I had a nice talk with an Interior Designer who's retiring after being in the business 40 years. He said young people with money no longer tend to buy high end furniture for two reasons. They tend to move every 4 or 5 years for their jobs and furniture that looks great in a cape cod in New England doesn't look so good in Texas or California. Second they don't entertain in their homes as much as the older generation did.
We talked about "brown" furniture, and how younger people don't like the brown stained antiques and traditional style of furniture. He said there's a furniture company in NC that has survived by making traditional furniture and then painting to order the wood a pastel color, cream or light gray for example. Younger people tend to like this look.
Custom work of all kinds if shrinking, I think. There will always be people who want and are willing to pay for custom woodworking, upholstery, Interior designing, airplanes, swimming pools, cars, etc., but I don't see any growth in any custom type work areas.
I've thought for a long time now that I've been staying busy because other upholsterers are either dying or retiring and there are no new people coming into the business.
And of course everyone wants custom work as long as it comes with Walmart prices.There's a reason why Walmart prices are "Walmart" prices.
I have to look at the other side. As I normally do. I know trades people, designers, upholsterers, etc, that have been around a long time and when ready to retire come up with all sorts of reasons why the business' are dying. I see it from another standpoint. I see many new people coming into the business. While the have different ideas, and are very trendy they are there and willing to make a go of it. All business types change. They go through cycles and in the end are really still there. Different maybe be there non the less.
I don't want to start a political discussion here honestly but this thing with tariffs on good from China. Could very well be a turning point for the Walmart way of thinking. Walmart is saying they will raise prices of these products. If they didn't only offer these products maybe they or should I say we wouldn't be having these problems. Maybe it will be a good push for the people to buy our products instead.
Anyway.. The Walmart world will go someday and be replaced buy something else just like Montgomery Ward, Sears, etc. etc. And hopefully the American people will see the value in keeping quality products and re doing them. Furniture being the one we care about.
Rose and I have moved many times and have been fortunate to live in some really neat areas. Hickory at the foothills of the NC mountains, Charleston SC, and now Gainesville with the University of Florida. When we were younger moving to a new area was exciting. Each time was a new adventure. Will we move again? Never say never but the thought of moving at my age is daunting.
Rose worked with a young man at the Dept of Revenue. He was newly married, a graduate of UF and making good money. Rose told him he should move out of his rented apartment and buy a house, an investment. He told her he like to be able to pickup and move if an opportunity comes along.
The young generation is mobile. And although we have several customers from this generation for the most part our customers have always been from the 40 and over crowd. These people have collected furniture all there lives, some of it inherited and some of it mementos of places they have been. The neat thing about living in Florida and especially a collage town is Gainesville is a destination for both young and old. People aren't moving away, people are moving to Gainesville. It always amazes me these subdivisions popping up with huge homes. Where are these people coming from and what do they do for a living? Gainesville has a lot to offer for an active lifestyle. These are my targeted customers.
Many baby boomers were told when you get married and buy your furniture - buy the best grade you can and it will last forever. Marriages no longer last for ever and young folks don't have the extra money to splurge on furniture. The cost of living, housing, vehicles etc are through the roof - there's very few that have the bucks to buy good and maintain it over the years. My business survives on repairs. They come in when it needs repair more so than coming in to restore the whole piece. I'm OK with that - it pays the bills and the turnover is quick. Nothing sits here for more than a couple of days.
Marketing is an interesting dimension to almost any product or service.
Why do autos sell as strongly as they do? Doesn't financing strategies have a lot to do with it? Then,
what happens to that strategy which is another business? It is a business that has its ups and down,
and doesn't always make money or the big bucks. I read business reports and there is a lot of information there that shows nothing stays the same in business. Continuous change.
Furniture is no different, the last few years there have been so many changes due to market
changes. Who buys based on brands?
Who buys based on price?
Then that continually evolves when the economic forces change.
We are business people, yes small but not exempt from all the changing forces and the ones
who surive the best will be the strongest. Changes will continue and there will always be
new challenges and more than likely the results won't be the same for all.
The outcome will depend on many issues, we or individuals will have to cut our own business path.
There are some smart people on this forum, so stay tuned they say.
I believe most of new purchases are younger folks starting life out. Their purchases are connected mostly to the current style followed by price then parents advice -
When I was starting out i worked for a guy who did his own financing for folks who couldn't pay the entire amount up front. His lending business was better than his furniture sales.
Lay away was a big factor determining where a purchase was made.
For 20 years, I've been hearing about all the manufacturing that went to China coming back here again. I hear about it, but never see anything significant really happening. A few factories will occasionally pop up, but they usually fail (again).
The tariffs imposed on Chinese imports will only force China to start producing even cheaper, crappier goods than they are now.
American consumers want a new couch for $500. American factory workers don't want to work for a wage that would be conducive to producing a $500 couch. So a void exists. Chinese factories are more than happy to fill that void.
The younger generation does NOT want their furniture to "last a lifetime". They really really don't. Say what you will about our economy today compared to what it was 50 years ago. But for whatever reason, Americans today have WAY more disposable income than they did in the 60's. And they LOVE to dispose of it.
The old "trade only" suppliers continue to dry up, and get replaced by online suppliers that will sell to anyone.
