Month: July 2016


The Most Important Ways the New SOLAS Rule Will Influence Shipping

Furniture retailers looking to import products will have to take into account the latest changes to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, or SOLAS. The amended regulation requires all shipped merchandise to include a verified gross mass (VGM). Until now, shippers have only been required to provide an estimated weight.

To find out more about the new SOLAS regulation and its potential effects on the furniture industry, read on.

What is VGM?

shippingVGM reflects the weight of a shipping container packed with goods, as well as the container’s measurements. The certified VGM for a packed container must be documented on the bill of lading, a legal form that provides information regarding the types of goods being shipped, the quantity, and destination. The form must also include the signature of an authorized shipping employee. The signature can be electronic. Under SOLAS, having all of the above allows shippers to load the container onto a vessel for export.

When does the new rule go into effect?

All parties must comply with the new SOLAS rule by July 1, 2016. However, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the entity charged with enforcing the regulation, will offer a three-month grace period to help shippers achieve full compliance. The length of time is expected to give companies ample opportunity to update software systems and implement processes for accurately calculating the VGM of shipments.

Does the regulation apply to prescheduled shipments?

Shipments that have already been loaded onto ships prior to July 1st will not be subjected to the amended SOLAS rule. They may remain on ships without a VGM and will be exported as scheduled, regardless if the shipment is slated to depart after July 1st.

What are some ways to measure the VGM of a packed container?

shippingThere are three potential options for calculating the VGM of a packed shipping container. The first involves a weigh bridge that allows a truck driver to park their vehicle momentarily. It takes the weight of the entire truck. Designated personnel then subtract the weight of the tractor, driver, fuel, and chassis to come to an accurate VGM for the packed container. The second option involves the use of equipment that lifts the packed container off a truck to weigh it for a precise VGM. The final method involves adding up the weight of the shipped items, including pallets, packaging, and the goods themselves, and adding this sum to the weight of the empty container.

What fees are associated with the new rules?

As of June 2016, an industry fee structure has not been announced. However, companies should expect to absorb all expenses associated with developing and carrying out VGM processes. This includes fees for integrating software and employing personnel to handle VGM measurements.

How will any VGM costs affect pricing?

It is the responsibility of companies to calculate the fees they will incur due to the new SOLAS rule. Taking these costs into account, importers can update their pricing structure to reflect any higher shipment fees, thus offsetting operational expenses.

Should delays be expected?

While there will be a three-month grace period for all parties to comply, it will likely take time to iron out the challenges that may arise from these new regulations. Shippers will require additional training and practice to ensure the rules are followed correctly and VGMs are documented accurately. If VGM paperwork is not received, logjams at ports could occur. Incorrectly measured containers may also cause problems and delays as well. All these factors will likely slow loading processes and may cause confusion if shippers have to figure out where to store packed containers until proper documentation is received.

How can a company avoid delays?

Importers should do their due diligence by contacting their supplier in advance to discuss SOLAS requirements. Both parties can determine what measures are necessary to have VGMs ready, as well as assess the impact of early cut-off shipment times. It is likely that shipping will take longer no matter what process is implemented, so importers should inform their clients.

Will truckers be affected?

Depending on the company and the equipment owned, the new regulation may have limited impact. Truckers that own their own chassis do not need to worry if a container cannot be delivered due to paperwork issues. They can unload their freight and continue on to their next destination. Unfortunately, this can cause issues for an importer, who will be awaiting merchandise that is now sitting at a location other than the port where it is supposed to depart.

What other challenges may arise from the new rule?

There is a possibility that ocean carriers will depart from port without all their cargo, if shipments don’t have the required paperwork. This may occur if suppliers fail to provide VGMs before transporting shipments to ports. However, the goal is to have all companies involved in shipping streamline communication and procedural processes, so that all shipments will have the required VGM paperwork. This way, ocean carriers will be able to set sail with all cargo on schedule.


