The Future of Home Furnishings

Imagine that 20 years ago someone had told you that you would purchase your music, car insurance, airline and hotel tickets, stocks, books and even shoes on a computer that fit in your hip pocket. That you would not have an agent or broker between you and the stock exchange or the airline or insurance company. And imagine that you could do all the comparative research needed to execute your transaction in minutes…in your pajamas! You would have told that person they were dreaming.Well, lately I have been dreaming as well. As my generation (the baby boomers) settles into its post-nesting years, less and less of our disposable income will go to durable goods such as home furnishings. Instead, once college for the kids is taken care of, our disposable dollars will go back into bolstering our retirement accounts, and then to travel.Our absence leaves the future of home furnishing consumption to the next generations: Gen-X, Y and soon, the Millennials. This generation, many of whom grew up with a cell phone as a birthright, will have no qualms about not sitting on a sofa before they buy it. This generation put companies like Zappos the online shoe retailer on the map. They grew eBay into a monolithic clearing house for everything from rare coins and dolls to automobiles and airplanes.Buy a pair of shoes online without even trying them on? Sure, this generation can reconcile the relatively benign inconvenience of returning something, with the huge convenience of carrying on with their multitasking. Think of this: these “kids” watch T.V., carry on a live chat on the computer, text message friends from their smart phones, reply to Facebook posts AND do their homework at the same time! These power users of all things tech will drive the explosive growth of home furnishings online.All that is good news for an ailing industry. But, the glacial pace at which the Home Fashion Industry moves may keep us from a fully realized online presence a bit longer, but it will eventually change. The early adopters may unfortunately suffer some ridicule and perhaps a backlash from the traditional forms of distribution, e.g. walk-in Furniture Stores. However, the momentum toward adopting online furniture sales is inevitable and moving forward. Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma Home and other large furniture retailers report faster than expected growth within the online sector.The ultra-lux online retailer Gilt http://www.gilt.com is adding Home Fashion as major new growth campaign on its invitation only website. Gilt is a luxury online retailer of fashion and jewelry. Eventually and by necessity, the Home Fashion market will have the perfect vehicle in the Web to remove the multiple layers between the manufacturer and the eventual consumer. This will of course spell bad news for the middle-men. What to say about that is another topic altogether.The online Home Furnishings future also portends a new egalitarianism for the small independent Interior Designer. In the past, the small or “housewife” designer was ridiculed for A: not having a serious office and staff and B: Not Stocking product. Most, if not all, were relegated to the retail store (something their own customer could do) or the trade showrooms that were not retail, but no bargain either.With the advent of online buying, designers who heretofore could not meet minimum orders can avail themselves of better than retail pricing and quick responses from the factories. The more established design firms benefit as well. The new system will allow them to purchase just what they want, when they want it. No need to slog through multiple catalogs trying to find just the right thing, when the keyword search found it in milliseconds.Another component to convenience and speed is that designers can purchase when their time allows. This means that the staff that are now doing their own job and that of three others, can buy at any time day or night. So if working late at home over a cup of tea and in slippers or at the office with a glass of wine, they can execute their purchases on their schedule, not the factory or sales rep’s.This is truly a brave new world in commerce. But fear not! We have nothing but positive data to look upon to show us that its working in virtually every consumer sector. The market will always demand an efficient system. It will tolerate waste until a better model is available. We are there now. How long it will take us to adapt will depend on industry leadership and willingness to break old molds. If we keep our customers in mind, the change will come sooner than we might expect.

Have You Heard About Sonoma and Williams?

