Emerald Home Furnishings to launch outdoor collection
Tanya Merritte -- Casual Living, April 25, 2013
HIGH POINT, N.C. - Furniture and bedding supplier Emerald Home Furnishings has joined forces with brothers Gary and Lyle Ecoff to add a comprehensive collection of outdoor furniture.
Emerald President David Beckmann said the new line of outdoor furniture will be shown to dealers at a private showing in June in the company's Center Point showroom, then officially launched at the next High Point Premarket, Sept. 9-10. The new line will be in stock and ready to sell by the first quarter of 2014.
In preparing the launch, Emerald is collaborating with the Ecoff brothers, veterans of the outdoor arena. Gary Ecoff had been founder and president of Fla.-based Carl's Patio while Lyle had been vice president of Carl's Patio and was president of the original Robb & Stucky's outdoor furniture division.
Gary Ecoff said he and Lyle were excited to help take Emerald into the burgeoning outdoor category.
"It's a great add-on to their existing business," he said. "Emerald is a first-class company that has a strong dealer base, a wonderful mix of products, an established infrastructure both here and in Asia, and domestic warehousing. What we bring is close to 50 years' worth of retail knowhow, the ability to design and specify product, and a true understanding of the casual segment. We think that together, this will be a very powerful strategy."
According to Beckmann, the new division will launch as Emerald Outdoor and will include, "a comprehensive assortment of sling, woven, cast iron and wood sets."
"Everyone knows that outdoor furniture is exploding and an increasing number of traditional furniture retailers are anxious to get into the category. But even so, there is some hesitancy because they are not experts in the segment," he added.
Beckmann said the Ecoff brothers have strong backgrounds as retailers in the category and as product designers and specifiers - which will take virtually all of the guesswork out of the equation for traditional retailers.
The majority of the products will be sourced in Asia as part of a container-direct launch. Emerald will keep backup inventory in stock at its 200,000-sq.-ft. warehouse in Tacoma, Wash.
Beckmann said Emerald intends to offer traditional furniture retailers a veritable turnkey approach to the outdoor category with furniture, including fire pits, targeting at the sweet spot of the category in looks and pricing.
Five-piece sets, which will feature Sunbrella and other performance fabrics, are expected to open at $999 with the strength of the assortment at $1,500, he said, adding, "We may top out with five-piece sets that retail for $2,500."
Lyle Ecoff said the timing of the launch could not be better, especially as more and more traditional furniture retailers are looking to boost their bottom lines with help from the outdoor segment.
"In a sense, this is the same business for traditional furniture retailers in that a sofa has four legs, but in another sense, this is a very different business compared to indoor furniture," he said. "The fact that we are retailers who have focused on the outdoor category will really allow us to help traditional furniture retailers understand and be successful in the outdoor category."
He said the line would also be suitable for many of the larger outdoor specialty retailers.
"Hopefully we'll have product a specialty retailer can benefit from and will be interested in," Gary Ecoff said. "I've seen what the horsepower of a large furniture company can accomplish. We'll be bringing in outdoor furniture at the better end with a level of style and taste at price points were all the heat is."
As president of Bambrella USA, Gary Ecoff was at High Point Market exhibiting its parasols made using FSC certified moso bamboo. "Between growing Bambrella as a brand in the U.S. and taking on this new project with Emerald, it's keeping me busier than I expected to be after leaving the retail side of the business," he said. Working with both an established indoor furniture company and own his brother is an extra bonus, he added.