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  • Susan Dickenson

Retail Profile: Hudson (Boston and Wellesley, Mass.)

THIS SEPTEMBER WILL mark the fifth anniversary of Hudson, the Boston-based home boutiques opened by Jill HudsonGoldberg. Hudson operates in two locations, the original shop in the city's historic South End, and a second store in the Boston suburb of Wellesley where Goldberg was born and raised.
      A graduate of The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, Goldberg launched her career with Picket Fence Interior Design, a business she started in 2001 when she returned to Boston following eight years of living in Los Angeles.
     In September 2006, she opened Hudson, where "traditional, country and vintage meet modern." During her debut month, Goldberg told The Boston Globe she wanted the furniture to reflect a mix of New England and California, and to feel like "you'd just walked into somebody's living room and wanted to steal all their ideas."

     Describe your store: I set up my store as if it's a home. I realize it's a store, and definitely lay out multiples of items, but the larger furniture pieces are grouped as if I was designing a small living space.

Hudson     What sets you apart from the competition? What makes me different is me. I believe that my taste and eye sets me apart from others in my area. Having lived in both Los Angeles and Boston gives me a unique perspective.

     Describe your average customer: My average customer ranges from an 18-year-old college student buying gifts to empty nesters who are starting a new life in the city.Hudson

     How do you reach your customer? We used to reach customers solely through advertising and mailings, but these days we use Facebook, Twitter and my personal blog, plus direct emails for all in-store events. The week we blogged about our latest sale, and posted it to Facebook, we saw a jump in foot traffic. Our followers are really following us! We also benefit from a solid public relations strategy as we're included in editorial coverage in the national and local magazines, TV design shows, newspapers and blogs.

     How was your 2010? It was a very difficult year. Not only was the economy not moving, neither was our product. At least, not as fast as we would like it to. But as 2011 begins, we have very high hopes.

     What's the best idea, event or change you've made recently in the way you operate or market your store?
     I believe it is the pop-up sale within our semi-annual sale. Every few days, clients who signed up to receive our emails would receive an email at 8 a.m. indicating a special sale during a specific one-hour period that day. We created a sense of urgency and really moved a lot of product out of the store and into people's homes.

     What are your plans for 2011? To focus more on the use of Facebook, Twitter and our blog, especially as we launch an e-commerce component to our website. Also, to really make the interior design service aspect of my business a No. 1 priority.

     What is the most enjoyable part of your job? My favorite part is buying and merchandising. I love the Hudson
hunt and love the design.

     Do you see any trends emerging or remaining "hot" in home accents for your area? I find that Boston, and New England itself, stay somewhat traditional and not so caught up in fad. But fabrics are where I see trends move with my clients, so this year it's color, last year it was ikats, two years ago it was shades of whites and neutrals.

     Approximate size of your stores: Each location is approximately 1,000 square feet.

     Year your stores opened: My Boston store opened in 2006, and the Wellesley store opened in 2008.

     About what percentage of your sales are home accents? 60%

     Average annual sales of home accents: less than $1 million

     Trade shows/markets you shop: New York and High Point

     Key vendors: We are very loyal to Oly and Worlds Away. We also love Barbara Cosgrove lighting and Dermond Peterson pillows. For accents, I change every season - whatever speaks to me at the shows.



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