• Thomas Russell

Wesley Allen readies for 40th

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The SpencerThe Spencer Surround bed by Wesley Allen features a channel tufted headboard and an upholstered footboard and side rails shown here in a light gray fabric.
LOS ANGELES — As it approaches its 40th year in business next year, iron bed and dining furniture manufacturer Wesley Allen is making a multimillion dollar investment that has resulted in a new catalog, a new website, and a variety of social media and marketing initiatives aimed at promoting its expanded product offerings.

The company said this year alone, it expects to spend $2 million, which included a major upfit of its High Point showroom this past October and its return to the Las Vegas Market in July after an absence of several years.

The new 220-page catalog alone represents about $250,000 of the investment, noted Chris Henning, who joined the company this summer as president.

“I think the timing is very good for us now,” said Henning of the initiatives, which in addition to metal beds, day beds and bed benches, are promoting the company’s expansion into glass top dinettes with metal bases and companion chairs.

Tables and chairs come in three sizes, including barstool heights, highlighting the custom capabilities of the company’s Los Angeles factory.

The company’s beds, some of which include upholstered headboards, footboards and side rails, retail from $999 to $1,999. These come in 40 finishes and at least 20 fabrics in addition to COM.

Henning said the revamped website, www.wesleyallen.com, is expected to be live by the end of November. The new catalog can be downloaded directly from this site.

The catalog and product offerings in particular, as well as a totally redesigned showroom, resulted in a strong market, officials said.

“I would emphasize that pretty good is an understatement,” said Victor Sawan, CEO, noting that the company opened some 25 new accounts. “Attendance was up 18% and order writing was very robust.”

He attributed the strong market to the direction of the product line and also to the way the showroom looked.

“It was for lack of a better word, unbelievable,” Sawan said. “I stayed in town two weeks trying to get it right with the people I hired. They did a beautiful job and that is the first time we had a showroom with that kind of personality.”

He also noted that Henning also brought in a number of new customers that the company normally doesn’t get to see at markets.

Sawan added that the marketing push this year is a good sign of what customers can expect from the company in the coming years.

“I am not a guy who gives up,” Sawan said of the effort, which includes a mix of public relations and social media that Sawan said the company has not pushed much of late. “I realized our format and the way we were doing business was a good way to survive and make some money and open new accounts, but it was not all guns blazing…I sat down with my people and said how can we get all guns blazing? I brought in the best people I could find, not the cheapest people and not just people that agreed with me. I said let’s do it and we did.”

Sawan noted that company’s 40th year anniversary celebration began with this latest marketing push and will culminate about year from now.

Thomas RussellThomas Russell | Associate Editor, Furniture Today
trussell@furnituretoday.com

I'm Tom Russell and have worked at Furniture/Today since August 2003. Since then, I have covered the international side of the business from a logistics and sourcing standpoint. Since then, I also have visited several furniture trade shows and manufacturing plants in Asia, which has helped me gain perspective about the industry in that part of the world. As I continue covering the import side of the business, I look forward to building on that knowledge base through conversations with industry officials and future overseas plant tours. From time to time, I will file news and other industry perspectives online and, as always, welcome your response to these Web postings.

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