• Cecile Corral

Linen Boutique Boosts In-stocks to Meet Demand

DALLAS - Joanne Walgren quickly found her target customer base - and it found her -- when she opened her high-end home fashions shop, Linen Boutique, here in the Highland Park area in 2007.
     The 2,600-square-foot storefront situated on West Lovers Lane supplies luxury linens to the area's affluent residents and the well-to-do, college-bound set enrolled at the nearby Southern Methodist University.
     So much so, in fact, she said, that the store recently had to expand availability on in-stock basics by double or more.
     For instance, she said, one high-end sheet set she carries has grown to eight in-stocks from just two a couple of years ago.
     "We are stocking more than we used to, and we have more things on the shelf for our customers," Walgren told HTT. "It's not so much the top of the bed, because people usually want that personalized, and we do that for them. But now we are stocking more sheets, for example, as well as more pillows. My customers more and more want instant gratification, which is why having in-stocks has become very important."
     This proved particularly true this past holiday season, when more than ever before, Linen Boutique's carefully planned in-stocks closely met customers' demand, Walgren explained.
     "I watch the turns pretty closely and now have it automated so I can keep a minimum on shelf," she added. "So if someone comes in on any particular day, I can fill that need."
     Custom-made pillows crafted on-site also serve this growing need, she said, citing her alliance with The Pillow Bar, a patented producer of side-sleeper, king and queen, and travel pillows that are filled to customers' personal liking and comfort level.
     Linen Boutique's main focus is bedding, and the business is largely led by Sferra Bros. "They are a really great partner, and I carry a lot of their stock," she said.
     Other major bedding programs for Linen Boutique include collections from Ann Gish and Matouk. "They are wonderful, and we do very well with [both of] them," Walgren added.
     Peacock Alley and Home Treasures are also mainstays. "And then there are a couple of new lines we are looking at picking up, but we're still waiting for approval."
     In addition, Linen Boutique offers bath towels and accessories from a variety of sources, including Abyss, Matouk, Mike & Ally, Labrazel and others.
     The selling floor features seven display beds for fashion bedding, plus a twin bed dedicated to down pillows and comforters. The beds feature mix and-match ensembles from assorted vendors "to keep them looking different."
Walgren said one of her store's signatures is its high-end quality sheeting.
     "If you want to find sheets that last a long time and feel wonderful, we've got them from 200-thread-count all the way to 1,000-thread-count," she said. "We really run the whole gamut."
     Prices for sheet sets are equally broad. "We can sell a sheet set for $200 to $1,800," she said. "And we of

Cecile CorralCecile Corral | Senior Product Editor, Home & Textiles Today
ccorral@homeandtextilestoday.com

Cecile B. Corral has been a product editor with Home Textiles Today since late 2000. She covers the area and accent rug, kitchen textiles, table linens, beach towels, decorative bath and decorative pillow categories, as well as some retail subjects.

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