Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Noted Furniture Trends from ICFA Market / Show Take Hold in 2010

The International Casual Furniture & Accessories (ICFA) Market is held during fall in Chicago each year, and it provides valuable insights to industry professionals regarding the latest casual (outdoor) furniture lines, trends and styles.

At last September’s market event, I spoke on the Garden Design magazine trends panel. The press release, if of interest, can be read on our Web site here...

Part of the panel’s goal was to help audience members (designers, retailers, manufacturers, etc.) uncover trend information – both past and forthcoming. Since that time, it has been inspiring to see casual furniture and accessory manufacturers continue to develop their lines based upon trends. In essence, we are seeing the forecasted trends taking shape in the field. Many of our clients and industry friends are telling us the overall marketplace is rebounding for spring 2010, with sales exponentially increasing over last year. Indicators are pointing to a prosperous year, and we are already gearing up for the fall 2010 ICFA market. So, designers, retailers and manufactures alike, keep up the good work and send us your trend findings via emails or posts, and your product releases and images through email. If they are used, we will surely feature the product and credit the company. We’ll also track any magazine articles for everyone that stem from our trend research / writing.

I also wanted to share a great current article with our blog readers including helpful information from Jaclyn Kotzum, MMPI's marketing director for the International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market. In the article,’s furniture editor Abe Abbas asks Jaclyn for her take on the last market / show and this year’s trends and development in casual furniture.

The show, by the way, is fully dedicated to the casual furnishings industry and is recognized and formally endorsed by the International Casual Furnishings Association and Casual Furniture Retailers Association. It is managed by MMPI, and that is where Jaclyn comes into play. - And, as a side note, both Jaclyn and Abe are incredible industry enthusiasts. You can read Abe’s article here…

The article in mention (linked above) provides solid exposure to ICFA and all of us in the industry, because it supplies us with exposure and endorsement to the consumer audience on one of the most viewed Web sites online. Alexa, a top site ranking tool, places as the 25th most viewed site in the U.S. and specifies that it spans 10 different countries with over 31 million global site viewers daily.

Register for Abe’s newsletter at this link:

Last, take a look at two of our “Best of Show” picks for 2010. Yes, we selected a few “Best ofs…” though in varied categories.

Mondecasa’s Porcelain Bowl (dining set) was selected as our “Best of Creative Design.”

Jardin de Ville’s Terrace Concept pavilions were chosen as “Best of Combined Form and Function.”

Members of the media, touch base with us if you’d like to interview any of our casual furniture or designer clients and / or industry acquaintances. You can also learn more on our site,

~ Don

Friday, March 26, 2010

Branding Via Radio

With spring right around the corner, we’ve been speaking with radio show hosts about coordinating interviews with our home-, garden- and design-based clientele. Spring is the obvious time for redesigning interiors and renovating outdoor spaces.

Currently, we are finding new interest in radio show producers who like to interview landscape architects, horticulturists, breeders, and garden center owners. Gardening has taken on a new look and feel for homeowners, given the continuing stay-cation and focus-on-the-home mentality. From focus groups, we also believe homeowners are tiring of “on hold” projects due to the economy, and many are creating new interiors and landscapes in phased approaches. – Sounds good to us! It is time to get up and get going, even in phases if necessary, for Americans having faced some slow times in 2009. We can improve our economy by actively participating in it, and home and garden projects are a great way to do so.

The norm for our garden-related radio interviews this spring includes our plant-based clients sharing trial insights about the best plants for any area, the latest plant trends, and helpful long-term care tips. Radio show hosts and producers with whom we work are also telling us homeowners are interested in learning about the history of brands and what makes them special or different from the competition.

In general, radio interviews supplemented with strategic advertisements are a means to provide supplementary information that may not have been mentioned during the interviews, such as detailed contact information and a targeted brand message.

Listen to the following ad message from Garden Splendor:

This will be playing on the WOR radio station during spring runs of the Ralph Snodsmith Gardening Show, in addition to interviews during which Ralph will ask how-to gardening information of David Wilson, Garden Splendor’s marketing director. These two messages will complement each other for a well-rounded branding campaign. The Garden Splendor brand offers one of the most organized and creative radio campaigns in the industry, and the garden center retailers selling the branded plants benefit from the exposure. – Our team and the good folks with the Garden Splendor brand have worked with WOR in this way for some time as well as other stations.

Typically, radio ad purchases like this are a great and cost-effective way to message locally. And, as an added bonus, these types of campaigns literally lend more customer traffic to the participating brand dealers.

If you’re interested in potentially writing a story about brand messaging through radio, please feel free to give us a call or send us a message. We can write it for you or line up interviews with some of our clients. If you are a radio producer or host and are seeking experts – from gardening and landscape architecture to interiors and home furnishings – we’d be glad to provide media kits and information on behalf of our clients.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Atlanta Home Show

The 32nd annual spring Atlanta Home Show begins this Friday, March 19, and runs through Sunday, March 21. The show is in our own back yard, so we’re looking forward to hearing feedback from media and friends who attend. And, with over 300 participating companies offering the latest in home remodeling products and services, we fully expect to hear great things!

A few of the show highlights include:
  • Educational sessions that provide tips on how to save time and money when remodeling.
  • Southeastern artists showcasing their works, available to consumers for purchase.
  • Exhibit booths for a wide range of product categories, including appliances, beds, brick and stone, fireplaces, grills, kitchens, lighting, marble and granite, pest control, roofing, spas, siding, stained glass, patios, and much more.
If you are attending the show and would like to get together, please feel free to contact us to schedule a quick hello. Or, if you’ll be jam-packed during the three days, we’d still love to hear your opinions of the show and chat about new trends in home remodeling.

