In this Frontier Outfitters Store interview, owner and business manager Anna Berry discusses the company's home catalog, which features Western and Southwestern products for your home décor, and their Corporate Gift Program for special business promotions.
LoveToKnow editor Sally Painter recently caught up with this busy entrepreneur and asked about the bedding linens and the beginnings of the company in this exclusive LTK interview.
Frontier Outfitters Store Interview
LoveToKnow (LTK): What was the inspiration for a Western theme? Was the vision always to have a strictly online retail and catalog company? Any milestones along the way?
Anna Berry (AB): The company was established originally by Alexa Robison in 1997 in Medina, Texas. Alexa wanted to provide the local artisans and manufacturers with a venue for showcasing their work to a larger audience with an online store.
The online presence started with several specialty stores: Texas Frontier Store, Western Frontier Store, Native American Store, Western Art Gallery and Convention Outfitters, that together eventually merged into today's Frontier Outfitters.
First Brick and Mortar Store
The first home of Frontier Outfitters was a local ranch located on the hills of Medina. Later on, the store was moved to the historical Hatfield Building in the center of Medina from 1898.
In 2008, Frontier Outfitters became part of Outfitter Stores and relocated to Houston TX. This is when it was converted into online store and catalog only. Its warehouse and offices are currently located in Houston. Today, with focus on the online store, Frontier Outfitters offers the latest e-commerce solutions to guarantee safe, easy and pleasant shopping experience to its customers.
Over the years, bedding became our specialty department with focus on western and Southwestern luxury bedding collections.
Challenges for an Online Bedding Store
LTK: What are some of the challenges specific to online bedding and linens retailing?
AB: Not seeing the products and fabrics in person. The customer can't touch the fabrics. There is a risk of fabric color or texture mismatch since what the customer sees on their oversaturated screen might be much deeper than the real color. The customer cannot tell how soft or thick the bedspread fabric feels based on the picture only. This is why some customers are still skeptical of purchasing their bedding online, especially for the high end more expensive items or custom items that cannot be returned.
To solve these problems, we offer a 30-Day No Hassle Guarantee for all "non-custom made" items. A customer can return the item for any reason for a full refund or exchange within 30 days of receiving the product. We also offer free swatches for most of our luxury bedding items. We encourage our customers to request the swatches.
The lead time for many of our luxury bedding collections varies from 3 weeks to even 12-16 weeks. We noticed that customers purchasing online sometimes get anxious about the status of their order if they don't hear from us for several weeks. This is why we developed a follow-up communication with our customers for these long lead time orders. Every 3 weeks we send an update email with the information about the remaining time until shipment. Also, we never pre-charge any deposits for the order with lead time over 4 weeks and we charge the full amount when the item is ready to ship. We found this to be very helpful as it makes the customers more comfortable with their purchase.
LTK: What can a first-time customers expect when visiting your website that distinguishes your company from other online retailers when searching for bedding and bath linens?
AB: We've put in a lot of creative and financial efforts to guarantee safe and easy web experience through our product catalog, using the latest e-commerce solutions for product search, site navigation, product categorization, order status lookup, and the checkout process itself, to name a few.
Customers find a wide selection of exclusive items. In the new Spring 2011 catalog, we will introduce two brand-new exclusive luxury bedding collections in western and Southwest style, designed by Pamela Kline.
We define ourselves not only by the products we sell, but also by the customer service we offer. As a family-run business of 13 years, we take pride in our customer service. We always find time for personal assistance to each customer to accommodate all of their needs, whether it is discussing swatches and color options, offering design advice, or designing a custom pillow from scratch.
LTK: What are some of the bedding collections your company offers?
AB: Our strongest department has always been Bedding, especially luxury western and southwestern styles. We carry products from leading manufacturers, such as Double D Ranch, Wooded River, Traditions by Pamela Kline, Berry Creek, to name a few.
Promotions and Savings
LTK: Any special features and savings, such as regular sales, promotions, free shipping, or VIP promotions?
AB: We offer free shipping to all orders over $150 (permanent promotion). We also run sales and promotions on a regular basis via our email list. Usually, promotions are sent every two weeks with discount offers between 15 and 25 percent on selected items.
Go Texan Program
LTK: What is the Go Texan program?
AB: It's a special program funded by the Texas Department of Agriculture designed to support and promote products made in Texas by Texans. As an associate of the Go Texan program, we support and promote a wide selection of products made in Texas.
For More Information
LoveToKnow would like to thank Anna Berry for taking time out of her busy schedule to share insight about her company in this interview. For more information about the company or products, please visit the Frontier Outfitters Store website.