Monday, June 23, 2014

let the seller beware……

Caveat emptor, let the buyer beware, is a phrase most of us have known for most of our lives. It is a message that the buyer must be vigilant when buying or using services.

Over the years, consumers gained footing and power through organizing groups, TV action lines and publications such as Consumer Reports. While these avenues of information were well meaning and sometimes a little sticky, they never really changed the way business was done.

Well, times have changed.

Over the weekend, I saw a post on Facebook about how a store manager from Walgreen’s denied entry of a veteran with a service dog into the store. The store manager cited store policy and stood firm. There was video.

Within hours, this video and story went viral on Facebook. Walgreen’s quickly addressed the incident and said it would investigate, saying it is not their policy to deny service dogs in their stores. In other words, it was a mistake by an employee.

But, that didn’t stop the story. Even after Walgreen’s acknowledged the situation, re-postings continued and continued. Millions of people saw and made judgment of Walgreen’s based on this one incident, not of a corporate policy or decision, but a judgment error.

Companies can spend decades developing their brand reputation with sterling performance and a single incident can tarnish that in a heartbeat. Even Target, with strong customer loyalty, found the wrath of consumers with a security breach and a CEO was dismissed.

What does that mean to you and me? As consumers, you are now given the club to go after anyone for any reason. Sometimes, anger and vindictiveness will supersede common sense.

You need to know the difference between the act of a person and the act of a corporation. Sometimes the person with the name tag is representing something other than the company’s intentions. Most companies are more than willing, and in most cases, want to hear of a rogue employee’s actions and will take action.

For companies, it’s a new day. You have a new accountability. The consumer has power they’ve never seen or had. They will use it, sometimes wisely, sometimes unwisely. You need to communicate your core values to your customers and employees, and you have to be accountable to each and every decision, each and every employee, and each and every consumer.

You have to communicate and create access to affected consumers and employees to reach the proper outcomes. That doesn’t mean you have to roll over. But, rather, it means you have to place emphasis and attention to areas other than the bottom line.

In the end, if each part of this equation works properly, there should be balance between company, employee and customer, with each having their say.

- Tom Erdman

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

How it all Started

It all started with an idea – there must be a better product solution than both the sleeper sofa and the futon.

Sleeper sofas can be great looking with excellent seating comfort, but try converting it to a bed. And once it’s all set up, unless you enjoy sleeping on a steel bar, you aren’t in for the best night’s sleep. As for the Futon, while converting to a bed isn’t terribly cumbersome, the look can be clunky and more appropriate for a beer-stained college dorm than someone’s living area at home.

How about a hybrid, we thought. A nice looking product in the seated position and something just as comfortable as a bed. We started with some high end fabrics and great futon designs, but that didn’t move the bar (please excuse the pun). Then we ran into Furniture Guru Extraordinaire, Tom Erdman, who designed the Convert-a-Couch® (CAC).

CAC was exactly what we were looking for – a nice looking sofa, finger touch conversion to a bed and premium mattress comfort. We partnered with Tom and Handy Living was born. A UPSable and easy to assemble product line, perfect for online retailers, was in the works.

Now, after years of serving the online world with smart design and ridiculously easy assembly, we are moving into the big, bad world of selling to traditional brick and mortar retailers. So, while Handy Living is growing up, we maintain our core as a new, startup company –intense curiosity, desire to solve problems for the consumer, willingness to be unique.

We are as excited as ever about the future and look forward to serving you along the way.

-Ken Shonfeld

Friday, September 27, 2013

July 2013 Las Vegas Showroom - A614

Introducing the Boh Rhap™

Chairs, chairs, chairs

Functional and stylish

An array of colors to chose from

Experience it for yourself 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Welcome to the new Handy Living website

About a year ago, we made a decision to “brand” ourselves. Lucky for us, we hired an advertising agency to help us along with the process. If it had been up to me, I would have put our logo on stuff and called it a brand.

Well, with apologies to Lee Corso, not so fast my friend.

Our agency, The Monogram Group, put us through all kinds of think tank stuff to come up with why we exist and why we’re special, what we want people to think of us, and how we deliver, not what we sell and how much we can make on it.

And, over the past year, we’ve been refining that message until we came up with the “zeitgeist” (not my word) of our brand. I think I’d call it the guts, or the soul.

In essence, we want to tell you our story, the brand of Handy Living, the reason of us. And, here it is. We want you to believe we’re smart. We want you to know we care for the environment. We want you to understand that our brand is about delivering value. We want you to love what you get from us. And, we want you to believe we think of you in a way others don’t, that we honor your intelligence and treat you with respect.

So, we came up with three things: Less >More, Smart comes in Handy, and Smart Ideas for Small Space Living. That’s it. That’s the essence of our brand. That’s who we are.

I’ll cover more at a later time. But, first, I want you to take a look at our website and see if those ideas come through. Take a look at the color. Take a look at the style. Take a look at the function. Take a look at the scale. Take a look at Handy Living.

- Tom Erdman