Furniture Buyer

Ross Anzalone, director of home furnishings at Amini's, gives insight into what it is like buying and selecting furnishings for the store.

Edited by Melissa Mauzy
Photography by Colin Miller/Strauss Peyton

 

Ross Anzalone has been in the interior design industry for more than 40 years. He has a bachelor's degree in interior and commerical design from the School of Associated Arts in Minnesota. He began his career in Chicago in the design gallery of Marshall Fields and Co. He then became a buyer for three furniture departments. 

SLHL: When you go to market, how do you make purchasing decisions based on your clientele’s needs?
Ross: Throughout the year, I am listening to what our customers and designers want. I keep a list of what they are looking for, and when I go to market I will take pictures of things I find. I earmark those items and send our local designers the photos along with the information. For basic selections for the store, I look at new sources that aren’t in every store in the city…something unique, different and fashionable.

SLHL: How do you create a collection when at market and purchasing from different lines?
Ross: You have to have a memory. You need to be able to remember what you saw in showroom A vs. D vs. J. Think about how different pieces can work together and come together into a cohesive look. 

SLHL: What are you seeing as a trend in furniture for 2018?
Ross: Everyone is doing grays, but we are starting to see deep blues, and deep claret (red) colors are coming this fall. 

SLHL: When at market, how many showrooms do you shop and how long are you there?
Ross: I am usually there for five days, and I see anywhere from 80-100 showrooms. Some are the size of small offices, while others can be 200,000 square feet. Since I don’t just buy for one category, I really have to strategize and plan to effectively work the market. This comes with experience after attending more than 80 furniture markets.

SLHL: What do you find most challenging as a buyer?
Ross: You have to be able to select the right merchandise that will sell with your customers and not allow your personal preference to enter into the final selection.

SLHL: What is most rewarding in the process?
Ross: It is exciting when customers and designers come in to our showroom and say,” I love this look.” It makes me feel good that they noticed it and caught on to what were trying to do.

SLHL: What is the process of buying at market?
Ross: I don’t buy at market. My philosophy is to review what I’ve seen and find the best sources and best price points to allow Amini’s to show the product that is best for our demographic. That is why I take pictures and document everything I am seeing. We as a group need time to put it all together before making final selections.

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