Ethos Stitching Up Success: Sallisaw Leather Products Producer Lands Pottery Barn Contract

Article excerpt

A new guitar-strap supplier contract for Pottery Barn fueled a 60- percent annual production rise for three-year-old Ethos Custom Brands.

Founder Chad Little said he expects that contract to help his Sallisaw leather products producer raise its 2011 annual sales 40 percent, up from about 20 percent without it.

"We basically tooled up to do it," said Little, a maker of custom boots for two decades. "Tooling up and actually doing it (the contract) took about a month and a half."

That allowed his five employees to handle the extra work on their own.

"Unless you count my mom coming over and helping us pack them," he added in a telephone interview. "And she works real free."

Pottery Barn, a subsidiary of Williams-Sonoma, chose Ethos over 25 other American leather crafters. It will feature two exclusive Ethos guitar straps among its other "Made in the USA" products in its 2011 holiday catalog.

"The level of attention to design and manufacturing details represented by the Ethos brand was clearly superior to all others," Pottery Barn Vice President Mary Madigan said in a press release.

The 5.2 million catalogs distributed promises a dynamic boost in Ethos' brand exposure.

"This is the biggest company we've had a contract with," said Little, who has made boots for Vince Gill, Amy Grant and Carrie Underwood. "Up until now we have been pretty much a predominately online business, as well as I spent years in the high-end custom Western boots business.

"Since we put ourselves online, pretty much a year-and-a-half ago, we have been blowing it up," Little said in a telephone interview. "Pottery Barn, that's how they found us. …

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