Fashion Forward: The Relaunch of Feiss

Feiss and Monte Carlo welcome 2012 with new branding, new looks, and a brand new joint Dallas showroom.

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Stepping over the threshold of the new Feiss/Monte Carlo showroom, retailers will immediately notice a change. First of all, the grand entrance has been revamped to make retailers feel even more at home.  “Our customers mean everything to us,” explains Maria Scutaro, president of the newly abbreviated Feiss company. That philosophy is evident as retailers tour the new space, starting with the hospitality suite where they can grab a cup of coffee or bottled water and relax in a comfy chair. “We are known for giving cradle to grave service,” Scutaro affirms.

Another noticeable change is the new logo and hangtags for Feiss and Monte Carlo.  Sean Lavin, chief marketing officer, adds, “The logo has been updated to have a fashion brand feel.

“It felt like the right time to rebrand,” Scutaro remarks. The founding date – 1955 – becoming part of the new logo was deliberate. “It was important that we maintain the heritage. I have a personal attachment to the company. I’d like everyone to know that it’s still Feiss,” she states.

To that end, the Feiss name continues to stand for quality design at a value. Beloved and best-selling items will certainly remain, but customers will also appreciate some fresh changes. “There’s great variety in the line between indoor and outdoor products,” Scutaro explains. “The line has been evolving over the past few years. We’re covering the spectrum.  Feiss will be the place to find a lot of looks at a great value.” Among the new styles that retailers will discover are an expanded bath category plus mini pendants.  There are also a lot more natural materials, such as woods and rattans, with a plan to become more eco-friendly over the next several years.

In addition to serving as company president, Scutaro is also a member of the design team. “We want to bring a sense of fun,” she says. “For inspiration, I look at everything around me. I’m always taking pictures wherever I go.  I’m looking at fashion, jewelry, cars, silverware, and antiques. Texture is big for me,” she comments. “When I look at clothing, I’m looking at the drape, fabric, color, and how much embellishment there is. I think the car industry is one to watch for color. A car is like a chandelier, you live with it for a long time.”

Lavin hints that the new Feiss products to be unveiled during the January market will have a modern, luxury twist.  “You will see some things that Feiss customers wouldn’t have seen in the past from a trend standpoint,” he mentions.

What retailers won’t find a lot of at the January market is LED-powered models. “Feiss has always been about fashion and value,” Scutaro notes. Right now with LED prices so high and the technology still rapidly developing, she believes customers are not able to see the value yet. “I think we’ll be looking at 2013 and beyond for LEDs,” she states.

Walking through the showroom will be a new experience for customers.  “The way we’re displaying product will be different and the areas will be brighter, with cleaner sight lines,” Scutaro notes, adding that the café will have more of a SoHo vibe that recalls the company’s roots and headquarters in New York City.

Perhaps the biggest change is the integration of Feiss with Monte Carlo. “They are one company now, not two separate islands,” Scutaro explains. Retailers can enjoy integrated ordering and shipping for both companies on the same invoice plus joint sales programs, promotions, and co-op dollars.

There will be some design coordination between the two lines – for example, there are complementary glass treatments and finishes –  but no shared families. As such, Monte Carlo will have its own separate showroom just off of the main entrance instead of having the ceiling fans sprinkled in among the Feiss products.

Monte Carlo is going to be more focused on the lighting showroom channel.  “We will be leveraging the design success that Feiss has to Monte Carlo and elevating the brand to the showroom level,” Lavin says.

Scutaro agrees. “For us, the showroom is king.  I feel like we are bringing a design sensibility [to Monte Carlo] that is more aligned with Feiss,” she says.
While ordering from both Feiss and Monte Carlo can be accomplished on one purchase order, a retailer does not have to be a Feiss customer in order to purchase Monte Carlo fans and vice versa.

“I’m excited about the team we have gotten together at Feiss and Monte Carlo,” Scutaro remarks. “We have a great group and we’re looking forward to the future.”

About Edward Frebowitz
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