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Thread: Going Big -- The Restoration Hardware Way

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009

    Default Going Big -- The Restoration Hardware Way

    The New Yorker just published an article on Restoration Hardware's catalogs, and its giant new showrooms:
    The first stirrings of dissent came from the UPS drivers. In May, they began posting on Brown Café, an anonymous message board, about the thirty-three-hundred-page catalogue bundles sent out by the furniture company Restoration Hardware. “My building for the last few days is slammed with RH catalogues (17 pounds each) with another trailer full coming in next week,” one wrote. “We’ve been running helpers to try to keep up. I can’t believe we’re the only ones getting pounded with these.” Shift workers who unloaded the pallets complained of back strain. One driver described orders to give the catalogues to passersby, if necessary, rather than return them to UPS distribution centers. “Was loaded down with those darn mags again today,” another wrote. “I see them all over my route in the recycle bins.”

    Then, customers rebelled. In Palo Alto, seven volunteers returned two thousand pounds of the catalogues to a Restoration Hardware store in one day, on hand trucks. Erin Gates, an interior designer in Boston, rallied her blog readers to remove their names from the mailing list, explaining that the catalogues are useless, because they don’t contain product dimensions. Some who received the books have proposed alternate uses: dog toy, home-fitness equipment. Melanie Johnson, an origami artist in California, is rolling the pages into paper-bead jewelry. A UPS driver suggested the catalogue would make a handy wheel chock in an emergency.
    The author quips, "Those who actually look at the catalogue photos will find page after page of sofas and chairs, upholstered in shades of Belgian linen ranging from beige to greige.".
    Now, [CEO Gary] Friedman is closing normal-sized Restoration Hardware stores and building huge, expensive locations that he calls galleries. As regular malls struggle to attract shoppers, he has argued, stores need to enchant their customers. In New York, a newly renovated gallery opened in June in the Flatiron District, at three times its former size. A gallery in Boston, which opened last year, occupies forty thousand square feet in the former New England Museum of Natural History. It features one hundred and fifty chandeliers and an old-fashioned elevator that delayed the store’s opening. “Elevators of this kind are not in existence nor reproduced, which has created complications,” a spokeswoman told the Boston Globe. Restraint, it seems, is not Restoration Hardware’s style.

  2. #2
    Cookie Guest

    Default Re: Going Big -- The Restoration Hardware Way


    They keep sending me these giant catalogs every year. I don't think I ever signed up for it. What's even weirder is, we moved and somehow RH is aware of that and keeps sending the catalogs to our new address.

    I really want to bring the catalogs back to their store and tell them not to send me any more of those. What a waste of money and resources. Husband says it's not worth the trip, so the catalogs go straight into the recycling bin...
    Last edited by Cookie; 08-13-2014 at 01:15 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Alexandria VA

    Default Re: Going Big -- The Restoration Hardware Way

    Yes, they target demographic zip codes with distribution, typically by either home value, median income, or both. I used to advertise fairly frequently in The Washington Post until the typical ad became too costly, and I would select my zones based on those criteria. That cuts down on the number of units and the cost by doing so - for example no point in sending catalogs of ads of high-end furniture into neighborhoods and zip codes full of Section 8 housing.

    I have always wanted to expand my store and try the Mega-Gallery thing, but I would have to risk everything to do so - and if it fails as it has with so many furniture stores that attempt it, then one is out of business. If you can pull it off though, its quite a coup.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty-six years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum.

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