Nice Link Expands Quick Ship
See story published in Home News Now, August 9, 2021ORLANDO, Fla. – Nice Link Home Furnishings highlighted its expanded U.S. quick ship program in a release this week, and noted how the company’s investments in technology and operations have helped it double year-over-year sales and helped retailers with their bricks-and-clicks strategy.
“We have ample inventory to support our brick-and-mortar retail partners who have always been a top priority for us, and we do all we can to service their needs for both their physical sales floor and the infinite one that’s on their websites,” Nice Link President Jay Carlson, said in the release.
Launched in 2019, the quick ship program out of Nice Link’s Tupelo, Miss., warehouse has maintained a consistent flow of product from its China factory, the company said. The program started with about a dozen top-selling upholstery frames and has since grown to 60. Items ship in 24-48 hours from when the order is received.
“Since our program was established and fully operational prior to the pandemic, we’ve had a strong advantage over others scrambling in response to the sudden surge in demand and shipping challenges.”
The expanded assortment includes stationary leather sofas, sectionals, loveseats and chairs in a variety of top-performing styles from the classic Chesterfield adorned with button-tufting and nailheads to the popular mid-century modern and contemporary looks with clean lines and simpler finish details.
Quick Ship is prominently featured on the company website as a main menu item, and the current assortment is viewable with images and basic product information such as dimensions and cover options.
Over the past 18 months, Nice Link has invested in technology, operations and customer support to expand its warehouse program and improve its overall efficiencies and service, and Carlson said those investments are paying off with growth for the company and its customers.
Carlson declined to disclose sales figures, noting Nice Link is privately held. “However, anyone who took on the risks and gamble to bring in inventory will sell it as everyone is clamoring for anything they can get,” he told Home News Now.
“Our warehouses are turning goods immediately as soon as they come in. With brick and mortar retail now on the program and an ever growing e-comm biz, I assure you our sales are more than doubling every year.”
Modularity, performance fabrics and leather choices will be motion drivers next year
See story published in Furniture Today, December 8, 2020HIGH POINT — As with stationary seating, consumers’ renewed focus on making their home a refuge of comfort make motion seating’s success a good bet next year. The challenge resources in the reclining furniture category face right now — keeping up with demand — is familiar to the rest of the industry, and vendors plan to increase their capacity in anticipation of continued consumer appetite for their product.
Jackson Furniture/Catnapper, for example plans to add an additional 25% capacity to handle business in 2021. Senior Vice President of Merchandising Anthony Teague said the domestic manufacturer’s plants already have been shipping at a weekly rate 25% higher than pre-COVID levels for months, and he expects that to continue for several reasons.
“First, the ‘nesting’ effect that the COVID-19 pandemic has created has led to robust sales, and we believe as the virus spread worsens over the winter, people will do all they can to make their homes more comfortable for their families,” Teague said. “Also, we remain convinced that another stout stimulus bill is inevitable and, when it hits business, will sky-rocket to new heights. That boost, in addition to the strong housing numbers we are seeing right now, should propel us through 2021.”
Jay Carlson, president of importer Nice Link Home Furnishings, reported similar numbers and expectations.
“Despite the starts and stops in 2020, especially as China shut down in February and the U.S. shutdown in March, Nice Link is still projected to finish the year up almost 25%,” he said, adding that with its current backlog extending into June, 2021 should be a vibrant year. “With what is already on the books coupled with how our products are performing at retail, we expect our motion category to be up again in 2021 by an additional 25%.”
He added that while Nice Link’s overall upholstery mix on the retail floors splits evenly between stationary and motion, “our actual orders skew motion to about a 70/30 ratio.”
While La-Z-Boy does not give guidance or comment on category business specifics in terms numbers, Vice President of Merchandising Paula Hoyas believes motion will continue to be a category that consumers continue to put their disposable dollars towards during the coming year, and again, it’s all about comfort.
“You can’t beat the comfort of a quality built motion sofa,” she said. “It is loud and clear that consumers are investing in their homes with comfortable furniture that the entire family can enjoy and relax on. Motion fits the bill perfectly.”
La-Z-Boy, she added, will build on that by offering consumers a lot of choice and make it easy for them to add on upgrades.
Motion success factors
With function a given, what else will drive motion business next year in terms of fabrics, leathers and look? In addition to the category’s inherent comfort attributes, look for continued growth in more stylish goods. And while leather seems to predominate, performance fabrics will play a bigger role in covers.
“In terms of fabrics, I believe it is going to remain focused on enhanced performance categories,” Hoyas said, noting several examples in La-Z-Boy’s offerings.
She pointed to the company’s i-Clean collection, which is at an all-time high for percentage of sales, and its sustainable Conserve fabric addresses the need to recycle plastic bottles. The latest antimicrobial fabrics are another performance story that Hoyas said “will no doubt continue to escalate in importance to our consumers.”
