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From Home Furnishing Business

Editor's Note: Marketing Magic

By: Sheila Long O'Mara

Here in the steamy South, our schools are back in session. Summer vacation, teamed with the furniture industry’s various events, makes for quite a hectic, crazy few weeks. Some weeks, I can’t wait for that school bell to ring. Other weeks, I think I may dread the school house openings more than the youngsters in my house.

I’m pretty certain the kids were barely drip dried from their first dip in the ocean this magical summer before an onslaught of commercials touting back-to-school sales starting playing in loop. As sick as I was to hear the constant din of the magic of the latest fashions for kids, the buy-eight-get-two-free composition book promotion and the Microsoft Surface tablet, it started my marketing mind to churning.

The Staples and Office Depots, the discounters like Target and Walmart, and the youth clothing chains like American Eagle and the Gap are marketing machines. Those guys are on the radio, on the television, in the newspaper and popping up in my mail box AND inbox with ads and promotions to outfit missy and junior with everything they could possibly need. It’s a constant, seemingly never-ending message targeting parents with kids headed back to school from pre-kindergarten through college.

Then, take a look at Bed Bath & Beyond, Pier 1 Imports and The Container Store. Those guys are beating the marketing drum in hopes of furnishing and outfitting those cramped dorm rooms. Come to think of it though, I hear from friends who are sending kids off as fresh-faced freshman that the cramped dorms of my college days have changed dramatically, which means more goods to be sold by those home stores.


So, while we often hear complaints of summer selling and the slowdown the industry undergoes, there’s money out there to be had. The question becomes whether or not furniture is top-of-mind for her as she’s going about her normal schedule. Shout it loud and proud, frequently and throughout a variety of media and chances are that replacing the tired, worn-out sofa will become much higher on her priority list.

By the way, because I know you’re dying to know, I took advantage of the composition book deal. Three young O’Maras just plunged back into school for the 2014-2015 year. A lot of paper will be used, and I’m pretty certain come second semester in January, we’ll need more paper, pens, pencils and stuff.

Happy back to school for each of you affected, and here’s wishing all a boisterous fall selling season bolstered by smart marketing.

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