Passion and commitment
By Carole Sloan, founding editor-in-chief -- Home Textiles Today, 9/29/2003 12:00:00 AM
Hey there — all you folks out there in home textiles world.
How many of you took a couple of hours to schlep up to White Plains — yes, White Plains — to see a retailing phenomenon?
The phenomenon? The new Fortunoff in White Plains, NY. Not much different in its overall philosophy from its other big siblings in Westbury, NY, and Wayne and Woodbridge, NJ. — but very different in what the family-owned business was saying to its customers — and the marketplace.
How many of you folks have had a store walk-through with the head honcho? I've done it hundreds of times and most are like a military drill. Few have the passion and commitment oozing from just a ride up the escalator. And even those who have would be challenged by a walkthrough with Elliot Mayrock, one of nine family principals. Can anyone imagine nine family members agreeing even on what day of the week it is?
Putting personalities aside, can anyone come up with the name of any retailer who has all product available for immediate purchase — even beds pushing the $2,000 price point?
And while Mayrock claimed 65 fully dressed beds, one ceo of a department store counted 69. Who's counting, at those numbers? Needless to say, the impact is awesome.
And then there's the window business. When did you last hear a merchant complaining that price points were too low?
With the 75 fully dressed windows — and many in the $100-plus-per-panel price point, we're talking big-time numbers. And they change the assortment 25 percent every quarter.
Let's move on to the information given to shoppers. The signage at each bed is easy to read, a fixture designed for the department and with icons scannable for gift/bridal registries — a huge business opportunity that few retailers exploit.
Let's talk about change. We're not talking about upfront payments for markdowns, returns and the like. There are specified new product changes: every three months for dec pillows — the Yves Delormes shop brings in the new every six months and sends out the old; the crystal department, a Fortunoff mainstay, is 60 percent new and changes on that rate.
How many retailers provide "worktables" for customers to bring their flatware to try them out in different tabletop looks? And, by the way, they only offer more than 400 flatware styles.
Then there is the Lladró shop. It's more than a shop, rather a giant rendition of the famed Spanish accessories firm. And much of the merchandise now is out in the open with only the small pieces behind glass. Don't try to lift anything — you're close by the fine jewelry area with all the security in the world.
There's more to applaud what this retailer is doing. And they and those in the marketplace acknowledge this is not perfection. But it is a dramatic step forward.
We would love your feedback!