We are just back from another wonderful industry conference held this year in Orlando at – where else – Walt Disney World. The North American Home Furnishings Association (NAHFA) was founded in 2013 with the merger of the three largest individual existing organizations and represents over 1800 members and 7000 storefronts in the United States and Canada. They provide very valuable services like educational conferences, access to help, discounts on merchant services like insurance and as well provide us with a unified voice in government. After serving 6 years on the board of the old organization in 2013 our owner became the first President of NAHFA and is currently Chairman of the Board with his term expiring in 2016.
This is a perfect venue to network with and meet your peers and vendors who all make up this family we call the home furnishings business. Every year there is a theme and of course this year the incredible culture of the Disney empire is front and center. We were treated to not just one but several keynote speakers. They ranged from social media experts to industry giants to finally finishing with the former COO of Disney – Lee Cockerell, speaking on The Customer Rules. The caliber this year was as good as I have ever heard – relevant, informative, funny and incredibly optimistic. Break out sessions, work groups and product information meetings filled our days. A highlight of the conference was a four-hour tour of the “Business of Disney”. This included the normal backstage tour and the tunnels but as well included their business practices, how they treat their cast members and several stories of problem solving and solution finding.
We all try to work hard at our corporate culture and generally pride ourselves on our attitude. However Disney has their PhD in this and it is evident in the attitude and cheerfulness we have experienced wherever you go for the past few days. The conference ended with a melody of Disney songs sung by three young people who could hold their own on any of the talent shows currently on TV. At the last note out comes Mickey with his constant smile, white gloves and cheerful dancing walk. There was not a face in the audience without a huge grin! More Disney magic and pixie dust. Time to go home, put on our Mickey ears and work at being the best we possibly can be!