Brand Management

New Building Products Designed to Match a Variety of Home Architectural Styles

Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog! Here’s the latest on New Building Products Designed to Match a Variety of Home Architectural Styles


Is your home easily identifiable as a cottage, contemporary or traditional style home? Many Americans search far and wide to find the perfect family home, sometimes even going the extra mile to custom build their own home. Typically, instead of building a conventional ranch or two-story home, today’s discriminating homeowner prefers to own a home with a distinct, identifiable architectural style. Home and building product manufacturers design products to be versatile–easily matching a variety of architectural styles knowing that homeowners, builders and architects will only purchase precisely the right product to match the style of their home.


Design Versatility on the Exterior

CableRail by Feeney

CableRail by Feeney, Inc

CableRail, by Feeney, Inc.
Consider the company, CableRail, by Feeney, Inc., for example. Stylistically versatile, the CableRail design offers an innovative railing solution that creates an appealing design aesthetic on a myriad of architectural styles from contemporary to cottage to period homes, whether truly old or new construction. The clean, finished look of these strong but slender cables is enhanced by special end fittings that are easily concealed into wood or metal posts. The result is a railing infill that is not only durable and attractive; but virtually invisible, creating an unimpaired view. Feeney cables and components are suited to residential, commercial and institutional railing applications and offer a low maintenance, environmentally friendly and visually unobtrusive alternative to commonly used wooden or metal picket infill. For more information, visit


Nichiha Fiber Cement Siding Products


Nichiha Fiber Cement Siding Products
Searching for modern day technology but love the look of traditional exterior home materials? Nichiha fiber cement products will have your neighbors wondering why you don’t have to maintain the exterior of your house every few years, and leave you with the satisfaction of knowing why.  With easy-install fiber cement siding for the outside of your home, Nichiha offers sleek block, stacked-stone and faux-brick fiber cement panels.

Going for the modern look on your home? Nichiha offers several products that align with modern design like the Illumination Series, Architectural Block, or Empire Block. Do you need an updated remedy for decaying cedar, wood, or shake? The no-fuss but realistic design of Nichiha’s Sierra Premium Shake, Vintage Wood or NichiFrontier marry new technology with authenticity for your cottage or traditional styled home. Offering several products that work well with pre-existing architectural designs or bringing life to new modern design, Nichiha is capable of achieving a striking appearance to match any architectural style. For more information, visit

Hy-Lite Acrylic Block Windows Exterior Entrance with Sidelites and Transom

Privacy Windows by Hy-Lite


Privacy Windows by Hy-Lite®, a U.S. Block Windows Company
Homeowners, architects, and home builders looking to add the perfect window in the perfect spot on a custom new home or in a home remodeling project, often turn to operable acrylic block and decorative glass privacy windows from Hy-Lite®, a U.S. Block Windows Company.

Providing value, stylistic versatility, natural light and fresh air, Hy-Lite privacy windows fit the bill for privacy in the bath, laundry or secluded area of any tastefully designed home. For more information, visit




Design Versatility on the InteriorFIREPLACE_AO_COLONIALx - small

Wood Ceiling Systems by WoodTrac
Interior design is another area where homeowners seek to carefully select new products that will enhance, complement, and blend with distinctive architectural styling. The WoodTrac™ Ceiling System by Sauder offers multiple wood ceiling panel styles, colors and molding profiles enabling homeowners to customize to match the architectural style of the home or space.

These WoodTrac wood ceiling systems not only provide design flexibility and beautify; they meet stringent (FSC) Chain-of-Custody Certification requirements, as well. For more information, visit


Danver Stainless Steel Cabinetry

Danver Stainless Steel Cabinetry

Danver Stainless Steel Cabinetry
Another example of stylish design suited for any home comes from Danver, a leader in stainless steel cabinetry. Whether you’re searching for an entire outdoor kitchen unit or just a fresh take on cabinets for your indoor kitchen, Danver has you covered. With the powder-coated stainless steel cabinets that come in a wide variety of colors, door styles and finishes, Danver suits any style of home. The stainless steel cabinets from Danver offer durability, and easy installation, as well.

It’s no doubt that stainless steel cabinets evoke more of a modern and industrial look to a kitchen, and if that’s the look you’re going for, then look no further than Danver. The color and texture possibilities of Danver cabinets can give an existing kitchen a gorgeous face-lift. Danver cabinets have the ability to be painted in many attractive finishes from a standard color chart, or can be customized to suit your desired look.