Leathers, she added, always be a popular choice for motion, continue to evolve.
“There are amazing choices in leather, and some of ours also can carry a performance story,” Hoyas said. “The luxury of leather remains appealing to consumers. It is all about having that incredible hand with gorgeous color choices that will complement any room.”
Teague identified two keys driving Jackson Catnapper’s motion business going into 2021.
“First, our top grain Italian leather business is outstanding,” he said. “Opting to merchandise our line exclusively with more luxurious authentic Italian leathers has helped us create our own niche by giving the consumer much nicer products at affordable prices. Also, to navigate away from some of the smaller import leather frames, we have merchandised our leather program around larger-scaled frames that provide more perceived value to our dealers and amazing comfort to the end-user.”
Also, Catnapper is having unprecedented success with stationary looking motion featuring styles with cleaner lines covered in fabric combinations vastly different from what the industry has long stereotyped as an acceptable “motion look.”
“By covering motion frames with fabrics most would consider for stationary living room applications, we are bringing a new consumer to the motion category,” Teague said. “Fashionable motion actually has broad appeal and we are proud to be an innovator in this category which, as we say, is getting ‘motion out of the basement and into the living room’ for families to enjoy.
“The idea that style and comfort should co-exist rules our product development process not just in stationary, but now more than ever in motion as well.”
The growing demand for leather, more designer styling and stationary-looking motion, and power function also are drivers at Nice Link.
“These are things Nice Link does very well, and as a result we have continued to win more slots on the retail floors,” Carlson said. “Leather motion has exploded with many retailers offering a lot of choices in that category. We are seeing a new category of motion with more designer looks that appeal to the female buyer – and less of the man-cave look – including more high-leg, wood-to-floor, stationary looks, designer fabrics and the addition of pillows.”
Furniture Today also asked which pieces — i.e., chairs, recliners, sofas, loveseats, sectionals — will be most important in the new year for the motion category, and how that mix might change.
As in stationary, sectionals and modular configurations should continue growing in 2021. Sectionals are the most important configuration in Nice Link’s line, for example, currently at 60% of its motion business.
“As consumers are moving out to the suburbs and into larger homes and spaces, they are looking for the large motion sectional with high design look and all the comfort features of power recline, headrest, footrest, USB charging and more,” Carlson said, noting some differences between retail channels. “Brick-and-mortar retailers are still serving those larger home consumers in the suburbs.
“The traditional living room group with sofa, love and chair tend to be seen in the smaller spaces and urban areas, and this is what is doing well in the e-comm business,” he continued. “As Nice Link serves both brick and mortar and e-comm, we’re seeing strong growth with this (60/40) mix.”
On our stationary side of Jackson’s business, Teague pointed out that modular groups are driving volume, and that will reflect in the Catnapper motion segment.
“As we continue to blur the lines between stationary and motion, it makes sense that our biggest emphasis in the Catnapper reclining line well be on motion sectionals,” he said. “There are so many opportunities to expand in the sectional arena: custom-friendly true modular sectionals, price-point oriented single-configuration sectionals, top-grain Italian leather, stationary-looks featuring space saver sectionals. The opportunities are broad for sure.”
Modulars have been a growing category within La-Z-Boy’s motion line, and Hoyas does not see that changing.
“Consumers can customize the exact configuration that best fits their room and their family,” she said. “Movie watching with the family on super comfortable motion modular covered in a performance fabric is hard to beat: comfort, function and peace of mind in case the popcorn or soda spills.”
That said, not every household can accommodate a large modular configuration, so power-motion sofas remain very relevant.
“The beauty of decorating one’s home with a sofa is that you can then choose to have complementary recliners, or perhaps loveseats with consoles, be part of decorating plan,” Hoyas said.
Nice Link Powers on in Motion Niche
See story published in Furniture Today, October 19, 2019
ORLANDO, Fla. — Fabric and upholstery resource Nice Link Home Furnishings is making a powerful statement in power motion with more than 30 leather motion groups at October High Point Market.
In addition to a fabric mill, in-house design and cut-and-sew operation for leather and fabric, the vertically integrated manufacturer has 20 upholstery production lines at its 1.5 million-square-foot campus in Haining, China. The company, owned and run by industry veteran Echo Yu, has worked to offset the impact of tariffs through focusing on development of distinct power motion designs with stationary styling, top grain leathers and the finest attention to detail from factory floor to its U.S.-based sales team.
In its market showroom on the 10th floor of Market Square Textile Tower, Nice Link’s leather motion introductions will incorporate various styles including contemporary and transitional with traditional elements, all covered with leathers in different grades and finishes.
Nice Link President Jay Carlson said he expects strong performance from leather groups that resemble stationary frames with an off-the-floor look that appeal to more women who want cleaner lines and more sophisticated style in addition to comfortable and functional seating.
“Designing and delivering quality product at a strong value has always been our strength, and over the past year with the challenging market conditions we have worked tirelessly to continue to deliver that value to our partners with solutions that mitigate retail increases,” said Carlson.
