Company promotes its long history of manufacturing in Europe as an alternative to the logjams and expense of shipping goods from Asia
HIGH POINT — Turkish furniture manufacturer Yatas Grup is looking to make inroads into the U.S. market with a furniture and bedding line that has been designed and tailored to the needs and style preferences of consumers around the country.
As part of that initiative, the 45-year-old manufacturer has set up a U.S. marketing arm, Enza Home International, which is led by industry veterans Chad Turney, USA director, and Rick Stroud, North American sales director.
Turney, a former long-time executive at Shadow Mountain, has worked with the company for roughly the past two years to help it develop a furniture and bedding line that is designed and scaled for the U.S. market.
“We had to basically take what they were doing and tweak it into U.S. scaling and comfort,” Turney said, noting that the manufacturer also has done a lot of research on its own into the U.S. market before taking steps to establish a brand here. “We couldn’t just take their existing line and bring it over here.”
Stroud, a long-time former Thomasville and Hekman sales executive, is involved on the sales side, introducing the brand to retailers around the U.S. Many of these customers are eager to learn of new opportunities outside Asia, particularly due to supply chain challenges and high freight costs.
“The first thing customers love is that we are not in Asia,” Turney said. “The second thing is that we are getting behind the product and stocking it.”
While the company ships in full and mixed containers direct from its factories in Turkey, it is also shipping some 90% of its U.S. catalog from a 30,000-square-foot — soon to be expanded — warehouse in High Point. The company also plans to open a West Coast facility in the future.
“The lineup that is being sold in the U.S. is not being sold anywhere in the world,” Turney said. “We developed it based on what is going on in the market.”
With a 45-year manufacturing history that began with foam production, the company now produces a full line of furniture and bedding.
The Yatas Bedding line is made at its 1.8 million-square-foot campus in the city of Kayseri that consists of four main buildings.
Nearing a capacity of some two million mattresses per year, this plant also produces fabric upholstery, including sofas and loveseats, accent chairs, upholstered headboards and sofa beds. Sofas are targeted to retail from $599 to $1,299 and sleeper sofas are targeted to retail from $599 to $1,199.
An 820,000-square foot manufacturing facility in the city of Ankara produces the company’s wood furniture line, including bedroom, dining room and occasional furniture.
At market the furniture is being shown in a 4,000-square-foot space in C-565 of the International Home Furnishings Center. The bedding, formerly shown in this same space at the October 2020 market, Premarket in April and the June market, is being shown in a 3,500-square-foot space just next door.
In addition to the bedding line, the company is mainly shipping living room furniture at present. This includes stationary fabric upholstery and sofa sleepers along with companion occasional groups.
“With Turkish manufacturing there is a lot of attention to detail,” Turney said. “The tailoring is very nice, the quality is very good, as is the packaging. It was already being done the right way from the time we stepped in.”
As much of the Yatas line is sold at its 300 retail stores in Europe and another 300 in the Middle East and Russia, some changes had to be made on the upholstery side for the U.S. market. A major issue was the firmness of the seating, a trademark of upholstery sold in the European market.
“Obviously, we had ultra-firm seating, and we had to go from a Mercedes to a Cadillac, where it has nothing to do with the quality; it is more about the comfort,” Turney said. “There were even some issues we had to address when it folds out to a sleeper so you would get more consistent comfort.”
He added that changes had to be made to scaling as well, including the depth and length of some pieces “because you are going from a very small living space in Europe to a more abundant living space in the U.S.”
While much of the case goods line is still being developed to U.S. standards, Enza Home is introducing a half dozen upholstered beds at the October market, including complete beds, headboard-only options and beds with storage and platform options.
“We have three collections currently in case goods that we are selling in the U.S. But here is the issue: They build this stuff RTA, but it is kind of a “manufacturers RTA,” where it almost takes a rocket scientist to put it together – it is even more complicated than Ikea,” Turney said, noting that the standard is acceptable for Europe, where assembly crews put pieces together inside consumers’ homes.
Turney said the company plans to further develop the case goods line in a way that avoids such pitfalls, an issue in the U.S. market, particularly given recent publicity about how difficult it is assemble Ikea furniture.
In addition to Enza Home’s stocking program, which will offer sofas in at least two fabrics, customers also can place special orders. Lead times for those orders are roughly 90 days, including transportation time.
“We are really trying to push the stocking program, but we have special order capability too,” Turney said. “If people are willing to wait, we have hundreds of options. The other thing I would predicate is that we are trying to focus on our direct container business too. Obviously, we don’t want to just sell everything out of the warehouse. We want to sell the majors and we want them to be able to do their own deal. And when I talk about containers, I am also talking about private label, which is another one of our strong suits because we are the manufacturer.”
Mixability is another key advantage, officials said.
“You have wonderful mixability on the containers,” Stroud noted, adding that the company can even mix textile and bedding products it produces such as area rugs, mattress protectors, pillows and duvets, all with the upholstery. “There is no MOQ and you can just fill up a can with mattresses, upholstery and textiles.”
And last but not least, there’s the pricing of containers, which officials noted are about $6,000 to $7,000 per container from Europe, compared to containers as high as $20,000 or more from Asia.
“The truth of the matter is — and I am not just talking about the furniture industry — everything I am reading about this supply chain situation, there is no end in sight,” Stroud said. “The people I know in logistics, they are telling me that before there is going to be any relief you are looking at the very least some time in 2023.”