As a holding entity for multiple iconic brands, Hearth & Home Technologies (HHT), Lakeville, Minnesota, values its long-held reputation among industry dealers and wholesalers. A re-launch of the company’s Majestic Brand is not so much a fix as it is an opportunity to make improvements.
With a team effort led by V.P. Berger, president of HHT, the benefits thus far have been numerous, and stakeholders are pleased with the progress. Patio & Hearth Products Report (P&HPR) sat down with Berger to talk about the specifics of the brand re-launch and what it means for customers.
Patio & Hearth Products Report (P&HPR): How does the Majestic Brand re-launching benefit hearth retailers in the United States and Canada?
V.P. Berger, president, Hearth & Home Technologies, Lakeville, Minnesota: Our areas of focus to help retailers are on products, sales tools, and the value chain. The largest area of focus is on products. Majestic products are now manufactured in our award winning facilities in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, and Lake City, Minnesota, which means that retailers will benefit with proven platforms, lean manufacturing capabilities, and the quality they expect from all HHT brands.
In addition to improving the product line, we have also introduced new marketing and sales tools for each of the products. We also believe that shifting Majestic to exclusively wholesale distribution to service dealers will ultimately benefit everyone. It demonstrates our commitment to the wholesale partners, provides them with opportunities to grow their business, while also providing dealers with the tools and services they need to grow their businesses. Dealers will get timely delivery and great service with a proven and capable wholesale partner and distribution network.
P&HPR: What Majestic products are particularly noteworthy in terms of product features and consumer demand?
Berger: We are close to completing a 100% re-launch of the entire Majestic brand which involves a full line of products that deliver the quality and reliability that our customers expect. There is a strong consumer demand for all gas direct vent, inserts and wood products across modern and traditional fireplaces. The new Majestic lineup spreads across all categories with enhanced feature sets that are going to excite customers.
Starting with the recent Quartz (pictured, top left), it provides excellent flexibility for not only consumers, dealers, and customers, but also builders who are looking for a great traditional fireplace or a modern look. The Echelon II is a new linear gas fireplace available in several single-sided and see-through sizes. It has many options for customization, so it hits the sweet spot for consumers looking for a high-end, nearly custom contemporary fireplace, and we are continuing to see excellent growth in this category. The Marquis II is a beautiful gas fireplace with traditional styling. It meets the demand from consumers who want the ambiance of a masonry fireplace, realistic split logs, and all with the convenience of gas.
We are excited about not just one product category, but also the entire product line as we re-launch the entire product line over the next six months.
P&HPR: How is HHT working with specialty retailers, dealers, and wholesalers to accomplish the re-launch of the brand so far?
Berger: It starts with a comprehensive national distribution strategy, and that is what we have done here. We are ensuring customers that their quality, and on-time delivery that they expect, will remain unchanged and uninterrupted. Within 48 hours of announcing this shift, all customers of the Majestic Brand were contacted, and the distribution strategy was explained for the Majestic Brand to service dealers and consumers and how it will benefit all of us.
We have the utmost confidence in our wholesalers to execute this distribution strategy, and ensure that they get the best quality, delivery, and cost as we do it. We are going to equip our wholesalers with the tools necessary to make sure that they are confident and ready to service the dealers in their markets.
P&HPR: What will be happening during the transition period of Sept 2016 and Jan 2017?
Berger: Over the next few months, we are going to work closely with our dealers and wholesalers to ensure that the dealers are informed correctly on who they can buy from, and make sure that they are effectively and efficiently transitioned to a new wholesale partner. We want to ensure that we are maintaining these relationships with the Majestic brand. These hearth retailers will still see the same quality they have come to expect, and we believe they will actually get better service from our wholesale partners who have been committed to us for years and know the brand so well.
P&HPR: What has been the feedback from hearth dealers about this new branding strategy?
Berger: The feedback has been resoundingly positive. We actually announced the brand strategy change back in October of 2015, and that was a comprehensive re-launch of the Majestic brand going back to its heritage of direct vent, gas, and wood burning fireplaces.
Feedback on our distribution has been good across the board. Our wholesale partners appreciate the commitment that we have made to them to help grow their business, and our dealers appreciate the transparency and understand it based on our core strategy. We have assured them that they will continue to receive quality Majestic products in a timely manner, and I think we are all excited about the future of the Majestic brand as we take this step together.