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October 2018—

How to make the most of your furniture industry cruise

One of the biggest benefits of being a member of the Home Furnishings Association is also the hardest to define and easiest to overlook: Retail advocacy.

It’s a hard nut to crack because whether we have 2,000 members or 20,000, we’re looking out for the best interests of home furnishings retailers and the successes we achieve benefit the industry. Member or not.

Follow me through this analogy. The furniture industry is like a cruise ship. As a furniture retailer you’re a passenger. You signed on for this cruise the day you opened or took over a store, but you have no control over where this ship is going or how it’s getting there.

That’s ok, you think. You like the cruise and you’re doing your own thing. Let someone else decide where the ship is going and do the work required to get there; you’re going to catch a show or take advantage of the all-you-can-eat buffet.

After a while you notice the boat’s heading north, it’s getting colder. This isn’t what you signed up for, you wanted sun and fun and a warmer climate. You grumble a bit and then get back to doing your own thing. Sitting by the pool the next day you read in the paper that the ship avoided a nasty storm to the south by heading north.

At some point you realize you’re tired of sitting pool side and you want to help decide where the boat is going and how it’s going to get there. That’s where the Home Furnishings Association comes in.

HFA members’ voices count when decisions are being made. Their perspectives guide our efforts. They’re steering the ship.

The Home Furnishings Association is your advocate. We’re your champion, supporter, spokesperson, and crusader. The HFA monitors state and national regulatory and legislative issues that directly affect you and your business; we watch out for the things that could rock the boat.

Members get the inside scoop and critical analysis of important issues. We’re guided by the Government Relations Action Team, a volunteer group of retail members who are passionate about influencing the laws and regulations that affect retailers and the industry and by the expertise and insight of our lobbyists.

Here’s what our members care about: marketplace fairness; fair trade; employment/labor issues; formaldehyde emissions and flammability in furniture; data breach; furniture tip-over standards; California’s Prop 65 and TB117-2013; supply chain issues and tax and healthcare reform.

HFA members have successfully navigated the waters to prevent the repeal of debit swipe fee reform and helped prevent the Border Adjustment Tax from coming to fruition. They’ve advocated for Marketplace Fairness and fair trade.

The Association supports member efforts by hosting an annual Washington fly-in where members meet with key legislators, regulatory agencies, and congressional staff to discuss industry issues. We partner with other retail groups and coalitions in opposition of proposed rulings and legislation that create increased burdens on members, especially regarding labor and employment issues. We work with the American Home Furnishings Alliance on issues including formaldehyde in furniture, upholstered furniture flammability, and other furniture safety standards.

Continuing with the seafaring analogy, the HFA is the lighthouse that warns you of dangerous areas; it’s the safety speech you must sit through your first day aboard the ship; it’s the life jacket you don when the sea gets rough and it’s the life boat you take when all else fails.

So, if you’re on the furniture industry cruise and you’re tired of shuffle board or sitting pool side, give one of the membership specialists at the Home Furnishings Association a call.

About the Author

Lisa Casinger
Lisa Casinger is the government relations liaison for HFA and the editorial director for RetailerNOW. Contact her at lcasinger@myhfa.org.