If your home interior design is traditional, you may prefer Danver’s faux-wood finishes. The innovative faux-wood finish is an Italian painting process that transfers realistic grain imprints onto stainless steel, providing an authentic wood look. The faux-wood finishes make a rich statement on cabinet door inlays, and when surrounded by coated stainless steel, mix traditional and modern motifs in your kitchen décor. For more information, visit

Designing a custom new cottage, contemporary, traditional, prairie or log cabin style home? Or, are you expanding or renovating your cherished family home and looking for that perfect door, pergola or railing system to match the style?  Take a look at the products, visit the websites and see if you find the interior design or exterior home product you’ve been shopping for to match your distinctive home style.


Kleber & Associates is an Atlanta-based integrated marketing communications agency serving the home and building products industry for 25 years. Visit the Kleber & Associates website for the latest news and information about marketing for home and building products for consumers, architects, builders, remodelers, designers and manufacturers. Through our marketing, advertising, public relations and digital marketing expertise — we build better brands that build a better home.

For Gen Y, Design Counts

Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog! Here’s for Gen Y, Design Counts.

Millenials tend to gravitate toward products that present a great brand experience through design. Whether it’s packaging or a really great logo, interesting and different products sell to more than just Millenials, according to MediaPost’s Engage: Gen Y.

The popularity of design-focused blogs like Design*Sponge and Apartment Therapy and TV Shows like Design Star suggest that there is a Gen Y ethos around design that brands should really pay attention to when thinking about new products, services or experiences. Although design may not be important to some, Gen Y is always on the lookout for the next big thing.


Visit the K&A client website of Elmira Stove Works to enjoy a co-creative experience designing a new antique / retro kitchen!

Successful design embraces some of these philosophies:

1. Customization through self-expression. Gen Ys are instantly attracted to products and services that are highly customizable, unique and different. Think about the popularity of vintage—older products with history that can easily be modified to fit an individual’s style. Products that allow storytelling are highly coveted in a Gen Y’s mind.

2. Share this. Millenials are technology junkies who like to share everything. Gen Ys are social bees that crave co-creation and participation of a brand. Likewise, Millenials enjoy sharing their ideas with others. Pinterest, a virtual bulletin board that allows users to organize and share beautiful things found on the web, is a perfect example of Millenials’ need to document and share their lives.

3. Millenials aren’t always fast and furious. Not all things need to be about speed and surprise, including relationships with family and friends. In this crazy busy life, Gen Ys need to be reminded to slow down. Even though many relationships are created and maintained online, most Millenials actually cherish human relationships and interaction, face-to-face and virtually. Although a lunch or coffee date is nearly impossible when a Gen Y is busy, apps like Words with Friends enable real interactions that simulate these experiences.

4. Gen Ys have a good side. Despite what you may think, most Millennials are caring when it comes to socially conscious brands. Brands that embrace this philosophy are top of mind for most Gen Ys. TOMS shoes is a perfect example of a brand doing great things. For one pair of shoes purchased, the organization donates a pair of shoes to a child in need.

Cool brands that have distinct design simply sell. Although many Millenials may be skeptical, great design can grab their attention in an instant.

Check out the Kleber & Associates website for the latest news and information about marketing for home and building industry products for consumers, architects, developers, builders, remodelers, designers and manufacturers. Kleber & Associates is an integrated marketing communications agency serving the home and building products industry for 25 years. Through our marketing, advertising, public relations and digital marketing expertise — we build better brands that build a better home.

Choosing the Best Outdoor Projects to Enhance Your Home and Lifestyle

Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog! Here’s the latest on Choosing the Best Outdoor Projects to Enhance Your Home and Lifestyle

Sunnier skies appear to be on the horizon for homeowners, as interest rates remain low, home prices rise and the summer months hold the promise of a little extra time around the house. Whether for the purpose of adding value, enjoyment or expanded living space to the home, many homeowners are considering a wide range of indoor and outdoor projects. Making the right product decisions for the remodeling project and staying within the budget are important elements for guaranteeing complete satisfaction when the job is done.

If you choose to remodel, do your homework and carefully select your home renovation project to be sure to add value and enjoyment to your homeAccording to Katie Insogna, Vice President of Rubicon Construction Inc., kitchens and baths are typically the first spaces home owners renovate, but this type of renovation can be very expensive. “Most of our clients are looking to add more functional living space that they can use now, and know that when the house is sold the numbers will add up,” says Insogna.  “We have seen a large increase in basement renovation as well as adding outdoor living space by growing families that want to expand the footprint of their existing living area.”

