For Reatailers Only - September 2011

Gramercy Knows Home
By Emily M. White and Samantha Siegel

The store’s layout allows customers to feel comfortable and at home while shopping.

Atlanta, GA-based fine linen shop, Gramercy Home, credits education on products to consumers as the key to its success

In May of 2008, Jenny Taubel and Cam Reynolds opened Gramercy Home, a retail space that combines high-end linens with a mix of modern, urban and fresh accessories, to project a design aesthetic they call “Souban Chic.” In a prime location around the corner from Atlanta’s design district, Gramercy opened in the beginning of the recession, but with its niche offerings, knowledgeable sales staff and commitment to customer service, the shop has become a neighborhood fixture.

Lisa Kirk, who heads up Gramercy’s marketing efforts, details the store’s strategies for success.

Be The Expert
The success of Gramercy is credited to strong knowledge about its offerings.

“People are careful with their money. If they are spending it they want to understand the product they are purchasing,” says Kirk. “If you know your products, you gain the customers’ trust and loyalty.”
Being knowledgeable of your own offerings is not enough. Shop your local competitors and know their selections as well.

“You need to stay on top of your local retail market,” Kirk explains. “If we don’t have something someone is looking for, we try to make suggestions of other small businesses that may offer the product they are seeking.”

Vera, by Haute Home is a prime example of Gramercy’s “Souban Chic” style: a traditional technique, such as embroidery, done in a modern way, along the scalloped edges of the pillowcases and comforter with decorative shams that mimic the pattern.

Know Your Customer
Knowing your target customer gives you a better idea as to what items will sell.

“Our core customers are divided into two types: interior designers and affluent women aged 45 to 60ish,” says Kirk. “They are typically renovating or redecorating their homes, either local or vacation, and want custom, fine linens for the bed and bath.

“We know many of our clients by first name and that makes a huge difference. We like to have fun at work and create a great experience for everyone who walks through our door,” notes Kirk.

Select The Right Merchandise
Being familiar with the effects of the economy on your customers allows you to select merchandise that will sell.

Kirk says, “We started out lean and focused on offering the best service possible. Our product focus is bed and bath linens. We carry a large variety of lines and, because we do a lot of special ordering, we don’t have to stock as much inventory. As things have improved in the retail market, we have added more accessories (pillows, throws, lamps, art) and gifts to our product lines.”

New Ways Of Communicating
Blogs, websites, Twitter and Facebook have added a new dimension to communicating with consumers, both locally and out-of-state.

“We advertise several times a year in a local home magazine and started blogging regularly last year. The blog has been a successful selling tool,” Kirk observes. “We get phonecalls from all over the world asking about something seen in a post. We also get visitors to the shop who make Gramercy a destination when visiting Atlanta. Last year, we launched our website and are working to offer more product and easier navigation in 2011.”

Practicing tried-and-true retailing techniques while keeping up with changing, tech-savvy times has brought success to Gramercy Home—and will perhaps to your store, too.

Resources

• Gramercy Home, 404-846-9244, shopgramercy.com


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