Angelo Surmelis to promote eco-friendly furnishings
Famous designers to promote eco-friendly furnishings
SFC to launch first consumer campaign
Heath Combs—Furniture Today, October 15, 2009
HIGH POINT—- The Sustainable Furnishings Council is set to announce its first consumer marketing campaign, featuring noted interior and product designers who will help increase awareness of eco-friendly home furnishings. The group is holding a press conference at 9:30 a.m. Monday in the International Home Furnishings Center’s 11th floor Green Wing, Ballroom B, to discuss the program and conduct a roundtable discussion with some of the designers.
The campaign centers on a new SFC DesigninGreen Leadership Team of designers who are committed to promoting sustainable practices. SFC officials said the effort will be the nonprofit industry coalition’s first big, concentrated effort to reach consumers since it was created in 2006.
Designers taking part will include Alexander Julian, who has a collection with Vaughan-Bassett; Thom Filicia of the Style network’s “Dress My Nest,” who has a line with Vanguard; Vladimir Kagan, an award-winning product designer; Angelo Surmelis of HGTV’s “Rate My Space,” who has the angelo:Home line with Handy Living; and brand icon Kathy Ireland, who has home furnishings lines with several companies.
Julian, Filicia and Kagan will take part in Monday’s roundtable.
All the designers have agreed to allow their names and images to be used with a personal profile and statement about green issues. Full-page ads will appear later this year in shelter books such as Architectural Digest, Veranda, Traditional Home and Country Living, as well as trade publications.
“It’s our first major effort with consumers to raise awareness and drive Web site traffic, which already is at 4,000 unique visitors a month with no effort,” said Jeff Hiller, SFC President.
Hiller said the group has kept up its visibility by taking part in markets, including a recent one in Shanghai and an upcoming exhibit at the Cologne, Germany, show.
In China, the SFC took part in a conference on legal wood sourcing that drew some 380 registrants, including some Chinese government officials. The event was organized by the Rainforest Alliance, the World Wildlife Fund and the Nature Conservancy.
The SFC has added about one new member a day in recent months, Hiller said. The group also continues to focus on education, and upwards of 125 people have taken its Greenleaders program, a sustainability certification exam course, with more set to attend upcoming sessions.
“In total, we expect to have well over 200 go through this year and at least another 500 next year,” Hiller said.
The SFC is also rolling out educational efforts with the New York School of Interior Design and Savannah College of Art and Design, he added.
Also recently, the group reported on its second national consumer survey, sponsored by World Market Center, with results that helped confirm last year’s initial findings, Hiller said. The share of customers buying sustainable furnishings was still low at 8%, he said, although it was twice the level of last year.
Hiller said the survey found that purchase interest has significantly increased, but more than 50% cite a lack of awareness and availability as a key obstacle. The survey also found that 50% of consumers automatically assume that a green product will cost more.
The survey also found almost 80% of consumers who would consider using an interior designer have at least some interest in working with a “green” designer, though 75% had never heard of one.