The Most Interesting Facts Influencing the Furniture Industry

The home furniture sector has long been influenced by developments in other industries. Today, the following factors related to social media, mobile technology, and more, are affecting the industry in a number of ways:

Pinterest Leads in Social Media

pinterestConsumers still prefer to shop in-store for their home furnishings, but the social media giant Pinterest plays a crucial role in the planning process. According to a study conducted by eMarketer, 93 percent of respondents used the platform to research and plan for a purchase, and nearly half of respondents admitted that the site influenced their purchase decision. As of June of 2016, the percentage of Millennials utilizing the network to research home furnishings stands at 60 percent.

Millennials Buy More

In 2014, Millennials eclipsed Baby Boomers, becoming the generation with the largest purchasing power in the furniture industry. Baby Boomers made up 29 percent of transactions during the year, while Millennials peaked at 37 percent. This reflects a steep increase from 2012, when Millennials represented a mere 14 percent of furniture-related purchases.

Omnishoppers Change the Buying Experience

ecommerceAn omnishopper is someone who leverages technology to gain a comprehensive shopping experience. He or she shops online, inquires about products over the phone, researches potential purchases on mobile devices, and visits brick-and-mortar stores to view and possibly buy items in person. Omnishoppers are demanding and always connected. Most importantly, they value convenience.

Furniture/Today recently conducted a home decorating survey with the readers of the Apartment Therapy website to gain a better understanding of this demographic. Of the more than 1,000 participants, 75 percent utilized online resources to make decisions regarding upholstery pieces, although 45 percent stated they would never buy any upholstery online. More than half of the respondents went to a physical store to shop for upholstery products, and 43 percent of people “pre-shopped” area rugs at a brick-and-mortar location prior to buying. A big complaint from the group was that it was hard to shop via mobile devices because of the difficulties associated with zooming in on an item on a small screen.

People Prefer Vintage

The 2016 Furniture/Today survey also revealed an interest in vintage furnishings, particularly in younger buyers. In fact, over half of the respondents favored vintage furnishings over newly manufactured items. Likely contributors to people wanting vintage pieces are a desire to be eco-friendly by reusing products and a lack of disposable income. Experts also suspect the do-it-yourself (DIY) trend and the thrill of hunting for a special item play a role.

The rising popularity of this style has improved sales at second-hand stores and used outlets. Together, these two segments achieved retail sales in excess of $4 billion in 2015.

Everyone Wants a Different Size

While there is no clear-cut way to determine the perfect-sized couch, certain demographics lean toward similar choices. For example, people living in urban areas, where many dwell in apartments, tend to want smaller sofas. The same is true for those with lower incomes. In contrast, most members of Generation X prefer larger sofas, and 62 percent want a motion sofa.

Mobile Takes Over

mobile shoppingIn 2014, nearly half of consumers relied on mobile devices to make decisions about buying home furnishings. During the second quarter, mobile sales increased by 47 percent for a total of $6.8 billion.

To determine how the trend was progressing, Furniture/Today tracked web traffic to the site as far back as November of 2012, when 26 percent of visits to the website came from a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet. By February of 2014, mobile traffic reached 45.8 percent before slightly dipping to 42.3 percent two months later. As of October of 2014, the number stood at 47.1 percent, thus indicating that mobile will remain a significant tool in driving furniture sales.

The Wealthy Value Quality Living Spaces

Affluent consumers backed away from buying furniture following the recent recession. However, this population still values quality living and will purchase furniture that reflects their style as long as the product is made from well-crafted, high-quality materials. Affluent customers do not have a preference regarding where they shop. They patronize affordable places, like second-hand stores, as well as luxury home furniture retailers. This demographic is also drawn to lifestyle stores, where, according to a 2014 survey, their primary purchase is accent chairs.

social media buzzwords

6 of the Most Noticeable Ways Social Media Is Changing the Furniture Sector

Adapting to constant change is a necessary part of growing a business. This means taking advantage of new resources, such as social media. In the furniture industry, social networks, like Twitter and Pinterest, are impacting the industry in the following ways:

Pinning for Inspiration

Nearly 40 percent of consumers relied on social media sites, like Pinterest to find new products to outfit their homes in 2014. In fact, one of the most popular board names on Pinterest is “For the Home.” The trend of pinning before buying continues to grow because customers enjoy the ease with which Pinterest allows them to search for a product based on a particular style or genre.

