Employee Spotlight - Meet Our New Sales and Digital Marketing Specialist!

Marshall Furniture would like to take a moment to formally introduce our new Sales and Digital Marketing Specialist, AJ Arshem. AJ joins us as a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where he earned a BBA in Marketing and a minor in Media Arts. He comes to us with background knowledge in data analysis, programming and outside sales. Of his decision to go into Marketing, AJ says, “everything from tracking analytics to developing creative content and writing case studies; I knew I had made the right decision.”

“I love producing content and just having the ability to really get creative,” says AJ. He explains that the creative process is one of the aspects he enjoys most since starting his career at Marshall Furniture. Previously, AJ worked as a sales representative for a computer company but took initiative to improve their product training techniques by developing an interactive tutorial system. “I taught myself some basic programming in my free time and before long, I had produced a working demonstration. I absolutely loved this because it was challenging and it motivated me to learn a new skill,” he says.

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Looking Back - 30 Years in Business

As Marshall Furniture begins the new year, they look back at our successes not only in 2016 but during their past 30 year history. As some of you may know, last year they celebrated their 30 year anniversary. This milestone was marked by several celebrations throughout the year, including a selfie contest where prizes were given to some of their supportive customers and dealers. Marshall Furniture had great success last year, introduced a few new products and had a lot of interesting custom projects leave through their doors. Now that they begin their 31st year, their President, Dick Mangione, sat down to talk about his experiences throughout the last several decades and what he hopes to see in the forthcoming years.

In 1986, Marshall Furniture started out making fancy carts and monitor cabinets. The demand was simplistic but soon customers and dealers "were asking us to make things they couldn't get others to make" says Mr. Mangione. As a response to customer demand, Marshall Furniture set out to make a name for themselves as a completely custom shop, doling out designs and products that clients would be hard pressed to find elsewhere. According to Mr. Mangione, this is what has continued to separate Marshall Furniture from its competition. "Everyone else is trying to sell a product with an SKU on it but we're selling 100% custom, even when it's a lower cost item. Our complete customization of literally everything we do is certainly what sets us apart." It wasn't a quick progression, however. Although the company did eventually transform into a fully custom wood shop, it wasn't without hitting a few brick walls. The problem, Mr. Mangione explains, is building a brand to differentiate from other custom shops, including individual, contract millworkers. "We are (and have been) in competition with everybody in their basement with a table saw. And every other millwork shop." In order to build brand awareness, Marshall Furniture set out to ensure they were manufacturing "a high quality product," along with "presence at tradeshows" and a physical image in print and online through their annual catalog and website.

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Appearance Does Matter

Designing the look of your next furniture solution can sometimes be a daunting task. With most designs, tackling size, options and equipment are typically the foremost concerns. Equally as important, however, is deciding on finish and style. When it comes to color, veneer and aesthetic accents, your choice can set your unit apart, whether that be in a good way or a bad way. For instance, choose the wrong color and your furniture will stick out like a sore thumb. It may even look like an afterthought within the room. If you go with something that is plain (without accents or molding) in a highly ornate room, it may give off the wrong impression. Discussing the actual look of your next piece is an important step to consider and spend time on during the design process. Here are some ways that Marshall Furniture can help you with that:

Custom Color Matching

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Anatomy of a Collaboration Table

Continuous collaboration is the core to any successful business. By sharing ideas on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis, groups of individuals are able to convey a multitude of ideas toward one common goal. Whether your collaborative efforts are effective, however, depends largely on the space allotted. Is there a conference room that has been set aside for such meetings? Have the proper tools been allocated to participants so they may express their thoughts and provide meaningful input both manually and electronically? What about the probability of a remote participant or the need to converse with an out-of-state company? As advances in video conference technology increase, leveraging its importance to your business’s success is essential.

Once the desired technology has been determined, the issue then becomes where to store all the components. An important part of most meeting spaces is a conference table and/or huddle station. Whether your conference space is set up for video collaboration or meant to serve as an informal space to gather for an impromptu discussion, there are several aspects to consider when designing your conference room furniture.

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Anatomy of a Lectern

The first entry in our multi-part “Anatomy of” series, the lectern is ubiquitous to a slew of different applications. From teachers and keynote speakers to conference meetings and medical presentations, lecterns spearhead a majority of informative discussions. Although the specifications are unique for each project, there are a few key elements all users should consider prior to design and procurement.

Elbow Room

Through it seems rather obvious, it's important to keep the furniture design at the forefront of every project, especially when planning a new or remodeled space. Space can very quickly become an issue. If the specifics of the lectern build are not ironed out early on, you may be left with very little space and limited design options when all is said and done. This is especially true if you find there's a multitude of required technology that needs to be integrated.

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