Ins and Outs

Outdoor living fabrics find a home inside too

Savvy buyers and designers are more excited than ever about the possibilities technological innovation in fabrics brings to products and design. A new crop of fabrics are so advanced, the possibilities extend far beyond outdoor cushions.

Even industry insiders can have a tough time distinguishing “outdoor” fabric from interior upholstery. Now it’s time to teach consumers what that can mean for them. For buyers, the education starts at AmericasMart, where a number of top vendors sell product in which the outdoor fabric is a big attraction.

lloydflanders

Lloyd Flanders Industries

Characteristics That Matter Lou Rosebrock, senior vice president Sales and Marketing at Lloyd Flanders, suggests buyers should lean heavily toward the most established brands, which includes Sunbrella, Al Fresco and Outdura. “These brands have been produced to offer outdoor customers all the important characteristics, such as durability, light fastness and resistance to mold and mildew,” he says.

Not every fabric marketed as outdoor-safe actually has those characteristics. Susan Ray of Summer Classics says UV protection is particularly crucial. All of its outdoor upholstery is UV-treated Sunbrella fabric. “Sunlight can be so damaging,” says Ray. “But with UV-resistant fabrics, you can put a navy sofa under a window and it doesn’t fade.”

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Castelle

Steve Lowsky, president and CEO of Pride Family Brands, Inc., says there are other performance features buyers should ask about. “Outdoor furniture buyers need to look for durability, stain resistance, abrasion resistance and colorfast qualities,” says Lowsky, whose company produces Castelle outdoor furniture. “Buyers and designers also should take into consideration the depth of original designs and original textures and weaves available to meet the needs of their clientele.”

Learn the Lingo
Gather as much technical information as possible, because much of it can be used to sell customers on a piece or collection of outdoor furniture and accessories. Lowsky suggests asking vendors about the construction of the fabrics, including what type of fiber used. It could be  acrylic, polyester, olefin or polypropylene. He also recommends asking about colorfast hours or abrasion rubs, two characteristics that speak to durability.

summer-classics

Summer Classics

“Knowledge of the differing types of performance fabrics will allow the buyer to design the total furnishing piece or set to meet the requirements of the client’s outdoor space or use plan,” says Lowsky.

Even the terminology, says Rosebrock, can be a useful selling tool. “Many manufacturers that have created fabrics for outdoor use are now marketing their products as ‘performance’ fabrics,” he says. “Any consumer who selects this type of fabric for a high-use area can expect a durable, easily cleaned product.” In fact, homeowners with small children and those with pets are a growing market for furniture with outdoor or “performance” fabrics.

“Outdoor or performance fabrics are perfect for inside,” says Rosebrock. “The durability and cleanability can greatly extend the life of indoor upholstery. And outdoor fabric manufacturers now offer patterns, textures and color palettes in many sophisticated choices.”

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Lloyd Flanders Industries

“The tremendous growth in designs, colors, hand or woven styles allow for exterior fabrics to coordinate with interior décor as easily as interior focused textiles,” Lowsky adds.

Bottom line: outdoor fabrics are so soft and fashion-forward now that guests won’t have a clue it could withstand sun and rain. As long as you’ve properly educated your customers on the performance and durability, that can be your little secret.


For more information: Castelle – castelleluxury.com; Lloyd Flanders – lloydflanders.com; and Summer Classicssummerclassics.com

Images courtesy of Pride Family Brands, Lloyd Flanders and Summer Classics.

The Great Outdoors

Consumers are spending for casual living options

Open any shelter magazine or turn on any home improvement show, and you’ll find talk about outdoor spaces. Whether it’s a prospective home buyer looking for the perfect backyard barbecue, a flipper adding some curb appeal or a designer creating usable recreation space for a growing family, Americans are spending more time—and more money—outdoors. Home builders and architects agree, as they face an ever-increasing demand for outdoor rooms and outdoor spaces for entertaining and recreation. Outdoor features are included in nine out of 10 newly constructed homes.

Outdoor FurnitureAs the demand for outdoor living grows, outdoor furniture sales continue to rise. Backed by rebounding home sales, low mortgage rates and rising consumer confidence, 2015 sales were projected to bring in an estimated $6.8 billion dollars, up 4.5 percent from 2014.

Dining sets continue to lead outdoor furniture sales, topping $2 billion last year and accounting for 48 percent of the market share. According to last year’s Casual Living’s Consumer Buying Trends Survey, 4.7 million households said they planned to purchase an outdoor dining set in 2015, with most spending between $100 and $399 for a set. While the majority of consumers look to home improvement centers and discount department stores when purchasing dining sets, furniture stores are seeing a marked increase in sales.

