Writing a column about the HFA’s membership proposition is a big responsibility that’s not taken lightly. There are sleepless nights when the deadline is approaching. There are cold sweats as I wait to hear from the editor to see if what was submitted makes the cut or not. As an association, our biggest responsibility is to you. You’re at the heart of what we do, how we do it, and especially, why we do what we do.
So, here’s one of our whys: The Home Furnishings Association’s reason for being is to drive the long-term success of the home furnishings industry. Thank you, Dan McCann, HFA’s director of marketing and communication, for a succinct phrase that makes sense to me for the time being.
Now that we know a why for the Association, what happens next? Let’s match up what we do and a few of the how we dos with this phrase.
What drives the long-term success of this industry?
Retailers who run profitable businesses. The Home Furnishings Association affects that with money-saving services like bankcard processing, consumer financing, business insurance, employee uniforms, office supplies, business equipment, and operational supplies for painting, shipping, warehousing and delivering. Our Buying Source program helps more than half of HFA’s members with off-of-invoice discounts and volume rebates for retailers doing what they must do—buy product to meet the needs of their customers.
Retailers who make a difference in their communities. The HFA helps bring retailers together to talk shop. Comparing solutions and problems almost always leads to better business. Better businesses are good for the communities they are part of. Employees are people who pay taxes, provide leadership, support local causes. These are things HFA members do as a normal course of business. Most wouldn’t have it any other way. HFA also offers HR advice so retailers can take exceptional care of their employees. Members can use industry specific job descriptions and intern program how-tos to develop the skills of their employees and to make good hiring decisions. Continuing education for both management and sales staff is available through webinars, conference and market seminars, and articles in RetailerNOW.
Retailers who know how to connect their customers with the best home furnishings solutions. Retailers who are invaluable to their customers are drivers of the industry. Curated content in the HFA members-only site offers ideas for retailers to use for their customers’ benefit. HFA’s staff members are committed to finding information that helps retailers do their work better.
An environment that is conducive to running profitable, effective and satisfying business in the furniture industry. The voices of many create good business for each one. There is a future for businesses that work for those that toil in them, both owner and employee. The HFA staff coordinates with legislative bodies, regulatory groups and other entities that impact the retail environment through lobbying efforts, serving on boards, and keeping the interest of the home furnishings community top of mind.
I’ve long been inspired by Maya Angelou’s quote, “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” What’s the big deal about associations? We work hard to learn “better” so we can “do better” and that bodes well for the long-term success of the home furnishings industry—your industry.
If this sounds like a group you’d like to associate with, become part of the Home Furnishings Association.