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3 ways grandma can help you sell more home furnishings | Cindy Hodnett

3 ways grandma can help you sell more home furnishings | Cindy Hodnett

The country’s mood has shifted.

From the lockdown look-around at all things home, we’ve moved into a time of uncertainty about what’s to come with inflation, international unrest and ongoing pandemic challenges looming large in national headlines.

However, despite the serious impact of these issues, our industry has an opportunity to offset at least some of the negativity by doing what we do best, helping everyday people create living spaces and occasions that nourish souls and provide comfort, the antidote to stress from the outside world. And today, that most beloved family member — grandma — can help.

1. Coastal Grandmother

Full disclosure: I aspire to be a coastal grandmother one day, walking alongside the ocean in the morning while waiting for the kiddos and their plus-ones, twos or threes to visit on weekend. But this current TikTok obsession described as “anything you’d imagine Martha Stewart to wear to unpack her farmer’s market bags, Ina Garten to wear while baking warm apple pie, or Oprah to wear while picking out tomatoes in her garden,” is also a great message to channel for home and gift merchandising.

Think cozy and comfortable vignettes: soft throws, plush pillows, scented candles, casual dinnerware, an oversized chair, end tables with hidden storage. It’s a continuation of “home as safe haven” messaging, but with an updated vibe that’s trending on social media.

2. Grandmillennial

First identified by House Beautiful in a piece that described grandmillennials as being in their mid 20s to late 30s who have an affinity for Laura Ashley prints, ruffles and embroidered linens, Grandmillennial design lovers are adding elements of their grandmother’s living room to their personal spaces.

HGTV Home Town’s Erin Napier has been described as the “queen of Grandmillennial style,” and aficionados embrace the idea of modern-day design co-existing with retro elements that “look like grandma’s inheritance finally came though.” This is a style that supports the juxtaposition of modern décor with pieces that are reminiscent of Grandma’s house,  everything from florals and needlepoint to wicker and real china. Could there be anything more comforting?

3. About that inheritance

We’re all thinking about how to market home furnishings to the future generation of buyers who are, or soon will be, setting up their own households. Current style trends aside, there is another major influencing factor to consider when thinking about how they shop: the influence of their parents’ and grandparents’ financial support.

Baby Boomers and Gen X are the money source behind many Millennial/Gen Z furniture purchases, and consequently, it makes sense to market to these customers as well.

Consider this: Last year, Ikea, that most beloved destination for many 40-and-under shoppers, announced its Buy Back & Resell program, an effort to create lifelong customers within a demographic that adores ever-evolving interiors. Brilliant, but what if non-Ikea stores offered these same buyers in-store design advice on merging inherited treasures with their contemporary furniture and décor?

Believe me when I say that if I’m funding my kid’s furniture purchase and you’ve got someone on staff who can help her figure out where to put that favorite table I gave her alongside a new sofa, you’ve created brand loyalty of a different kind, and you can bet we’ll be back again.

One thing is certain, a massive amount of home furnishings is going to change hands over the next 10 years, and retailers who incorporate that fact of life into their marketing plan stand a good chance of attracting a new generation of customers.

It’s normal for people to become nostalgic when life seems to spin out of control, and our surroundings are an important part of how we navigate the turbulence. Fortunately, our industry is one that can help…with Grandma by our side.

Read more: How to get the coastal grand mother look in your home

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