Kaye Fawcett Delivers Fine Linens & Furnishings in Honolulu
Cecile Corral -- Home Textiles Today, February 23, 2013
Fine Linens & Furnishings works with many major brands and vendors, but the retailer also offers its own high-end bedding line called The Signature collection. Custom made in Hawaii, the collection is made of silk and includes some hand-screen designs such as Plantains seen here.
It's a different way of running her longtime luxury linens retail business, Fine Linens & Furnishings, here in Hawaii's capital.
But as she explained to HTT, her new concept works - especially for the island state's high end market.
"I love my business now. It gives me the opportunity to spend time with clients and help them put together a look for a room in a more personal way," said Fawcett, who marks her 10th anniversary in business this year.
"And many times, it leads to other business for me," she continued. "My client may come to me for help with one room, and then she may want to move onto another room.
"There is always an opportunity for other sales when you are in the home. And it is also just a very comfortable and easy way to do business with clients."
2013 will also represent Fawcett's 10th year in textiles.
"It began as a passion," she said. "I wanted to break into this market, and so I just gave it a try."
Fawcett got to work, starting out doing some sourcing of products and "keeping very good notes."
As she explained, "Living in Hawaii, it was the only way to do it. It's not like I'm living in New York City and I can run on over to the garment district to see new fabrics. I had to learn to source."
Kaye Fawcett offers personalized customer service to her clientele.
A quick study, Fawcett knew she was ready to open shop when a small retail space became available.
"I brought in different things - high end bedding, Egyptian cotton sheets and only first-quality European linens," she said. "Nothing from China."
Her shop was on the second floor of a small, storefront building located in "an area that was ahead of its time."
"Little by little the word got out that I was here, and my business started to grow. In Hawaii, there really aren't fine linens shops," she said.
Encouraged by growing demand for her wares two years into the business, Fawcett set out to find a larger, more central site for her store.
She found it at the upscale Gentry Pacific Design Center. A 2,300-square-foot showroom and store for her bedding and bath linens, the shop got traction from an international assortment of designers, decorators and upscale shoppers.
"The design center was a very good fit for me," Fawcett explained. "And it was an incredible opportunity for me because the people who shopped there were my clients."
But five years into it, Fawcett started considering her options for evolving the business.
"My lease ran out and I did not want to open another retail store. Even the design center was changing - they were changing their tenants, and today while there may be a handful still there, the building has new owners," she said.
Aware that her client base is service oriented, Fawcett came up with a new strategy.
"I figured I could personalize my business even more if I did it myself," she said.
And that is how Fawcett has been doing it for the past year.
"I talk to my clients on phone, get a feel for what they want, we make an appointment to meet, I come by to assess what she has and likes, I take notes, and then I return with a batch of goods I think she will like," Fawcett explained. "She decides on what she wants, I place the order or orders, and when merchandise arrives to my office, I personally deliver it and make the beds for her myself."
|Among the many upscale brands and
vendors in Fawcett’s repertoire is Anali
for bedding like these embroidered linen
styles titled Paradise, above, and Orchid,
In sum: "I'm a one-woman show. And I love it."
That is not to say Fawcett works out of an office in the trunk of her car.
Rather, she operates from a spacious and well-appointed home office stocked with samples and products to show to clients, and she works closely with a showroom in town where she often meets with clients to see products and exchange ideas.
"My home office is a large room and I have all of my products categorized. I have all of the swatches, merchandise, product samples from which I draw to pull together personalized stories for each of my clients."
Fawcett described her assortment as livable elegance. "Let's not forget, this is Hawaii."
Her trademark color is sage green, and her design preferences are textural and tonal.
The brands she carries include Sferra, Anali, Abyss & Habidecor, Traditions by Pamela Kline, Anachini, Ann Gish, and others.
She also offers what she calls her "Signature" bedding collection, made of silk and custom-made in Hawaii by a seamstress who has partnered with Fawcett for the exclusive program.
"The seamstress I work with can make custom sheets and linens," she noted. "And any custom work my clients need is all made here in Honolulu."
Because she no longer has the overhead from operating a retail store, Fawcett said her prices are reduced.
Fawcett's Signature silk bedding line runs in price from $500 for a pillow through $2,500 for the full ensemble. Egyptian cotton sheets range from 800- count to 1,200-count retail for $1,000 to $3,500
Fawcett wraps each item in sage-green tissue and a sage-green ribbon, then tucks it into her own company bag.
"Everything that leaves my office is wrapped and has a nice presentation," she urged. "It's all about giving your customer the best service, and I always try to do that."
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