While some in the industry may remember Bella Flooring Group as a consortium of Chinese manufacturers tempered on inexpensive product and lackluster service, the newly rebranded and reinvigorated Bella has set its sights on supporting the needs of the retail community with innovative product lines, U.S. manufacturing and a customer-first approach.
First and foremost in its effort to meet those lofty goals, Bella Flooring Group is now owned by new, invested partners and has brought on an experienced leadership team. “Bella’s leadership has completely changed in the last year and a half, and we’re more focused on taking care of our partners first,” explained Paul Dominie, president of sales and marketing.
In addition to Dominie, the company brought on Tyler Geren as CEO. “Tyler came from outside of the industry, so he gives us a refreshing new look on many different aspects of the business,” Dominie explained. “One of the things that he does all the time is challenge us to make sure what we’re doing makes sense to our partners. Many times companies will create things but they don’t translate or make sense out in the field. Tyler always challenges us to make sure that whatever we’re doing is going to equal success in the field.”
Dominie added that the company comprises a very small group of leaders, supported by a strong team in the market. “We’ve done that specifically so we have more assets out in the field,” he explained. “I never feel like a company should be top heavy. You do need to have people who can make decisions and who know the industry and are able to guide it—but the real thing that matters are the people at the street level who can go out there and meet with their clients, make decisions, put together programs that make sense for them and execute well.”
With its leadership team in place, Bella focused on simplifying its process to market. “Before, we had a shotgun approach to getting our products into people’s hands,” Dominie noted. “Now, we are very much focused on private-label programs, distribution and OEM.”
Bella also shifted its production from China to other areas with expertise in resilient flooring but easier market reach. “As time passed and tariffs increased, we found better partners and we were able to move out of China into Vietnam, Cambodia, South Korea and now we will be producing in the U.S.,” Dominie explained. “Everyone knows the complications of importing from either Europe or Asia. You have time factors that are just there. You have four to eight weeks from the time it gets manufactured to get it on a boat and shipped over—and that’s if it goes through customs properly. We really wanted to shorten that cycle, and we were able to find a partner that is known for their quality, their simplicity to production and we were able to put together a program that works from both sides.”
Paring down the product line
With the first steps toward redemption in place, Bella focused on perfecting its product portfolio. What used to consist of myriad product lines across flooring categories is now a curated collection of design-focused, cost-effective hard surface options that follow today’s trending visuals. That hard surface portfolio includes the top two growth categories in the industry—LVT and SPC—as well as the industry’s most aspirational product available—hardwood.
What’s more, Bella Flooring has expanded its product portfolio to include a Made in the USA line, which will include design-driven rigid core SPC. Meanwhile, its expanded product line focuses on visually appealing hard surface options with matching trim and moldings. Its hardwood offering, for example, is a designer-curated collection of on-trend, clean wood looks with no distortion. “We have three pines, two maples and one oak in the line, and the reaction from those who have seen it said we’re spot on where the trends are going and they’re really excited to see something that doesn’t have a bunch of chatter marks or distortion to it.”
Tapping the needs of today’s consumer as they look for more health-conscious materials for the home, each product in the portfolio also features an antimicrobial component in the surface “to help people not fear any sort of viruses and without the need to scrub it extra hard to get the dirt off of it,” Dominie explained.
The company also focuses heavily on inventory to give its customers a very short lead time as well as competitive pricing that allows its retail partners to use the brand as best they see fit. “You place an order by noon, it will ship next day by noon,” Dominie said. “Bella is very easy to do business with today.”
Proving its worth
To prove just how much the company has shifted its priorities toward the well-being of its partners, the company made an unprecedented move for the flooring industry this year by decreasing pricing at an average of 6% across the board for its SPC and LVT products. The price decrease went into effect June 27.
“Our company is up 50% from last year and we tie that back to rebuilding our partnerships and doing the right thing,” Dominie told FCNews. “Our belief in doing the right thing is deeper now than ever before and we’ve seen the results of that. Our motto is supporting our partners 100%, not just when it’s good for us.”
Dominie said shipping costs have been drastically reduced over the past three weeks, and it was the company’s responsibility to pass those savings on to its customers. “If you look at the costs of any product that is imported—SPC, LVT—50% of that cost is the shipping. If that goes down then there’s a significant cost savings there. That savings, by nature of good partnerships, should be passed on, just like when it went up.”
Dominie noted that after the price adjustment the average cost of a Bella Flooring SPC/LVT is in the $2 range. “For us, it’s just an adjustment back to where it should be,” he said. “Before we launched our Made in USA line, 99% of our products were from overseas and when we see a significant cost reduction we’ll pass that on. Running an effective company means you ebb and flow based on your costs. We believe it’s a way to support our partners, especially in a time when they’re seeing a slowdown.”
Customers can use their current price list, minus their respective drop across the board or contact the company for new pricing. Dominie said Bella Flooring Group sales team is currently in the field working with its partners to help implement the new price reduction.
Along with a new leadership team, go-to-market strategy and product portfolio, the company has also rebranded and updated its digital offering and image. To help facilitate success for its retail partners, Bella Flooring Group has updated its website to include product information, sample ordering and even lead generation.
One thing dealers won’t find available on the website, however, is a dealer finder—and for good reason. “We don’t have a dealer finder on our website because when you have a dealer finder you open up your location to be shopped by other locations in that same area,” Dominie explained. “They can see everybody in that area that has the brand and then it becomes a price war. What we do is we receive the inquiry and we quickly forward that lead to the closest, strongest partner we have.”