Does the name Sonoma and Williams sound very familiar to you? You would have heard it because they are a consumer retail company. They are into selling kitchenware, furniture, linen etc. They also sell house wares and also sell special kind of food products. They are a NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) listed company. You would find the company with the name WSM on the stock list.The company has large network of retail stores all over the world. In all there are over 500 stores. The company’s headquarters are based at San Francisco in California in the United States of America. They have many brands under them which are called West Elm, William-Sonoma home, and Pottery Barn Bed. They employ over 7000 people on a full time basis. With such a large network and customers they are also generating a lot of revenues to the tune of over $4 billion.The company was set up in the year by 1956. It was set up by Charles E. Williams in a place called Sonoma. In the beginning the company sold kitchenware for a small customer base. Friends and family members of Charles seeing the kitchenware he sold advised him to change locations to San Francisco to expand his business. Once he moved to San Francisco he expanded by printing mail order catalogs for the customers. The company went public in the year 1983 by listing in the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).By 2001 the company had set up its first international retail store in Canada. Then there was no looking back with new stores in Puerto Rico, Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver. The company also started a TV program in collaboration with CBS called “The 5-Minute Cooking School”. This show showcased various cuisines, methods of cooking and many new recipes for its viewers. The company’s products were selected by Oprah in her list of favorite things for two consecutive years in 2004 and 2005.

How To Use And Care For A Williams-Sonoma Pizza Stone

Pizza is one of the most popular snacks in the world. What is so amazing about it is the fact that it provides more or less a balanced diet that consists of carbohydrates, lipids, vitamins, minerals and protein. It is very easy to make for yourself at home and this allows you to garnish as you wish and add the toppings you prefer, if any. Pizza can be baked in a modern oven using an aluminum or metal pan, but there is no denying the superior taste quality of pizza made using a hot stone. The Williams-Sonoma pizza stone is a great example of bakeware that is able to replicate the pizzas made in popular in pizzerias that use brick ovens. These pieces of stoneware make it possible to literally create that taste at home in the comfort of your own kitchen.The Williams-Sonoma Company is one that chefs and leisure cooks have sworn by for years. They provide amazing high quality kitchenware and rare spices, as well as cookbooks and special recipe websites. Anything that will help your life in the kitchen easier, they can provide. They are one of the leading manufacturers of kitchen appliances for both commercial and home use.Features of The Williams-Sonoma Pizza StoneThe Williams-Sonoma stone is made of a ceramic material. This material is a major advantage as it ensures even distribution of heat allowing food to cook slowly and thoroughly. For pizza, this mean a perfect crust and an evenly cooked pie overall. The stone is usually rectangular and has enough space for standard large size pizzas.Some of the stones from Williams-Sonoma come with handles and stands. This allows the user to use the stone as the serving surface. Care should however be taken to ensure that the stone is cooled enough to prevent chances of it cracking due to sudden heat change.How to Use a Williams-Sonoma Pizza StoneWilliams-Sonoma stones work using the old hot stone technique. Just follow these steps:1. Prepare the pizza by adding pastes, toppings and cheese.2. Pre-heat the stone in your oven to the recommended heat of your recipe.3. Sprinkle some flour or bread crumbs on the Williams-Sonoma stone to prevent sticking.4. Place your raw pizza on the hot stone using a peel.5. Close the oven door and allow the pizza to cook for the recommended amount of time.6. After it is ready, remove it using the shovel and place on the serving plate.How To Take Care of a Williams-Sonoma Pizza StoneI. This bakeware is ceramic making it susceptible to cracks or breakages if dropped. To prevent this, place it on a level surface preferably close to the ground when not in use. When in use, make sure that you handle it using gloves to prevent from dropping it in case you get burnt.ii. Wash using a soft brush and clean with soap-less water. The soft brush is to ensure that you won’t wear out the surface due to friction. Using clean water without soap is essential because the Williams-Sonoma stone is made of absorbent material. Using soap will affect the taste of the food being baked on it.iii. Store in a clean dry place to avoid fungus formation on the absorbent surface.iv. Allow the device to cool slowly to prevent cracking due to sudden cooling.v. Do not place any objects on it when in storage.Pros and Cons of the Williams-Sonoma Pizza StoneThe Williams-Sonoma stone is a great product because:The material minimizes chances of overcooking or undercooking the pizza. It is easy to use and maintain. It can be seasoned with salt and herbs to add flavor to the pizza. The ceramic material used is absorbent and absorbs moisture from the dough giving it a nice crusty finish. The one con of Williams-Sonoma pizza stones is the likelihood of cracking when mishandled. This can be avoided by following the care steps that have been provided above.The Williams-Sonoma pizza stone is a must-have item in your kitchen if you want to bake better and healthier foods. It will make it easy for you to make tasty pizzas and other great foods without worrying about kitchen embarrassments and mishaps.