Advertising Uniquely

InstagramRather than traditional print ads and commercials, retailers, manufacturers, and designers are tapping into social media to promote their products. For example, a San Diego-based furniture retailer highlights its products on social media platforms by periodically sharing decorating ideas alongside images of coordinated furnishings available at the store.

Although the goal is still to sell products, posting strategically crafted content takes a less aggressive approach than traditional advertising. A good rule of thumb is that for every piece of promotional content a company posts, it should also share three non-promotional items.

Engaging with Customers

Businesses often find it difficult to build rapport with consumers. Fortunately, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms offer insight on consumers’ needs, frustrations, wants, and interests.

To take advantage of this information, companies should track conversations regarding their business on social media and promptly answer questions and provide feedback. These actions influence how consumers view a brand and help businesses establish a loyal consumer base.

Most importantly, all social media communication needs to be immediate. Unlike e-mail and general online contact forms, which can take several days to process, timely social media exchanges show customers that a company cares about responding quickly to all inquiries.

Crafting Educational and Interesting Content

Managing one or more social media accounts involves generating a constant supply of publishing-ready content. People are hungry for new information that is informative and peaks their interest. Therefore, companies should build a reserve of useful content to share on their blog and post on social media sites.

Content can consist of “how to” articles, frequently asked questions (FAQs), and lists detailing ideas, such as decorating a living room. Additionally, businesses should post images and videos because customers appreciate their visual appeal and entertainment value.

Boosting Search Engine Results

google searchGoogle’s algorithms determine the value of a website. This value is based on many factors, including the number of links that redirect people back to a specific website. More links lead to a higher search-engine ranking. As such, publishing content on a regular basis not only allows businesses to provide valuable and relevant information to consumers, it also enables them to include a URL to their website, thus contributing to a higher placement in a Google search.

Companies should try to share content through as many social media platforms as possible to maximize their online presence. Likewise, businesses should develop a strategy to ensure that the content is appropriate to each social media platform.

Expanding Audience Reach

Social media makes it possible for retailers, manufacturers, and other home-furniture-industry organizations to reach a larger audience. However, it may be difficult to target the right demographic and communicate with a large number of people if a company has not established a social following. For this reason, many businesses employ influencers—popular online personalities who help brands boost their social media reach by utilizing their robust personal channels to disburse information.

Influencers have a large and active online following that responds well to shared content. An ideal strategy for using an influencer is to create a mutually beneficial partnership. One example of this kind of collaboration is High Point Market’s Style Spotter initiative, which invites bloggers who specialize in interior decor and fashion to the event as VIPs. Participation requires photographing and sharing favorite pieces discovered at the market on the participant’s various social networks.

The Style Spotter campaign also asks that VIPs survey their followers on which pieces they like best. Ultimately, the campaign serves three purposes. It provides influencers with new content, it spreads awareness about the market and trends, and it helps identify popular items among consumers.


6 of the Most Notable Factors That Occurred the First Half of 2016

The first half of 2016 was a busy time for the furnishings industry both stateside and abroad. New technologies emerged, ready-to-assemble furniture grew in popularity, and alternative materials were promoted as viable sources for manufacturing products. To discover more about these topics and other notable events impacting the sector, continue reading.

Three-Dimensional (3D) Technology is Introduced

interior renderingServing all industries utilizing textiles and composite materials, Lectra unveiled its latest technological creation at the Furniture Makers’ Hall in London. The event drew in professionals from trade, press, and manufacturing backgrounds. All were interested in seeing how the 3D technology, dubbed DesignConcept Furniture, would help produce cost-efficient furnishings in larger quantities.

The showcase included a preview of the design and development process, which shortened traditional design time by 30 percent and prototyping turnaround by half. The company intends to share the software globally. It hopes DesignConcept Furniture will even the playing ground for companies competing against those in developing countries, as those areas have invested much of their resources toward establishing new furniture manufacturing facilities and enhancing design services.

