From Home Furnishing Business
Take 5: Glenn Prillaman
2015 by in Business Strategy, Industry
Stanley Furniture is jumping back into the youth and nursery furniture category at this month’s High Point Market with the introduction of Stone & Leigh. The company shuttered its iconic domestically produced Young America brand last April because the model was no longer profitable. Now, Stone & Leigh will follow the Stanley’s current business model as a design, sourcing and marketing house. Glenn Prillaman, president and CEO of Stanley Furniture, took time to discuss the company’s new strategy for youth.
Home Furnishings Business: What is the name of the new youth division, and how did you come up with moniker?
Glenn Prillaman: Stanley is a design, sourcing and marketing company with plans for growth through a diversified product line. The flexibility of our operations model allows Stanley to bring exciting new products to market each year. Our new nursery and youth product line, Stone & Leigh, is our newest introduction. The new brand’s name speaks literally to its connection to the Stanley brand’s authentic identity. The brand narrative offers a storybook tale of a young boy and girl who live in an imaginative house in a small pastoral town and experience the wonder of nature and exploration. The children’s names each share a piece of our company's American heritage and authenticity as a proud manufacturer of quality furniture
Our founder, Thomas B. Stanley, was a farmer turned industrialist who later became the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 1957, as part of Her Royal Visit to America to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the landing at Jamestown, he hosted England’s Queen Elizabeth at his home in a storybook occasion all unto itself. Stoneleigh is the name of the Stanley family home located in the town named for the family. Stanleytown, Va., is also where Stanley Furniture was founded in 1924. The Stone & Leigh brand is both authentic to the heritage of our company, and a whimsically imaginative journey we look forward to taking with boys and girls around the world.
HFB: Share with us the strategy in shuttering Young America a year ago and then relaunching the youth category this year.
Prillaman: For several years after the housing crash of the late 2000s, Stanley did everything possible to profitably operate a domestic manufacturing platform supporting an upscale case goods product line that was distributed through smaller independent brick-and-mortar retailers. Ultimately, production of the Young America brand had to be discontinued as profitability could not be reached within a reasonable amount of time. The Young America product line had been designed to capitalize on the competitive advantages of domestic manufacturing. A multiplicity of finishes, unparalleled product safety assurances and the cache of a product Made in the U.S.A. insulated the brand’s marketing narrative from copycat import brands. The product could not simply be transferred as is to a source in a foreign country without retail interruption. So rather than an abrupt halt to service, we executed a carefully orchestrated shutdown of the product line and the supporting domestic factory.
This helped Stanley’s retail customers with an orderly closure to the relationship the brand had created between them and so many consumers after decades of operation and more than $1 billion of sales in the nursery and youth business. This effort required a tremendous focus from our management team.
When all was said and done with Young America we continued to have customers tell us no competitor had filled the void we left in the marketplace, we felt confident in our ability to source a new product line designed around the competitive advantages of our company’s overseas operational model and marketing expertise.
HFB: How will this youth product differ from Young America?
Prillaman: I answer to some extent above when I say that Young America was designed around the competitive advantages of domestic manufacturing, while Stone & Leigh is designed around Stanley’s business model as a flexible design, sourcing and marketing company. From product design, to branding and marketing, to logistics, the business model moving forward is quite different. What will not change is our company’s commitment to design leadership, superior product safety and quality and dependable service. We expect our customers to always expect these efforts to be well executed at Stanley.
HFB: How broad is the premier introduction and what do the price points look like?
Prillaman: The Stone & Leigh brand introduces both nursery and youth product. There are five original designs for each of the two product categories and multiple finishes featured with each design. The feedback we have received from the retail partners who have already committed to the product tell us that we have developed a product of exceptional value.
HFB: What sort of projections do you have for Stanley in this category?
Prillaman: It would be irresponsible of me to attempt to project sales for any new product introduction. What I can share is that Young America was generating $40 million in annual revenues when we discontinued the product line. Stone & Leigh has been specifically developed and designed for today’s nursery and youth market. The values are evident when you see the product and you come in contact with the new brand. We believe the birth of our newest brand represents a significant opportunity for growth not just for Stanley, but also for our retail partners who intend to attract a younger, affluent, female consumer into their stores.