Freshen Up Your Exterior Living Space
While tackling an entire basement may extend your living area, one of the most popular home replacement projects is updating the entry door.  For instant curb appeal, there is nothing like a beautiful – and durable – front entry door.

Barrington SierraFlagstaff Sierra 1 panel camber-top plank arch-topFiberglass Door.  Since your front door speaks volumes about your home, it is important to invest some time and learn about the improvements in door materials as well as the multitude of entry door designs available. According to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report, steel entry doors and fiberglass entry doors are both high-value projects. Steel doors topped the list of popular exterior remodeling projects with an estimated ROI of 85.6 percent. Fiberglass doors also give homeowners a nice ROI at 65.9 percent.

Gay Pennell Payne, owner of DIY Decorating Plan, is a particular fan of fiberglass doors and the Masonite Belleville Smooth BLS- Full Lite. According to Payne, “The options for homeowners are abundant for homeowners to make a home lifestyle statement.  Many of my clients are particularly fond of the Belleville® Fiberglass 2-Panel Door Collection and the Barrington® Sierra Fiberglass 1-Panel Plank Camber Top Door. The Belleville door combines great architecture with a high-definition panel profile, while the Barrington Sierra fiberglass door is designed to complement Southwest-, Spanish- or Mediterranean-style homes and has a beautiful mahogany texture.”

Whatever you home’s architectural style, you can create the door of your dreams from a range of Masonite door and glass design options, including sidelights and transoms.  And, you will enjoy its beauty and low maintenance for years.

Outdoor Living. A popular home renovation project involves moving outside to create an outdoor living space.  Outdoor living projects add character to any property, as well as a “‘wow” factor foSeafoam Green Stainless Steel Cabinets from Danverr entertaining. There are more products, styles and choices than ever when it comes to creating a fabulous outdoor living space.

Outdoor Kitchen.  Let’s start with an outdoor kitchen – there’s no need to go out when you can invite family and friends to gather at your house for a backyard cookout or dining alfresco under the stars. Whether the goal is to build a poolside bar for entertaining, or a fully equipped kitchen for a crowd to enjoy; an outdoor kitchen has been proven to add value and fun to the family home.

“Now, more than ever, we are seeing homeowners getting excited about designing their outdoor kitchens.  They want choices and ways to make the “look” their own,” said Mitch Slater, president and founder of Danver Stainless Outdoor Kitchens. “They love powder coat finishes in faux wood and a myriad of custom colors—these allow designers to create a luxurious look with little to no maintenance.”

Pergola-Flat-Rd-Canopy-CArchitectural Structures. Another way to make your outdoor space more inviting is to add an outdoor structure.  Many homeowners opt to have an extension of their indoor living or family rooms continue outdoors.  Pergolas, gazebos and arbors are a great way to add architectural interest and charm to your space; and, they add shelter to your outdoor kitchen and dining area.

In fact, Walpole PVC pergolas are available with retractable fabric canopies to provide shade and shelter when the weather changes.  By covering the space and furnishing it with stylish and comfortable furniture pieces, you can invite guests to relax outdoors, rain or shine.

“With today’s busy lifestyles, now more than ever people want to create spaces for relaxation with family and friends. A commanding outdoor presence as an entranceway, or outdoor room, a Walpole PVC pergola adds sophistication and charm to any home,” said Lou Maglio, president of Walpole Outdoors.  “In addition to our pergola kits, which are easy to install, we offer custom designed pergolas for special installations.”

Railing Infill. For that special view from the deck, homeowners may want to look at replacing their current wood picket railing with a stylish and durable alternative – CableRail infill. One look at CableRail steel cable assemblies by Feeney will make a homeowner a true believer in a minimalist design statement. Available in an array of standard and custom fabricated stainless steel cable assemblies, CableRail by Feeney is made of weatherproof, 316-grade stainless steel with an assortment of attachment hardware options.  It is a low-maintenance, environmentally friendly, and visually unobtrusive alternative to commonly used wooden or metal picket infill.

According to Katrina Ralston, president of Feeney, “CableRail infill is the greatest infill product and yet many people are unaware of its versatility, durability, strength and virtual invisibility.  From coast to coast, homeowners are excited to be able to enjoy their view and contractors love the easy installation.”