Germany Experiences Growth

The furniture industry is booming in Germany. The country earned nearly 1.26 billion in Euros at the end of January, which was nearly a 1 percent hike from the same time in 2015. Exports also increased by nearly 3 percent year-over-year.

Just a month later, double-digit growth was achieved; the German furniture industry garnered over 1.53 billion in Euros, which meant turnover jumped 10.2 percent from the prior year, according to the Federal Statistical Office and the Verband der Deutschen Mobelindustrie. Increases in domestic and export turnover contributed greatly to this, improving by 8.5 and 14.2 percent, respectively.

Ghana Seeks Changes to Wood

loggingIn June, representatives from Ghana discussed what changes should be made to preserve the country’s local wood industry. Among the topics addressed was the use of different wood species, specifically the bamboo plant. Grown in abundance throughout the country’s forests, the material is not heavily sourced by furniture manufacturers, but should be for its economic value.

Transitioning efforts to designing furnishings made of bamboo is expected to preserve the local timber sector, thus making it possible to continue furniture production. Other topics of discussion included the need to improve communication regarding the quality of locally-produced furniture to reduce furniture imports, and to conduct research on the influence of population and real estate growth as it impacts the demand and supply of furniture.

Extension Approved for Cut-and-Sew Job Tax Credit

In May, the Mississippi furniture industry celebrated the continuation of a tax credit for cut-and-sew professions. The $2,000 tax credit, which will not expire until January of 2019, was first introduced in 2010 as an incentive for people to join the furniture industry.

The goal was to increase the size of the workforce, which consisted of 20,000 people at the time, by adding 10,000 more jobs to the local economy. Unfortunately, the credit was not utilized as heavily as expected, and the size of the workforce remained the same. However, the director of Franklin Furniture Institute at Mississippi State University stated in an article by The Virginian Pilot that 1,400 more jobs had been added since the middle of 2014.

To keep pace with growing furnishings demand, the director is collaborating with community colleges to offer training essential for excelling in the furniture industry. The training will complement the tax credit extension.

Manufacturers Revisit “Reshoring”

shipping“Reshoring” represents the action of bringing offshore jobs back to American soil. It includes the population of businesses that outsources jobs presently, as well as those that would have outsourced jobs to other countries five to 10 years ago.

While the move to reshore jobs will not eliminate the use of manufacturing plants abroad, it helps balance the quantity of jobs leaving the United States with those that are being created domestically. Among the companies supporting the initiative are those in the textile and furniture industries. Participants from the textile industry promote products labeled “Made in America” in an attempt to increase awareness and demand.

Furniture manufacturers and distributors hope to gain more traction as well. As of the end of May, six large suppliers have committed themselves to reshoring. Of the six, five have a presence in North Carolina, formerly nicknamed the Furniture Capital of the World.

Positive Returns Expected in the Global Furniture Market

Declared the world’s largest market and research store, Research and Market released its Global Bedroom Furniture Market 2016-2020 report in April. The report indicated a growing trend in flat-pack and ready-to-assemble (RTA) furniture, which is expected to positively influence future compound annual growth rate (CAGR). In fact, CAGR has an anticipated growth of 3.4 percent because flat-pack and RTA furniture makes it possible to produce more products that can be shipped in larger quantities.

For a more comprehensive overview of the impact of both types of furniture, the report focuses on home bedroom and upholstered pieces as well as mattresses and complementary items. The data is then broken down by region. All information provided takes into account analysis from knowledgeable industry professionals.



6 of the Most Interesting Trends Shaping the Home Furnishings Industry

Home furnishing trends have evolved greatly since the days of the basic beige couch. People who once favored traditional styles have developed a fondness for exotic patterns and photo-realistic imagery due in large part to designers and furniture manufacturers. Others have taken an interest in global influences, historical value, and functional design. In the following, learn more about these trends in greater detail.

To Infinity and Beyond

At the 2016 International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), the theme of outer space prevailed. German designer Jan Kath, who specializes in hand-knotted rugs and consistently throws caution to the wind by breaking conventional design rules, shared his passion for photo-realistic motifs. Through his SpaceCrafted collection, he introduced a line of rugs highlighting imagery of outer space. The items were inspired by a trip to Nepal, where he developed a fascination with how clearly he could view the night sky. Photos from the Hubble space telescope also served as an inspiration.