By ProductOne of the fastest growing segments in outdoor furniture is conversation or chat groups—akin to living room furniture for the outdoors—which may include a combination of chairs, love seats, ottomans and occasional tables, with some sets including fire pits. Households with incomes of $150,000 or more are the chief buyers of chat groups, and they are looking for high style and smart design.

Shade products are also experiencing substantial growth. Modern, movable and repositionable options allow for more comfortable outdoor experiences, while also protecting furniture from the harsh rays of the sun. Umbrellas, shade sails, gazebos and other shade items account for nearly $600 million in sales.

Garden oasis every day
Comfort and style shouldn’t be reserved for indoor rooms. Consumers’ continued desire for the same comfort and style outdoors as they demand inside is driving an industry to evolve and grow. As designers and retailers, you can capitalize on that concept year round by shopping The Gardens® floors at AmericasMart both during Markets and in between.

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There’s unlimited potential for home stores, hardware stores, garden centers, even gift stores to capitalize on the popularity of outdoor living. Think of all the potential customers. Families want to enjoy their decks. Empty nesters want a cozy porch to relax. And new homeowners are eager to build their own nest, complete with versatile outdoor entertaining spaces. Whether it’s furnishing a pool house, finding the perfect comfy chairs for a front porch, using a water feature to add life to a space, or building the perfect evening seating group around an outdoor fire pit, there are product lines at AmericasMart to please any client.

Floors 9 and 10 in Building 2 encompass 170,000 square feet of unique space that feature leading casual lifestyles and gardens companies in a one-of-a-kind outdoor living environment. The floor configuration and product mix encourages shopping for an array of high quality visual displays in a relaxed, vibrant atmosphere. During Markets, the floors provide inspiration down each pathway. And the opportunity is
available every day: Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The Gardens® staff is always ready to help you find exactly what you need to place orders between Markets.


To learn more, attend What’s in? Going out! Trends for the Ultimate Outdoor Living Spaces presented by Modern Luxury Interiors Atlanta during Fall Design Week featuring Atlanta Gourmet & Gift, September 19 – 23, 2016. Educational Sponsor: Olliix.

For more information on The Gardens® Open Daily opportunities, visit AmericasMart.com or call 404.220.2030 to personally speak with a showroom manager.

Images provided by Windham Enterprises, Summer Classics, RATANA and Castelle.

Summer Sunshine with Sunbrella and Joe Ruggiero

Maxfield_ColletteGR_Joes_Paisley_01The summer is certainly near and it is time to think of fresh new decor for the summer house or your clients’ latest needs. With Sunbrella® fabrics from the Joe Ruggiero Collection you will be care free with no worry of fading.

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This year we introduced bright colors to coordinate with existing patterns and colors. I am partial to blue and white. Blues are now popping up in so many shades; from deep indigo to a light French blue. We have also worked on a new white-white for Sunbrella® that we are calling Salt. Especially popular is our pattern Trax.

All these furnishings are available at the Charles Ray Showroom in Building 1, 14-F-2.

Pauline_BurtonEnjoy your summer and know that with Sunbrella® you won’t have to worry about fading in the summer sunshine.

Also remember that the Living. Indoor/Outdoor. ® The Gardens. ® floors at AmericasMart are open everyday, offering a plethora of casual living options. Located in Building 2 WestWing, Floors 9 and 10.

Heating Up the Outdoor Market

Looking to put some sizzle into spring and summer sales? Take a good look at outdoor furniture and accessories. In an up-and-down market, this segment continues to

Wanda Technology

prosper as consumers opt for home improvements over home sales. According to a March 2010 survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects, 95.6 percent continue to be interested in seating/dining areas. Weatherized outdoor furniture garnered the interest of 77.1 percent, while outdoor lighting registered with 93.4 percent.

No surprises there. As people spend more time at home both as families and entertaining friends, they are willing to purchase items to make their outdoor space more

Southern Classics

Summer Classics

comfortable – if they perceive good value and high quality.

Some of the hottest trends for this season bring the luxuries of the indoors to the patio or garden. With the plethora of products available, there’s no need to sacrifice comfort for style – the backyard can be both beautiful and functional.

Floors 9 and 10 of Living. Outdoor/Indoor. The Gardens. have a great selection of products for stylish and relaxing outdoor living. From serving carts to decadent umbrellas with Mp3 docks, you can make sure your customer is the host of the hottest/coolest parties in town with these great outdoor accessories.

Campo di Fiori

For more information , call 404-20-2030 or see any showroom

Achla Designs

manager on Floors 9 and 10 of Building 2 WestWing.