Importer adds fresh, value-loaded looks to fast-growing line.
Pictured above is Stoney-Creek one of a dozen new groups being
introduced by the company at the October High Point Market.
Aiming to build on the strong momentum it has generated since introducing its new bedroom line at the October High Point Market a year ago, case goods importer folio 21 is adding a dozen new bedroom groups at the upcoming market.
Introductions include a chic transitional group in ash solids and veneers with mirror inserts; an antique oak group with custom hardware, stone inserts and a rich, 27-step, hand-applied finish; and a variety of other traditional, contemporary and transitional designs priced at $1,699 to $3,499 retail for a five-piece group.
In addition, folio 21 is introducing a correlated dining program that includes five groups that coordinate with its best-selling bedrooms, and it is adding a darker finish option to two of its best-selling bedrooms.
The new groups will be shown in folio 21’s showroom in space 647 of the Wrenn wing of the International Home Furnishings Center, which is being expanded by 3,600 square feet for the October market.
“We’ve spent our first year making sure that we have all the right systems in place to deliver a quality product on time,” said Bill Benton, president and CEO, who launched folio 21 as a joint venture with partners Sean Slack and James Martin Jr. and a leading Vietnam-based OEM supplier at the October 2011 High Point Market. “We’ve demonstrated we can do that — with 19 bedroom groups currently in production and shipping — so now we’re ready to expand the variety of styles that we offer our dealers to give them even more profit opportunities.”
folio 21’s “lean and mean” business model is designed to enable retailers to capture a healthier profit margin than is typical of the industry, according to Benton. “We’re a 100% mixable container-direct source, not a wholesaler, with access to our own production and warehousing. We keep our costs to a minimum through our no-frills approach, and pass that savings onto our customers.”
folio 21 sources all of its products from its joint venture partner’s 3.5-million-square-foot facility in Vietnam. The facility includes climate-controlled onsite warehousing, where it maintains stock on its entire line.
According to Slack, folio 21 ships mixed containers from existing stock within 10 to 15 days. “Sometimes we can ship product as quickly as five days if the containers are delivered to us quickly,” said Slack. “Since this is our own warehouse, we have plenty of space for stock, so we have a good supply of all our best sellers on hand.”
Dealers can check on the status of inventory and orders online in real time through the FurnishWeb portal, Slack added. “Dealers can immediately see what’s in stock and when product is going to arrive at their stores.” The site also can be used to check on parts orders and sales histories.
The fact that folio 21 stores inventory in its own warehouse is a “big plus” for retailers, added Benton. In addition, the company ships all of its products in cartons that meet the International Safe Transit Assn.’s rule 181 packing standard.
“Instead of trucking finished product from multiple factories to a third-party warehouse with all that extra cost and handling, our furniture moves directly off the production line into our own warehouse, which is only about 300 feet away from the packing line,” said Benton. “Studies have shown that handling furniture fewer times leads to much lower damage rates.”
While emphasizing upper-promotional to mid-range price points, folio 21 works hard to pack as much quality into its products as possible. All of its designs are created in the United States by a select group of American designers, using premium American veneers such as oak, cherry, pecan and walnut.
“We work with some of the best designers in the industry, and we give them the freedom to use the finest materials and think creatively,” said Slack. “We’re not a ‘me too’ kind of company. Where another company will use cheaper veneers to hit a price point, we use a more expensive veneer and even apply it in places you wouldn’t normally see.”
As part of the product development process, folio 21 solicits input from an informal panel of consumers, as well as from its sales force and retailers.
Throughout folio 21’s line, groups feature multistep finishes with intricate, hand-applied distressing and detailing. Drawers feature English dovetail construction with full-extension side guides and corners that are blocked and glued for added strength. All drawers also are sanded, sealed and tinted, and all case frames feature mortise-and-tenon construction.
All the company’s designs feature cedar-lined bottom drawers, with many sets featuring removable storage trays and jewelry or belt and tie storage. All nightstands include a three-outlet power unit built into their recessed backs with 10-foot cords and 90-degree wall plugs. Media storage units include power outlets with surge protection and the same 10-foot cord with 90-degree plug. Some pieces also feature hidden storage areas for an iPad or personal papers.
“These are features you wouldn’t expect to see at our price points,” said Slack. “But where we really shine is in our finishes — our Vietnam facility has five finishing lines and capabilities that are hard to match.”
Morris Home Furnishings, based in Dayton, Ohio, has had “great sell-through” on the ten folio 21 bedroom groups that it carries on its store floors, said Larry Klaben, president and owner. “Our sales associates and customers love folio 21 product because of its first-rate construction, beautiful finishes and strong value proposition. The quality and consistency have been excellent.”
folio 21 delivers a “very attractive, top-quality product,” added Carlos Capo, executive vice president and co-owner of El Dorado Furniture in Miami Gardens, Fla., which has one folio 21 bedroom on its store floors and is in the process of adding two more. “The line offers a strong value, with a great finish and overall quality, which consumers can easily see when they walk through our displays.”
Capo said that folio 21’s ability to mix products within a container will be an advantage for El Dorado as it adds additional groups. “You can mix anything, any time, in any quantity, and as a direct source, not a wholesaler, folio 21 offers very competitive pricing.”
Since its launch in 2011, folio 21 has developed a strong national base of Top 100 retailers and as well as smaller independents. “The value combined with the ease of mixing makes folio 21 a very attractive partner for a broad portion of the retail trade,” said Benton.
folio 21 also ships product to leading retailers in Canada, Central America and South America.
“We offer retailers of all sizes a very affordable way to direct-source imported case goods,” said Slack. “Everyone who comes in our showroom recognizes the value and quality we offer. Our dealers are thrilled to be able to mix as many groups as they want in a single container, with no restrictions.”
About folio 21: folio 21 is a direct-container importer of quality bedroom and correlated dining furniture sourced from Vietnam. A joint venture between industry veterans Bill Benton, Sean Slack and James Martin Jr. and a leading OEM producer, folio 21 produces and warehouses its entire line at a 3.5-million-square-foot facility in Vietnam. The company offers retailers the ability to mix and match orders from any of its collections in a single container.
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