Global Integration

Designers are traveling the world in search of new ideas to meld into their work. Moroccan detailing and Celtic artwork are among the influences shaping the industry. Others, such as industrial designer Lucy Tupu, are seeking creative inspiration from their own heritage. Ms. Tupu, who designs furniture at her New York company, integrated design elements from her Polynesian background to develop a line called Flax. The collection leverages a modern approach to traditional weaving techniques to create daybeds, ottomans, and Brooklyn-made cubes. In order to further enhance the look and give it an old Hollywood feel, the designer chose bright colors and used Paul Smith plaids for Maharam.


Big Style for Small Outdoor Spaces

City dwellers are no longer at a disadvantage, with designers creating smart solutions for their small terraces, according to the executive director of the International Causal Furnishings Association’s outdoor division. Designers are taking into consideration functionality without overlooking style. For example, West Elm promotes a table collection that features a mosaic design, and Bend Goods sells colorful, galvanized wire stacking chairs that can be used in neutral spaces or those catering to eclectic tastes. Balcony-height chairs and tables are also available from select manufacturers. The furniture makes it possible to sit high enough to see over a balcony railing, but not so high that you fear falling over. Taking heed of people’s desire to update their outdoor spaces, Katy Condon, a senior editor at Better Homes & Gardens magazine, suggests styling with continuity in mind. She recently stated that using the same color scheme and style both indoors and out will give the illusion that a patio or terrace is larger than it actually is.

Natural and Organic Materials

During the recent Philippines International Furniture Show, the event chairman discovered many designers opting for neutral hues in fabrics and more subdued metals, such as gold, rather than shiny metallic. Additionally, natural and organic materials were seen in furnishings, of which most had some form of historical significance. For instance, a chair from JB Woodcraft Inc. displayed how traditional wood carving is integrated into contemporary design, while lighting and housewares showcased by Hacienda Crafts incorporated indigenous weaving traditions of Maranao and the T’boli tribe, the Tnalak. The latter products were crafted with buri and coconut twigs, among other local and natural materials.

“Grouch” or “Grofa”

grey couch

Image courtesy Wicker Paradise | Flickr

The “grouch” or “grofa,” as it’s commonly known, is a grey sofa that has become a staple in homes, particularly those incorporating contemporary design labels and traditional styles. In fact, the grouch has exceeded the demand for beige couches due to its elegance and timelessness. Additionally, the big-ticket item, which experienced a 35 percent increase in sales over the past two years, provides a neutral canvas to easily decorate with home decor. This makes it possible for consumers to change their style to match current trends as frequently as they want. Another possible reason that people are more drawn to grofas is that the hue makes people feel comfortable, according to a study on color psychology.

Exotic Prints and Flamboyant Colors

On the opposite end of the spectrum of grey couches is the rise of tropical prints paired with vibrant colors. Hues found in the feathers of flamingos and peacocks are appearing in cushions and seating. Matthew Williamson and Henry Holland have both embraced the multicolored trend. Mr. Williamson did so by partnering with Duresta to launch his first collaborative line of living room furniture. The pieces are draped in lively fabrics that combine deep and electric hues. The same colors outline accent and coffee tables. Henry Holland, of House of Holland, joined forces with Habitat to design an interior collection inspired by the cult film Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas. From throws to armchairs, the collection is described by the designer as “a hallucinatory mix of pattern and texture—an overload of florals, bugs, fish prints, and bright fluoro color.”



Valuable Things to Know about the 2016 NEXT Conference

NEXT conference logoThe home furnishings industry garners $150 billion each year. To continue its success, industry groups host annual forums, such as Progressive Business Media’s NEXT Conference. Taking place at the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa in September 2016, the NEXT Conference will include discussions on topics ranging from leadership to retail technology. The following is some information that will help you navigate and enjoy the event:

Who should attend the NEXT conference?

