Waverly Invests $4 Million In Branding, Plus Website

February 11, 2000

New York—Waverly is banking on its brand to further penetrate the home decorating market with a $4 million consumer advertising campaign, considered a major effort in the home furnishings industry together with a major Website, Waverly.com.

"The theme of the campaign deals with creating a beautiful home," said Christiane Michaels, president of Waverly for the past three years. "We have 15 licensees. All of our licensed products work together and we are showing consumers how to blend them into a beautiful home," said Dan Bonini, vice president of marketing. "We're spending $4 million on our latest advertising effort in lifestyle and shelter magazines. We're in the home decorating business--not the product business," Michaels pointed out. This has been a keystone of her effort at Waverly thus far and it seems to be working, she said.

Waverly recently signed Beaulieu of America to produce Waverly wall to wall carpeting, one of 15 licensee/partners. Waverly had only six licensees three years ago. Michaels said she is actively looking for additional licensees in the tile and hard flooring industry plus five other product areas.

Recently, Waverly signed a home fragrance company.

"There are seven Waverly stores," Michaels said. We use the stores to stimulate traffic into our retail partners' showrooms and retail locations. Some major retailers are now featuring 1200 square foot lifestyle shops featuring all of the Waverly products in coordinated settings. Freestanding Waverly Lifestyle shops in 200 square foot shops within shops are also emerging in the retail marketplace.

"Our goal is to get more retail floor space and more product categories featuring the Waverly brand. This is the brand consumers trust in home furnishings today," she stressed.

"Internationally, Waverly had a strong Heimtextil showing this year. Traffic may have been down but we saw major buyers who wanted to do business with Waverly and be good partners with us. Partnering with our retailers must be reciprocal," she said.

"In the past two to three years, the Waverly branding story is getting across to consumers worldwide. The Internet is helping us build our brand further."

All of the products coordinate. Consumers are able to search through 3,500 patterns in the Waverly library 24 hours a day — on their own time according to their personal schedule. The average shopper spends 35 minutes on the Waverly.com Website producing two million hits a week with over 20,000 individual users. "They're interested in decorating and Waverly provides education on how to do it and where to find it," said Bonini.

"In addition, we answer 6,000 E-mail and telephone inquiries a week not Web-related. That's more than ever. We answer these inquiries within 24 hours. We have found that the Internet has increased the interactions with our customers. We have made the manpower commitments to helping consumers, who call in or log on," Michaels pointed out.

"Consumers gain trust through our Website. They recognize the Waverly brand. The Web represents a big commitment by Waverly that is high on our priority list. We have been promoting this brand since 1923."

"There's a great room section on the Waverly.com Website. Here, we tell consumers where to find everything in that room at their local retailer. There are 15 new great rooms to choose from every six months," Michaels said.

"Our Website contains a store finder complete with maps. We find that our retail partners like to build their store stock around what is shown in the Waverly great room. As a result, major retailers and fabric chains are participating in this program. And more retailers are getting into the swing of the Waverly great rooms merchandising. We want partnerships with our retailers to sell design solutions — not just products."

Recently, Waverly introduced a decorating guide called "Inspirations—Your Guide to Personal Style." It was published by Meredith and is offered for sale on the Waverly Website and through conventional booksellers. Waverly is already working on its next book, which will deal with coloring.

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