By Moe Lastfogel
Director of Sales and Marketing for The Retail Observer
The weather outside is beautiful. Spring has arrived, the red robin has returned, and the sounds of people outside at work and play are all around us. It’s outdoor season folks; are you prepared?
This month we will be at the 70th anniversary of the National Hardware Show (NHS) in Las Vegas, and I can’t wait to see what new products will be in the outdoor living and tailgate areas of the show (along with the 7 other product category spaces). Just these 2 areas alone will include approximately 1,400 vendors with tens of thousands of product offerings, with more than 53 exhibitors of grills, 39 of fire pits and 139 of outdoor accessories. Outdoor furniture will feature 197 exhibitors, along with 68 in outdoor power and 277 in tailgate.
The NHS isn’t the only show where this outdoor category is growing. KBIS will have a new outdoor pavilion for 2016. A press release from KBIS stated: “According to Weber’s Grill Watch Survey, spending on outdoor appliances was up more than 8% in 2014 over the previous season. Today, outdoor living spaces are an ‘essential design trend’ and must-have for many homeowners. As a result, architects and designers are constantly on the search for new outdoor products to incorporate into their designs.” I can’t wait to see this section develop at the show next year.
The Architectural Digest Show in New York and Westedge Design Fair in Santa Monica opened up outdoor exhibits and allowed manufacturers to have a burn area where attendees could see and touch new products. BrandSource and Nationwide buying groups have included outdoor products to their shows as well. Almo Distributing and Sierra Select in California have jumped into the outdoor category among other distributors in the U.S. and Canada.
This isn’t a new trend, but it is becoming a major trend. Don’t wait for another outdoor season to come and go. Add outdoor products to your offerings and most of all, get out there and enjoy the Spring.
By Eliana Barriga
Publisher and Managing Editor for The Retail Observer
Prioritizing your roles as consultant/manager
As I spoke about my plans to spend time with my children for Mother’s Day, a close friend of mine shared an insightful perspective with me on the changing roles of a mother in a child’s life. She explained that during the early and adolescent years, you are your child’s’ manager. You manage their eating and sleeping habits, make sure they understand and follow the rules. Then, as the child moves from a teenager to an adult, your role shifts to that of a consultant. This is where you no longer take full responsibility for their well being or the choices they make. Instead, you ask more questions to help them find their own way and support their decisions.
Right now, I have a daughter in the later stages and I’m finding the shift not as smooth going as I would like. Maybe it’s because she is my youngest, or maybe it’s because I’ve spent the last 3 decades in manager mode and have forgotten how to be a consultant.
Either way, these shifts in roles play out in our day-to-day lives whether you’re a parent or not, but especially if you are a business owner. If we stay in manager mode too long, we leave no room for exploration and creativity, instead we will find ourselves running a highly organized and predictably boring business. Like the saying goes, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”.
On the other hand, if we teeter too long in consultant mode, we will find that our business is filled with flexibility and freedom, but lacking in structure or a clear direction. This reminds me of the Peter Pan syndrome: a world of possibilities and bliss with no real commitments or responsibilities. A fun, but probably not very profitable business model.
The key, as I’ve found with my daughter, is finding the right balance between the role of manager and consultant. That sweet spot somewhere in the middle. A place that is nurturing enough for growth and strict enough to provide the needed ingredients to grow stronger.
Happy Mother’s Day,