Show Displays Give Insights Into Finishes

Show Displays Give Insights into FinishesDark stained doors

CabinetMaker+FDM magazine conducted its 24th annual survey of cabinet displays at the 2012 KBIS trade show in Chicago.  The survey “shows what is being displayed, not what is being produced or sold.” On the one hand, it lacks solid sales statistics and a formal study favored by market researchers. On the other, it gives a quick, grassroots confirmation valued by sales managers. Here’s what FDM uncovered:

The dark colors included near-black; medium colors, soft brown-gray. Surprising to Midwest Prefinishing, the survey noted an increase in glossy finishes (“high-sheen fixtures with stainless steel, wood veneer, marble island tops and floor lighting”).  Because kitchen cabinets often set the trend for doors and trim, this grassroots survey is a snapshot of our millwork market as well.  Take note.

Show booth guidelines

Their survey also highlights show booth, marketing techniques.  We presume that exhibitors chose new and mainstay products to highlight their niche. How do you design your show display?  We suggest these guidelines and welcome your comments as well:

  • Avoid crowding:  Focus on one major initiative and a few smaller supporting products in the background to demonstrate breadth.
  • Avoid an empty look: A booth with too much space is perceived as lacking breadth. Don’t  depend almost entirely upon banners; it looks lazy.
  • Display something unusual to attract attention.
  • Display a new initiative or product as the centerpiece of the booth.
  • Include movement, sound, or light: a demonstration with the attention-getting noise of a motor, project a video on the booth’s rear wall, instruct the sales force to demonstrate features, turn the product on a carousel.
  • Include show-specific signing: don’t rely on the generic booth sign placed by the convention center.  Create professional-looking banners and easel boards specific to the show theme.
  • Set up a brochure holder and make sure that it is completely filled regardless of how much traffic you think will come to your booth.
  • Remove the table as a barrier between you and the visitor.

What additional guidelines do you follow when displaying at a show?

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A Reduced Cost vs Value Ratio is Still Good

A Reduced Cost vs. Value Ratio is Still Good

Historically, homeowners find consolation in Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report. The money they plowed into their home in repairs and remodeling is not lost after all; a portion of it is recovered in the home’s appreciation. But because home values dropped in the last few years, the cost/value ratio dropped as well. At its peak in 2005, the ratio hit 86.7%. Since then, it dropped 29 points to 57.7% in the latest report (2011-12). The Midwest (West North Central) ranked at the bottom, at 49.5%. Continue reading

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The Millwork Business is About Relationships

The Millwork Business is About Relationships

In spite of social communication’s interaction, technology is inherently impersonal. Over twenty years ago, a commercial identified this problem and taught a profound truth: Don’t stray away from strong, personal relationships with your customers; it’s fundamental to your success and to our human nature. Continue reading

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AWI Involves Its Membership at Every Level

AWI Involves Its Membership at Every Level

Members of AWI (Architectural Woodwork Institute) create the finest commercial woodwork in America. They’re pros. As evidence, read the article, Ski Right In (Design Solutions, Spring 2012). It features the architectural woodwork in Utah’s new Montage Deer Valley Resort. AWI members designed and installed the woodwork on this exclusive “rustic and refined…European manor house of the West.” Well, you get the idea. It’s bigger than life, and as perfectly adorned in wood as possible. Continue reading

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Sponsor a Lunch & Learn; Presented by AWI

Sponsor a Lunch & Learn, Presented by AWI

AWI (Architectural Woodwork Institute) is the foremost architectural trade association in the U.S. Together with the Woodwork Institute and AWMAC, it developed a unified standard (AWS), a common language and guide, for architects to follow when specifying.  And it helps woodworkers to quote and to produce with parity.  You want content? Read the standard’s 600+ pages. Continue reading

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The Advantages of Being a Square Peg in a Round Hole

The Advantages of Being a Square Peg in a Round Hole
Differentiating in the millwork industry

DWM (Window and Door Manufacturer Magazine) recently published its “Annual Product Guide for 2012”. Look for Midwest Prefinishing on page 44 under the heading, “Paints and Finishes”. Product guides like these rarely create a specific category for prefinishing. So, when included, we’re typically wedged into an existing, but incompatible category; we’re the square peg in a field of round holes. Continue reading

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A Change of Season Brings Out the Viscosity Cup

A Change of Season Brings Out The Viscosity Cup

Seven seconds into Midwest Prefinishing’s video tour, a stainless steel viscosity cup comes briefly into view.  You’ll miss it if you’re not careful; the snappy music and images move rapidly.  It symbolizes the ever-vigilant, behind-the-scenes, adjustment necessary for a quality finish as temperature and seasons change. Continue reading

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Blend Woodgrains and Finishes In The Same Room

Blend Woodgrains And Finishes In The Same Room

Kitchen display at Marling Lumber showroom, Janesville, WI

A design brochure published by The Hardwood Manufacturers Association, prefers blending instead of matching stained colors and wood species.  “Don’t try to be a match-maker.  Better to blend~or contrast~ the colors and textures of various American Hardwoods on your floors, furniture, cabinets, and mouldings.”

The brochure directs its advice to architects and designers, not to finishers like Midwest PrefinishingContinue reading

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Buy Solid Wood Moulding With A Clear Conscience

Buy Solid Wood Mouldings With a Clear Conscience

At MMPA’s (Moulding and Millwork Producers Association) March meeting in Santa Monica, CA, Ivan Eastin related both the problems and the potential of the wood moulding market.  Eastin directs CINTRAFOR  (Center for International Trade in Forest Products) and teaches at the University of Washington.

According to Eastin (DWM Magazine), wood moulding sales will grow through exporting.  For example, China imports more solid wood than it imports, and it plans to build 36 million housing units within the next five years. Continue reading

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Avoiding Beige-Creep And Blotchiness

Avoiding Beige-Creep and Blotchiness

Midwest Prefinishing developed its ProFinish staining process to accentuate woodgrain and its beautiful variations.  Sometimes, a dye stain or wash coat is specified to assure uniformity.  But the trade-off is often a loss of clarity and vitality.  The wood tends to look like a beige neighborhood. Continue reading

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