Spencer N. Enterprises Builds Fast and Smart
Furniture Today Staff -- Gifts & Dec, September 16, 2010
One year since undergoing a recapitalization by Texas-based Ancor Capital Partners and 21st Century Group, the fashion decorative pillows and soft window treatments company is in the midst of expanding its infrastructure to accommodate ongoing growth, which so far this year alone translates to high double-digit sales increases.
"We've grown 30% since 2008," said Joy Stewart, president, adding that Spencer's dec pillow sales for 2010 to date are "substantially greater" than last year's, and its soft window treatment numbers may be high enough by yearend to take the company into HTT's Top 5 list for the product category.
"We believe we are doing so well because we know fashion - we always have," she continued. "And we have loved this year because fashion is back, and we are poised to become the fashion kings of the industry."
At the heart of Spencer's expansion is the company's new 100,000-plus square-foot facility at its Los Angeles headquarters. This new site includes offices, a 5,000-square-foot showroom, a newly enhanced IT operation that has grown from two to 10 staffers, a warehousing operation and a manufacturing facility.
To that end, Spencer is installing this fall new high-tech polyester blow-fill equipment as a means of increasing "our flexibility," Stewart explained. "The cost of filling a pillow in China has about doubled," she went on. "We are so excited about this new equipment because it increases our flexibility. The cost of shipping a pillow in China has doubled, so by filling it here we reduced our costs. We are always finding ways to be more flexible in our operations."
On that same page, the company is also adding new conveyor belt and rack systems related to its feather-fill business. In addition to helping Spencer adapt to consumers' changing demands for poly-fill or feather-fill products, the new systems "also allow us to do some pick and pack," she continued.
"It's all about being efficient and flexible," Stewart said.
Whereas Spencer was originally an exclusively feather-fill dec pillow supplier as of five years ago, the company today divides that fill offering 50-50 with poly-fill.
"We are the experts in both now, and we are the best in maximizing that," Stewart said.
Spencer's cut-and-sew operation is also part of the enhancement efforts, as the company is building up its sewing staff to produce product lines domestically.
To help support the expansion, Spencer created the new evp, design and product development post and tapped 25-year industry veteran Stephen Paradis to fill it. He joined the company in May.
"We were looking for someone with strength in both sourcing from China as well as in design, and we found that in Stephen," Stewart said. Paradis was most recently at Beacon Looms, where he spent the past 10 years, most recently as vp, design.
There is also a new director of supply chain: Jenny Tu. She was promoted to take on more responsibilities related to her department, and she reports to George Hird, who is vp of operations.
Product category expansion is also part of Spencer's recent growth initiatives. Dec pillows remains the core, but soft window is rapidly catching up and is almost as strong in sales. New to the portfolio are table linens and shower curtains, which were added to the mix this past spring.
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