SmART Moves
Laura Van Zeyl

Many times, a “rebrand” simply brings your marketing image up to speed with the realities of how you’ve already evolved. That’s certainly the case for ART - The Creative Home Furnishings Network. This dynamic industry association — which encompasses retailers, manufacturers, reps, designers, market centers and others dedicated to the sale and promotion of home accessories — used to be known as the Accessories Resource Team. But this year, the group kept only its punchy acronym and gained a new tagline, logo, website and charity partnership with Dwell With Dignity.

The marketing team behind these efforts was a trio of talented ladies with ties to the lighting industry: Vanessa Turney of San Antonio retailer Light by Design, Kellee Hollenback of The Littman Group and Robbin Wells of the Dallas Market Center (DMC). They recognized that ART had a high profile because of the coveted ARTS Awards, which are hosted during each January Dallas Market with DMC, but beyond that, the organization didn’t always connect effectively with its prospective members.

Personally, I see tremendous potential for ART to assist lighting retailers (and vice versa). Unless your sales are exclusively architectural products, your store could benefit from the enhanced perspective of the broader home furnishings market as it pertains to decorative lighting. I know many of you are diversifying your portfolios to include other home categories, making ART a logical complement to lighting-centric American Lighting Assn. (ALA) networking and educational opportunties.

For Turney, ART’s diversity is one of its most valuable assets. “In today’s market, anything that gives you a wider perspective on how business is changing is not just a bonus, it is necessary,” she says. “The leaders I have met within ART have given me a place to learn and network, and because of that, I gained information that has been transformative both personally and professionally.”

One recent enhancement with tangible benefits for ART member retailers was the creation of the ART Card, which can be used for additional show specials and discounts during major markets. Lighting vendor members have participated in this program, along with resources in other categories you may carry. The money saved with the ART Card alone usually pays for a store’s membership dues.

If your own recent reinvention during the recession’s housing slump has included the integration of home accessories into your mix, it may be a good time for you to become better acquainted with ART. These days, it’s as much about commerce as it is camaraderie.

About this author

Laura Van Zeyl

Laura Van Zeyl is the Publisher/Editorial Director of Residential Lighting and Home Fashion Forecast magazines, and has been covering the lighting and home furnishings industries since 1993. In 2014, she was named one of "100 Women of Inspiration" by Today's Chicago Woman magazine.

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