At April High Point Market, Alden Parkes — a high-end manufacturer in the Hamilton-Wrenn design district — attracted a lot of buyer attention with introductions that included an extensive accent chair collection and dining room sets in a variety of styles.
The introductions underscored the company’s attention to current influences and innovation, and Designers Today recently interviewed Lynne McArdle, president of Alden Parkes, about the line expansion and accompanying business strategy.
Designers Today: The dining set on the cover shows a more rustic elegance in terms of aesthetic. What style preference transitions have you noticed among case goods consumers over the last 18-24 months?
Lynne McArdle: Over the last 24-months we have seen style preference gravitate to simplicity with finishes that are forgiving and easy to care for. Consumers are looking for beauty combined with comfort and functionality.
DT: What can a designer expect when they come into your showroom to shop the line? For example, what strategies and practices have you implemented that allow you to serve this customer?
LM: We continually strive to create “go-to” pieces that designers can count on to work beautifully on their jobs. Many of our pieces allow for multiple finish options giving the designer the ability to create that special look that reflects their personal style or will fit their customers’.
DT: What is your biggest challenge going forward as a quality manufacturer?
LM: Exceptional finishes make casegoods come alive as stand alone pieces. One of our biggest challenges is creating quality pieces with exceptional finishes for a good value while trying to match inventory levels to the desires of the customer.
DT: What can designers do to make the buying process easier from their end?
LM: Communication is an essential element in making sure the designer’s needs are met with a particular job. Understanding their requirements helps us to better confirm how we can meet those deadlines or needs. We are always striving to improve our processes with the latest technologies to help make our relationship with the designer’s business seamless while keeping in mind the value of the personal connection.
DT: We know consumers love “eclectic” now. How do you address this style preference in your line?
LM: At the fall 2016 High Point Market, our product line will showcase seven fresh, eclectic collections, now including upholstery, all in an effort to make our designer’s jobs easier.
DT: You showed a huge statement piece via the art in the Pinnacles vignette. Can you talk about whether the “less is more” mentality has played into consumer design and if so, what you see from your end?
LM: Sophisticated restraint never goes out of style and often the small details make the difference. We endeavor to create simple beauty, understated elegance in each piece we develop.
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Prior to her role with Designers Today, Cindy attended markets as both a consumer home furnishings editor and interior design client. She has written about the design industry for more than 15 years and still finds editorial inspiration in every corner of the world, from Italian villas to Atlanta urban lofts to country escape tiny homes.