Seeking to compete with larger competitors who enjoy greater clout, smaller retailers are finding power in numbers. Buying groups like Furniture 1st are one way to level the playing field. “We had shared container programs going strong before the pandemic, but now we have a committed monthly amount that sells out in two to three days,” said CEO Andrew Kauffman.
In addition to sharing containers, buying group members benefit by sharing information. “Our members value networking the most,” said Kauffman. “During COVID, they shared ideas and asked questions at monthly town hall meetings. At Market, they communicate directly through a dedicated app to find sources for extra capacity.”
Most designers operate as solopreneurs, always seeking to streamline the buying process to have more creative time with clients. This is particularly difficult with delivery delays. Seattle-area designer Shannon Adamson credits Designer Trade Service for helping her stay on top of the orders in her supply chain. “I get automatic updates, so I don’t have to track deliveries. It’s as if I have a brilliant assistant managing all my business details.”