Why hanging light fixtures offer a sales lift
Sales of hanging light fixtures are looking up. Unique designs and applications coupled with a growing interest among designers and homeowners have given the category seemingly boundless potential for the coming year. “I believe more people than ever understand how important lighting is in a room,” says Ashley Childers, founder and creative director of Emporium Home, the Arkansas-based maker of home decor and jewelry. “Hanging lighting is a focal point that can change the look of an entire room and provide anew perspective.”
Ann Rogers, owner and principal designer of the lighting firm Ro Sham Beaux in Charleston, S.C., says she notices more designers using hanging fixtures as the featured element in their room designs than ever before. “Designers call us all the time eager to get their orders because they built the room around lighting and have everything else done,” she says.
Savannah-based designer Libby Boyden emphasized lighting so much in her designs that she partnered with lighting designer Becky Brackett to launch the Savannah-based lighting company Lowcountry Originals. “I think there’s a demand for lighting in general because our homes are more detailed and lighting is one of the most important components of a completed space,” says Boyden. “Lighting fixtures are details that can make or break a room.”
Innovative Construction The development of hanging fixtures as focal points is possible only because a handful of small businesses are pushing the envelope of design. If there is one overriding trend in this niche, it’s a natural and decidedly low-tech look, which Rogers says is rooted in designers’ and consumers’ desire for familiarity and comfort. “There are a lot of things happening in our world that are driving change,” Rogers says. “The old, traditional light bulb is going away. I think people are subconsciously trying to do things that are more interesting and beautiful to mask the CFL bulbs being used now.”
Emporium Home incorporates natural minerals into its fixture designs, a painstaking process because no two mineral slices used are the same. “All the mechanics that hold the mineral slices in place are adjustable so we can accommodate the different sizes and thicknesses,” says Childers. It’s a look that can’t be mass produced. Nor can the bohemian designs of Rogers’ pieces. “We’re the only ones who do hemp wraps on our frames for beaded lights,” she says. “It’s time consuming and almost impossible to replicate.” The result – fixtures that are as aesthetically pleasing as they are functional. That’s why Boyden says it’s so important for retailers to have these fixtures in stock so the customers can see them in person. An image online won’t do them justice. “We have some art galleries who are buying our pieces because each one is a handcrafted piece of art, and they display it that way,” she says.
Showing Off Fabulous product won’t sell if it’s not displayed to full advantage – especially when it should hang. Rogers suggests cross merchandise hanging fixtures with other decor and furniture pieces in vignette settings to let customers see firsthand how they can incorporate the pieces into their homes. “We’ve been in a couple lighting stores where it’s a jumble of lights everywhere, and our pieces don’t do as well there because they get lost,” she says. Childers, Rogers and Boyden all agree that keeping the fixtures lit in a vignette display helps, and they work with retailers and designer showrooms to ensure they have all the plugs and cords necessary to properly install them. “I understand from retailer’s perspective it can be a big hurdle to jump,” says Childers. “But when I walk into a showroom, it makes such a huge difference when you have hanging lighting displayed fully lit. It completes the space.”
The vendors encourage dealers and designers to get creative with the kinds of vignettes they create to showcase hanging fixtures and think beyond traditional placement. These pieces can go anywhere in the home now. “We do a lot of lot of foyers and tons of bathrooms,” says Rogers. “One of our biggest clients is a catalog that sells most of our fixtures for bedrooms. It’s really all about how the fixtures are displayed in stores. Retailers have to help consumers visualize the potential.”
It’s not just traditional interior designers who are incorporating hanging fixtures. One of the biggest trends in homes right now is using fixtures outside in covered porches and verandas. Landscape lighting professionals love to be able to offer another element to customers. “Because there’s so much more beautiful lighting out there, you can find the right piece at AmericasMart for virtually anywhere,” says Boyden. “There really are no limits.”
All these exhibitors are part of AmericasMart Atlanta. Emporium Home can be reached at 501-376-4663 or at emporiumhome.com; Lowcountry Originals can be reached at 843-815-8080 or at lowcountryoriginals.net; Ro Sham Beaux is at 843-789-3478 or 843-789-3614 or ro-sham-beaux.com.