HIGH POINT—The era of “bigger is better” and McMansion homes are yesterday’s news 05 Apr 2024

Instead, Today’s heads up retailers understand that the concept of less-is-more has found a home in America’s homes, which continue to get smaller in size.

Census data confirms that the median square footage of floor area for single-family starts in the US hit a zenith at 2,519 during the first quarter of 2015, and has subsequently dipped by 13% to 2,191, as of the second quarter of 2023.

With that in mind, observers agree that there are big opportunities for stylish, yet space-sensitive furniture, which is why a growing number of retailers have looked to Poland as a source for these home furnishings.

Here’s why: Europeans have always lived in homes, condos, and apartments much smaller in size than with American homes and apartments.   For example, the size of the average Polish apartment in 2022 was a mere 560 square feet. The average house in Poland was 1,360 square feet.[source: https://stat.gov.pl/en/topics/municipal-infrastructure/municipal-infrastructure/housing-economy-in-2022,10,6.html]

Understandably, furniture from Poland has historically offered space-efficient furniture that combines high quality, fresh, stylish designs, multifunctionality at price points significantly less than comparable items made in Germany or Italy.

As global partners in home furnishings, Polish furniture makers have invested to expand their product offerings to provide solutions to the trend here for smaller homes.

Subseguently, a large consortium of Polish furniture makers will be here at the April High Point Market in the C&D Building to showcase these new assortments.

Another competitive advantage of sourcing furniture from Poland involves logistics.  Since the pandemic, the supply chain, especially concerning shipping products from Asia, has been a struggle.

Delays, wildly fluctuating container costs, problems at the ports have all made sourcing goods from China unpredictable, expensive, and labor and time intensive.

By comparison, the proximity of Poland to major European markets allows for faster shipping times as well as lower transportation costs.  Additionally, the fact that much of the furniture from Poland is ready-to-assemble (RTA) provides further cost savings and convenience for distributors.

According to Tomek Wiktorski, a spokesman for the Polish furniture makers here at market, U.S. retailers can have products from Poland delivered as quickly as three weeks.  “And, by keeping inventory in Poland and ordering based on real-time-demand, businesses can reduce inventory costs and improve cash flow, ultimately boosting profitability”, he explains.

At market, buyers can preview goods from these key Polish producers by visiting the fifth floor of the C&D building.  There, they can shop goods from Homenestry, Spin Furniture, Intermeble ,Gala Meble, Wajnert, Black Red White along with the newest exhibitor from Poland, Krysiak, which will debut two new collections of fully assembled oak bedroom collections and one new dining collection.

Homenestry, meanwhile, returns with redesigned iterations of their European high-runner Bond upholstery, armchair and sofa, all reimagined for the American market.

The company has also redesigned furniture from its Birdie collection for the American market as it has with a new frame from Glade.

Spin Furniture, meanwhile, has put a new spin on its offerings by showing its first outdoor collection at this market.  The new groupings, called Yacht, Fregata and Cliff frames incorporate stylish modern and organic shapes.

Intermeble, which serves the mass market both in Europe and Canada, will be on hand with  new RTA goods that in addition to good looks, offer low transportation costs, low warehousing costs and easy and affordable drop shipping.

RTA will also be front and center at the redesigned showroom of Gala Meble (C&D 5-H) with entertainment products, products for the dining room and mudroom, all designed with smaller living spaces in mind.

Wajnert will be on hand as well with a full line of. Upholstered goods as will full-line source, Black Red White.

Wiktorski, who has spearheaded the consortium of Polish suppliers coming to High Point since 2020, noted, “Each of our partners exhibiting at the High Point Market has done their homework  regarding style, shape, décor and dimensions in order to bring new introductions that will work well in the U.S. market.  What they offer are high-quality, competitively priced goods that are sized right, look great and offer European touches that will work in any home in America.”

The consortium is under the umbrella of The Polish Chamber of Commerce of Furniture Manufacturers supplied by The Polish Trade and Investment Agency.