For more information about obtaining products for your next home renovation project, please visit:

Next month, Kleber & Associates will explore interior replacement and renovation projects on Marketing Home Products that add value and enjoyment to your indoor living.

Best From KBIS Report by Kleber and Associates

Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog! Here’s the latest on The Kitchen and Bath Industry Show 2013

Best From KBIS
Returning to New Orleans to commemorate the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s 50th Anniversary, The Kitchen and Bath Industry Show 2013 celebrated “Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez” as the good times indeed continued to roll amid a backdrop of positive economic momentum. This annual home and building products trade show is attended by many of the top companies industry-wide.

A limited supply of housing is helping to propel home prices even faster than wage growth… based on land, labor and materials cost constraints. In fact, home prices rose over 7 percent in the first 2 months of 2013, representing the biggest gain since 2006. Wallboard giant, USG, reported its first quarter net profit in more than 5 years, with Q1 operating income more than doubling year-over-year. Industry publishing leader Hanley Wood recently noted that home plan sales were outperforming budget “by far”, with a reminder that builders buy plans only when they’re ready to build.

Remarkable highlights from the KBIS 50th Anniversary Show emphasized Outdoor Living, Modern Convenience and Fashion-Forward Style from around the world…

Outdoor Living
Cabinetry representing virtually every wood species was on display from notable brands including Wellborn and Wood-Mode; as well as new exhibitor, Elmwood.

However, most impressive was the Stainless Steel Cabinetry from Brown Jordan Outdoor Kitchens… with powder coated color finishes designed to perfectly match their iconic patio furniture line.

Countertop favorites included Silestone’s new Suede Texture, offering a striking matte, velvet surface; and Cambria’s Berkeley Waterstone collection with hints of copper and bronze highlights shimmering amid its bed of sandy quartz tones.

Nonetheless, Danver’s Italian Volcanic Lava Stone tops — glazed in a myriad of durable, hand applied ceramic colors — were clearly the show’s most luxurious surfaces.

Modern Convenience
SecuRemote technology was integrated with Belwith Products’ Keeler Architectural Door Hardware... now providing us the flexibility to operate their dramatic entry lock sets using remote Bluetooth smartphone access.

Rev-A-Shelf introduced a host of “necessories” including the only brushed aluminum door mount waste container system with patent pending Rev-A-Motion soft open / soft close slides. Their Tresco lighting options included L.E.D., Xenon and Fluorescent lighting innovations for the ultimate in cabinet and storage convenience. And, its co-branding relationship with ProMob 3D software imMetalsinosaging gave us the opportunity to view each functional opening from unlimited angles. I understand there’s even an interactive, ergo-dynamic video interface which ProMob is currently developing from its Brazilian headquarters.

Fashion-Forward Style
Speaking of Brazil, drama-seeking KBIS heads really turned for Metalsinos Hardware— featuring semiprecious jewel insets, mined exclusively from the Amazon region. They’re apparently all the rage in Abu Dhabi… recently spotted in the new Abu Dhabi Armani towers!

Challenger Brands White Paper
Yes, as you can see, challenger brands were certainly making their mark alongside industry leaders at KBIS 2013, the popular home and building products trade show. I invite you to download our new White Paper, “How to Win as a Challenger Brand” by Kleber and Associates to learn more about a host of proven competitive marketing success strategies, designed to help your team cross the finish line first.


Marketing Luxury Brands: Marketers Must Reposition for Today’s Consumer

Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog! Here’s the latest on Marketing Luxury Brands.  Marketers Must Reposition for Today’s Consumer

Consumer confidence has been lagging since the beginning of the year, with the affluent in particular expressing skepticism in the overall state of the economy and their personal financial situation. In a recent study of affluent consumers by Unity Marketing, only 23 percent of respondents said they expected to spend more on luxury goods and services over the next twelve months.

Image via stockxchng

Image via stockxchng

With consumers cautious about spending on luxury items, what are marketers of luxury brands to do?

First and foremost, they must recognize consumers’ caution and work hard to help overcome their worries. Messaging should emphasize both high quality workmanship and long-lasting value. Pam Danzinger, president of Unity Marketing and author of Putting the Luxe Back in Luxury, says, “Luxury marketers must focus their marketing messages on quality and value this year as the affluent are reluctant to overindulge in extravagant spending. The high-end customers are signaling caution and marketers need to listen.”

