D&WC: Please give a detailed description of your company and
Lynn Ranger, vice president, marketing: Our company, headquartered in Los Angeles, CA, was founded in 1972 under the name, M & B Window Fashions. Two years ago, we made the decision to change our name as well as our overall identity. The goal was to establish ourselves as a brand that was cutting-edge, fashion-forward, in tune with today’s consumers and design trends.
So, in 2001 we became Alta Window Solution Specialists. We had the identity and the product line to back it up, but we had no real consumer awareness. Partnering with Kathy Ireland Worldwide was a wonderful solution. We announced our new partnership last month, and as part of the Kathy Ireland Home division, we’ll now be known as Kathy Ireland Home by Alta.
Our headquarters and main manufacturing facility are in Los Angeles, and we also have another manufacturing facility in Atlanta, GA, so we are able to effectively serve the entire United States.
D&WC: What window coverings products did you handle initially? What products do you handle today?
Ranger: We began simply manufacturing wood blinds. In fact, we were the industry leader in developing the custom wood blind as it currently exists in the market.
Over the years, our product offering has grown tremendously. Today, we offer a full line of custom window fashions including honeycomb shades, pleated shades, roller shades, window shadings, woven woods, vertical blinds, aluminum blinds, cornices, shutter arches, faux woods and, of course, wood blinds. They continue to be one of our signature products. And we’re not stopping there. We’re always exploring new opportunities.
D&WC: Is your business computerized? Do you have a company Web site, and how is it used to communicate with customers?
Ranger: Technology is a major focus for us. This year, we introduced an online ordering system called Alta eOrders. Our customers now not only can place all of their orders with us online, but they also can check order status, track shipments, create customer quotes, compare product prices and manage their profit margins 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
We’re also working to expand the system so they can pay their bills and manage their credit online as well.
As part of the Kathy Ireland Home brand, we are prominently featured on the kathyireland.com Web site. This Web site is strictly informational and provides consumers with information about our products and how they provide solutions. It receives an amazing one million hits a month.
Within the next few months, we will be launching our company Web site, altawindowsolutions.com. Primarily directed at consumers, it will contain detailed information about our product offering as well as a dealer locator so consumers interested in purchasing our products can find authorized dealers in their area.
The Web site also will link to a password-protected dealer site that will contain specific dealer support information. Our Web site and the kathyireland.com Web site will both feature direct links to one another.
D&WC: What best describes your niche in the marketplace?
Ranger: The Kathy Ireland brand mission statement is “. . . finding solutions for families, especially busy moms.” That’s our niche. We don’t simply sell products. We listen to our customers and provide them with solutions to meet their needs. And those needs can be anything from safety, to energy-efficiency, light control, privacy, style, fashion or convenience.
They rely on us to provide a good quality product, yet one that’s value-priced to fit within their budget.
D&WC: What are some of the key factors involved in your growth and success?
Ranger: Our growth and success can be attributed to five major factors; our product offering, technological advancements, bi-coastal manufacturing, customer relationships and now brand awareness. We have a full range of quality, value-priced custom products that we continue to evolve in order to meet ever-changing consumer needs.
As for technology, in addition to our online ordering system and new Web site, we also have integrated automated equipment into our fabrication processes to improve overall quality. With manufacturing facilities on both coasts, and sales representatives located throughout the country, we can efficiently and effectively service the entire United States.
We take a great deal of pride in our strong customer relationships. Even though we’re a very large company, we still operate like a small one, providing highly personalized service and attention. And now, as part of the Kathy Ireland Home brand, we will have strong consumer recognition, confidence and credibility.
D&WC: What are some of the advantages of being part of the Kathy Ireland Home brand for the future of the company?
Ranger: Kathy Ireland Home brand partnerships include other top leaders in furniture, flooring, area rugs, lighting, wall art, decorative accessories, bedding and tabletop. We will be working closely with these partners and focusing on product and distribution synergies.
Together, in conjunction with the Kathy Ireland brand team, and with Kathy as lead designer, we can develop new product lines and program enhancements that coordinate with and complement each other. The possibilities are limitless.
Kathy Ireland Home by Alta
1818 S. Oak St.
Los Angeles, CA 90015
fax: (213) 742-6960