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  • Warren Shoulberg

Ellery steps it up to the next level

ElleryOnline business now gets its own dedicated showroom space – and a five-person team focused solely on e-commerce accounts.
At the New York Market — It was only a few years ago that Ellery Curtains became Ellery Homestyles and, riding on the success of its landmark Eclipse program, took itself to a new level.

This market the company, under new president and ceo Hugh Rovit, is about to do it again, with a major expansion of its showroom and product line that will set the stage to dramatically grow its bedding and e-commerce businesses.

“We’re evolving quickly to meet the demands of both our end consumer and our distribution partners,” said Rovit, over the sounds of construction several weeks prior to market.

The company’s 295 Fifth Avenue showroom is being significantly expanded by 8,000 square feet to a total of 25,000 square feet. The vast majority of the new space will accommodate the company’s major bedding roll-out, which will feature 31 bedding introductions, a big step up over the company’s previous modest bedding offerings.

There is also a dedicated e-commerce showroom that is one part showcase and one part workroom for Ellery’s strategic push into providing specific goods and services for this channel. It recently staffed up and now has a five-person team focused only on serving online accounts.

“We believe size matters,” said Rovit, “and that makes us more meaningful to our supply chain, our retail customers and our employees.”

That scale is represented several ways, he said. First is the broad assortment Ellery now offers, in window, bedding, throws and related categories. There are multiple brands and labels, both private and public, from its own Eclipse to Waverly and beyond to store brands.

There is also an influx of new staffing, he said, from such well-known consumer product goods marketing firms as Unilver, Cadbury Schweppes and Toshiba. Rovit points out quite rightly that the home textiles industry rarely recruits from outside its own ranks and Ellery’s new hires bring levels of expertise and experience not often seen within the trade.

The bedding launch will feature both brands and private label introductions with the full strength of the Ellery sourcing structure behind it. “We’ve always been known as a company that delivers what our customers order and we’ll do the same thing in bedding as we’ve done in windows.”

Making that task easier is the company’s new 385,000-square-foot distribution center in North Carolina, which replaces a previous, less modern facility.

The e-commerce component of Ellery is designed to service this rapidly growing area of distribution though Rovit emphasizes this is a B-to-B model and the company has no plans to sell direct to consumers. There will be dedicated products and procedures for this channel and the new showroom will feature sophisticated electronics so customers can see what the products will look like on their sites rather than just on showroom shelves.

Rovit said some 15% of the company’s sales now come from the e-commerce channel, a mark achieved in just three years of targeting this business.

This comes against an overall Ellery sales increase in the double-digit range, though Rovit declined to provide a sales number. Though he joined Ellery last May as president, this marks his first market with the additional title of ceo, which he took on this past December when longtime president Budd Goldman left. Goldman remains on the board at Ellery, which was purchased by the private equity firm Trivest Partners in 2010.

Rovit says having a financial owner is a huge plus. “Having access to capital is the engine that translates into wins for our customers, our employees and our suppliers.”

All of the changes going on at Ellery these past few months represent just the start of the company’s next phase. “We’re just 10 months into it. We’ve accomplished a lot in those months, but I don’t think it compares to what we will accomplish in the next year or two. We’re just suiting up and getting ready to play ball.” H&TT

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