It was the fall of 2009 when the linen department of Party Reflections experienced a complete make- over. For years we had rented linens, but our selection was limited to a basic fabric choice in an array of colors. Let’s be honest, after 50 years in business, our linen selection was boring and left clients with little options. It was becoming evident that if we were going to continue to grow this portion of our company, there must be a significant change in our business model, marketing and product line.
The business model was going to be structured for growth both in width and depth. To expand the width of our inventory we decided to launch 100 new fabrics into the industry. We chose a wide variety of textures in multiple colors. These fabrics would then translate out into different sizes of tablecloths based on client needs. The depth of the inventory would be determined by these needs. Our company name had a strong reputation in the marketplace for quality tents, tables and chairs, but not linen. We knew it would require some high level marketing and a complete paradigm shift. If we were going to change the way customers saw our linen department then we should give it a name to signify the change. After one long creative think session, we emerged with “The Linen Gallery” as a marketing front to all things linen. We felt the offering of new and unique tablecloths was like the variety of colors and mediums used by an artist to create a beautiful masterpiece. Truly the amount of time and creativity that goes into an event design creates a living work of art for event guests to experience.
Our course was set and it was time to get to work. An actual launch party was planned for January 2010 to let the public know we had upped our linen game. Part of this launch was to provide our clients with a marketing tool that would be a great resource to use in the planning and designing process. A swatch box was designed and created by our newly emerging creative team at Party Reflections. It included a 5”x7” cut of fabric organized by color palettes not by fabric textures. As with any great masterpiece, color is a prevailing element within the design. Clients have enough decisions when planning a party and this concept helped to bring direction to the selection process. The Linen Gallery now had a tangible representation of the new product line neatly packaged in what we refer to as “the linen box.”
With the new name of “The Linen Gallery,” we felt the opening should be a mix of red carpet wow and a gallery crawl creative. It was complete with a step and repeat, red carpet, beautiful tablescapes and a gallery of “artwork” created with vignettes designed around new linen offerings. Guests were so excited to see what was now available in their market and accessible to them. Our goal that night was clearly to impress our customers with what we had created, but more than that we wanted to INSPIRE them. If our goal was to merely impress them, they would have walked away with little impact to their world. But if we INSPIRE, then they walk away with an excitement and energy to begin creating events that they only had dreamed of. Now, there was a partnership of creative forces with our clients to really move our industry forward and start to transform the way people see event design.
We aggressively began to purchase linens as orders were placed. The market was ready for some new linen options and it responded to this huge new offering of product. Since that launch, we have continued to add about 40 new fabrics a year. Table runners and pillows in these fabrics have been requested by our customers giving them another option to use when creating the event design. Custom fabric draping in tents and in ballrooms has also emerged as part of The Linen Gallery offerings. This again gives customers the ability to design a space and make their event unlike any other.
With the assignment to launch and rebrand our linen department, I felt a huge responsibility to manage this new product line. However, what I have discovered is the opportunity to establish our creative vision as a market leader moving forward. What started as push to offer more linens to our clients, has now become a much larger opportunity to lead, educate and equip our team to produce events on a level we have never seen before. Over the last 5 years, I have stepped into the role as Creative Director. My desire is to make sure we as a company are always developing our people, procedures and products, so we are able to maintain our place in the market.
Each month our blog will be focused on a creative idea or trend that we as a company are watching or creating. Look for future posts by myself, Maurisa Beaver, that has one goal in mind to INSPIRE you. This amazing life we lead is meant to be shared. In the coming blogs, I look forward to sharing the creative thoughts and ideas I find. Prepare to be informed but more importantly prepare to “Be Inspired.”