I would like to introduce you to Kelly Langford this month’s Retailer Of The Month.
Our store, Encore Decor of Florida is located in Jacksonville, Florida. The business began oddly enough from my hobby selling on eBay. I’ve always been a bit of an entrepreneur having started other businesses (software company, cigar & wine bar) and while running those businesses I would spend my weekends at garage sales finding items I could easily flip on eBay. My rule at the time was “small & shippable”, I would purposely stay away from large items like furniture when I was out hunting for a deal.
As time went on I began breaking my own rule and buying case goods (sofa, lamps, bunk beds). Since I didn’t want to ship such large items I began flipping them at my local consignment store. Even though they were the biggest consignment store at the time (6,000 sq ft) they often couldn’t accept my items for several weeks because they didn’t have room. After selling through them for several months I saw what was selling, what wasn’t selling, how they were staging it, etc and of course I was convinced I could do it all better. That was in 2006.
In August of 2007, with much support and encouragement from my wife (Missi), we signed the lease on a 20,000 square foot building that had been a traditional furniture store for 25 years. The timing was perfect, right about the time we opened our store the residential real estate market crashed. People were coming at us with entire houses full of furniture to consign and with 20,000 square feet we had room to take it. Over the past 8 years we’ve refined our process, raised our furniture condition standards and become the consignment store by which all others in the market are measured. We work with all of the local builders, home stagers & remodelers and even grew into our own delivery truck and movers. It has been a blessed and sometimes very wild ride!
Last year Missi and I got into chalk painting after a few less than desirable pieces that came into the store went unsold. We found ourselves at the local “stockist” paying way too much for their chalk paint. I also felt their petroleum-based wax that made me see “rainbow unicorns” if I didn’t use it in a well-ventilated space. That experience put us on the hunt for better paint and waxes. We tried everything out there that called itself a chalk paint or milk paint. Part of that search took us to The Junkie Monkey in DeLand, FL, less than two hours away. We saw they were the nearest retailer of HTP so we drove down to get a pint of A La Mode and throw it into the lineup.
One coat of HTP and we were hooked. We also were blown away by the color selection. After all that research we thought, “why isn’t anyone selling HTP in the Jacksonville market?” So it was then that I reached out to Paula to get the details. What I didn’t know at the time was that HTP was the most dealer friendly company. I didn’t know they were the easiest to get involved with. I didn’t know they were a faith based company. I didn’t know that they were the cheapest line to carry. All of those are additional wonderful reasons to partner with HTP but we selected the paint based on the paint itself.
I can’t sell something I don’t believe in. Learning all of those other things AFTER becoming a retailer only reinforced that Missi and I had chosen the right people to partner with. I repeat a version of the “how did we select HTP” in every painting class. It seems that at some time during every 2-hour class SOMEONE asks us, “so why do you only carry HTP?” And I love giving them a sincere and honest answer.
Missi and I love spending time with our 3 children (all in college), 3 dogs, 4 birds and one turtle. I split my time between Encore Decor and LoyaltyCorp, a mobile loyalty business that I started in 2014. Missi spends her summers helping at the store and teaches 1st grade the rest of the year.
You can visit Kelly and Missi’s Facebook page Encor Decor HERE.