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Case Study: Down Decor

reALIGN Expansion Sherpas help commodity bedding manufacturer to develop and execute an “Integrated Marketing” go-to-market process, which almost tripled its market footprint within less than four years

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Daniel Guigui

Founder and CEO Down Decor

“We have been working with Benno and his team for almost four years. In that time we have almost tripled Down Decor’s sales and  intentionally positioned Down Decor to grow with visibility, accountability and profitability. And having fun while we get it done. reALIGN doesn’t come in with a 3 ring binder that’s full of suggestions, anyone can do that, that’s what consultants do. INMHO, reALIGN are partners who help solve problems and execute the strategy.”

Background: Down Decor Story

  • Down Decor’s history dates back five generations. Its story began in Europe in the early 1900s, before the family immigrated to Cincinnati, OH in 1951, with a singular focus on craftsmanship, ingenuity and warmth.
  • Daniel Guigui started Down Decor in 1994, initially supplying feather pillow inserts to the wholesale, fashion and design industries. The business has since evolved into three family brands (including DownTek and SDS) with 50 employees (now 90 employees after working with reALIGN), delivering high quality down & feather products to segments of the home markets and outdoor industry.
  • Facing business complexities that led to anemic profitability in its home textile division, reALIGN Expansion Sherpas were brought in to help build more profitable revenue streams – faster than its lean management team was equipped to handle alone.

Challenge:

Develop internal accountability & external go-to-market process to drive profitable growth

  • Down Decor family brands (incl. DownTek, SDS)
  • Internally, the management team struggled communicating between departments, resulting in low trust, poor accountability and sub-par profitability.
  • External access to bigger customers required more robust visibility into operational routines (product development process, sales cycles, production schedules), and ultimately P&L monthly P&L and Cash Flow meetings.

Strategy

Develop & execute a profitable company strategy, in collaboration with the CEO and his team

  • Phase I Sales Roadmap (after Growth Evaluation). The project started with reALIGN Sherpa in the role of strategic coach to the CEO and his team, resulting in a sales strategy:
    • Current customer analysis
    • Recommended prospect customers
    • Pursuit strategy and 3-year sales channel forecast
  • Phase II Execution: drive aggressive growth rates (20-30% CAGR)
    • Weekly, monthly, quarterly meeting cadence, both remote (video call) and on-site attendance
    • Strategic input and focus on milestones

Deliverables

Lead strategy team sessions to “inform, involve and inspire” – helping team to operate at a higher level

  • Assigned a Sherpa team of ‘been there done that’ experts to provide deep market insight and execution know-how
  • Developed meeting cadence & visibility systems – from daily and weekly huddles, system approaches like CRM and project software, to monthly reviews and quarterly strategy sessions.
  • Implemented 5-step strategic planning process – visual tools like SWOT notes and strategy wheels, lead to middle management team participation and buy-in.
  • A Sherpa attended, participated, and sometimes led routine- as well as ad-hoc meetings, dedicating on average a day per week.

Deliverables

Branded communications package to show prospective buyers a “cohesive and compelling” picture of factory capabilities

Resulted in more effective sales presentations and faster sales growth

Outcomes

Collaboration between Down Decor and reALIGN led to

  • Better internal processes (both pre-sale and post-sale), communication and accountability, and profitability
  • Company grew revenues 150% (24% CAGR), modestly expanded from 50 to 90 employees (+80%) in four years
  • Down Decor is expanding its US manufacturing plant by 20,000 sq. ft. to keep up with demand and manage its future growth.