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The Business Of Upholstery => The Business Of Upholstery => Topic started by: Mojo on January 01, 2018, 10:42:52 AM

Title: Trends ??
Post by: Mojo on January 01, 2018, 10:42:52 AM
All this planning for 2018 has got me thinking about trends. I spend a great deal of time researching trends in the RV market. This industry is our life blood and we have got to stay on top of everything. We do a great deal of technical support to customers so knowing all the new awning assemblies, parts, components, etc. is a must. The time commitment is astounding.

Right now there is a huge trend in motorcoach renovations. This includes new exterior paint, all new interiors such as cabinets, window valances, pilot / co-pilot seat recoverings and especially new flooring. I have several friends in this business and they are slammed. They have so much business they are turning a lot of it away. These jobs are mega dollar jobs with some running as high as $ 100 K per job. Why ? Mainly because the quality of coaches today is not as good as previous years. Also, many Boomers are finding it more cost effective to renovate their buses versus buying new especially considering they owe nothing on their current coach. Diesel coaches will go 500 K miles and the big prevost conversions are million mile coaches. Otherwise you will never wear one out in your lifetime. I stay clear of this type of business as it is capital intensive. The shop alone has to be massive to get a coach inside to work on.

Since I haven't a clue as to what the Marine, auto and furniture guys are up against I am curious to know if any of your sectors are showing trends ? Are there trends in your special line of work that you are capitalizing on ?

Title: Re: Trends ??
Post by: SteveA on January 02, 2018, 08:17:46 AM
Trends ....... for me not great since the desire for antiques (brown furniture) has dwindled in the last 10 years.  Although repairs / restorations are strong with older folks who have period pieces from their parents and want them to be maintained.  A trend for millennials that I haven't been interested in is taking mid century furniture - washing it down, and lacquering it with pastel color enamels.
 Repairs for smalls are strong but the work is tedious and it's difficult to justify the cost.
Vintage furniture values are very low now, and when folks pick up a good old mahogany piece at an estate sale for $ 150.00 they aren't likely to spend $ 750.00 to get it restored.  Customers like to send photos and ask for a quote - they also get 3-4 other quotes via photos before actually asking a service to come look.  Someone will get the job but there's a lot of salesmanship going
Title: Re: Trends ??
Post by: Mojo on January 05, 2018, 12:28:52 PM
Steve, I think you hit on something here that many of us see in regards to our individual markets. Our company, though we are not furniture related are no different then all of you despite the fact we are in the RV industry.

One trend I am seeing is the loss of our baby boomer market. The Boomers are retiring from RV'ing and there is a massive shift away from the big buses to towable RV's such as 5th wheels and trailers.

I am in the process of re-designing our marketing programs for late 2018-19. We have been very heavy in the bus market and we now have to start moving towards the towable RV's. Our growth in future years is dependent on it. Our goal every year is to gain market share and increase our annual revenues. Since Ingrid has taken over the operations of the fabric company we have grown every year by 20 %. I wont list our sales but I can tell you that the bigger your operation becomes and the more sales there are, the harder it is to continually lay down growth cycles.

Some of us will be retired before all the boomers have left our marketplaces. But for those younger guys who will be working 10 or more years I suggest you start looking for ways to expand your market and bring in NON boomers.