Following is the 14th edition of Real Wood Coalition’s editorial coverage, which can also be seen in the October 4 print edition of FCNews.
These features include educational insights, new and staple hardwood products, and a spotlight with one of the coalition members. A new edition of RWC coverage will be available in every print issue of FCNews throughout the year.
DID YOU KNOW
Creative branding strategies contribute to consumer desire for hardwoods
Hardwood flooring suppliers and specialty wood distributors use their creative juices to get consumers excited about hardwood floors. In addition to performance enhancements designed to improve the performance of hardwood floors in the home, suppliers and distributors are leveraging various branding and marketing initiatives. The goal, they say, is to get retailers and end users excited about selling hardwoods – a premium product category with many tangible benefits.
A recent example of this creativity at work is the marketing program that Southern Diversified Distributors – the parent company of the 20 largest distributor William M. Bird – has set up to promote both hardwood flooring offerings from suppliers and private label lines. (Includes Somerset, Raintree, and Palmetto Road.) In the past, consumer marketing in the flooring industry was largely the responsibility of the manufacturer. However, Southern Diversified Distributors has used an alternative method of reaching and influencing consumers in their flooring purchasing decision by leveraging (wait for it) the Twenty & Oak platform. Twenty & Oak is a consumer-oriented website with a virtual showroom to reach consumers in the flooring market. But instead of selling directly to consumers, all leads generated are routed to the appropriate retail partner for follow-up.
Other vendors are using star power to target consumers who will soon be entering the hardwood flooring market. Such is the case with AHF Products, which successfully collaborated on a co-branding initiative involving Mark Bowe, host of the cable television program ‘Barnwood Builders’. Bowe, an accomplished craftsman, historian and the founder of Antique Cabins and Barns, based in Beverly, W. Va., have teamed up to introduce the Barnwood Living Collection, a line of American-made wood floors that retain the authentic look and feel of the Barnwood Living Collection. from a reclaimed, worn floor.
“This collection brings this authentic look to the mass market, allowing consumers to enjoy this look with the quality they have come to expect from the Bruce brand,” said Wendy Booker, vice president of marketing and product development, AHF Products.
Key factors in product selection
When it comes to helping consumers choose the wood floor of their dreams, there are several factors that go beyond color and style. For example, it is critical that RSAs ask the consumer where the new flooring will be installed in her home. This immediately eliminates some options. Parquet floors are ideal for basements, while both solid and composite wood floors can be installed on or above ground in any room. Solid wood floors are made from a single piece of wood from top to bottom, while parquet floors are made with multiple layers, including a top layer of high-quality wood. This construction makes the floor less sensitive to expansion and contraction based on seasonal temperature fluctuations or humidity levels in the house.
Once the correct construction is selected for a particular application, the RSA can help consumers choose a particular style. Options include: strip, plank, parquet or even end grain wood. Much depends on the consumer’s personal style and taste and the overall look or theme they want to convey.
Color tone also plays a big role during the selection process. Most factory milled and finished floors come with the stain already applied, but some customers may opt for unfinished floors, which can then be stained on site. Finish shades the natural color of the wood up or down, creating lighter or darker versions of the wood. Typically, light tones make a room look more open and airy, while medium tones make the room feel warm and cozy. Dark tones can make a room appear stately and sophisticated.
Last but certainly not least is the choice of finishing material and degree of gloss. Again, these characteristics are usually predetermined with factory-finished products, but they nevertheless affect the final appearance of the product.
TRY AND TRUE
Parkmore was created specifically to create a comfortable, high-quality look for any home. With its rustic white oak and brushed patina, it’s soft enough to warm up any space, yet unique enough to stand out. The low-gloss finish and 3⁄8-inch x 6 1/2-inch wide construction exudes a coastal feel that can also easily transition into a modern farmhouse style.
NEW AND REMARKABLE
Maui from Mirage
Mirage’s DreamVille collection has been expanded with Oak Maui Character Brushed. The new color has a clean, smooth look with hints of knots and light grains. Mirage’s signature DuraMatt X low gloss finish provides proven protection while showing the character of the wood.
AHF products’ tmbr brand targets influential millennial buyers
AHF Products continues to expand its portfolio to meet the demands of today’s hardwood buyers with tmbr, a new brand designed for a generation that values aesthetics, performance and social responsibility.
According to Kevin Whaley, vice president of sales, product and marketing, authenticity is critical to this influential generation. That bodes well for natural materials like hardwoods, especially woods that have been harvested responsibly.
The first collection to be rolled out is Big Sur. Inspired by the region’s Pacific coast and a scenic mix of lush, rugged coastline, the combination of textures and colors in a low-gloss finish provides an inspiring design palette. This collection of composite hardwoods features white oak and hickory in impressive 7 1/2-inch-wide planks and 10 colors.
“The concept of bringing the outdoors in has taken hold among the design community and millennials as the demand for a home in harmony with nature has increased,” explains Whaley. “Using hardwood floors in a room is an easy way to bring nature inside and create a home experience that is truly inspiring.”