Steinhafels’ “Direct Designs” Furniture – It’s More Than Just a Slogan!

Here at Steinhafels, our Merchandising Team and Buyers are always looking for ways to bring you the best products, at the greatest value. We pride ourselves on carrying a vast array of styles, and staying on top of the latest trends, while still offering traditional pieces as well. As humans we are all unique, and our stores reflect that – offering something for everyone!


You may have noticed “Direct Designs” in our ads, and on signs across our stores. It’s not just a slogan – the title has true meaning to back it up. It’s a special branding we’ve had on many of our items for awhile, but we wanted to go more in depth into what it actually MEANS.


In a nutshell, “Direct Designs,” are a result of our buyers traveling across the nation, and the world, to find the best manufacturers. This eliminates the middleman and passes the savings directly to you, our customers.

One of the coolest things I’ve learned since starting to work here is that our buyers travel quite a bit – across North America, and even Asia, to develop relationships directly with the factories producing the beautiful goods we sell in our stores.


The two main furniture categories that highlight this aspect of our business are Upholstery and Case Goods (Dining and Bedroom). Elaine Haskey and Dawn Still are the lead buyers in each area, respectively. Thanks to these busy ladies for taking the time to explain just what we mean by “Direct Designs.”

The main idea behind “Direct Designs” is eliminating the middleman. Can you briefly talk about this, and why it’s such a good thing for us AND the customer?

“It’s good for the customer when we work directly with factories, because every dollar saved goes back into the quality, features and benefits of the product. In essence we pass the savings on to the customer, and that equates to more value. It’s also good for us because we have something that’s unique and available only at Steinhafels.”


Our buyers travel the U.S. and the world, finding some of the best deals and most unique items. Do you like that part of the job?

“Yes, traveling to the factories allows us to build relationships and tweak the product design, as well as communicate our quality standards.”

For Bedroom and Dining Room specifically, what makes these products special?

“The products reflect the latest trends and features, and we can bring these to the customer quickly.”


For Upholstered Furniture specifically, what makes these products special?

“The products feature higher quality materials: Better grade fabrics and leathers, generous padding around the frames, and the newest technology in reclining furniture.”

Pat approved DDSN 1429 Dover 231473909

As a buyer, is it a rewarding feeling to be so involved in the design and creation process of these items?

“It is a great feeling to be involved in the creation of furniture that’s up to our quality standards –  furniture that we would own personally.”

“Direct Designs” is selling well. Why do you think this is?

“When customers see our Direct Designs product, they quickly realize that they are getting a great product at a great price.”


I presume a lot of furniture stores have similar programs – what makes ours special?

“Actually, very few furniture stores in the nation have a similar program. For it to work, the company must be large enough to buy in quantity and negotiate great prices.”

Thanks Dawn and Elaine for giving us just a little peek into the process of picking the fabulous furniture we sell in our stores. Come check out our “Direct Designs” selection, today!


To Market, To Market… Hot New Trends

As someone who is still relatively new to the retail furniture world, I can truly say that some aspects of the business still really fascinate me.

One of those aspects is how the heck we decide WHAT to put in our stores! I mean our superstores are huge, and we carry some of the top furniture lines in the business, but at the end of the day, there is still a ton of furniture out there that we don’t carry.

What I’ve learned is that it’s a VERY precise business. Our buyers do a ton of research to determine the best fits for our store.

All of that research culminates in Market, which is held several times a year–in North Carolina and Las Vegas.

For this blog, we’re going to take a look at the most recent Market–the Spring High Point Market in beautiful NC. According to the Market’s website, more than 75,000 people flock to this small Carolina town every six months to take part in one of the furniture industry’s biggest trade shows. The “Market” is made up of 180 buildings, 11.5 million square feet of showspace, and 2,000+ exhibitors from more than 100 different countries.


Upon their return from the Tar Heel State, I asked our buyers to give me a little sneak peek into what’s hot this season, and what it’s like to be at Market.

Elaine Haskey, Upholstery

“In the world of Upholstery we were really excited to see Boho, or ‘nuevo hippie.’ It’s very colorful, almost Middle Eastern looking…like items you would find in a bazaar. The pieces are made from very thick fabrics full of color.”

-Modern looks that span all price ranges, both in fabric and in leather. That modern look is also coming into motion furniture.

-Power lumbar continues to be big in motion. Power recline, power headrest, and power lumbar allow the lower back to be supported.

-BOLD colors: Like chartreuse, yellow, and burgundy

-BLUE is still really big, which confirms what we’ve been doing as a company


Dawn Still, Case Goods

“Being in Case Goods, what we’re looking at is new wood finishes, distressing of the wood, and the wire brush look. It literally looks like someone beat up the piece of wood. Grays are hot. Also a dry finish, and tons of wood species: Acacia, walnut, bleached white oak, and mango to name a few. We are also seeing more multi-functional pieces.”

Jenny Kordus, Accent Furniture

“Accent Furniture vendors are really focusing on multi-purpose pieces–like bookcase piers, cabinets that could be storage or wine racks, tables that can also be used for the office, and that’s just to name a few. Farmhouse is still a big trend, as well as whites and off-white. And barn doors are everywhere!”

Teri Hayden-Kalis, Rugs and Accessories

The trends I saw repeated the most in the showrooms:

-BLUE: All shades of blue accessories and rugs everywhere–Navy, Turquoise, Peacock   

-GOLD/ANTIQUE BRASS: Gold and brass are back, as you may have been noticing on all of your clothing lately (zippers, buttons, etc)… and showrooms are also filled with brass accents and accessories.


-MONGOLIAN FUR PILLOWS: These are everywhere! They come in every color, go with anything, and add tons of texture.

This is some great insight into the hottest furniture trends for this spring and summer. But I also wanted to know a little bit more about the market itself. What is it REALLY like to attend, and what are some tips for those who may be checking out Market for the first time?

The biggest reaction from our buyers: Wear comfy shoes!! Buyers typically log about 6 miles a day, walking from appointment to appointment.

This spring, our buyers also had to compete with rain basically the entire time. When you compile that with 12-15 hour days, it takes some of the glamour out of the experience!

High Point Market Spring 2017 pic with courtesy

But all of our buyers agree Market is a great event for our industry, and a vital part of networking and developing relationships with vendors.

Jenny says it’s also a chance for the buyers to grow closer. “We don’t always get to hang out at work, so it’s nice to be together, have ‘family’ dinner.”

Teri adds, “My favorite thing about market is seeing all of the new products and designs displayed in gorgeous showrooms. Most showrooms are reset and redesigned for every market.”


And believe it or not, Market is just the START of all the work for our Merchandising Team! Dawn explains, “You come back and you have to execute. The market is the easy part.. then you have to follow through with the vendors.”

As I’ve learned through my first couple years of working at Steinhafels, the world of furniture is beautiful to gaze at and enjoy, but there is sooooo much work that goes on behind the scenes to make it happen.

I will continue to share some of my discoveries in this blog… so stay tuned!