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From Home Furnishing Business

ICFA, Erik Qualman to Open 3rd Educational Conference

The International Casual Furnishings Association has announced that marketing expert Erik Qualman will share insights on digital trends and leadership during his opening keynote address at the ICFA’s third Educational Conference, slated for Feb. 5 – 7, 2019.

The conference will be at the Omni La Mansión in San Antonio, Texas. ICFA’s third annual learning forum offers free registration for all retail members.

Qualman, the author of Socialnomics and What Happens in Vegas Stays on YouTube, will integrate tips on branding and entrepreneurship to kick off the Wednesday morning agenda dedicated to marketing success.

Technology is the focus of the Wednesday afternoon agenda, including the return of last year’s mobile photography workshop by Instagram phenom Connor Dwyer. Stephanie Skordas, senior associate director of communications at Wake Forest University School of Business will present a hands-on session on mobile videography.

Breakout sessions will be led by ICFA Solution Partners Storis and MicroD on business intelligence and data analytics plus best online practices.

Also returning by popular demand is customer service expert Ty Bennett to start the Thursday morning session on sales and training. For 2019, Bennett will dissect the art and science of a sale, providing tips to help retail sales associates determine how to best help consumers purchase outdoor furnishings.

Retail strategists Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender are returning to lead a consumer focus group with recent outdoor furnishings shoppers. In addition, stand-out speakers from ICFA’s 2017 conference Lee and Terry Resnick will lead a breakout session on business succession planning.

Marcia Blake, merchandise manager at Glen Raven Custom Fabrics, returns to chair the conference committee of retailers, sales representatives, manufacturers and suppliers.

“The conference committee is planning once again to provide rich educational content for business practice ideas and will also help facilitate collaborative discussions between retailers, manufactures, sales reps and outside vendors,” said Blake.

In addition to the classroom sessions, the agenda offers a Tuesday afternoon golf event at La Cantera Golf Club and a retail tour of local outdoor specialty stores Home and Patio, Outside in Style and Summer Classics Home. To salute the Texas setting of the event, the opening reception and dinner has a “Denim & Diamonds” theme and will offer a taste of San Antonio.

Program and registration information is available at

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