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Cèleste finds its own niche in high-end wood market

August 19/26, 2019: Volume 35, Issue 5

By Lindsay Baillie

 

What’s the hardest part of rebranding a high-end hardwood flooring line? Creating a name that matches the company’s vision, according to Chris Dillon, vice president of sales and marketing, SLCC. But once the hard part is over, there are also logos to agree on as well as a website and samples to create.

Dillon speaks from recent experience, having announced the rebranding of SLCC’s high-end hardwood flooring line at the beginning of 2019. Cèleste, the new brand name meaning “heavenly” in French, aims to provide flooring dealers with a competitive edge when selling higher-end flooring. “I believe the term accurately describes our floors,” Dillon explained. “It also meshes well with some of our other product lines, such as our Milky Way collection, which has been around a few years.”

Dillon said he expects Cèleste to be a true knockout in specialty retail. “This brand has a real competitive advantage when it comes to the value we bring with each product category due to the strategic locations of our factories,” he explained. “The merchandising in our customers stores will stand out and bring attention to the end user.”

Cèleste’s rebranded samples are expected to be in the company’s warehouse by the first week in September.

What’s more, the brand is working on additional SKUs to add to its already expansive portfolio. “For example, we launched a nano-technology finish this year and tried it on two SKUs—a natural black walnut and a white oak,” Dillon said. “The finish is scratch resistant, dent resistant and even fireproof. Due to the overwhelming response, we are adding several more SKUs to kick off the new brand.”

In addition to supporting its dealer partners with merchandising and product, Cèleste is also launching a lead generator. As Dillon explained, “Our lead generation with this brand will allow us to direct end users to their local stores that carry our brand, thus bringing in new customers they would not have received otherwise.”

The new brand has garnered positive reception from the specialty flooring sales representatives. “The customers we have shown the Cèleste brand to have been really impressed,” Dillon noted. “As a matter of fact, several new customers are refusing to take in SLCC samples. They are waiting for the Cèleste branded samples to come in instead.”

With only four months remaining in 2019, Dillon said the company is looking to expand its offerings and build name recognition. “It takes time for a new brand to stick,” he noted. “Our R&D team is working overdrive right now. We are playing with different reactive stains and technologies to bring something new to the table. We will have a couple of new wood collections toward the first of 2020. We have already added and launched 10 new wood SKUs this year that are fully stocked in all three of our sites.”

What will happen to SLCC’s other offerings? The company’s more entry-level hardwoods, along with vinyl and laminates, will still be branded SLCC. The company has also toyed with the idea of adding some higher- end vinyl to the Cèleste portfolio. “That is something I am hoping to achieve,” Dillon noted.

To help makes things official, the Cèleste brand is set to take the big stage at The International Surface Event (TISE) in Las Vegas in January 2020. The company is planning to split its booth in half with both SLCC and Cèleste represented. “This will be our major kickoff, and there will be no looking back,” Dillon stated.