Editor's View October 2017

LDB Interior Textiles At 90: A Time For Age & Wisdom


Everything changes over time and often the older you get, the more you notice it because you have a longer past to enable comparisons. However, globalization, mobility and internet access have contributed to picking up the pace of change. In the business arena, before one can even think about growing, responding to quickly changing circumstances has to be addressed just to survive.
To celebrate LDB Interior Textiles lasting 90 years and counting in a fast-changing world, we’ve dedicated our annual State of the Industry Report in this issue to “The Art Of Survival.” We hope you’ll enjoy particularly what a sampling of industry professionals has to say about the keys to survival. The special luxury section, Haute Home, also in this issue, celebrates its first year anniversary this month! The main feature, “Growing Luxe Brands,” extends our survival theme.
During the September N.Y. Home Fashions Market, I observed changes that went beyond the usual new designs and fresh product introductions. Here are highlights:
• The battle between online and brick-and-mortar has shifted to an embracing of a three-tier retail distribution system. Suppliers now design products specifically for e-commerce sites, department and specialty stores, or off-price retailers. And within e-commerce, there are curated sites interested in products developed or branded especially for them, and quantity-based sites interested only in featuring as many products as possible.
• This trend toward targeting extends beyond retail venues. Many suppliers today know exactly who their retail customers and end users should be for each new product. Gone for many are the days of “create a bunch of beds tied loosely to design trends, show them and see what happens.” Products today are designed for specific consumer groups—tweeners, back-to-school college kids, first apartment dwellers, gender neutral and urban looks for Millennials, coastal/tropical looks for vacation home owners and casual living lifestylers, etc.
• Regarding specific product lines, suppliers seem to be going deeper into brands that have been succcessful, expanding categories offered and shifting the focus to “lifestyle” rather than only bedroom or only bath products. It’s a whole-house brand strategy with the goal of creating products for every interior room and outdoor space.
These targeted, sophisticated strategies require a deeper level of market research, retailer/supplier relationship and design focus than was needed before.
Oscar Wilde wrote, “With age comes wisdom, but sometimes age comes alone.” At a time when being savvy is a requirement and not an option, we at LDB Interior Texiles, as we celebrate 90 years, wish you all a long and happy business life—accompanied by wisdom!
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For those interested, a bit of LDB Interior Textiles history:
The Upholsterer magazine morphed several times eventually to become Curtain Drapery & Bedspread, which was folded into newly launched Interior Textiles in 1982. Another magazine called Linens evolved into Linens & Domestics and, with the acquisition of Bath Department Accessories, became Linens, Domestics & Bath Products. That merged with Interior Textiles to eventually become LDB Interior Textiles in 1987. It was acquired by current owner, E. W. Williams Publications, in 1994.