Hundreds pack Closets Conference’s opening day
June 9, 2021 | 10:47 am CDT
closets conference & expo

Closets Conference & Expo, which is co-located with Wood Pro Expo Florida, opened June 8 with all-day conference sessions.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Closets Conference & Expo 2021 opened Tuesday, June 8 with a large crowd of registered closet, home storage and remodeling professionals. 

Rich Harshaw
Rich Harshaw, Level 10 Contractor, speaks to the opening day crowd

Keynoter Rich Harshaw, CEO of Level 10 Contractor, encouraged attendees to identify what differentiates them from competitors and focus on that in their marketing messages.

“People think you’re the same because all they have to on is what you show them and what you show them is the same as your competitors,” he noted.

Most marketing is rife with platitudes and puffery, he said. In that scenario, the company that wins the messaging war is the company with the largest advertising budget. In order for smaller companies to compete and reach revenue ranges over $10 million, they have to discover who they are, what they do differently, why they are better, and continuously point that out to potential customers at every point of contact.  

Harshaw also told the attentive audience that marketing is essentially storytelling, but the key is “what story are you telling?” It needs to be compelling and in your brand voice.

After the keynote, Harshaw kicked off the all-day conference with a business workshop delving deeper into the previously discussed topics – how to identify what you do better than anyone else and how to market it to clients.

Additional Closets Conference sessions:

Design panel
From left: Jeff Bruzzesi and Tami Sullivan, Closet Factory Virginia Beach and Carolina Gutierrez, Italkraft

Design Forum
Jeff Bruzzesi, owner of Closet Factory of Virginia Beach; Tami Sullivan, sales manager, Closet Factory of Virginia Beach and Carolina Gutierrez, marketing director, Italkraft discussed design trends they are seeing post-Covid, how they dealt with the pandemic, and new areas of opportunity in retail, wholesale and the builder market.

Eric Marshall, Kitchens and Closets by DEA

Installation 101
Eric Marshall, owner of Kitchens and Closets by DEA and president of the Association of Closet & Storage Professionals (ACSP) shared the 5Ts of Installation on how to improve efficiency while installing and keeping customers happy.

social media panel
Panelists from left David Biggs, CCI Media; Mike Foti, Innovate Home Org; Wendy Scott, Boutique Closets and Cabinetry; and Mike Carson, Inspired Closets

Paid vs Free Marketing
The afternoon panel featured David Biggs, digital strategy director, CCI Media; Mike Foti, president of Innovate Home Org; Wendy Scott, co-founder Boutique Closets and Cabinetry and Mike Carson, owner, Inspired Closets Chicago. The broad discussion of digital marketing covered a variety of topics including Apple's new privacy policy for apps, how to track and measure social media, the importance of blogging and owning your own content, why you should be on Instagram and the value of using social media influencers.

Closets Conference & Expo runs until Thursday, June 10. View the full three-day schedule.

About the 2021 Closets Conference & Expo and Wood Pro Expo Florida
The Closets Conference & Expo is the annual national event for closet and home storage professionals. It is co-located with Wood Pro Expo Florida (WPE), a regional marketplace for woodworking professionals. The events are organized by Closets & Organized Storage and FDMC magazines respectively, each part of Woodworking Network. The twin-billing event is scheduled for June 8-10, 2021, at the Palm Beach Convention Center in Palm Beach, Fla. 

For information about exhibiting, and sponsorship opportunities at future trade shows, contact Laurel Didier, publisher of Closets & Home Storage. For inquiries about WPE, contact Harry Urban, publisher of Woodworking Network. 

Additional 2021 Woodworking Network events
Wood Pro Expo Lancaster, Oct.14-15, 2021, Warehouse at the Nook, Lancaster County, Pa. -- Annual woodworking trade show and conference

Executive Briefing Conference (EBC) Sept. 8-10, 2021, The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, Colo. -- Annual forecast of economic, technology and design trends for the North American woodworking industry.

Woodworking Machinery & Supply Conference & Expo (WMS), Nov. 4-6, 2021, International Centre, MIssissauga, Ontario -- Canada's national woodworking show.

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About the author
Michaelle Bradford | Editor

Michaelle Bradford, CCI Media, is Editor of Closets & Organized Storage magazine and Woodworking Network editor. She has more than 20 years of experience covering the woodworking and design industry, including visits to custom cabinet shops, closet firms and design studios throughout North America. As Editor of Closets & Organized Storage magazine under the Woodworking Network brand, Michaelle’s responsibilities include writing, editing, and coordinating editorial content as well as managing annual design competitions like the Top Shelf Design Awards. She is also a contributor to FDMC and other Woodworking Network online and print media owned by CCI Media.