The event caters to professionals in the home furnishings industry who will positively shape the future of retail through innovation and leadership. You will benefit from the forum if you strive to be amongst forward thinkers as well as those who make it a regular practice to incorporate new ideas. Also, if you enjoy an interactive environment that encourages exploration of modern concepts, the conference will offer a valuable experience.

When is it happening and where?

Legends of Golf in Savannah, GA April 19, 2010

Image courtesy Keith Allison | Flickr

The NEXT Conference will take place at the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa, located at 1 Resort Drive in Savannah, Georgia. The event kicks off with registration beginning at 1:00 pm on September 14 and concludes with a cocktail party at 7:30 pm on September 15.

Where can I stay?

Attendees may stay at the venue at a reduced room rate of $192 per night (plus taxes) if you make arrangements before August 10th. Check-in and check-out are at 3 p.m. and noon, respectively. You can make reservations by calling (800) 228-3000, or you can book a room online at

How do I get around?

If you are arriving at Savannah Hilton Head International, visit the airport’s website to view the available transportation options, including taxi, limousine, and shuttle services. Expect roughly a 25-minute commute to the Westin Savannah Harbor. If you will be renting a car, you can self-park for free. However, the resort also offers valet parking services for $23 per day. Prior to your final night, you should schedule a seat on the hotel’s Mercedes Airport Shuttle by calling (912) 201-2000. The one-way transportation service to the airport costs $25. Additional riders are $15 each.

What should I know about registration?

You can register online at To do so, you must provide a valid e-mail address and select the type of registration you prefer. Signing up as a retailer requires a fee of $295. If you are not a retailer, you can sign up as a manufacturer or a supplier for a $995 fee.

To register as a group, follow the traditional registration process and submit the names of other members within your party when prompted. When you finish registering, you will be asked to pay the registration fee for all registrants. If you want your group members to pay their own fees, you must register each person individually.

What is the appropriate attire?

You should wear business casual attire. Keep in mind that the venue typically keeps rooms cooler than outside temperatures, which average in the mid-80s during the day and the high 60s in the evening, so dress appropriately to remain comfortable during the sessions. Event organizers also suggest bringing a jacket or light sweater.

What can I expect in terms of education?

Until this year, the NEXT Conference was known as the Future Leadership Conference. It has featured industry experts like Home Accents Today Editor in Chief Jenny Heinzen York, Whereoware mobile marketing guru Teya Flick, and John V. Schultz Furniture founder John Schultz, who have given keynote addresses and tackled a variety of educational topics, such as efficient collection and use of customer data as well as integration of unique home furnishings to boost profit margins.

NEXT Conference coordinators plan to offer the same caliber of education during its 2016 event. Ms. York will return to welcome attendees before they head to breakout sessions. The conference will also contain five “NEXT Idea” classes that cover topics like leadership, the future of home furnishings, retail experience, technology, and innovators. In addition, home furnishings manufacturer and distributor Surya will be on site to give the 2016 opening keynote address.

What networking and socialization opportunities are available?

Throughout the conference, you will be given numerous opportunities to network and relax. Make sure to take time during the team brainstorming lunch, Storis-sponsored networking breaks, and Acceptance Now-sponsored networking cocktail party to connect with your peers and meet influential members of the industry. On the last day, you can socialize and congratulate the winners of the team brainstorming challenge at the closing cocktail party.

Whom can I contact with questions?

If you have additional questions about the conference, contact Heather Thompson, Progressive Business Media’s senior manager of conferences and events, at (336) 605-1061 or

Top 16 Charities That Accept Clothing Donations

An organization that advocates for global responsibility, the World Wear Project estimates that the average person discards approximately 70 pounds of clothing and shoes each year. Of this amount, a large percentage of these items end up in costly and limited landfill space in spite of the availability of more viable, socially conscious alternatives, such as recycling, repurposing, and donating.

Charitable organizations that accept clothing donations often aid in the recycling process. In fact, since groups such as the Salvation Army and Goodwill receive such a large volume of donations, the vast majority of incoming clothes and shoes are redirected to recycling companies. While the redistribution of clothing and shoes to people in need is the focus of the donations, the sale of these items to recyclers also generates proceeds for nonprofits to strengthen their efforts.

