Farooq Kathwari: Embracing Change, Creating Opportunity Amid Turmoil

Farooq Kathwari: Embracing Change, Creating Opportunity Amid Turmoil

NEW YORK, June 25, 2013 — Ethan Allen Interiors, Inc. has flourished in China’s domestic furniture retail market, and the country has become the company's largest franchisee in the world. Ethan Allen has established 70 locations in China, smartly designing products and services that appeal to Chinese consumers and the emerging middle class. "The reason we're selling in China is because of our quality and our consistency," stated CEO and Chairman Farooq Kathwari.

In a discussion led by Tim Aeppel of the Wall Street Journal, Kathwari said the financial panic and subsequent recession was "a wake-up call for our industry."

"We had never, for 80 years, had a decline for a total year. For two years we were down 40 percent. We went from making 150 million dollars to almost zero in two years. It was like a shock to our system."

"If you have a brand that can differentiate with quality, service, design, and really get that message across, then you have an opportunity, especially at a time when there is a lot of chaos taking place." "My strategy is, crisis creates opportunity."

For more discussion on the furniture industry, understanding competition in the global market, slower economic growth in emerging-market countries and its implications for the U.S., see highlights from the evening below, or click here to watch the complete video.

Reported by Justin McDonnell

Video: Watch program highlights (7 min., 7 sec.)

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Watch the complete program

June 25, 2013
by Asia Society