For Retailers Only - March 2013

Breaking New Ground
By Wanda Jankowski

Damask duvet
Regis shower curtain.
Monika Murray, owner, m.style.

Monika Murray adds a fresh perspective to a foundation of proven business strategies to forge a new approach in offering home textiles

Monika Murray, founder and owner of m.style, used tried-and-true techniques to build her career and eventually start her company in September 2009.

Beginning in a Williams Sonoma call center fielding consumer inquiries, she rose through the ranks at Hold Everything, Two’s Company, Bed Bath & Beyond, Famous Home Fashions and Blonder Home, assisting product managers, and later learning to creatively develop product concepts.

Perfecting the art of networking, when she started m.style, Murray called upon buyers she’d worked with in the past and received her first order four months later.

Murray chose Jeffrey Fabrics as her manufacturer/importer partner, having established a rapport from working with it in the past. Her showroom/office is located within Jeffrey Fabrics at 261 Fifth Ave.

Opting to assemble a sales team of five and a warehouse/distribution component reflects another proven technique: “I focus on my strengths and delegate the rest,” she says.

With success gained through traditional business methods, what makes m.style stand out from the pack? It’s how Murray brings life experience and personality into her business, fostering a partnership approach with retailers and emotional connections with consumers via her designs.

“I feel too much of how business is conducted is us-versus-them—vendor-versus-buyer. From my experiences, I know the requirements at the buying level and offer pricing that makes sense,” she says. “I know and respect my customers and theirs.”

With a growing family—a husband, and two boys at ages 4 and 6, Murray identifies with families who want great-looking products at affordable prices. “I want to be known as the next door neighbor and friend they have in the business,” she says.

She offers good, better, best options, often drawing inspiration from luxury fabric patterns, translating sophisticated designs into fresh, affordable creations.

Murray seeks to demystify the industry with a modern, youthful website design (mstyledesigns.com) that displays product highlights, but gives equal play to videos and a blog in which she shares solutions to typical home décor challenges.

“I wanted an approachable website with inspirations and insights into interior design and the home textiles world,” she says. Expertly created in collaboration with New Shoe Marketing, it is meant to appeal to both buyers and consumers.

Though Murray began with shower curtains, her offerings have extended into fashion bedding, window covering and tabletop categories. “If it’s made of fabric, I want to do it,” Murray concludes.

So wonder no longer what the next generation of successful home textiles companies will be like. It is here in the likes of m.style.


LDB INTERIOR TEXTILES is published by EW Williams Publications Company
Phone: 1-201- 592-7007 Fax: 1-212-988-0588