Florida-based Windward Design Group has cultivated a well-earned reputation for its extruded aluminum furniture, as well as its newer marine grade polymer (MGP) line. Extruded aluminum collections still represent the core of the company’s product offerings, but the company made the move in 2012 to add two MGP collections to its already successful lineup.
Windward executives believed the addition would be a clear fit for the company, and a strategic move to fulfill the expressed needs of customers. Since then, Windward® has seen healthy growth with MGP, especially considering that it’s a whole new material and look for the company. “Marine grade polymer furniture has opened the door for not only retail, but commercial applications as well,” says Carrie Morales, executive vice president, Windward Design Group, Sarasota, Fla.
Viewed as a whole, the full product mix includes MGP, aluminum, and wicker. Except for wicker, it’s all still made in the United States (more than two decades now), and the company’s business model allows for custom orders and consistently excellent value. “In 2012 Windward expanded it’s Sarasota, FL manufacturing space to include a second facility bringing it’s total space to 100,000 square feet where it employs about 130 people,” reveals Morales.
Focusing on What Works
Specialty retailers enjoyed strong sales for more than 20 extruded collections last year, ranging from strap to sling, padded sling, cushion dining, and deep seating. Part of that success is attributable to Windward’s business model, which tailors its dealer programs to suit customer needs.
“Each year, Windward® works closely with its industry leading team of sales representatives to gain feedback on products and programs,” explains Morales. “These discussions have helped give life to value-added benefits such as Windward’s® Promotional Program, bonus marketing dollars, and quick ship program which is available during certain times of year. Furthermore, northern dealers are given the option to take advantage of Windward’s® Freight Program.”
Ultimately, Windward’s considerable success comes back to the products that dealers love to carry and consumers love to buy. Morales believes the newest MGP product, simply dubbed the Adirondack, will continue the hot streak. The Adirondack is available in sling, padded sling, or solid MGP. The sling Adirondack recliner has reportedly received an encouraging response on Early Buys, and in the Florida season thus far.
Coming up with multiple winners in the ultra competitive outdoor furniture market is not easy. Maintaining personal connections with customers, and giving them platforms to share their experiences and thoughts, has played a major role in allowing Windward to stay on top of the ever-evolving trends—such as cut yardage programs that give consumers the ability to be their own designer. “The internet has provided the perfect avenue for consumers to educate themselves and compare the many options out there,” enthuses Morales. “Our story of being American made, along with our green efforts, have also become increasingly important.”