After 10 years, Ebanista is closing its New York showroom on October 20. While the D&D Building locale closes, the brand’s other showrooms—at the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles (its flagship), at the Laguna Design Center in Orange County, at Merchandise Mart in Chicago, and in the Dallas Design District—will operate business as usual.
“We want to be where we are needed,” the company announced in an email. “We want to see our clients in their studios and on their job sites. We want to see designers from Philly to Greenwich, D.C. to Providence, Boston to Westchester, and beyond... We want it all on our schedule.” Owner Jessica Pakzad Bennett chatted with EAL about the Ebanista’s latest move, and shared photos from a recent project, Meridian Residences, showcasing Ebanista product.
From left: Ebanista’s Beau Ruban Bed; Claudia Console
What was behind your decision to close the New York showroom?
A lot went into our decision not to renew our 10-year lease in the D&D Building. It was a big decision, but we truly feel like we really made the right one. While of course we were absolutely looking to streamline our operations, cut down on unnecessary overhead, and allow ourselves more flexibility, we also are responding to a changing market.
Our clients not only rely on the internet to source for projects, they now have such a trust in the virtual. This new consumer confidence in purchasing from samples, photographs and the web is turning the showroom business on its head. That being said, we are certainly not abandoning our New York territory but rather transforming our Manhattan-based showroom sales model into a Northeast Territory outside sales model. Not to mention that we still have, and will continue to have, gorgeous showrooms in Los Angeles and Orange County (where Ebanista is based) as well as the vibrant metropolises of Dallas and Chicago.
We will always have showrooms for clients to experience our stunning collection and newest introductions in person—but having four, versus 13 (the number of showrooms we had pre-recession), is exactly where we want to be.
We are also actively growing our incredible team of territory managers throughout the country who visit and assist designers in person. Now, instead of being tied to a showroom, and waiting for them to come to us, our managers can be proactive while working from home, and travel to visit clients throughout their entire territory—working on projects together in their office, on the job site, or even at their favorite restaurant!
We have clients filling entire containers of high-end luxury furniture to send overseas sight unseen. It’s also not unusual to meet some of our best clients in person only after they’ve received and installed their Ebanista pieces. And if we are working with a client who really wants to see a piece—or the entire collection—in person, our clients are the type to plan a quick trip to one of our four showrooms across the country.
How is Ebanista’s mission changing, if at all?
I don’t think our philosophy or mission is changing one bit. We have always, and will always, set out to design and produce the most beautiful handmade artisan furniture pieces. We will never be modern—but will always balance delicately between an obsession with the past and a nod to the future. I love what we are doing—Collection 10 excites me to no end. There really is nothing else like it out there—and we hear it every day from our clients.
Ebanista certainly isn’t for everybody—but for those special clients who just get it, it’s a dream come true. The fact that I get to be in our showrooms, and on the road, every week, telling clients that my mom and dad design these pieces, and see their face light up upon hearing that—it’s a true joy. If anything, by decreasing our physical footprint, and increasing our virtual one, we have more bandwidth to focus on what Ebanista is truly about: family, design and incredible furniture.
From left: Ebanista’s Villandry Daybed; Prado I Bed
How do you see Ebanista evolving over the next six months?
Well, the first things that of course come to mind are the incredible new designs we have in the pipeline. Mom and Dad are always developing, testing and refining new pieces—and this next wave is really something special. On a strategic level, we are focusing all manners of digital outlets: advertising, online design communities, our website and direct marketing. And most importantly, investing time and money to produce even better photos, create even more stunning samples, and hiring additional territory managers to not only reach more clients, but to have the best tools to showcase Ebanista’s exquisite collection.