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?
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.”
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
- 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.”
makes it sound as easy as child’s play.