A New Look at Amish Furniture
Supporting the Collective Strength of the Hardwood Furniture Guild
Ohio's Amish and Mennonite communities have constructed quality hardwood furniture for generations. The popularity of their craft, as well as the number of makers, grew quickly in the 1980s and 1990s, but in the early 2000s, preferences began to shift as people began looking for more contemporary options. Although many resourceful furniture manufacturers responded to the changing market, overcoming established perceptions proved to be a challenge.
Cassel Bear consistently brings creative solutions to increase brand awareness and market share.
Shasta Mast, Board Member, Hardwood Furniture Guild
Recognizing change would require a collective effort, founders of the Hardwood Furniture Guild set out to transform the public's image of Amish- and Mennonite-made furniture by creating community and collective strength among makers. Their goal: to attract wholesale buyers from across the U.S. to the Ohio Hardwood Furniture Market where talented artisans could display and sell their exclusive modern designs.
Brand and Marketing Strategy to 'Grow a Show'
As guild membership grew, leaders realized sharing their story and attracting the right buyers to their market would require clear, compelling communication.
Since 2010, Cassel Bear has been guiding the Hardwood Furniture Guild in brand and marketing strategy, design, and messaging with the intent of expanding the size and scope of the market. Key initiatives have included website design and development, carefully targeted direct mail campaigns, trade publication research and advertising, search engine marketing, and email marketing.
Thanks to the increasingly successful Ohio Hardwood Furniture Market, the guild began holding two events per year starting in 2017. Cassel Bear continues to help the guild explore fresh ways to educate consumers, transforming perceptions of Amish furniture while reminding people of its value and longevity.
The Hardwood Furniture Guild now comprises more than 180 member businesses, including several from Indiana and Pennsylvania.