Young customers don't care that you've been around for 100 years, says Flexsteel as it updates brand
Flexsteel's updated brand

DUBUQUE, Iowa - Furniture giant Flexsteel, number 28 on the FDMC 300, has announced a major refresh of its brand.

The goal is to attract younger customers.

"Look for our brand refresh to be much more…subtle," says Sharad Mathur, vice president of marketing for Flexsteel. "As we've been developing our new brand guidelines, we've been working closely with dealers across the country, exploring what it takes to attract a younger audience now.

"The consensus was clear: Our dealers don't need pictures and funny taglines. What they do need are clean and simple design elements that blend seamlessly into their stores, and that's very different from how furniture manufacturers have presented their brands at retail in the past."

Consistency is key, says Mathur.

In everything from the most obvious - a revised logo, new hangtags, and in-store signage - to the not-so-obvious, like email signatures and PowerPoint templates for both internal and external audiences.

Flexsteel's updated brand

"From letterhead to sell sheets, every interaction is an opportunity to build our brand," he says. "And it all matters because we're trying to attract a younger audience. Consumers are again becoming brand conscious, and that's particularly true with younger shoppers. Gen Y cares about what companies stand for, they care about responsible practices, they care about the look and feel of brands. They will not do business with you just because you've been around for 100 years."

Tom Balistreri, owner of Milwaukee-based Flexsteel dealer Colder Furniture, says he's talked with Flexsteel about its brand.

"They understand that they're the conduit to the consumer, and that as a national brand, they need to have a consistent presentation," he said. You can't have a beautiful website, and then displays that are a mess in-store, with no matching point-of-purchase materials. We've talked at length about that, and the importance of gallery refreshes, to ensure that we are giving the consumer the right experience of the Flexsteel brand."    

Flexsteel unveiled its new website last month. The bigger brand reveal is set for October.

Flexsteel undertook a major restructuring effort early 2020, opting to exit the hospitality and RV furniture markets, permanently close manufacturing plants in Dubuque, Iowa, and Starkville, Mississippi, and move production to Mexico and Asia. In 2019, it shut down a facility in Harrison, Arkansas and another in Riverside, California, laying off hundreds of employees.

With net sales rising nearly 20 percent earlier this year, the company says the effort is paying off.

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Robert Dalheim

Robert Dalheim is an editor at the Woodworking Network. Along with publishing online news articles, he writes feature stories for the FDMC print publication. He can be reached at [email protected].