~ The ECPR Team

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Piece of Art

While some furniture makers have sacrificed quality for mass production, we wanted to share some information about one furniture company that still considers its products works of art.

Englishman’s employs the very best artisan craftsmen to produce original works in the finest of materials such as oak, mahogany, walnut, and elm. Care and attention to detail are inherent at every stage of their designs. Based on traditional English and other European designs from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, the majority of the company’s products are handcrafted and polished in England before being shipped to the USA.

Two of our personal favorites include:

Englishman’s Fine Furnishings Age of Oak Collection trestle tables are made of hand-selected wood. Each piece of this collection is slightly different and unique, much like a piece of artwork.

The Hampstead Collection was recently introduced by Englishman’s Fine Furnishings, which includes this table and sideboard. Each piece is finished in light cherry wood with a black band. This collection also includes additional table designs, a china cabinet, chests and a bed.

To learn more about Englishman’s fine quality furniture, please visit the Web site at For more information on the latest trends in fine quality furniture and other design resources, please feel free to contact our office anytime at 404-574-2900.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Plants Selection Made Easy

As spring quickly approaches, gardeners around the country are eagerly anticipating the first visit to their local garden centers. With so many wonderful companies and unique varieties available, how do gardeners decide where to start?

Better Homes and Gardens’ March 4, e-newsletter Garden Notes, has simplified the selection process with a stellar collection of must-grow perennials for 2010. From succulents to grasses and a few heuchera varieties in between, there are plenty of beauties to get consumers growing.

Terra Nova Nurseries, among other great companies, was well represented with several impressive new plants. In particular, the dramatic foliage leaves of Heuchera ‘Midnight Bayou’ and Heucherella ‘Golden Zebra’ are rather vivid, and will certainly be a colorful addition to containers, beds, and borders. Another stand-out in the collection is the Echinacea ‘Firebird’, a great coneflower for gardeners looking to beat the summer heat, drought, rabbits, and deer.

All in all, this is a great showcase of new plants available to gardeners across the country. Keep checking Garden Notes for the latest and greatest plant insights.

What are some of your favorites? And, as industry professionals or members of the media, how else can we / you help make plant selection easier for consumers? Ideas are welcome.

~ Adam

Public Relations Perspectives

Implementing an effective public relations plan can be a comprehensive task. With so many guidelines and procedures, it can be overwhelming. However, those who follow correct protocol will be highly rewarded. Public relations campaigns can yield incredible results and publicity, bringing attention in print, on air, and online to products, manufactures and designers. Take a look at a section of our Web site that briefly explains our public relations services:

Then, take a few minutes to read about public relations from Jen Polanz. She recently wrote an insightful piece regarding public relations, from the editor’s perspective. We agree with her points of interest and wanted to share the information with the readers of our blog. Even if you are not the owner of a garden center, the essential information still applies.

To read Jen’s full article, Effective PR, visit,

From a business standpoint, what type of public relations works best for you? For members of the media, what are your top points of advice to businesses pitching you story ideas, product information, etc.?

- Adam

Friday, March 5, 2010

Shade Pergolas Meet Demand

We are excited to share that two companies have filled a great need in the home design industry for an improved, high-end alternative to the traditional awning.

Walpole Woodworkers, a renowned woodworking / home product company and the largest fabricator of cellular vinyl in the U.S., and ShadeFX Canopies, manufacturer of the monorail drive pergola canopy system, announced this month a strategic partnership to launch Shade Pergolas.

Shade Pergolas combine high-quality, handcrafted pergola structures with exclusive retractable and integrated canopy systems. The line was designed for use at residential landscapes, decks and patios, commercial properties, assisted living facilities, outdoor cafes and restaurants, seating areas at marinas and golf courses, and most any outdoor space where the choice of sun or shade is desired.

“Shade Pergolas are the perfect complement to a home or commercial property’s architecture,” says Louis Maglio, president of Walpole Woodworkers. “With their height, depth and width, Shade Pergolas bring dimension and substance to an outdoor space.”

Walpole Woodworkers and ShadeFX Canopies created Shade Pergolas based upon the growing trend of outdoor rooms with a new sense of flexibility. Shade Pergolas can be used to cover large areas up to 600 square-feet, while typical retractable awnings extend only 13 feet. The structures offer homeowners the ability to create outdoor sanctuaries that are covered from rain, protected from sun, and impervious against wind.

The monorail drive pergola canopy system developed by ShadeFX Canopies eliminates the problems of attaching linear track systems to structures prone to shifting or moving over time. Since the canopies are retractable, homeowners can switch from sun to shade at their leisure. The cellular vinyl pergolas are low-to-no maintenance and last more than 25 years. The canopies are durable and will deliver 10 to 15 years of use.

“Shade Pergolas make the investment in outdoor living a justifiable value because they truly expand living space and lifestyle options,” says Steve Ostrowski, president of ShadeFX Canopies.

To learn more about Shade Pergolas and the joint venture between Walpole Woodworkers and ShadeFX Canopies, please visit the newly designed Web site at

For editors wanting to learn more about the standard and custom features available for these structures, please visit the Eberly & Collard Public Relations Web site for additional details, or feel free to request a full media kit, which includes high-resolution photos, FAQ information, full press release, and more.