American Leather's Shop in Shop concept allows retailers to showcase customization options and a variety of SKUs in a defined footprint.

Manufacturer debuts ‘design-forward’ store footprint for furniture retailers at High Point Market

Cindy W. Hodnett//Executive Editor of Brand Development//October 26, 2023

DALLAS — A curated product vignette that allows retailers to highlight customization options in an approximately 2,000-square-foot space is the idea behind American Leather’s “Shop in Shop,” and the concept — a key strategy of the company’s current brand evolution — was on full display during the recent High Point Market.

Described by the company as a “curated, design-forward retail footprint meant to inspire the customer through a lifestyle vignette,” Shop in Shop showcases the variety of American Leather’s product line in a consistent format. Noting that the flexible size requirements for Shop in Shop allow retailers to create a space that works best within their specific store, company representatives added that each shop features an American Leather design center with a selection of premium leathers and fabrics, as well as customization options for arms, legs and materials.

Premium leathers and fabrics are part of the Shop in Shop design center.

Although a preview of Shop in Shop debuted earlier this year, this fall’s market marked the full unveiling of the brand evolution and new concept with a 2,000-square-foot example on display in the company’s showroom. Veronica Schnitzius, president of American Leather, said that the reveal allowed retailers to experience Shop in Shop firsthand and that the new in-store focus is just one part of a comprehensive strategy designed to support continued growth heading into 2024.

“Evolution is growth based on experience,” Schnitzius said. “Our ability to reflect upon our own journey has been key to our continued growth striving to balance the sensitivity of design alongside the vigor of innovation that has long been the heartbeat of what American Leather stands for.”

In a previous interview with Furniture Today, Schnitzius and Brian Golden, CEO of Artisant Lane (parent company of American Leather), outlined future strategies for the brand.

“Yes, we are an upholstery resource, but we’re also a lifestyle brand,” Schnitzius said. “We looked at our line and asked ourselves what we needed to complete the room in a home, and we approached product development from that angle. Now, our expanded upholstery line answers that question.”

Golden said that American Leather emerged from the pandemic as a stronger company and that U.S.-based production supported inventory management as demand softened.

“If we look back at 2019, everything has changed,” Golden said. He added that the business strategies implemented by the team during the industry’s pandemic pivot allowed American Leather to start planning for future growth and expansion during a time when many manufacturers were struggling, a move that included Shop in Shop and its product message.

The Shop in Shop concept highlights the focus on “how the brand makes you feel” in contrast to the mechanical innovation showcased in the company’s Innovation Shops and offers a different experience with American Leather products, officials said. Noting that Shop in Shop is highlighting “the human aspect more,” a reference to the 700 employees building the company’s custom products in Dallas, officials said that the concept is about “conveying the mindset — the lifestyle — the whole home.”

“This is so much bigger than a rebrand,” said Ashley Fothergill, creative director. “We are transforming how people see and experience American Leather. Every sofa isn’t just about the sofa; it’s about all of the people behind it, and our new creative direction helps us tell that story and bring the brand to life.”

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