Nestldown Linens Cozy on Luxury Linens - And Customer Service
Cecile Corral -- Home Textiles Today, 10/3/2011 2:00:00 AM
SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. - Laura Weaver works seven days a week at her four-year-old luxury linens shop, Nestldown.
Understandably, it's a work schedule many would find grueling.
Not Weaver. Her home away from home, Nestldown - located here at The Shops of Southbridge - is where she goes daily to surround herself with her extensive line of highend home textiles, and more so, her loyal customers.
"I am not looking to globally dominate anything. I am not looking to be a Walmart by any stretch of the imagination," she told HTT. "I've just done this so long - it's what I have done and it's what I do. I just really enjoy my life here and my business and every day. I never get tired of coming to work. As they say, that is the difference between a career and a job."
Early in her career she ran a Scandia Down store in the San Francisco Bay area for five years. Then she moved on to Los Gatos, Calif., to work for at the high-end linens shop, The Maids' Quarters, for owner Claudia Mann.
"I was there for about 20 years, and I really learned a lot there," Weaver said. "It's from where I draw a lot of my career background. Scandia Down shops are franchised and what they carry is very limited. But working for Claudia [Mann] at The Maids' Quarters for as long as I did is how I derived most of my knowledge and history."
At the Maids' Quarters, Weavers said she "ran the business - home textiles, baby, bedding and bath, furniture."
After about 40 years of living and working in Northern California, Weaver got the itch to relocate to Arizona to try her hand at running her own luxury linens store.
"I really felt I needed a change," she explained. "Claudia had been living here [Scottsdale] for about 10 years running a chain of dress shops all around the country. So when I moved out here, she was getting started on her new project, and she asked me if I wanted to get involved."
With the help of Mann's daughter, Jenny, Weaver found a space in a newly developed high-end mall that was modeled after Fred Segal in Santa Monica.
November 7 will mark Weaver's fourth anniversary of her store and own business operation.
Ask her to list her core business segment at the store, and Weaver points to bedding.
But actually, customer service is her "most important" offering.
"I think customer service is so important in this day and age," Weaver noted. "It's really fallen by the wayside everywhere. But if you want to stay competitive, customer service is really important. It's just very important to me to make my customers feel welcome and comfortable here, and like they are walking into my own home - because they are. When you are in this business as long as I have been, you really develop friendships and relationships and close bonds with your customers. I connect with them. When I was at The Maids' Quarters, our customers became like family. And I see my customers as an important part of my life."
Among Nestldown's special services: Complimentary gift wrap all year round, monogramming, engraving, gift certificates, layaway, baby and bridal registries, special and custom orders, "you name it," said Weaver.
How about company? That, too, she said.
"Sometimes people just want to come in and talk," Weaver continued. "My customers all have different needs, and I am here for whatever that need may be. I am not here just to sell someone something. I love retail because it allows me to be able to meet and connect with people, and I get a lot of satisfaction in helping them in whatever capacity."
By category, bedding leads the business - "it's what I sell the most," she said.
The store's 1,100-square-foot footprint "is pretty well-packed with a lot of stuff. I offer way more than what I sell at store [including customer services]. I feature three queen-size [display] beds on the floor, beautiful cabinets."
Furniture represents only "a small part. The bedding is my primary focus," Weaver said.
Category product offerings include sheeting, top of the bed, down comforters, feather beds, "anything and everything to do with soft bedding." Price points range from $300 to $2,000, with the most action lately in the $300 to $800 range, Weaver said.
Bath textiles and baby products are also major segments. Bath is broad, encompassing towels and accessories, robes, pajamas, soaps, and rugs. Bath towels and bath sheets retail for $30 to $200.
The baby department "is my happy place. It's so, so cute, if I do say so myself. It's small but definitely an important part of my business - small but mighty," said Weaver.
Baby goods include bedding, room décor, and accessories as well as some clothing.
Also in the merchandise mix are table linens, kitchen textiles, decorative pillows, throws and some vendor-specific yardage.
Among Weaver's "hundreds of vendors" she works with regularly, the list includes: Sferra, Lintex Linens/Cobra, Home Treasures, Yves Delorme, Anne De Solene, Ann Gish, Cloud 9 Comforts, Bella Note, Eastern Accents, Legacy, and Home Source International, as well as many others.
Linens as gifts represent also "a big part of my business, too," Weaver said. In fact, two of Nestldown's "hottest sellers," she said are The Cuddle Robe from Espalma, which is a polyester microfiber robe "that I can't keep in stock at $90. I have sold probably at least 1,000 of them since I opened my store. It is the perfect gift, it comes in one size fits all, and it's the softest thing you have ever felt."
The second best seller, which she said "I sell all day long," is an embellished decorative pillow that says "And they lived happily ever after."
Weaver said the pillow makes an appropriate gift for almost any occasion - engagements, weddings, registries, people who adopt kids, people who rescue animals, "or just because."
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