Looking back on 2002, moving forward

At year’s end, it is traditional to look back at the year that’s just past and then to look forward to the new one that’s upon us. This has been a strange year, with the economic fluctuations, stock market dips, consumer confidence woes and a housing market that just won’t quit. It hasn’t been a good year to be a prognosticator or industry analyst … very few things have turned out the way they’ve been predicted.

It hasn’t been any different in the bedding industry. The quote “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” perfectly describes the industry in 2002. I’ve had one or two manufacturers tell me this has been an outstanding year for business, and others say they’ve had a dismal year. The longstanding traditional months for bedding shipments have been off, while the “slow” months were hot ones this year. Looking back, people may remember 2002 as the year that just didn’t make sense.

So what does that mean for 2003? I’m certainly not making any predictions, and anyone else who does is probably just going for educated guesses. At the recent furniture market in High Point, N.C., even well–known industry analyst Jerry Epperson said he didn’t want to make any forecasts for the home furnishings industry after a year like this one. My point here is that it’s never a good idea to live by what others predict will happen anyway. The best you can do is know your business and your market better than anyone else, to stick to what your organization does best and to continue to improve your company and your product lines.

That may seem to be too simple a goal, but it’s the only one you can believe in now. It’s the best way to ride out the storms and prepare for any boom years that might be in the future. After all, history has shown that businesses, economies and lives are all full of hills and valleys. It’s what you do in the valleys that prepares you to climb the hills.

One of the benefits that BedTimes provides our readers is an in–depth annual Supplies Guide, the only directory compiled for the mattress and sleep products industries. This invaluable resource features over 200 supplier companies, making it a handy year–round tool for your business.

It takes a lot of work to put together such a comprehensive directory. Three people in particular have worked very hard to make the Supplies Guide as complete as possible: Production Manager Debbie Chapman, Database Administrator Patty Sobel and Advertising Coordinator Roberta Sheridan. You can see the fruits of their labor beginning on page 39.