Some see the glass half empty. Some see it half full. Either way, all you have is half a glass.
I don't really know what young people want. I'm inclined to say that yes, they do want cheap throw-away furniture.
However, in my area, older folks absolutely value well-made furniture. They have the cash to spend, and they'll refurbish good vintage furniture, or spend a considerable amount of cash to get at least decently made new furniture. There's a couple stores here that display some furniture made in the Carolinas (forget which one) that make their frames in house, and then upholster them in-house. That's what we did, and we're really happy with the quality.
Yes 65 it depends on where you are. Money is the deciding factor on what people want. If They can afford it they like it. I like living in an area where the glass is half full. That's the half I like.
Lets all face it, we are a bunch of old farts. :)
The younger generation has brought about so many changes - political views, products, vacations, cars, homes, and on and on.
We can point to them for many things but then us boomers brought about many changes. The greatest generation ( WWII ) had lived through many events that none of us can fathom and which shaped their lives and their lifestyles. The roaring 20's, prohibition, the great depression, the catastrophic dust bowl, WWII & the Korean war, and the rationing of gas, sugar, aluminum, steel, rubber, etc. People back then didn't trust banks and buried fruit jars with money in their back yard or hid it in the mattress. They saved every penny they could because they had no pensions. Because of the great depression people never trusted the economy again till the late 50's and held off on large purchases. The only thing keeping this country ( and people ) afloat was WW II.
Our generation " The Boomers " seen fairly stable careers, decent economies, decent pay, 401k's and pension plans, realistic college costs, nice homes, stable families and a more simplistic lifestyle devoid of high tech.
The new generation I cannot get my mind around and the brand new generation is even worse. Insane college bills, no need to put roots down, constantly moving, off to new adventures, no need for owning a home, many do not get drivers licenses, most could care less about a car and fewer yet could care less for classic cars. Furniture is a low priority as is nice gardens, flowers, etc. They would rather have electronics. But the one thing the newer generations have us all beat on is debt. The millenials and Gen X'ers are swimming in it. They have out of this world college debt for a job that pays peanuts in relation to their degree and years in college. Their credit cards are used like free money in their wallets. The ones who do drive have car payments that are more then most of us old guys mortgage payments. And worst of all they have the patience and attention span of a nat, always needing the latest and greatest of everything from phones to tablets and large screen TV's. I once did a study during my corporate years on product life spans. That year, back in the 90's, the average was 18 months. Now days it is listed in weeks.
I will leave you with this snippet from an article I just read and one which leads me to believe, there WILL come a day of reckoning - " As revolving credit card debt climbs, outstanding credit card balances are also increasing, reaching $944 billion in late 2018 ".
As Bob Will's and the Texas Playboys once sang " Time Changes Everything ".
Not everything can be blamed on the young generation. Society has managed to out price most everyone and older folks with more traditional money skills fair better. Today with two people in many households working they still enjoy less financial security and in some rare cases they are even working more hours than their grandparents did. Today the news has two articles. Suicide has almost doubled among young folks and the Gov is looking at a program to allow workers to claim business related burn out as a reason to take leave.
Why should young folks care about debt - the gov can't balance their own books so it becomes accepted practice. IN EXTREME CONTRAST I think the folks here are hard working middle class grunts who work the extra hours, constantly monitor their expenses, and are left shaking their heads when looking at the the folks coming up.
I hope the Greatest generation is always revered - my neighbor who is the Church Deacon 94 years old sometimes talks about Guadalcanal - running up onto the beach and being shot at by the enemy he couldn't see (at 17 years old he lied about his age to join) - being blown off a mountain watching 9 out of 17 Marines die in front of him, walking for days in 110 degrees heat - bugs, malaria, low on water - carrying a rifle that weighted 40 lbs plus ammo. These guys were thrown into that war but they did what they had to do. The Deacon told me he joined the marines because in those days you would get a HS diploma without finishing the last year and he said he hated school. There are only 2 left from his Battalion - last year they flew him down to quantico and they do every year - Pence delivered a thank you speech to the men - anyway 40 years ago those guys made a mandate that the last man alive would drink this bottle of brandy they bought. The Deacon said he doesn't like brandy :) I didn't see many flags outside of neighbors homes this past weekend - we still have ours out there
Our main flag flies 24/7 we flew an extra for the holiday.
My flag was wore out and faded. This spring I replaced it and fly it proudly. Praise to your neighbor Steve. And a prayer to the families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice so we can live free.
I found this in my e-mail. A whole different look at the younger generation, millennials especially. Could be we should be targeting these folks as they are turning 40 and becoming home owners.
Hey, Mojo! Who you callin' old fart?! xD
I flew my flag for the weekend, only person on the street. :(
In general, we do not share the same values as our grandparents. We do share the same values as our parents, but we are removed enough from our grandparents that we have different values.
When we get old enough we can see our grandkids' generation and how much more different they are from us. They do not value privacy as we do. They do not value the achievements of the individual and self sufficiency as we do, and instead, they value a big government that takes care of all the needs of everyone.
Being different from our grandparents is true for every generation. It's what keeps the world changing and evolving - and not always for the better.
Just my 2 1/2 cents. (2 cents adjusted for inflation.)