Seeing opportunity through change in the outdoor industry

Wes Stewart, Managing Director and Founding Partner of Sunset West, wrote and editorial for Casual Living Magazine which was featured on December 12, 2018.

New channels of distribution and new competitors force existing business models to change. Why else would someone choose to disrupt a perfectly good and profitable model?

Change is a frightening word for most of us, myself included. Changing routines, changing jobs or changing business practices can all induce anxiety. It disrupts the comfort of our daily routines and forces us to reconsider what we do on a regular basis; however, with change comes opportunity.

Increasingly, traditional furniture manufacturers, online stores and catalog companies are all showing interest in casual furniture. Why does there seem to be more competition? The simple answer is because there is a tremendous amount of business to be had for both retailers and manufacturers.

OUTDOOR IN DEMAND

Today, the architecture of new homes almost always includes an outdoor living area, whether that’s a covered back patio, a front porch or a beautifully integrated indoor/ outdoor entertaining space with disappearing doors. Sometimes, homes have all three spaces, and as research points out, home buyers and those remodeling existing homes are demanding these outdoor spaces.

The best news about these relatively new entertaining hot spots is that they happen to be focal points of the home. And homeowners tend to spend more money while furnishing these focal points.

Now that we’ve established there is opportunity to furnish these new spaces, how do we continue our dominance in the channel?

As a manufacturer, we continue to look for ways to differentiate ourselves from the masses and overly available product, not just in comfort, quality, design and value, but also in how we present and support our offerings— hence our Color Stories at Sunset West were born.

SOMETHING SPECIAL

This is not just a collection, but a compilation of several collections in different materials and textures that all work together to form different color palettes. I believe the color-palette approach allows our retail partners to offer something special and different vs. the standard matched set that is available through too many other channels.

No longer will our partners ask: “What material are you looking for? Aluminum, resin wicker, wrought iron, wood, poly-wood?” The idea of color stories allows the questions to evolve into: “What is the style of your house? What style do you prefer?” The customer may not be able to answer the first question, but they will certainly be able to answer the second one.

The color-palette approach can challenge the norm in the retail store, but when executed correctly, the ticket averages increase, and the customer is more satisfied with a “stylized” solution for their home. Our retail partners can offer something that big box stores and the Internet cannot—a bespoke service/solution for the discerning client.

Through spending time on the road, talking with customers at trade shows and sharing ideas at industry-sponsored roundtables, I have had the opportunity to meet creative thinkers who continue to modify their traditional retail model to succeed in ways that big box stores and the Internet simply cannot.

IDEAS FOR SUCCESS

  • Store gatherings centered on education or televised sporting events, not just discounted sales.
  • Constant contact with customers via email to share new installations, local news or even holiday recipes.
  • Offering in-home consultations with a lead designer/salesperson.
  • Providing furniture on loan so the customer can have something for their party, but still order exactly what they really want.
  • Barbecuing lunch for shoppers at weekend events.
  • Sending “thank you” cards after a purchase, sometimes with a gift card to come back to the store.
  • Donating a product or a gift card to a local school auction (ask us; we’ll participate).
  • Any activity or contact that can create a personal connection between the community and the company.

NO ONE IS IMMUNE

By listing suggestions on how to successfully retail outdoor furniture, I know I just opened myself up to a list of suggestions about what I can do as a manufacturer to succeed in the industry, as well. I welcome those emails and look forward to the conversations.

The casual industry is not insulated from the requirement to change. Industries all around us are being forced to change. Grocery stores have enticed customers with Starbucks coffee shops. Now many are adding bars that serve wine and craft beers. Best Buy just announced in-home consultations.

Challenges and competitive forces require us to change, but there also exists fantastic opportunities with change when it is embraced and then executed.

Thank you all for a fantastic 2018, and as we all prepare for the changes ahead of us in 2019, I wish you a happy and a very prosperous New Year.

 

To view the full original article, click here.

Luxury Patio Furniture Collections

Styles are constantly changing and transforming.  With new trends emerging, having high quality, luxury patio furniture can make all of the difference in your outdoor living space.  Where plastic fold up chairs were once the norm, technology has advanced enough to allow for fully upholstered furniture to be the center of attention. Comfort is now an acceptable adjective to describe your outdoor space.  Browse through these luxury furniture collections from Sunset West to find the perfect fit for your style.

