This spring, High Point Market buzzed with new outdoor companies, programs, products and starry partnerships with some of the design world’s most recognizable names.
Arguably one of the biggest launches this market was A.R.T.’s Bobby Berk collection. The line—created by the celeb designer and star of Netflix’s “Queer Eye”—included several outdoor groups with a sleek, modern look. Dining options included a terrazzo-topped table, plus two styles of deep seating from a chic white with teak to a black, Danish-style look. And according to A.R.T.’s Doug Rozenboom, there’s more to come.
“This is a preview to gauge interest,” he says. “We will launch more at Casual Market.”
Castelle added a trifecta of designer lines with the debut of their Patina Vie partnership, plus additions to the Barclay Butera and Biltmore collections. Designer Sarah Willett, the creative force behind Patina Vie, says Castelle’s handcrafted production process made it easy to translate her laid-back aesthetic for the outdoors.
“They truly wanted to celebrate Patina Vie and interpret it through my eyes,” she says. “It’s not overdone—it can go in any environment.”
The collection includes dining, seating and more with an understated, slightly vintage appeal.
“We used gorgeous fabrics that reflect my love of fashion,” says Willett. “But they’re not crisp and bright—there’s a subtlety that’s across the collection.”
The colors were a bit bolder on the opposite side of the showroom, where the latest addition to Barclay Butera’s line, Savannah, made a striking statement. The powder-coated aluminum frames have a bamboo-style shape in cheerful finishes like white, coral and robin’s egg blue.
“I’m known for playing with color, and we have definitely done that here,” says Butera. “It’s just a cool line that we’ll expand on.” Castelle also expanded its Biltmore licensed line with Antler Hill, a rustic-chic collection inspired by the legendary estate’s agricultural history.
“We wanted to do a collection that has a more upgraded acrylic rope with softer, different threads,” says Brown Jordan Chief Brand Officer Steve Elton. “It stays true to the heritage and legacy of where we began, but it’s much more updated.”
Another classic getting an update was Richard Frinier’s Still collection for Brown Jordan. Elton says the 2011 line is one of their most popular, so Frinier added pieces, including a sleek 90-inch sofa and a versatile bar cart.
Designed by Robert and Cortney Novogratz, the collection focuses on simple curves and bright colors, and evokes a sense of whimsy. Each design is named after a woman from the ‘50s, and the catalog tells the story of each woman with each piece.
“In the casual industry, there’s a lot of ‘me, too,’” says Troy Franks, president, Cosco. “This collection brings something different—eye-catching designs that really resonate with the value proposition.”
The line is all about spending time with family and friends, and the color palettes coordinate with the seasons. Franks says the response has been positive.
Making it Easy
A big theme this market was a push by companies to make it easier for retailers to include outdoor in their product mix.
Known primarily for youth furnishings, Bolton Furniture stepped into the outdoor business this market, launching five woven collections, plus four in eucalyptus wood. Company President Ted Weber said the goal is to offer dealers an alternative at the mid-range that ships easily and is free of tariffs (with manufacturing in Brazil and Vietnam).
“This is another category we’re really looking at,” he says. “Our focus is to make sure everything ships small parcel.”
Bolton’s neighbor in Center Point on Hamilton, Emerald Home Furnishings, also had a big launch, choosing to debut outdoor lines in April. The company added a range of looks, including a modular sectional, recycled plastic Adirondacks, and the Sunrise chair, available in a rainbow of hues.
According to CEO David Beckmann, the company decided to revamp its schedule to appeal to buyers who want to add on for this season, as well as shop for next year. “All of it is in stock in our warehouse,” he says. “It’s easy for a store to buy and not have to invest in containers.”
Another company focused on making the casual category simpler is Watermark Living. They introduced their “Outdoor Made Easy” program this market, showing retailers how they can mix and match collections to create a pop-up-style gallery in their stores. The program taps Watermark’s wide range of furnishings and accessories to help dealers present a full outdoor offering in as little as 500 square feet.
Multiple new collections debuted this market, as Panama Jack by Pelican Reef rolled out three new groups, Jonathan Charles added to its high-end outdoor line and Pacific Casual touted its new Aspect brand of aluminum furniture.
While the Mykonos and Sandcastle lines from Panama Jack by Pelican Reef are very modern, the woven Cancun collection works indoors or out.
“We’ve been lacking in contemporary offerings, so we brought in the Mykonos and Sandcastle collections to fill that hole,” says Perry Catanese, national sales manager, Pelican Reef. “We did really well with our other contemporary sets in past years, and we’re excited to hear what people have to say about these two new ones.”
Jonathan Sowter, owner and CEO of Jonathan Charles Furniture, created the company’s outdoor line when he was tasked with outfitting an entire hotel with his indoor furniture. The contract required that Sowter also provide outdoor furniture, and thus the JC Outdoor line was born.
This spring, the company debuted several new pieces, including a large pub table with a removable and reversible insert, a coffee table and sofa in their Navajo Sand finish, as well as the rectangular gray chess coffee table, which includes hefty chess pieces hand-carved by Sowter himself.
Pacific Casual Sales Manager Allison Empero says the company created its new Aspect brand for consumers looking for starting-price aluminum sets. “We were missing the look and feel of aluminum in our lines,” she says. “Items in the collection are statement pieces, but they’re affordable.”
And with this new brand comes a greater push into the outdoor category overall, both with Aspect and Barcalounger Outdoor. “We’ve got more reps, and we’re putting a big focus on pushing our lines out to the industry,” Empero says. “We’ll have new products in Chicago, and with our inventive Barcalounger Outdoor product finishes and new Aspect aluminum line, this is going to be a big year for us.”
With so many exciting new products, programs and partnerships, this market gave outdoor buyers a taste of a
successful season to come.