For the second time in three years, Telescope Casual Furniture Inc. has been selected as the 2021 International Casual Furnishings Association “Manufacturer of the Year.”
After being notified via email as a top-five recipient of the Manufacturer Leadership award by ICFA director Jackie Hirschhaut, Telescope was voted by members of the ICFA through an online ballot as the best of the best. The award has been presented since 2010 in “tribute to the design and quality of the company’s products, as well as its outstanding merchandising, customer service, ethics, communications and trade relations.” according to the ICFA’s website.
CEO Kathy Juckett and marketing manager Kait Warren combined to write a joint statement on behalf of Telescope. Their sentiments of gratitude on being selected as recipients of the prestigious award in Chicago on Sept. 22 stemmed from Telescope’s ability to be flexible with the times and market around them.
“Telescope’s product line was very streamlined and more mass merchant style up to 2007. At that point, the flux of Chinese imports continued to stress our business. One thing domestic manufacturers can supply that import products cannot is variety. Therefore, Telescope launched an ‘anything on anything’ policy, meaning that our customers can select any frame and apply any frame and fabric color of their choice,” Juckett and Warren said. “Customization became king to our successes during that time. This wide shift from bulk buying to more special/custom orders meant our manufacturing processes needed to change to handle the huge amount of variety hitting our shop floor.”
Within the last six years, Telescope’s fluid approach of communicating with consumers and retailers has been key to their success. The $6.5 billion casual furniture manufacturing industry in the United States has seen growth partly due to Telescope’s ability to recognize its weaknesses and build upon its strengths.
“Since 2015, Telescope has continuously worked toward endless improvements,” Juckett and Warren said. “We have come a long way, especially in the last two decades, but our work is never done. Our management, supervisory and production teams are fully dedicated to continuous process and product improvements which not only makes our work environment better but continues to boost the business as a whole.”
Additionally, Telescope employee Sara Brown was announced as the second-ever Mia Nault Unsung Hero Award recipient for her effective communication, customer service and professionalism.
Both Juckett and Warren commented on how the recognition in 2019 boosted the company’s morale and confidence to continue to strive for high-quality products and service.
“Receiving this award in 2019 was one of our proudest moments as it felt like a confirmation that all we have combated and how hard we fought as an American manufacturer to succeed was being noticed and recognized by our customers, sales representatives and even our industry competitors,” the duo said. “More recently, we realize Covid was a huge struggle for all businesses. Winning this award during such a tumultuous time is even more rewarding than we could have imagined. We are incredibly proud of our employees and couldn’t have accomplished this without everyone pulling together and doing their part.”