“In 1968, my parents couldn’t find any contemporary lighting in the Dallas area for their home, so they opened a store,” Jon explains. By the 1980s, one lighting showroom had turned into 35 throughout Texas. Unfortunately, along with the downturn in the economy, the late ‘80s brought a filing for Chapter 11. The two surviving stores have emerged all the stronger. “We’ve been in Dallas for 40 years and Austin for 30,” Sayah remarks.
The last few years have been pivotal for Lights Fantastic. “I decided to become more of a specialty retailer,” Sayah explains. “Over the last three years, we’ve tried to be – at our core – a great editor of lighting. New products have been so prevalent, with so many introductions coming out continuously that I don’t know how a customer deals with thousands of choices,” he says, adding, “I just know that, as a consumer myself, once I’m on a Web site that’s showing 100 pages of choices, I give up. It’s too overwhelming.”
Instead, Sayah embraced a new role: editor. “I figured that that if we could reduce the amount of product we show and become more selective in editing our assortment, it would ultimately help the consumer,” he comments. For example, in ceiling fans, Sayah narrowed down the thousands of options to “the best 100 ceiling fans” which took into consideration performance, looks, and other attributes.
“Over the past two years, it’s truly become apparent that the business is changing,” saya Sayah. LEDs are getting more sophisticated with each passing day and energy efficiency is a driving force in development not just as a result oflegislation but also because of necessity. The breakthroughs in technology and the consumers’ desire for sophisticated styling led to a new philosophy at Lights Fantastic. “We’re trying to position ourselves as the source that can provide the latest and greatest of what’s out there in the industry to consumers,” Sayah remarks.
Nowhere is this more important than with LEDs. “We get a tremendous amount of interest in LED products,” Sayah notes. “When we hold a seminar on LEDs, we easily get 100 people attending. You just mention the word ‘LED’ and they come in,” he states. The problem is that there is so much variation in the category. “There are good LEDs and there are bad LEDs. At Lights Fantastic, we add value by our editing process. We don’t show all the LED products available, we show the ones that we think provide the most consistency and quality,” he clarifies.
Granted, Sayah is the first to admit that the LED category was slow to take off at first because there wasn’t a lot of product out there. Now there is, and it’s up to the lighting retailer to become the discerning expert in showing the best product for the application at hand. Continue Reading