If you’re interested in finding out where and how to donate clothes that either no longer fit or that have been gently used, you have many options. Consider the following organizations and initiatives:

salvationarmylogoThe Salvation Army

Since its inception in 1865, the Salvation Army has become an ubiquitous presence around the world. People who would like to donate their items can schedule a time to have them picked up at their convenience.


Donating clothing to Goodwill makes it possible for people to purchase items at a discounted price and also creates job opportunities that would otherwise not exist. In 2015 alone, the organization employed more than 88,000 new staff members.

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross (ARC) provides relief to survivors of natural disasters and other types of adverse events. Clothes given to ARC can go a long way toward helping people who have lost everything to start the rebuilding process.

United Way

A leader on the global social support front, the United Way depends on volunteers and donations. Contributions of gently used clothing can help people in need to gain better footing.

Cinderella Project

The Cinderella Project originated in the Northeast with ongoing programs in Virginia, New Hampshire, and New York. Project participants can donate their old formal dresses from dances or weddings to provide other girls in their area with the opportunity to have a nice dress for the prom.

Donate Your Dresses

Similar in scope to the Cinderella Project, Donate Your Dresses allows women to make space in their closets by donating their prom dresses to those in need. The organization maintains a comprehensive list of drop-off locations in the U.S. and Canada.

clothing donation

Fairy Godmothers, Inc.

A provider of high school formalwear, Fairy Godmothers, Inc., offers a full inventory of prom dresses and gowns for special occasions at a discounted price. By donating to this organization, you can help a student make it to the big dance.

Brides Across America

The Brides Across America (BAA) initiative launched in 2008 as a platform to host giveaways of wedding dresses to military brides. All of the dresses are donated, and BAA only accepts gowns that are no more than 5 years old so that brides have access to the latest trends.


Madre, a foundation that endeavors to help women around the world, operates in countries such as Nicaragua, Haiti, Kenya, Syria, and Iraq. Among other programs and services, Madre accepts clothing donations to help women living in shelters.

bigbrothersbigsisterslogoBig Brother Big Sister Foundation

The Big Brother Big Sister Foundation makes donating clothing easy with a combination of accessible drop boxes and scheduled pickups. Interested parties can arrange for pickups privately and anonymously.

Soles 4 Souls

While the organization’s name suggests that it focuses on shoes, it also collects clothing to distribute to those in need. Soles 4 Souls has provided gently used footwear and garments to people in need throughout the world.

Share Your Soles

Mona Purdy founded Share Your Soles in 1999. Since then, she has led the organization, which depends on the help of volunteers, to deliver millions of pairs of shoes to deserving children around the world. Share Your Soles also hosts regular events to aid in the shoe collection effort.

Dress for Success

Contributions to Dress for Success provide opportunities for woman seeking to develop their careers and achieve economic independence. Over the course of approximately 20 years, the nonprofit has assisted nearly 1 million women across 20 countries.

Career Gear

Career Gear provides men what Dress for Success offers to women. In addition to clothing, the organization imparts personal mentoring and a job preparedness program. Since Career Gear opened in 1999, it has established locations in cities such as New York City, Baltimore, Houston, Jersey City, Miami, and New Haven.

Change Purse

Change Purse’s mission is to generate funding to fight sex trafficking. Change Purse’s personnel sell donated purses, and the funds go toward spreading awareness of sex trafficking and supporting those individuals affected in any way.

Indigo Rescue

Supporters of the charity Indigo Rescue donate their used and unwanted jewelry. The organization then holds jewelry sales to raise funds for animal shelters. In 1999, Indigo Rescue began selling jewelry, a fundraising method that has resulted in widespread success.


The post Top 16 Charities That Accept Clothing Donations appeared first on Eugene Chrinian Charity.

