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Try ‘something different’, furniture people told

marciadottin, [email protected]

Try ‘something different’, furniture people told

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Furniture manufacturers have been told to try “something different” to stimulate sales.The call came from managing director of the household furnishings company Matrix Marketing, Randolph Sandiford, yesterday – the first full day of the annual trade exhibition. He said that furniture-makers needed to diversify their manufacturing inputs, away  from the traditional woods.“I don’t believe that the future of furniture, even hotel furniture,  is in wood,” he said. “A lot of the other producers have diversified from that years ago and we are to some extent trying to catch up.  A lot of the hotels and villas are asking for exotic textured finishes.”At BMEX, Sandiford’s company introduced a range of furniture using local elephant grass, cut, dried, rolled and treated in a special way, with the finished product looking like wood.Sandiford said the company was also offering flooring made from  elephant grass, which grows in abundance in Barbados.The exhibition, which officially opened on Saturday night, is showcasing  local furniture, art, clothing, food, educational offerings, banking opportunities, tourism, liquor and energy.Some of the popular booths have included the offering of Bajan books, Mount Gay Rum, art on glass by AA Framing and Decoration, the Hope Foundation, Shalana’s Natural Wines, the Butterfield Bank’s Kids Zone, the K ‘N’ K Bakery and the Barbados Agricultural Development & Marketing Corporation.One hundred and ninety-three exhibitors are involved, 41 more than last year. As many as 51 are new exhibitors, some involved in food, art and fashion.Kathy Grant said her K ‘N’ K Bakery, only “weeks old”, came to BMEX to introduce itself to the public and hopefully broaden its client base.Morgan’s Fish House Inc’s manager Kyle Harris explained that the company was looking to introduce clients  to traditional fish products as well as items going on the Barbados market shortly, including fish sausages and breaded white fish.Managing director of AA Framing & Decoration, Austin Atherley, introduced Barbadians to her eye-catching art on glass and local artist Kovsky Cox brought along his masks made from the boat-shaped shoots of the coconut tree.The Hope Foundation came armed with a range of new booklets, among them When Mom Gets Sick, a brochure for children whose parents have lupus.Executive director of the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association (BMA), Bobbi McKay, said public response to the exhibition had been “great”.She said the exhibition was not about making money for the BMA but about helping the local manufacturing sector to expand, diversify and prosper in troubled times. (TY)