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    Rosenberry Rooms: Creating An Environment Where Children Thrive

    By Michael Goodwin | Small Business

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    Where can you find hand-painted impressionist knock-offs for children, gender-neutral kids’ theme rooms, ballerina-styled bedding, rugs, light fixtures, and a Biplane Fighter Pendant in Walnut Finish—all one click away from inspirational wall poster quotes from the Dalai Lama?

    Wonderful Children’s Furniture

    You have just discovered Rosenberry Rooms, an amazing online resource and shopping site devoted exclusively to wonderful children’s furniture, bedding, decor, gifts and gear. Susie and Peter Fougerousse designed the site to “help in creating an environment where children can thrive.”

    In just ten years, Rosenberry Rooms has become hugely successful. According to Peter, VP of Marketing, it boasts the largest selection of products of any company in the online juvenile furnishings space. “We have an even broader product selection than any of our big box competitors,” he says.

    The Fougerousses’ site includes three areas:

    • Families setting up nurseries for newborn babies will find products designed to please from birth through the day baby leaves the nursery.
    • Moms and dads setting up a child’s room will find items aimed at kids leaving the nursery all the way up to pre-teenage years.
    • District17, a sister site, caters to teenagers who are choosing their own décor.

    Sign On With Yahoo

    Rosenberry Rooms started in 2004 when Susie (then a stay-at-home-mom; now she’s president of the company) pointed out to husband Peter that all kinds of ecommerce sites were starting to pop up on the web. Susie’s first idea was to focus on the nursery and sell crib bedding online, but she soon realized they were looking at a much bigger opportunity. The timing was perfect: Peter was traveling a lot as head of a company automating textile production, and Susie wanted a business to focus on as a creative and entrepreneurial outlet. Peter helped set up the ecommerce operation, dealing with site design, working with software engineers, and managing marketing. Susie looked for products.

    “The idea of what products to sell evolved over time,” Peter recalls. “We came across a lot of suppliers who had products that were complementary to the baby bedding we started out with, so we expanded to a broader offering. Ultimately we ended up encompassing all children’s and baby furnishings.”

    The second thing they did was sign on with Yahoo.

    “We looked at different platforms,” Peter says, “and we chose Yahoo because it suited our products. Our products are highly customizable, they have a lot of options, and Yahoo had already done a very good job of breaking out characteristics like monograms, personalization, and option sets that would allow us to expand those selections to hundreds of thousands of combinations. Another benefit of Yahoo is the very high reliability of its systems. During the ten year period we’ve been on Yahoo it’s been almost perfect. I think the site went down only once for part of one day in a decade.”

    Old Challenges, New Challenges

    Where Rosenberry Rooms did have an issue was getting furniture from warehouse to customer. “The biggest challenge for us was shipping furniture,” Peter explains. “It was the first time many of our customers were ordering furniture online, and there weren’t many reliable, customer-friendly systems in place to deal with deliveries. Initially, we had a very high rate of damage. We had to shop around to find great companies across the country that could successfully handle our high-end, white-glove furniture deliveries while offering excellent service for our customers and our business. It took years! At one point we considered not selling furniture at all, but once we found the right shipping partners using the right methods it all came together. At this point in time we have surprisingly few problems with damage or errors on our deliveries.”

    The biggest challenge Rosenberry Rooms faces today is competing with vertical operations.

    “Pricing pressure within the market is a real challenge,” Peter notes. “We serve the high-end market, but consumers have such an easy time finding deals on the internet that it has become common to search for, and expect, discounts. Another challenge is that the sources of traffic available to smaller businesses are heavily dependent on search engines and social media. And those sources seem to favor bigger brands more than they did even three or four years back.”

    Specific, Differentiated Social Strategies

    The solution lies in marketing, Peter observes—particularly in the social media. “We’re working hard on our social media presence. We have specific, differentiated strategies for each social platform.

    "For instance, we get a very large flow of traffic from Pinterest because it’s a user-driven visual search engine where users can see what other users find attractive. Users determine what’s popular in the system. Our company does very well in that environment because we have a large selection of visually appealing products—and we appeal to the primarily-female demographic that uses Pinterest. Pinterest users fit our demographic perfectly.”

    Rosenberry Rooms uses Twitter for specific kinds of communication, things that are happening in the moment. “Currently we’re running a give-away with a crib that was used by Jwoww on her MTV show,” says Peter. “Twitter is perfect in this case because we can tweet about that and have it re-tweeted by Jwoww to millions of people on her list.

    "We use Facebook to target many of our existing customers, and to re-target people who have visited Rosenberry Rooms before. Certain promotions we do only through Facebook.”

    Creating Beautiful Space

    Peter laughs that his favorite products are the ones that bring in the highest revenue—but then he admits that certain items stand out. “One that I like a lot is our Tree Bookcase from Nurseryworks,” he says. “The image was appealing to a lot of people; it got a lot of attention. I also really like our collections of monogrammed wall letters. They are unique to Rosenberry Rooms, and while they aren’t very expensive they attract a lot of customers to our site because these designs can’t be found elsewhere. We also have an exclusive line of Rosenberry Rooms pendant lighting and lamps which is one of our top-selling product lines. Art for children’s rooms is actually our most popular category. And of course we sell a lot of essential pieces, like bunk beds and cribs.”

    We’ll give Susie the last word, via Rosenberry Rooms’ online catalogue: “Shopping for children should be fun!” she writes. “No matter what the theme, style or motif we are here to help parents create beautiful spaces for their children.”

    She makes it sound as easy as child’s play.

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