I was not sure that I understood the up-and-coming generation I’ve been in the rug business all my long adult life. I’ve made rugs, I’ve sold rugs, I’ve written about rugs. But it’s a new scene out there!
So walking the market at High Point recently, I said, “Tell me about how you sell to this new generation?” Here are some of their answers, which I am still digesting.
Giovanni Marra at Nourison.
He is responsible for Nourison’s Digital Strategy and Marketing. He said the millenials only respond to short, tight messages, no puff! They are very visual and very honest. To communicate via social media is to communicate through relationship groups.
Libby Langdon at KAS
I listened to a presentation by Libby Langdon at KAS about decorating small spaces. She pointed out that the dorm room market is a $3.6 billion dollar market. And, yes, most of it goes to Ikea. She pointed out that as millennials moved out on their own, almost by definition they would start with hand-me-downs, almost by definition a shabby chic bohemian style. That means that style evolves as tastes evolve.
John Loecke of Madcap Cottage At Momeni.
John was emphatic about millennials, “They put Gucci back in business.” To sell them, he said, tell a story of color and pattern that embellishes a room and that carries a hand made look. Millennials buy what they love as items and put them together, not buying the room. According to John, they are inspired by their experiences — their visual experiences.
Kelly Moore at Karastan
He said that the coordinated house was past; bohemia was the future. As I looked into this it was apparent that bohemia also meant the ethnic boutique sales channel where mix (not match) was the over-riding theme. Authenticity of design, production or sourcing was a sales feature. The Moroccan look at all price points is an example.
White walls and short leases define this generation. Tempaper invented digitally printed peel and stick no residue wall paper years ago. That meant that people who rented a white walled apartment could deliver back to the landlord a white walled apartment and not be penalized.
Talking with them at High Point, they told me Millennials shop price. So by switching from selling double length rolls to single length rolls, the unit price was half. Tempaper substantially increased their sales. The millennials just bought twice the units.