The 4157 power motion group is an example of the Nice Link’s approach to strong product and value. It has transitional style with traditional elements featuring power recline and headrest functions with USB port, covered in top-grain leather with a wipe-off finish. The medium-width track arms gently slope along the length of the arm and front, accented by hand-applied nail heads, down to three-inch tapered wood legs. Suggested retail on the power motion sofa in leather is $1,599 to $1,999.
In a casual contemporary style, power motion group 4130 features curved track arms and 4-inch chrome legs. It offers power recline and headrest with optional power lumbar. The 82-inch power motion sofa in leather has a suggested retail price of $1,399 to $1,699.
No Time Like Showtime
See story published in Furniture Today, November 18, 2019
HIGH POINT, N.C. — Nice Link Home Furnishings is introducing its largest fabric lineup to date. In addition to several new jacquards, Nice Link has made a sizable investment into body cloths with a variety of special novelty yarns, not only in the filling, but also in its dobby warps, giving the brand more luxe, modern body cloths at competitive price points.
In the collections, sets such as Studio Retreat and Reimagined Classics take fresh approaches to common designs and patterns. Reimagined Classics touches on transitional designs and motifs presented and constructed in a more relaxed way, and Studio Retreat encourages “painting outside the lines” with surprising color combinations and contemporary artful design elements.
Another collection, Modern Naturals, was designed to offer fabric combinations that work together to create a depth of layering in pattern, scale and texture through eclectic combinations of linen and polyester yarns.
Nice Link Reaches 1 Million Yards for Echo Essentials Fabric
See story published in Furniture Today, December 5, 2018
ORLANDO, Fla. — Nice Link Home Furnishings, a leading resource to top furniture brands for upholstery fabric and leather, hit a major milestone of selling over a million yards of its best-selling Echo Essentials Handwoven chenille body cloth fabric in 2018 alone.
In high demand for the past two seasons, the Echo Essentials Handwoven chenille continues to be a proven winner at retail, said company officials. With several weeks left in the year, the Handwoven chenille with its chenille warp and unique slub has recorded over a million yards sold to date in 2018.
“While we have many winners in the chenille woven category over the past seasons, its uniqueness with regard to the aesthetic look coupled with the extremely soft hand has made the Handwoven body cloth one of those ‘lightning in a bottle’ type upholstery fabrics,” said Jay Carlson, president of Nice Link Home Furnishings.
Three additional colors of the hugely popular handwoven were introduced at ITA Showtime that just concluded, including a new organic parchment color way. Additionally, Nice Link debuted three new printed poly velvet patterns and four new collections that Carlson said were among their strongest introductions in years.
The Vintage Remix collection is inspired by both vintage textiles and mid-century modern geometrics, featuring a current mix of ethnic and contemporary designs. The Relax & Recharge collection helps build a solid foundation to enhance the space and create a restful oasis with nature motifs such as tropical leaves and over-scaled florals complemented with more contemporary geometrics. The Global Entry collection reflects influences from around the world and creates a textural and sophisticated room setting. The High Drama collection shows off bold contrast, saturated colors and the Yin and Yang of the color wheel.
Nice Link Reveals Modern Hues and Moods for Showtime
See story published in Furniture Today, May 10, 2019
ORLANDO, Fla. – Nice Link Home Furnishings, a leading resource to top furniture brands for upholstery fabric and leather, is introducing four collections at the upcoming ITA Showtime that offer a range of moods and hues for the modern lifestyle.
“We’re seeing a return to neutrals, and our four new collections this season are designed to pair well with neutrals while playing up tones and textures that set the mood of the home, from casual modern to sophisticated comfort,” said Jay Carlson, president of Nice Link.
The Moody Hues collection is built on the color Indigo, which remains a widely popular and successful coloration for its rich depth in blue tones and easy pairing with the most popular neutrals – grays, browns, whites and creams. Globally inspired with modern construction, the collection includes casual and modern interpretations of traditional patterns.
With featured colors in desert and terra cotta hues, Rustic Redefined collection warms up any room and brings the twist of boho vibe, said lead designer Stephanie Puckett.
“The collection has the versatility of a transitional group that can be taken to traditional with the proper color and setting. Traditional patterns have updated construction and can be mixed and matched for modern appeal,” she added.
The Modern Luxe group encompasses rich materials, modernist style and skilled craftsmanship. The jacquard pillow patterns of this collection feature mostly geometric patterns designed to handle more bold color combinations.
The Seeking Sanctuary collection speaks to the trend in creating sophisticated and elegant comfort in the home. This group emphasizes lighter weight constructions with the linen look and texture playing a key role and layering for a restful, serene style.
Nice Link will premiere these new collections and more from Echo Essentials in its showroom in Market Square Textile Tower, 10th floor, during ITA Showtime, June 2-5.