Oxford Garden Grows in Sustainable Manner
Makes record number of product introductions
Cinde W Ingram -- Casual Living, 11/1/2012 2:00:00 AM
Oxford garden took Root by serving the lawn and garden industry, broke new ground with online sales, branched out through various distribution channels and now spreads its canopy of green and value-oriented products.
The 2013 season is one that Oxford Garden is very optimistic about. More than 50 new SKUs have been added to the Oxford collection for 2013 including the Vancouver collection, which features pre-weathered teak in a contemporary design, deep seating additions to the Siena group and a broad group of new materials and items that have been added to the very successful Travira group.
"We've seen a pretty good up tick in awareness of our product and of our brand," said Randy Meek, founder and president, Oxford Garden. "I don't think we've ever introduced 50 items in one year. For us, it's a big step."
The increasing interest of consumers in the outdoor room and expanded outdoor living continues to bring opportunities for the Oxford Garden brand. While these opportunities continue, it is important to note that the economic times have placed a strong emphasis on value and medium price points. Oxford Garden continues to offer dealers an opportunity to provide a medium priced, high-value option to its customers.
Oxford also continues to make efforts toward operating a greener company. "Our efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle are matched with a generous program to reallocate products to local charitable organizations," Meek said. "The wood used in Oxford Garden's products is sustainable and has low environmental impact. Energy conservation is important to us as we plan warehousing, distribution and office environment."
Oxford Garden began in Louisville, Ky., in 1997 as a small start-up business with a couple of traditional styled benches and chairs made of shorea wood. These new beginnings took root in the lawn and garden industry as Oxford Garden found opportunities as a supplier to the lawn and garden distributors. The lawn and garden industry was experiencing dramatic growth and the L&G distributors who supplied the independent garden center were eager to introduce additional products to their customers. At that time, the casual furniture industry was still dominated by a few major manufacturers and the World Wide Web was rarely mentioned for commerce.
While making efforts in the casual furniture industry, Oxford Garden continued to grow along with the L&G industry and was one of the early suppliers to the Internet industry. In 1998, Oxford Garden was a key supplier to the Austin, Texas-based Internet business Garden.com. The dot.com bubble burst in 2000 and Garden.com was among the new Internet businesses that didn't survive, but a new entry into the outdoor living category emerged. Amazon. com announced its entry into outdoor living business and Oxford Garden became its first supplier.
Today, Oxford Garden continues to market through various channels including retail furniture dealers, designers, Internet, hospitality and contract businesses. The independent retail furniture dealer is a very important part of Oxford's distribution and Oxford backs up this position with favorable terms and conditions for this channel. A clearly defined Internet MAP policy has been a key component to Oxford's success in maintaining a broad distribution channel and continues to broaden brand awareness for all of Oxford resellers.
To reach out to customers in a broad distribution plan, Oxford exhibits at several industry trade shows in the hospitality, country club, golf club and furniture categories. The opportunity to allow prospective clients to see the Oxford Garden collection of products and to meet and discuss customer needs makes the investment in trade shows an important part of the overall marketing plan for Oxford.
Oxford Garden continued to broaden its shorea wood line offering quality construction and design at an affordable price into the late 2000s. Today, Oxford also offers products produced of several wood species and many mixed materials such as aluminum, sling, Tekwood polystyrene and Alstone sprayed granite.
Earlier this year, Oxford Garden launched a new website, built with both contract and wholesale customers in mind. The new site features a fresh look and more enhanced user interface, including the ability to customize pricing, check inventory and submit quotes.
"We wanted to develop a website that would provide excellent interaction for our trade customers and dealers," Meek said. "The new site personalizes the Oxford Garden experience for businesses and captures who Oxford Garden is today and where we are moving in the years ahead."
With a large centrally located warehouse in Louisville, Ky., and warehousing in Vietnam and China, Oxford is prepared for quick shipment on most stocking items. Louisville is the home of UPS Worldwide air hub that serves all-points and transportation centers. Many orders can be shipped within three days of receipt or less. Larger orders require longer lead times for production.
The desire to bring a joyful experience to outdoor living is a key mission for Oxford Garden, Meek said. To undertake that mission, Oxford Garden will continue to focus on the marketplace and the desires of consumers of outdoor furniture with an eye on clean design lines, quality production and value priced products.
We would love your feedback!