August 28/September 4: Volume 32, Issue 6
By Lisbeth Calandrino
This year I was invited to be part of the educational committee to determine the seminars to be offered at TISE 2018. I have always wondered how the seminars were decided. This year I would not only participate in the process but would learn more about the industry.
Weeks before our arrival, Carol Wilkins, educational director of TISE, sent participants the evaluations of the presentations from the last year as well as the new submittals. We were asked to rate the new ones prior to arriving in Dallas. I must admit at first the task looked overwhelming, so I decided I needed to get right to it. The submittals encompassed all aspects of the industry, including installation, sales, marketing and showroom design—to name a few. This year there was also a submittal for a design competition to celebrate Frank Lloyd Wright’s 150-year anniversary.
It was great to see all facets of the industry represented as well as experts whom I rarely get to see. After our welcoming dinner the first night, I realized the process was going to be very enlightening. Since there were no “shrinking violets,” there was bound to be plenty of energy and opinions in the room. We all have our area of expertise, but I quickly realized I’m not informed on everything in the industry.
Most impressive was the passion expressed by everyone in the room. I started to wonder, How would we ever get this task done in one and half days? Better yet, How would we know what to use and what to eliminate? There were several newcomers to the industry who came with a different slant. There were a couple of storeowners who gave us firsthand views on what they are experiencing in the industry.
The process went smoothly and the conversation was exciting. The depth of the 2018 seminars is amazing. So what does this mean to retailers?
- Stop making excuses for not attending. This is your opportunity to learn from experts in our industry. Look at the seminars and decide which ones are relevant for your business.
- Share the education seminars with your staff before you go. You will probably get some useful information from your staff about what they think would be useful for your business.
- Bring a store manager, salesperson or trusted advisor. Have them attend as many seminars as possible and share the information when they get back to the store.
- Attend seminars with your suppliers. Many retailers depend on their suppliers to help them make decisions. Why not bring one of them to a seminar on trends or redesigning your showroom? You need to know what is going on outside of your trading area.
- Choose education over partying. I don’t mean to sound like your mean mother, but you won’t have an opportunity like this for another year. Sure, you like being romanced by your suppliers but if you don’t know how to maximize the products you buy, what good are they?
- Learn from other retailers. Many of the seminars include a question-and-answer section, which will allow you to get good information from other retailers.
- Attend at least one technology and design seminar. Technology is always changing and some technology is very pertinent to our industry. You can learn what’s working for other retailers as well as how color plays an important part for our consumers.
Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.