Luxe linens and craftsmanship brand SFERRA is celebrating a big anniversary: 125 years, kicked off earlier this year with a new bedding ensemble. Other developments are in the works, including a new, contemporary design direction overseen by the company’s president and CEO, Michelle Klein, who took on the role last January after serving as president and CEO for Baccarat Americas. Klein is part of a fabric of female leadership at Sferra: seven of 10 of the brand’s top execs are female, 29 percent of the corporate board is female, and its equity partner, Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, is also known for women leaders, including CEO and founding partner Lauren Leichtman.
Here, Klein reflects on her first year with the company, as well as the major milestones up ahead.
What are some of the most significant changes you’ve implemented since coming aboard?
Sferra is celebrating 125 years this year. As for all brands, it is important to continually update and refresh the image to maintain key relevance in an ever-changing world. In terms of this refresh, I have been looking at Sferra from a 360-degree perspective, touching product and color palettes to packaging and photography, to enhance and evolve the brand and to find a way to express it with a sense of casual, relaxed elegance for the way we live now. In addition, Sferra crafted a wonderful 125th Anniversary Limited Edition capsule collection commemorating many of our most important innovations and history points, and it’s been well received, which is gratifying.
What are the challenges of this industry?
One of the challenges for us in this industry is ensuring that our e-commerce platform correctly expresses a true continuum of the brand as it is perceived and experienced in person on a retail selling floor. In such a tactile industry as soft home goods, it is important that the shopping experience maintains a uniformity of quality perception and experience, as when customers shop for our product in our specialty retail partner’s stores. To promote this, we recently redesigned and relaunched our e-commerce platform. Our intention was to elevate our digital presence for our loyal customer base, offering them a similar beautiful and enjoyable shopping experience within Sferra’s online flagship store.
What do you love about the brand?
I am a product person—that is why I have been in the luxury business for over 20 years. I came to Sferra first and foremost because I believe Sferra has the most beautiful textile products in the world. The DNA of the brand hasn’t changed over the last 125 years: beautiful, quality products produced in Italy by the world’s foremost master craftsmen. I equate luxury with quality, and that is what Sferra is to me.
What’s next for the brand in 2017?
Sferra is a lifestyle brand. We are always looking to add to our extensive offerings, whether it is new fashion, new products, or even a whole new product category, such as dog beds or the recent debut of our Tailor Made program. Our custom Tailor Made program has met with such great response, we’ll continue to evolve and elevate our design patterns to offer customers and their interior designers the ability to create special luxury bed linens that integrate beautifully into their own home decor.