Christian Retailing

CATEGORY COACH: home décor Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Wednesday, 06 April 2011 01:08 PM America/New_York

Ed Nizynski, vice president—sales, Lighthouse Christian Products Co.

What’s fresh and new in home décor? We have all seen the shift of priorities in families and homes. Families are spending more time at home and together. Home décor items that are warming, reflect one’s personality and pronounce their faith, in all colors, shapes and sizes continue to be fresh. The days of wild colors and trends are less predominant in our eclectic society. We are in an option society and people want it their way, not mine and yours. Following just one trend and/or color will never hit the mass appeal needed today to continue in any business. 

What do you recommend in displaying home décor? Use props in many different ways to help consumers get ideas on how they can decorate their individual homes. This will definitely increase your sales.

Has pricing changed much of late? As with industries, the raw materials to create gift and home décor products continue to increase (in price). Over the past 24 months, we have made efforts to reduce costs in other areas to keep the pricing unchanged. However, going forward this will be a challenge for all suppliers and retailers.

More companies have introduced less expensive items due to the economy, but the greater majority, in most places, still look to decorate their homes with unique higher-end, more expensive items.

How can Christian retail stores increase sales in this area? Maintain a destination place for home décor by having a good selection at all price points all the time. A rule of thumb a very successful merchant once shared with me was her key in buying home décor for her retail store: “Buy one-third of what you like, buy one-third of what you think others like and then buy one third of what you think no one will buy, because that too sells.” Another key is merchandising.

There are also some creative events you can use to increase awareness of Christian home décor. One of the trends in many general market stores—Home Depot, The Container Store, Williams-Sonoma and others—is evening or Saturday workshops to help customers know how to use their products.

Our core customer wants to create an environment in their home that will help foster spiritual growth of their family. Many of these customers don’t know how or where to start. Why not hold a Saturday workshop with a local women’s ministry leader and/or Christian interior designer? You can give some practical ways to create a “faith-filled home” using the products for sale in your store. At the workshop, give the people attending a coupon they can use that day.

What is one of your company's most popular home décor products at this time? Statement and conversation pieces like our “Moments of Faith” sculpture series. One of our most recent new releases, Putting God First, has been extremely well received as validated by all the re-orders we receive daily. Also, our new One Another plaque, and wall crosses continue to be a strong category.