Featured Image by: Snapback Photos
Last November the Margery Wedderburn Interiors (MWI) Team had the honor of visiting Kravet Headquarters up in New York for the 2022 Design Trust Limited Symposium. To learn more about the conference itself, look back at our previous blog post. The Kravet family and staff were so gracious, and we are very thankful to them for letting us use their office for our seminar.
On the very first day of our conference, we broke out into 2 tour groups led by the Kravet family and staff. During our tour we went through all the Kravet departments and learned about both the business and design side of the company. So much goes into this industry! Everything from fabric design and composition, creating sample books and cohesive collections to marketing and social media to accounting and sales.
One of our favorite parts of this tour was the merchandising room where they are putting together collections. Some of the fabrics and collections that we saw in here were not released yet, so pictures of the tables were off limits! The room had multiple long tables which represented different collections in different phases. As you move towards the front of the room you can see the collection concepts developing and once you get to the last table you can see the collections laid out exactly as they will be in a future fabric sample book. Samples were plentiful with large blanket samples of new and bestselling fabrics. Extraordinary!
Ellen Kravet then stepped in and taught us about the history of the company. You can read more about Kravet’s history on their website here, but we will give you a brief overview.
The history of the company starts off with Samuel Kravet, a tailor who immigrated from Russia to New York City- his 4 sons founded S. Kravet & Sons in 1918 where they started to branch out from the tailoring industry and to sell to the interior design trade. Their company continued to grow, and Ellen explained that they were able to continue growing after World War II due to selling Mohair fabric to the Military for vehicle upholstery. In the 60’s S. Kravet & Sons became Kravet Fabrics, Inc. and expanded to national and international distributors. The 4th generation of Kravets joined the company in the 1980’s and they still have a very active role in the business today. From the 90’s to now, Kravet has acquired many beloved brands, the first being Lee Jofa in 1995 and the latest being Dongia in 2020. There are currently members of both the 4th and 5th generations of the Kravet Family with an active role in the company which is amazing! One thing that we noticed while there was how happy the employees seemed; almost all the employees we met have been with the company for decades! It isn’t much of a surprise that Kravet won the US Best-Managed Companies Award by Deliotte Private and The Wall Street Journal in both 2021 and 2022.
Another highlight of Kravet headquarters was the extensive and extraordinary Archives Room, Scott Kravet’s pride and joy. There is an assortment of fabrics, drawings, and mockups in the archives representing the history of textiles from a variety of countries, continents, design styles and eras. The archive library is a mixture of archived textiles from some of Kravet’s represented brands such as Lee Jofa and Brunschwig & Fils both of which came with archives of their own. The rest of the pieces are collected by Scott who has a network of people who search for fabulous textile pieces in old mills around the globe. The day after our conference, Scott was actually traveling to a mill in Belgium to find some pieces to add to the archives. The archive is an essential part of textile design, because as we all know, historic design styles and patterns influence the future. All textiles had to be influenced by something! There is so much history that is yet to be uncovered – there are some amazing things buried away in mills, tucked away in the basements of museums only seen by few, and who knows where else. Being able to see, touch, feel, these pieces of history is so special and is so important when designing for the future.
We’d like to give a big thank you to the Kravet family and team for being so hospitable to us and our group. The experience was truly a great one, as we learned so much and had such a great time!
The Margery Wedderburn Interiors Team