The Last Word Podcast

Step into the captivating world of the home furnishings industry with "The Last Word Podcast." Join your host, Ray Allegrezza, a luminary figure in the field, as he engages in insightful conversations with a diverse array of professionals working in all facets of the home furnishings business. Ray Allegrezza, the former Editor-in-Chief of Furniture Today and now the Executive Director of IHFRA , brings his deep industry knowledge and extensive network to the forefront in this engaging podcast. With his decades of experience, Ray has seen the industry evolve and adapt to changing trends, and he's here to share the stories and insights that matter. Each episode of "The Last Word Podcast" delves into a wide range of topics, including the current state of the home furnishings industry, personal journeys of growth and success, and the dynamic ways in which the business is transforming. Ray's guests are thought leaders, entrepreneurs, manufacturers, and innovators who have made significant contributions to the home furnishings world. They share their experiences, strategies for success, and insights into the challenges and opportunities facing the industry today.

Whether you're an industry veteran, a newcomer, or simply someone with a keen interest in interior design and home decor, this podcast provides a unique opportunity to gain valuable perspectives from those at the forefront of the field.

The Last Word - Episode 1: Tom Erdman

For our first episode, moderator Ray Allegrezza chats with Handy Living’s Tom Erdman about where the industry is headed in a post-pandemic universe. Tom brings years of experience, both with brick and click to the table.

Originally recorded January, 2023

The Last Word - Episode 2: Charlie Malouf

Episode 2. Ray interviews Charlie Malouf, CEO of Broad River Retail, a Top 100 furniture retailer. Listen in to find out how Broad River grew its business during the toughest months of the pandemic, why Charlie calls his team ‘memory-makers,’ and why he has found success by making Broad River a purpose-driven company.

Originally recorded February, 2023

The Last Word - Episode 3: Heidi Jewell

As part of Ray Allegrezza’s The Last Word series, this week he brings you a video interview with industry veteran Heidi Haleh Jewell. Jewell, who joined the industry a number of years ago, spent the majority of her career in retail where she managed as well as had buying responsibilities for a number of leading retailers. Currently, she is in management at Violino USA, a global source of leather upholstery. In this edition, Jewell talks about her time in retail, the role of women in the business, how we can attract more young people into the sector and also shares actionable things young people coming into the sector can do to be successful.

Originally recorded June, 2023

The Last Word - Episode 4: Lori Friedlander

In this exclusive interview, we had the honor of sitting down with the accomplished industry expert, Lori Friedlander, who has an impressive track record with renowned brands like Ethan Allen, Bassett, La-Z-boy, and more. Lori shares her invaluable insights and strategies on how to thrive and succeed even in a slow economy, advise for smaller retailers and much, much more.

Originally recorded July, 2023

The Last Word - Episode 5: Lael Thompson

In this captivating episode of “The Last Word” podcast, we dive deep into the dynamic world of the furniture industry with our special guest, Lael Thompson. Join us as we explore the remarkable journey of this young retail prodigy who is reshaping the industry landscape with his innovative strategies and fresh perspective. 🔮 What to Expect: A deep dive into Lael Thompson’s background and entry into the furniture industry. Insights into the challenges faced by traditional retailers in a rapidly changing market. How Lael’s innovative strategies are shaping a new era of furniture retail. The role of technology in driving Lael’s business model. Valuable lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs and industry enthusiasts. Join us in this episode of “The Last Word” podcast as we uncover the captivating narrative of Lael Thompson’s journey through the furniture industry. Whether you’re an industry insider, a business aficionado, or simply curious about the power of innovation, this episode promises to be an enlightening and inspiring experience. 🎧 Listen now and be part of the conversation that’s rewriting the future of furniture retail! Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more thought-provoking episodes. Stay tuned for more insightful discussions that leave you with “The Last Word.”

Originally recorded August, 2023

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