Coronado

The Coronado is wrapped with a driftwood resin wicker.  It’s sophisticated aesthetics make outdoor luxury seating a thing of the present.  The Coronado has beautiful proportions that allow you to enjoy the great outdoors in comfort and style. Learn more about the Coronado here.

Manhattan

The Manhattan takes your outdoor space to the beach.  With carefully scaled design elements, this collection is relaxing and stylish.  With thick cushions and generous seating, comfort has never looked so luxurious.  Spend time in the outdoors and you host dinner parties, make memories with the kids, or enjoy a romantic dinner for two. Learn more about the Manhattan here.

South Cove, Dana Point, Built by Zephyr

Leucadia

When you want a fresh design in your outdoor living space, the Leucadia is the perfect option.  The transitional design of this bold collection instantly transports you to an oasis filled with tranquility.  Designed with a straw-colored weave, the is a light feel of this thick cushioned collection.  A perfect balance between comfort and class makes this collection a must have. Learn more about the Leucadia here.

Provence

Sunset West’s Provence collection is timeless, both in quality and design. Sophisticated European undertones and elegant, clean lines are complemented by a graceful woven back. Fully-welded, powder coated wrought iron frames in a subtly distressed Century Pewter are finished with an exclusive 5-step process to ensure color fastness and durability. This collection offers a generous range of deep-seating and dining pieces with fast-drying cushions. Learn more about the Provence here.

Laguna

For a more modern design, the Laguna collection has a driftwood finish accented with indoor-quality cushions.  The sleek design of the legs perfect for a contemporary beach home or at a weekend retreat alike.  The Laguna collection is versatile with transitional lines to create symmetry and class in any outdoor space. Learn more about the Laguna here.

Transitional Outdoor Seating Spaces

Seating should never be an issue when it comes to your outdoor living space.  From sectionals to sofas, loungers to club chairs, dining chairs to stools, the options are endless.

Create the perfect seating arrangement with our diverse options that will create a unique look without sacrificing a cohesive flow throughout your outdoors.  When you’re looking for an accent chair to accompany your sofa, consider our club chairs.  From the Manhattan armless club to the Leucadia club chair, each chair available from Sunset West has a unique look that will add to your specific style.

Contemporary outdoor seating spaces have a very fresh and airy feel.  With the wind blowing, the sun shining, and the waterfall creating the perfect mist, there’s nothing better than sitting in your favorite chair and enjoying all the great outdoors has to offer.

The Leucadia collection offers the perfect blend of comfort and style.  This transitional design boasts a bold straw colored weave and endless options for your outdoor living space.  Choose from the rocking club chair, armless club chair, daybed, single chaise, pub table, sectional, and more.

With a fresh and light vibe, your space will automatically transform into a little piece of paradise.  Relax by the pool during the day in the two-piece daybed and enjoy a fire at night as you sit around the Leucadia sectional.  With a bold look, crisp lines, and a thick weave, this collection takes center stage in any outdoor space.

Another transitional design is the Laguna collection.  The transitional lines and beautiful driftwood finish of the Laguna pieces are versatile for diverse environments.  Whether you’re outdoor space boasts a sophisticated contemporary design or offers a quaint and casual vibe, the Laguna collection can transform your outdoor space.

Finding the perfect seating arrangement in your outdoor space is a huge accomplishment.  When you’re looking to complete your outdoor space with the perfect seating options to entertain or cozy up, look no further than the chaise lounge and daybed options.

The Cardiff daybed is made with a rick walnut resin wicker weave and is sure to demand attention.  This inviting daybed has gorgeous curves that take outdoor lounging to the next level.  You’ll never want to leave this cozy two-piece daybed.

Lounging by the pool, relaxing under an umbrella, or curling up and reading in the evening sun are just a few of the perks of outdoor living.  When you have the Manhattan chaise, it makes coming home that much more rewarding.  The Manhattan adjustable chaise has six positions including flat to ensure you are comfortable.

Making sure your outdoor living space has the elegance and comfort you need is our goal at Sunset West.   We provide outdoor furnishings that transform any boring backyard into an oasis.  We understand the value of outdoor living and entertaining.  That’s why we offer comfortable and classic seating for you and your guests.  Whether you’re lounging, sitting for dinner, engaging in intimate conversation, or relaxing after a long day, we have the perfect seating.