18340 Mon, 03/08/2010 - 7:00am
One Kings Lane is not a real address in Los Angeles, but it is a very real virtual address, the home of the first Web-based pop-up site for home furnishings.
Started just a year ago by Susan Feldman and Alison Gelb—two women with plenty of merchandising and technical experience but none in the home business—OneKingsLane.com has blossomed into a new distribution channel for home suppliers looking to move excess merchandise, expose their products to a new audience or just simply drive sales.
While other sites, such as Gilt.com and Rulala.com, have an apparel focus with some home merchandise mixed in, OneKingsLane chose to concentrate on home furnishings.
“Our plan was always to be a specialist in home,” Feldman told HFN, saying the two founders relate well to their customers. “We are that customer, we are crazy home enthusiasts.”
The site now boasts over 300 different brands in a variety of home categories, with an emphasis on textiles, home decor and tabletop. Feldman says no distinct pattern has emerged as to what sells and what doesn’t, but that the site looks to have products that are at least 50 percent off retail price tags.
And while some of it is closeouts and excess goods, much of it is not. “What we can do for a brand is move their goods in a discrete manner, but also make them look beautiful. We make great design available.”
Vendors who have used the site agree. “We’ve been very happy with selling on OneKingsLane,” said the head of one textiles company who declined to be named. “It makes our product look good and the sales have been better than we expected.”
Feldman said when she first approached suppliers there was some hesitancy. “It was a pretty new model and it took a lot of explaining.” Now, she says, “Vendors get it.” She is looking to expand offerings in furniture, lighting and rugs. “It just has to be fabulous product,” she said.
Depending on the product and the particulars of the sale, some vendors drop ship directly to consumers. In other cases, OneKings- Lane takes possession of the goods and ships from its own warehouse.
The site recently added design content, with videos and decorating tips, often featuring the two partners. “The more information we can supply the better.”
She declines to give any hard data on sales or members, but says, “The numbers are headed in the right direction.” OneKingsLane recently received additional funding from investors, usually a signal that a business is progressing well.
Feldman thinks the concept of OneKingsLane has plenty of legs. “People used to get their home decorated and they wouldn’t touch it for 50 years. But now, with all of this incentive coming from TV to decorate, the sky’s the limit. You’re never done decorating.”
And, she hopes, never done stopping by OneKingsLane.com.