Luxury products need to be positioned as a value proposition – keeping the image and essence of luxury while implying affordable prices. Tom Bodenberg, Unity Marketing’s chief consumer economist, says “People with means want to make smart buying decisions and playing up the quality and value of a brand while downplaying the pure ‘luxury’ of it is key for today.”

Want to learn more about marketing luxury brands? Visit Kleber & Associates on YouTube to learn how we can help you market your brand!

Lessons From Football: IMC

Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog! Here’s the latest on Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC)

Recently a character on the popular television show Necessary Roughness reaped the repercussions of assigning his tweets to someone who did not understand his “brand.”  The football player was getting “Likes”, but the postings were not acceptable to the NFL team for whom he played.  The football star was clueless to what the problem was.  “Likes” are good, aren’t they?  Not always, according to the NFL team management.  The tweets were not consistent with the image the NFL franchise carefully portrayed to its fans and the media.

Read more…

Learning from Sub-Zero Wolf and Wall Street

Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog! Here’s the latest on Learning from Sub-Zero Wolf and Wall Street

This month, Kleber & Associates was thrilled to launch the Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting of the new Atlanta flagship Sub-Zero and Wolf Appliance $4 million showroom. Enveloped in sprawling floor-to-ceiling windows, the 11,000 square foot state of the art facility is equipped with a live demo kitchen, advanced audiovisual training and a large lifestyle area featuring a live fire pit, wine grotto and private dining room. As industry leaders in refrigeration, wine storage and cooking equipment, the expansive showcase does much more than display the latest Sub-Zero and Wolf products. It is truly a destination for designers, architects and homeowners to gather and gain inspiration for one of the most important rooms of the home.

The S&P Homebuilding Stocks index is now up 43% this year… 125% above its October low. In fact MDC, Standard Pacific and Beazer Homes this past week reported combined over 2,000 homes closed in Q1, up from some 1,500 year-over-year. What’s more, new orders for the trio were up 1,000 from a year earlier!

It’s safe to say that when so much convincing evidence is being leveraged from the biggest and brightest in the space, our channel is clearly well on its way to increasing traction. It would be our pleasure to discuss your unique opportunities to drive success, as we near PCBC next month!

Through A Customer’s Eyes: Change Your Online Strategy in 18 Minutes

Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog!  Through A Customer’s Eyes: Change Your Online Strategy in 18 Minutes Here’s the latest.

Remember our discussion of the when-not-if mentality in social media? In case you missed it, the article talked about adapting your social media strategy at a moment’s notice based on current trends and your audience’s preferences. In that spirit, I believe that a social media strategy is not a static document… it is a dynamic mindset. It’s not a plan that you dust off once a year and tweak slightly. Your online action plan should be flexible, adaptable and responsive.

To avoid getting stuck in a rut and to keep your mind thinking dynamically about your (or your brand’s) online presence, here are 4 steps to help you continually adapt your online strategy in 18 minutes.

1. Be a customer.
Select a company that you regularly do business with as a customer. Spend one minute on its website. Why? That’s how long the average person will stay on one website. After the one minute, take another minute and make some notes for yourself. What do you remember? What caught your eye? Was it easy to navigate? At the end of one minute, did you want to keep surfing or were you ready to leave?
Total time: 2 minutes

2. Be a social customer.
Decide which two social networks you, personally, are most active on (not for business purposes, these should be your personal profiles where you share information about you). Pick a company that you regularly do business with as a customer; this should be a different company than used in step one. Search for the company on the two social networks.  Spend one minute on each network and look at the search results. What do you find? Does the company have a profile? What are people saying about it? What kind of content is the company producing? Again, write notes on your observations for one minute.
Total time: 3 minutes

3. Be a searching customer.
Pick your favorite search engine. Type in the name of a third company that you do business with. Read the title and description of each of the top 10 search results. Take one minute and make notes on what these 10 search results tell you, as a customer, about the company.
Total time: 2 minutes

4. Be a mobile customer.
Take out the mobile device you use most often. Select yet another company that you frequently patronize and visit its website on your mobile device. Spend one minute browsing. Are you taken to a mobile site? Is the site designed responsively? Are you prompted to download an app? What kind of information is available? Does the site load quickly or is your minute spent waiting to view a single page? Again, write one minute worth of notes.
Total time: 2 minutes

Repeat these four steps, this time using four of your brand’s competitors.

Now review your notes. What did you see that wowed you? What made you cringe? Open your company’s website and social networking pages. How can you make your online presence better using your notes from this exercise? What would you, the customer, want to see changed?

