The Feiss Family Returns
From left, Ron Hersh, Murray Feiss and Robert Greene in 2009 at the ARTS Awards in Dallas.
By Andrea Lillo
Murray Feiss--the man--has returned to the lighting industry. After several years off, the founder of lighting company Murray Feiss is set to debut his new lighting venture, Authenticity, with his sons-in-law Ron Hersh and Robert Greene.
They enjoyed their time off, Feiss said, and while coming back into the category was actually "not the first thing on our minds," it ended up being the logical spot for them. "We love the business," said Feiss, who started Murray Feiss 55 years ago.
But the trio is not looking to clone Murray Feiss the company. "In the past, we were designing lines for specific price points," said Feiss, Authenticity's chairman. "Now, we look first at the design, then the quality, and then the price."
Hersh added, "We didn't want to go back and do what we did before," but instead offer something "special and original in nature ... Design turns all of us on." So they plan to "fill the gap in better-quality, better-upscale product," Greene said.
And while the company may be new, these three have more than 130 years of experience between them, with long term relationships already established. In fact, in their outreach to the industry earlier this year, dealers told them that a personal touch was missing between retailers and manufacturers, Hersh said. Design, price points and value are givens in a product line, Hersh said, but Authenticity can deliver "a family approach we've had for so many years. [Dealers] are looking for a trustworthy partner." Both Hersh and Greene share the title of president.
Authenticity will launch with 11 collections at the Dallas International Lighting Market in January, comprising traditional, transitional and contemporary styles. "It's a very diverse line, with an exciting use of materials," said Greene. And, importantly, "it's salable."
Partnering with a factory in China, the new company will offer retailers a line with a lot of artisan work and "sophisticated, unusual finishes not seen before," Hersh said. Details will include optic crystal, laser cut metals, lead colored glass, and a lost wax technique, as well as finishes such as pewter and brushed steel.
Products will include chandeliers, pendants, semi-flush and wall sconces, with expansion to other categories in the future.
Authenticity's niche, Hersh said, will be the upper-level moderate price points and up. "Retailers are sick and tired" of competing on price and with Authenticity's new line and exclusive distribution, "we will not overly saturate the market, and dealers can make a dollar," he said.
"Our sales plan is to be selective with distribution so that we may maintain the highest possible level of service and to help our dealers make sure that their margins are strong," Hersh said.
Authenticity's new 9,000-square-foot showroom will be located in #4901 in the Dallas Market Center's Trade Mart. And as part of its good-service strategy, product will be ready to ship immediately. "That's been our approach for many years," Hersh said.
Already the industry has welcomed them back, Feiss said. And their long history with each other will be another reason for their success. "We're interchangeable," said Hersh.