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5 Popular Trends Uncovered at the Spring High Point Market

high point market logoThe world’s largest furnishings industry trade show, the spring 2016 High Point Market event wrapped up in April. The event offered furniture and interior professionals much to consider in terms of design and home furnishings. The following trends were displayed on showroom floors:

Plexiglas and acrylic

In recent years, mid-century modern (mod) has experienced a revival due in large part to popular shows such as Mad Men. The style takes inspiration from the period between the 1940s and 1970s, when people sought to incorporate simple and modern elements into their homes. Key design elements included contemporary patterns, unfussy structures, and materials that not only look natural, but which promote seamless flow, making it possible to achieve a chic look in a comfortable environment. For that reason, Plexiglas and acrylic are an ideal choice for achieving mod-inspired interiors. Leslie Hendrix Wood, a style spotter for High Point Market, calls it “the ultimate neutral” and praises it for its ability to update a space. At market, pieces such as Grace & Blake’s Bella trunk, Interlude Home’s Ava Bar Cart, and Modshop’s Lucite collection showcased both materials.

Mixed displays of wood

dining roomA classic material that has been an essential part of interior design for centuries, wood continues to be featured at the market in new shapes and styles each year. Depending on the type of wood, the material can offer warm and rich accents to a space. Wood was seen in more modern pieces, such as McGuire’s desk, which features solid mahogany in a waterfall design, and Alfonso Marina’s armoire, which played with Prima Vera wood to create a unique two-toned pattern. Wood veneer also made an appearance at the Made Goods’ booth. The company covered a buffet in the veneer; the result gave the piece an attractive Rorschach quality. Some furniture makers opted to showcase the material in a more organic state. For instance, Phillips Collection cut and combined slabs of pipal wood to form a coffee table surface. The edges were prepared in a way that maintained its natural elegance. The same company brought a console table that did not stray far from its original form. Rather, it kept the freeform structure as the base, treated the material to enhance the wood grains, and cut the top flat to serve as a surface.

Brass elements

A material that is similar to acrylic, brass is in great demand. Designers are pairing the material with neutral fabrics to bring interest to home furnishings. Beth Dotolo, the co-owner and principal interior designer at Pulp Design Studios, states that the combination creates “a luxurious, modern look.” Bernhardt dedicated an entire bedroom to a mix of neutrals and brass, which appeared in a bedframe, lamp, side and console table, and studs in an accent chair. Century Furniture highlighted the material through a geometric-inspired base for a console table complete with marble top. Other uses of brass at market were found in the Shine by SHO space. Its Celeste Bar, a simple white cabinet, was upgraded with brass rectangles. Placed in the middle, the rectangles draw the eye and create a hypnotic effect from the contrasting colors.

Geometric design

tableGeometry is clearly a leading trend in decor. From accent tables to rugs, the use of clean lines to form structured shapes appeared in many pieces. The key takeaway from the event was that geometry and patterns work best when incorporated simplistically into design, so there is harmony and uniformity. Prominent pieces demonstrating this trend were created by Theodore Alexander, Artistica, and Shine by SHO. The latter two design and manufacturing companies shared elegant tables with bases that featured circular shapes that provided an airy feel. Theodore Alexander enhanced the look of a simple side table with sharp angles that formed triangles on each of the four sides of its base. The triangles were connected with cube-like framing. More soft looks could be found in a Worlds Away cabinet and Bernhardt chair. Worlds Away added channels into its cabinet, rather than leaving it stark, while Bernhardt used geometry in its metal framing and opted for softer and more pliable material to construct the seating. In terms of floor coverings, New Moon Rugs stayed on trend with neutrals and a recurring diamond print throughout. The diamonds, comprised of black lines, overlapped at the points for more geometry.

Art and artisans

One-of-a-kind works not only adorn walls on canvases and frames, but their presence can be enjoyed through furniture and accent pieces. The market was a place to share art in the form of cabinetry and room dividers, as well as buffets and storage units. Manufacturers, such as Alfonso Marina and Michel Ferrand displayed clever and practical designs. In particular, Made Goods crafted a room divider with individually bent wires. Connected into a large structure, the piece serves as both a mock wall and as a visually appealing art form. In addition, the design and manufacturing company John Strauss Furniture Design displayed a buffet featuring a blue- and black-toned finish, which resembled waves found in watercolor paintings.