For the customer who simply needs a new task lamp, a well priced item on any retailer’s shelf can fill the bill. But for those who seek optimal light for work and study, the solution’s not quite so simple. That’s when it’s time to head to the local lighting showroom. And retailers like Beacon Light & Supply in Manchester, CT, have found a way to position themselves as destinations for home office lighting.
Although Showroom Manager Karen Berard says her store’s ownership of this niche was not a strategic decision and “pretty much just happened,” there are lessons to be learned from its example, such as focusing on the basics.
Selection is always a key to establishing leadership in any category. Beacon carries an extensive assortment of office lighting, including a nice lineup of “crossover” office lighting products. Companies like Holtkötter, Cree, Lithonia, Columbia, Juno and brands you’d expect to find in a commercial office setting add credibility to Beacon’s overall home office program.
“We are all about giving all the choices available and educating our clients so they can make the best decision for themselves,” Berard explains.
Design services offer another leg up. Because the goal is to sell a whole room and not just a desk lamp, Beacon provides customers access to experienced and talented designers — like 40-year veteran Chap Thomson — who can help them create a functional home office lighting plan.
Being willing to work closely with clients is a Beacon specialty. “We get consumers, builders, interior designers, lighting designers coming in for home office lighting. Personally, I like working directly with end users,” Berard adds. “This way, I can get a feel for what they are looking for and help them achieve that. Every person uses his or her home office differently. Knowing all the options is a critical part of the design work.”
When it comes to promoting the home office category, Berard has found ads are most effective when home office lighting is shown combined with other types of fixtures and lamps. Advertising a wide variety of merchandise makes a powerful statement for Beacon Lighting.
The biggest challenge Berard has encountered is trying to educate consumers who have already received misinformation about a proper home office lighting plan from another source, or those who have seen commodity product at big-box stores and have sticker shock about higher-quality alternatives.
“The key to any good lighting design is knowing the client and how they plan to use their space — and educating them,” Berard says.
DECORATIVE OPTIONS TO WATCH
The concept of task lighting is fairly simple. Yet for years, buyers have lamented the difficulty of finding task lighting with real style. Now the growing “homepreneur” trend is fueling demand for designer home offices with lighting beyond — far beyond — what’s sold at the big-box office superstore. This development has attracted decorative lighting companies who bring fresh thinking to the task lighting category.
Smart merchants aren’t giving up the basic bread-and-butter home office items. They are adding to their assortments, rounding out their offering with designs that work hard and look great in the process.
Accordion mechanisms are a popular way of bringing a light source close to a task. The new Farley polished nickel adjustable pendant from Arteriors Home operates with a dual-pulley system. The fixture extends 67 inches and closes to a compact 26 inches.
Inspired by America’s great architects of the early 20th Century, the Henry floor lamp’s fully functional counter-balance system adds to its industrial era panache. Designed by Palmer Earley, the 72-inch design is new from Architects & Heroes Interiors.
Martha Stewart’s Industrial Milk Glass Collection from Murray Feiss includes this simple halogen wall lamp in warm bronze with a mouth blown milk glass diffuser.