Love Plus Luxury Equal 15 Years For Bedded Bliss
Cecile Corral -- Home Textiles Today, December 28, 2012
LOUISVILLE, KY. - Ask Donna Osif what made her pick Louisville as the best place to set up her luxury linens shop, Bedded Bliss, and she'll say it was love.
"Oh, God, yes," she told HTT recently. "Definitely."
Osif was in a long-distance relationship with her now-husband, Ernie Escamilla, back in 1996 when she decided her career need a change. She had spent 18 years as a buyer in the garment side of textiles, working for various companies, when one day she fell in love with a little gifts store in Knoxville.
"And I said to myself, ‘If I could pick something to do the rest of my life, it would be to run a shop like this,'" she recalled.
It would take another three years for her to "finally get up the nerve to do it!"
Well, nerve plus a little romance. With Escamilla living in Louisville, Osif said she knew she would have to set up shop near him to make it all work out.
That was 15 years ago. She and Escamilla are still going strong. As for her store: "It's my baby. I love my store. I love it."
But the past decade and a half have proven a journey for Osif, who through trial and error learned the ropes of running a linens - not garment or gifts - business on her own.
She set up shop in March 1997, and hit the road to buy merchandise.
"I went to market thinking I was going to be a little gift shop. I didn't really have a clear vision when I got started," she explained. "I just thought I'd go out and get fun, gifty things people would love to purchase."
Then, she consulted an acquaintance she made during her years buying apparel who left the business to open his own boutique store.
"He told me that if I was going to make it, I had to include bedding," she said. "He told me to get $5,000 and go to Peacock Alley and buy Peacock Alley."
The message was simple enough.
"So I did just that," Osif said. "But everything I bought was wrong. The bed looked beautiful, but no one wanted it. They only wanted a matelasse coverlet."
Within six months of opening the store, she said she quickly realized that it was bedding - not gifts - that would become her niche business.
Using her experience in negotiating from her days in the garment business, Osif called Peacock Alley back and asked the company if she could return all of the sheeting and other pieces in exchange for more matelasses and coverlets, and they obliged.
"They were happy to accommodate me," she said. "So I restocked all their new product, and from there my bedding business exploded."
That's when customers started asking for sheets. Osif brought some lines in, among them Yves Delorme (formerly Palais Royale) "and we started selling tons of sheets just from swatches. It was incredible."
Two years later, she was approached to become an Yves Delorme Corner Store, and when that happened "people knew that I was really a bedding store. I cemented my niche."
Bedded Bliss measures 2,400 square feet and is located in the city's central, "old and established" upscale neighborhood. The shop is keenly focused on bedding - including sheets, coverlets, duvets, quilts and some utility - as well as bath and table linens, and some small home accents and gift items.
Aside from Yves Delorme, other key vendors for bedding include Sferra and Matouk - the latter being "probably our No. 1 brand for several years over the recession and tough times recently," Osif noted. "We've carried Matouk a long time, and it has has grown and grown and grown, every year for the past several years."
Others include John Robshaw, SDH, Home Treasures, and Peacock Alley.
Bedded Bliss also acts as a Scandia Down Corner Store for the brand's luxury utility bedding offerings.
Bath linens vendors to the store include Abyss, Christie, Matouk, and Sferra, among a few others.
On the five display beds throughout the store, Osif likes to mix and match products from different brands to create a unique look and design offering for shoppers.
It is mostly bedding with accents now of candles, lotions, bath towels and accessories
"I rarely dedicate one bed to one vendor because that is not how people make their beds at home," she explained.
"Louisville is very traditional. Usually our customers start decorating a room with the drapes and the carpeting, and then go from there. When they get to the bed, it has to complement the drapes and carpet. That is why we don't do a lot of pattern in our store."
Bedded Bliss' tactic is to start with the few patterned items it carries, like quilts, and from there select the colors that will match with their shoppers' room needs. "We somewhat work backwards," Osif said.
Bedding price points at Bedded Bliss range from $750 to $1,000 for a Matouk bedding collection to $4,000 for a Dea-branded collection of Italian bed sheets, coverlet and bed-skirt.
Donna Osif likes to mix collections from different vendors on display beds. The bed on the left is dressed with Traditions by Pamela Kline, John Matouk, John Robshaw, and Brahms Mount. The bed on the right features SDH, Yves Delorme, Traditions by Pamela Kline, John Robshaw and Sugarboo Designs.
Bedded Bliss gets cozy for Christmas with festive garlands hung throughout the shop’s 2,400 square feet of space.
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