Hundreds of closet companies from across North America participated in Cabinets & Closets Live, a virtual conference sponsored by Closets & Organized Storage magazine, on May 20th. Many of the online presenters were originally scheduled to speak during the now-canceled June 10-12 Cabinets & Closets Conference & Expo and Wood Pro Expo Texas event, which was to be held in Arlington, Texas.
 
In the opening keynote, Barry Moltz discussed “How to Bounce Back: Failure, Resiliency and the Confidence For Your Next Success.” Moltz addressed several steps needed in order to bounce back during tough times. “Accept your failure and learn what you can, but then let it go and take another action that gives you another chance at success,” he said. “The key is you have to develop resiliency – celebrate the good times and transition through the bad times.”
 
His tips to make it through a depression/recession include focusing on profitability and not growth; focus on cash not sales; draw on your bank credit line before the bank takes it away; challenge all of your business assumptions; ask your clients to substitute your products for other higher costs ones or DIY; cut costs now even if revenue has not gone down; stop watching the stock market and the news; and remember your past resiliency.
 
Shaun Oriold, an award-winning designer and owner of Closet Envy, located in Burlington, Ontario, Canada, discussed garage organization and the ins and outs of  selling and designing garage projects. Oriold listed several reasons why closet companies should consider including garage organization in their product offerings. Garages offer a high average sale amount that is about two to three times that of a closet, with limited competition and it is often the only area of the home that  is not already  finished. Also, garages are an easy working environment, he said, and are highly visible to neighbors and friends making them a great source of referrals.
 
Flooring (Swisstrax, epoxy/polyaspartic, PEI 4+ porcelain tile),  cabinetry (metal or wood), sliding cabinet doors, slatwall and other accessories are the top money-makers in the garage, he noted. Products that can set your company apart from the competition include car lifts, diamond plate, car elevators, stairs, wainscoting or base trim, lighting and logos.
 
Award-winning designers Patty Miller and Wendy Scott from Boutique Closets & Cabinetry, New Jersey, talked about finding creative ways to create beautiful and functional spaces no matter the challenges of how a room is configured. When dealing with varied ceiling heights, multi-directional ceiling angles or walls that are not straight, it’s important to have a good installation team, they said.
 
“It’s not just design but having phenomenal installers who can custom cut onsite,” Miller said. She also noted that when there is limited wall space due to hanging and windows, adding a peninsula is a great way to provide extra storage and using one cabinet height for a project can provide a more cohesive look.
 
Scott also pointed out that lighting is a great tool and can turn a problem area into a great feature.
 
The last session of the day was from Kenn Busch, owner of Material Intelligence. Busch discussed “Climate Positive Now: How to tell the world's greatest materials sustainability story.”  There's a powerful new way to talk to your customers about sustainability, he said. Although the same concept as carbon negative, Climate Positive is an easier phrase to explain to customers and it is already starting to pop up in conversation globally. It's important for designers and consumers to understand that decorative panels and composite panels are already Climate Positive and a responsible way to use resourses, Busch added.
 
The Cabinets & Closets Live event is available on-demand as well as Wood Pro Expo Live, which was held May 19th and featured discussions and interviews from Will Sampson, FDMC editor and cabinetmakers and members of the CMA.
 
 

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