A Spoonful of Sugar
Richard Meth, vice president of sales for Edison, New Jersey-based Rainkist Umbrella, explained how many of the “perk” features of fashion umbrellas are designed to create a higher perceived value with the product. He gave the example of a special fabric that Rainkist’s fashion umbrellas use. Called pongee fabric, it not only has a purportedly higher-end look, but also allows for a Teflon coating that helps repel water, causing the umbrella to dry much faster. Other impressive features would be purse-sized folding designs or automatic-opening abilities.
MAKES THE MEDICINE GO DOWN
Mary’s “A Spoonful of Sugar” song teaches children if you add a little something positive to a chore, it becomes much easier to do. Fashion umbrellas may not seem much like sweetened cough syrup, but the same logic stands. The flourishes and features of a fashion umbrella are the sugar that makes the end-user forget all about the rain, and pay attention to the fancy umbrella instead. The “sweetness” is the main strength of the fashion umbrella, and also what makes it particularly suited for certain markets. Schatz stated that car sales, real estate and other service industries are good areas of focus, saying on a rainy day, a fashion umbrella “definitely [has] a more professional look to it.” The hospitality industry, she mentioned, is especially interested in presenting such an image—in fact, they use a specially designed fashion umbrella called a “doorman umbrella.” As described by Meth, the umbrella has a larger 60" arc and a narrow, 16-panel design.
While the service industries are one option for fashion umbrellas, Gary Libman, president of Attleboro, Massachusetts-based Storm Duds Raingear, explained fashion umbrellas are also suitable for the corporate world. “A businessman would not be seen potentially walking with a golf umbrella, but he might be seen walking with four or five [types] of our Storm Duds umbrellas that would be compact for him, easy-open, easy-fold, he gets to his office, he throws it in the corner of his office … It’s a great thing.”