Editor’s Note January 2018

It’s a Small World After All

[dropcap]F[/dropcap]irst of all, my apologies for the “ear worm” that I probably just put into your heads regarding the children’s song, but I am intrigued by a new category of housing that has untapped potential for the lighting industry: the tiny home.

There are TV shows devoted to the concept, builders who specialize in it, and even trade shows that focus on this segment — and there is no sign of its popularity slowing any time soon. This month we have a feature story that gives a peek into the tiny home phenomenon, and I want you to give some thought to the opportunities that your company – whether you are a retailer or a manufacturer – can offer this new type of homeowner.

Unlike the McMansion craze that has taken hold throughout the country, necessitating the demand for larger fixtures, these tiny homes require smaller – but still fashionable – lighting.  What styles do you already have in your showroom or in your product line-up that could meet this need?

How about reaching out to these burgeoning tiny home communities either as a manufacturer by exploring one of their home shows or as a retailer that has one of these developments nearby (the states of Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee in particular have been expanding this niche, and other states such as Utah, California, and Texas are following suit). 

The Web site Curbed.com recently published an article highlighting the trend, spotlighting the Wisconsin-based builder called Escape Tiny Homes, which has been shipping its housing units nationwide. The article noted that the owner of the San Antonio Spurs “ordered one for his property in Hawaii, and single mothers are buying them for downtown Detroit.” In that same article, Mike Schmidt, the business development director for the Tiny Home Industry Association, noted the trend meets a specific need as “two demographic waves are crashing: Baby Boomers want to downsize and retire, and Millennials want homes and flexible living without debt.”

As we start a new year, let’s keep an open mind to all sorts of business opportunities for our industry that we might not have entertained before. America’s demographics seem to be changing at a faster rate than in the past 50 years; it’s time to anticipate what those needs will be and be ready to serve these new niches of future customers.

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