Keeping up with changes in online communication is a daunting task. Remember: it’s a continual process. Try to go through this exercise often because constant monitoring of the landscape will help you stay relevant.

Did you find something unexpected in your 18 minute search of online communication? Share it with us below!

Marketers Look to Children’s Books for Inspiration

Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog! Marketers Look to Children’s Books for Inspiration.  Here’s the latest.

What types of marketing techniques will really help your product stand out?  A recent article, “Pat the Bunny-It Can Help Your Agency,” gives us some insight on why stepping outside of the box is a great option for marketers.  Trying to gain the attention of a child is no easy task.  Children’s book authors and illustrators have the daunting task of creating something that will keep a child’s focus for more than two minutes.  “Pat the Bunny” is a popular children’s book that allows for an interactive experience, engaging children through their sense of touch.

Similarly, Dr. Seuss used vivid imagery to attract the attention of young children.  The bright colors and unique illustrations in his books can bring excitement to any child’s face.  So what does this have to do with marketers today?  Gaining the attention of a prospective client requires more than just words on a screen.  Much like children, audiences want to see something that stimulates their senses.  Marketers want their products to be remembered.  By simply adding an image or video to an email, you create a visually appealing experience for the viewer.  Add some creativity to those emails that may otherwise be overlooked… you may even create a long lasting impression on your clients.

How to win without the Middle Class

Citigroup calls it the “Consumer Hourglass Theory.” Others cite a “trading up, trading down” trend. No matter the label, America’s swiftly evolving consumer markets have created a fairly distinguishable divide.  And to win in this economy, you’re going to need to do it without the middle class.

Luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co. saw a 33% rise in earnings during its second fiscal quarter and as reported by the Wall Street Journal, “lower-priced silver baubles, once a favorite of middle-class shoppers… are now its weakest sellers in the U.S.” What’s more, Porsche sales management claimed “the highest order intake in the company’s history” and predicts that the numbers will climb higher still. Similarly, BMW and Mercedes-Benz executives reported positive sales, with no indication that demand may slow. And luxury retailer Saks promoted that sales for the first half of this year were up 11% and announced a return to profitability with great resiliency on the part of the affluent consumer.

So is the secret to success as simple as chasing the high-end target market? Not so fast.

Consider Dollar General and web discounters who attract value conscious consumers, capitalizing on the gap between the “haves” and “have nots” Even power player WalMart is mired in the middle. Have you seen the new Walgreens drugstore on Wall Street that sells sushi and offers nail salon services or visited a Costco that serves as a one-stop shop for both bulk pack toilet paper and a bottle of first-growth Bordeaux? Proctor & Gamble, for example, saw how shoppers’ habits were changing, and fundamentally changed how it develops and sells product. The company’s strategy now is to please both high-end and lower-end markets by offering home goods such as soap, toothpaste, razors and paper towels through distinctly price-differentiated brands.

The popularity of Target’s new Missoni collection introduction crashed its servers last week. Photo credit: Paul Nelson

At K&A, we’re seeing a considerable and distinct balance between opposite ends of the buyers’ market. There’s a bifurcation taking place in the U.S. whereas the clout of the middle class is seriously diminishing. Just this past week at the Casual Market show in Chicago, we witnessed higher end products and low price alternatives co-existing within the same experiential event… appealing not to the middle-of-the-road consumer, but instead to shoppers at one end of the spectrum and the other. Take EcoSmart and Eco-Fue, two brands represented at Casual Market. Both introduced new Bioethanol fireplaces. EcoSmart’s high price-point fireplace carries a suggested retail of around $1000 while Eco-Fue markets to a more price-conscious consumer with burners starting at $75. Both brands keenly recognize and are taking advantage of the split market phenomena, manufacturing profitable products to meet increasing demand at both ends of the economy.

While median household earnings fell for the third consecutive year according to the Census Bureau and more than 15% of Americans are living in poverty, consider that…

  • Luxury clothing and accessories purchases are demonstrating significant strength this year compared to a similar time period last year, according to  American Express Business Insights
  • Custom residential markets seem to be recovering faster than other types of housing with Southern California rising for the first time in some 14 months.
  • Luxury markets are experiencing greater stability and are demonstrating stronger numbers than other entry-level segments
  • Home sizes may be growing slightly, as 60% of residential architects say upper-end home sizes are increasing or staying the same