With all the hoopla about wood furniture factories closing and how no one is buying home furnishings, it was interesting to watch my 25-year-old son and his wife look for a bedroom set.

Grant and Melissa purchased living room furniture two years ago for their first apartment. They were just out of college, newly married and had limited cash. They bought their first furniture on price, and it is already falling apart at the seams.

This year, they are both working and have more cash available. The last furniture buying experience taught them to look for quality, and to avoid the first furniture manufacturer, but they still had no idea where to look or how to judge quality.

Here is a perfect example of why we are constantly fighting price instead of touting our quality. These kids, (and their friends) have no idea what makes a quality piece of furniture. Dovetail drawers, ball bearing slides, solid wood boxes and backs are all terms we understand but they have never heard. The sole educator and judge of quality is the furniture retail salesperson.

After walking through the store with them, they started to understand and found the quality and design they wanted. Grant and Melissa paid a little more, but knew that the product would last.

But, we in the furniture industry still don’t get it. Here is a market of untapped buyers with no idea on what makes a good piece of furniture. They can tell you the best car, computer, and latte, but our industry has ignored their education in our product.

No wonder are sales are going down. If all they hear is IKEA and Ashley, then shame on the rest of us for not advertising, promoting, blogging, tweeting, and being on Facebook. The market is there, it is us that needs to change.

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