeeping magazine photo-sharing online content posts.

Finally, the Salerno Collection is the other introductory collection into the aluminum category. With an aim to address the trend of livable elegance in outdoor spaces, Ebel created pieces in this collection with details like a twisted-metal base and hand-applied Antique Copper finish.

We are swooning over the simple, elegance that radiates from each of these four new collections and are looking forward to seeing them at Casual Market. Ebel Inc.’s booth number is 15-121 for those attending Casual Market. But, what we like most about Ebel is the eco-friendly responsibility the company maintains for each collection. All Ebel’s aluminum and wicker is 100% recyclable, and the teak that is used comes from sustainable plantations. Beyond the materials used to create the furniture, Ebel conducts environmental practices in other ways, like its partnership with Trees for the Future and its move in 2009 to print all marketing materials in a factory certified method by the Forest Stewardship Council.

~ Sarah Kate

International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market “Sneak Peek”: PT Sumroes Karya Utama

We continue our IFCA “Sneak Peek” series with a company that manufactures outdoor furniture made of aluminum frame, teak wood and rattan synthetic fiber weaving. The Bohdeline brand distributed by the company PT Sumroes Karya Utama will be showing outdoor furniture at Casual Market, booth 8-7030, under the name Bohdeline. We wanted to feature one of its furniture sets, the Alaska Living Set.

This Alaska Living Set encompasses the latest trends in outdoor furniture as well as the design characteristics of comfort and durability. The Alaska set features details like the oversized arm rests on all the pieces, the use of high quality, long-lasting synthetic material, and the stylish choice of twisted-cord detailing. We love how appropriate this Alaska set and other Bohdeline pieces are for hotel or building’s with casual lobby settings as well as for backyard homes. The company offers a rare combination of elegance and durability in this outdoor furniture line.

~ ECPR team

International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market “Sneak Peek”: Designing Fire

Fire pit tables are taking a strong place as a frontrunner in the outdoor accessories category as a clean and safe alternative to fire pits alone. With these tables, heated by propane, there is no need to worry about smoke, ashes or embers, yet they offer the same benefits of a wood-burning fire…even roasting marshmallows. This “Sneak Peek” entry is all about one such fire pit table, the Oriflamme Fire Table. It is a new introduction from Designing Fire, an exhibitor during next week’s Casual Market at booth 8-1093.

The table sits at coffee-table height with a propane tank concealed in the base. We like that the Oriflamme Fire Table is completely customizable. Choices include burner designs, granite or Tuscan stone finishes, round- or square-shaped tabletops, and over 24 types of colored, artistic fire glass.

We were pleasantly surprised to find the Oriflamme Fire Table not only lightweight and portable but also easy to assemble (no tools required). If you’re looking for more about this amazing product, click the following link for a video of the Oriflamme in action, including a look at the different burner designs that can be inserted into the glass: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qJQ5Kqqv_4&feature=player_embedded.

Designing Fire’s Oriflamme Fire Table definitely provides ambiance and warmth with unique style unmatched in today’s gas fire table market. – For our editor contacts looking for fire pits to address any last minute October or November editorial features, email or call us, or you may post comments here.

~ Sarah Kate

International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market “Sneak Peek”: Terra Furniture

Our “Sneak Peek” series continues today with Terra Furniture, a company whose founders have been in the business for over 40 years and focus on providing high-quality casual furniture and accessories. At Casual Market this year, Terra Furniture will be showing off two such products of high quality- the Regent Dining Collection and the Anastasia Outdoor Deep Seating Collection.

We are particularly fond of the Regent Dining Collection, Terra Furniture’s newest dining set that can transition from outdoor to indoor. The dining chair pictured is made of tubular and cast aluminum, and is available in 20 different finishes. For those of you who are hoteliers, restaurateurs, spa owners, and designers working in commercial spaces, Terra Furniture offers a creative choice for the back of the chair. It can be customized to include a company logo or initials, another reason to love the Regent Dining Collection!

Just looking at the Anastasia Outdoor Deep Seating Collection and we’re convinced the club chair, loveseat and ottoman will be favorites for any homeowner looking to create a relaxing setting on a verandah, patio, or in most any outdoor room. Terra Furniture covers each comfortable piece’s cushions in durable, all-weather Sunbrella fabrics, leaving the choice of 200 possible fabrics to the customer. Our take on the best part about this collection: the pieces can be left outdoors year round, without worry of fading.

If you are attending Casual Market, stop by Terra Furniture’s booth, 8-2050. And, for more information, visit www.terrafurniture.com.

~ Sarah Kate